Stitched up!

    Bayeux tapestry
    Von Mary Simons

    It’s a boring life being trappedgefangentrapped in a tapestryWandteppichtapestry — although, strictly speaking, it’s an embroideryStickarbeitembroidery. Millions of people know who we are. I, though, know just the other figures to stitch sth. inhineinstickenstitched in around me. It’s not as if we live only as long as the people who come to look at us. I was embroidered in 1072 and have been hanging around — literallyim wahrsten Sinne des Wortesliterally — in Bayeux since the 15th century. What’s more, unlessaußer, wenn nichtunless someone starts a fire or there’s a war, I will be stuck behind this glass for the foreseeableabsehbarforeseeable future.

    It’s not all bad, of course. If you live in a tapestry, you don’t get tired or hungry or feel pain. Best of all, though, once the visitors have gone home and the museum has closed, you can relax. I stretch out and chat to the knightRitter, Edelmannknights hanging around my husband, Edward — that’s King Edward to you. Naturally, none of us in the tapestry is real. We are just images of people. But I got lucky as Edith of Wessex. I might have been one of the soldiers, about to have my head cut off or something just as awful. No, to begin with, I was happy to be Edith, but it can be a bit lonely. There are only a couple of other women in the tapestry, and they aren’t close enough to have a chat.

    My husband is OK, but he knows he’s dying, and it’s like an extreme case of man flu (ifml.)Männergrippeman flu. All he ever talks about is how much he is suffering. Sometimes I wish they had stitched him dead — as he is in the picture below — so that I could get some peace and quiet. He is better company than the soldiers, though. They love their weapons and, at night, they run about shouting “Attack!” and trying to kill each other. After almost 950 years, it’s prettyhier: ziemlichpretty irritating.

    The other day, there was a girl standing in front of the tapestry. She was really young and was wearing a T-shirt that said “the future is female”. I thought, “Lucky you!” The men trapped in here with me can’t harm me, but most of them are so boring.

    The great antidoteGegenmittel, Gegengiftantidote to this is a good story. In the early years, I used to make up stories about the people who came to look at us. After dark, we’d sit up, and I’d embroider on — if you’ll excuse the terrible punWortspielpun — bits of stories that I’d picked up. If a couple stood looking at us for long enough and we could hear their conversation, I’d to spin sth. outetw. in die Länge ziehenspin it out for weeks — months even. Figures from other parts of the tapestry would move up as close as they could to listen. I do like a happy ending, though, and if you’re telling a story to men, there has to be quite a bit of action. They got sick of what they called my sentimental stories and went back to fighting each other.

    Now I concentrate on trying to keep up with the world on the other side of the glass. It’s amazing what you can pick up. I have years and years of fashion trends in my head, and I can’t say I like the direction it has been taking over the past 20 years. Whoever invented LycraElastanLycra deserves an arrow in the eye. Talk about common!

    I have been following the development of technology, too, although I’m not sure why people need to to textSMS schreibentext when they are standing in front of the Bayeux Tapestry. I mean, what could be more exciting than the story we tell?

    Then, a few months ago, I managed to read a headline that said we were being lent to England by the French government. Lent, my foot! (ifml.)So ein Quatsch!my foot! We’re going home. After all, we were stitched over there. Why do you think my English is so good? I’m really excited! First, we might get to see some celebrities. I’ve been dreaming of Emmanuel Macron for weeks. Actually, he has been to see us before — once, many years ago. He and Brigitte were so in love, standing looking at us, then kissing, then looking back at us. Very sweet!

    I’m not sure which British celeb (ifml.)Promicelebs we’ll see. British politics is in a real mess at the moment, so who knows who will be prime minister then? But maybe there’ll be some actors and even some royalty present when we are to unveilenthüllenunveiled in the UK. It would be great to see Meghan and Kate up close. Now those are two style icons of whom every woman should take note.

    I’m a little worried about the transportation when they send us to the UK. We are all very delicateempfindlichdelicate, as you can imagine. I hope they don’t to tearzerreißentear me. On the upside, if I did get damaged, perhaps they could replace that horrible yellow of my dress. The colour does nothing for my complexionTeint, Aussehencomplexion.

    My biggest wish, though, is that moving us away from this sleepy place will give us more access to the world in general. At the moment, most of our information comes from reading over the shoulders of the museum wardenAufseher(in)wardens as they sit around waiting for the museum doors to open. Jacques reads L’Équipe, which is worse than useless. Marcel usually comes in with the local newspaper, and he sits directly in front of me. Unfortunately, he’s always to pick one's nosein der Nase bohrenpicking his nose. God knows what he’s got up there. It certainly keeps him busy — and as he moves his arm about, he keeps covering up bits of text. It’s most frustrating. Back in the days when we were stitched, I could have had him to garrotteerdrosseln, garottierengarrotted.

    I’m hoping for a more educated type of warden in the UK. If there was only a way to ask visitors to bring a newspaper and hold it so that I could just take a quick look at what’s going on. Digital media are for the most part unreadable. I will have to rely more on the spoken word. That could make the next 950 years very tiringermüdend, anstrengendtiring.

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