I had selected my scarf for this week’s blog, taken the photo and now the Duke of Edinburgh has died and I am at a loss to know where my blog should go. I will just start writing and see where the thoughts take me.
At least I can describe my scarf and tell you a little about its designer. It is satin silk, black, green and deep pink, with even stripes some of these augmented with a subtle overlay of thin diagonal lines resembling tiny black twigs. It is fine quality with hand rolled hems. Most of my scarves are from French and Italian designers, a few from UK and USA. If I tell you this one is from Marja Kurki, will that give you a clue as to its origin? Maybe not. It is indeed from Finland. I have never visited so far North, so I cannot take you there on the magic carpet. Norway or Sweden, yes, but my only knowledge of Finland is from my daughter who worked for its biggest oil company and visited the head office there. Yet that is her story not mine. Nor has my scarf any links with the Helsinki Olympics, so I must look to the designer for inspiration for today’s blog. Marja started her scarf business modestly as a one woman show in 1976 in Finland but her business acuity and artistic vision took her to China where she teamed up with an equally bright Chinese female partner. Now her brand has fifty-nine very smart shops throughout China, thanks to the increased spending power of fashionable women. A wonderful success story, but what I like about Marja is that she has maintained her strong feeling for nature. Her designs have captured the essence of the Finnish forests, featuring maybe the rare Calypso orchid or the national butterfly of Finland, the Holly Blue. Her Forest Collection was designed with the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and a percentage of profits went towards conservation projects. I think Prince Philip would approve of that.
I like to think my scarf was designed with the forest and its flora as inspiration. The verdant green of trees in unpolluted air, and the deep pink maybe of lingonberries or wild raspberries which are gathered in Finland in the long summer days. Apparently in that country each person has the right to forage without restriction. This does bring back childhood memories for me as the Scottish Highlands has similar vegetation to Finland and blaeberries, lingonberries, wild raspberries and strawberries was free treasure to be garnered. My thoughts now turn to the young Philip sent to Gordonstoun School in Scotland.....I can’t imagine him picking lingonberries, but I guess some of the Royals’ happiest family times were spent at Balmoral following simple pursuits.
My heart felt sympathy now lies with the Queen but she will have comfort in these happy memories. I took this photo of the scarf some weeks ago. I placed a small glass paperweight on it, as the colours seemed to complement the glowing silk. Having written this, I looked at the paperweight again. ‘Handmade glass from the Isle of Wight’. Finland is also well known for its glass ware. My late husband was very interested in his family genealogy and employed a professional to work on his Jacobs family tree. We now know they had lived on the Isle of Wight from 1687 and two of his great-great uncles were lost at sea manning a lifeboat.....a wooden boat rowed with oars! Prince Philip was also a well known figure on the water around the Isle of Wight, not in a lifeboat but competing with Uffa Fox in the Cowes Regatta. These little silk worms have woven many odd threads together today.... artistic glass, one of the lands of the Midnight Sun, lingonberries, my beloved Scotland, a dear husband’s ancestors and a shared sorrow with yet another grieving family.
Lest I get too serious, I may just go off in search of some of that lingonberry powder to sprinkle on my yoghurt. It might help me into my nineties!
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 40.