I went to see this exhibition on Saturday, The watercolours by John Frederick Lewis really stood out for the beautiful, rich colours, and highly complex compositions. Although it represents a slightly idealised version of the near east, they looked to me, to be the most sensitive to their subject matter, managing to celebrate the richness of their culture without patronising it.
This programme was absolutely brilliant at not only demystifying the Qur'an, (it should be compulsory viewing in all schools) but also highlighting the importance and influence of the Ottoman empire.
As a child I was always drawn to the culture of the East, especially The Bedouin. The idea of sleeping in the desert under the stars always seemed so appealing, as were the pictures I saw of Camels, Date Palms, and best of all an Oasis. I was never phased by the idea of heat and dreamed that I would one day make the journey East.
To an extent I have, all be it a sanitised one. Dubai and Egypt twice, Turkey once, and Northern Cyprus at least four times. I have travelled to St Catherine's Monastery and walked at the base of Mount Sinai. I have found my Oasis in the desert and seen camels roaming wild. So whilst I enjoyed the visit, nothing and I mean nothing prepares you for the heat, the relentless baking heat. So no matter how wet and chilly it gets here, as I approach the dreaded menopause, I do thank my lucky Northern stars, that I will have my hot flushes in a cooler climate.