Como and the Gotthard tunnel

Don’t be worried/anxious.

Believe in God.

Believe in me . ( Jesus)

My Father’s house has many exceptional homes. I must go away to prepare these and then when I come again I will take you to be with me so we can be together forever. (Sandy’s understanding.)

John 14 : 1-3

Arriving in Como , on the southern tip of lake Como in northern Italy, we knew we couldn’t do it justice in a few hours. It deserves a visit with more time. From our park up…

we could see the clouds rolling down the mountains and we decided somewhere inside for a few hours would be good.

Como has “The Museo Didattico della Seta“. It is the only museum in the world able to tell you about the entire production of silk. That is where I wanted to go. Roy was happy to see the machines, too.

When I was a child in Johannesburg my father brought home some pin, prick, black eggs on the lid of a shoe box. From then on I was fascinated by all the stages of the silk worm. I remember it was quite a thing at school sharing eggs, moths, and cacoons/pupa. It was a tedious wait for each stage.

Eggs 1mm in size take 9 to 10 days to hatch.

Caterpillars up to 8cm long are at this stage for 24-28 days. They eat large amounts of mulberry leaves. I remember us all sharing mulberry leaves at school for our hungry ‘pets.’

Pupa 4cm in length , 8-10days in this form. It takes 3 days for the silkworm to produce an uninterrupted thread that can reach up to 1,500m in length.

Moth 6cm in length, lives 3-4 days. Female mates, doesn’t eat at all, lays up to 300eggs in a gelatinous secretion on the lid of my shoe box then dies. I felt sad when I saw them dead on their backs, fallen from the lid of the box.

Then into the museum. This is what fascinated me . How did they start unravelling the thread? This was the machine that helped them. That bristling brush caught a bit that then got hooked to the machine…

The process is complex with carefully made machines all hand operated making the cloth seem invaluable. But then there was one room where they explained the importance of parachute silk.

Look carefully at these three machines in the foreground.
From left to right:
Cohesion meter
used to check the cohesion of raw silk for parachutes.
Dynamometer for fabrics
used to test silk elasticity and strength used in the manufacture of parachutes. Then the third machine is a particular type of dynamometer used to check the
resistance to breaking.

I remembered as I looked at these machines what my Mother in law, Dorothy told me.

She said ” I used my graduation dress for my wedding and it was made from parachute silk.”

She got married in about 1949. Everyone was still repairing and making do. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had made it herself. Unfortunately I can’t remember if she told me.

Funny thing is her marriage had plenty of elasticity. Her husband was a dabbler in drawing, writing, preaching and gardening. He put his hand to anything but not always exactly what she wanted having fixed in the house. She also showed alot of cohesion . Meals were always at the table and served on time. ALWAYS. Roy organised a card signed by our late Queen Elizabeth II for Mum and Dad ‘ s 60th wedding anniversary. I think that passes the resistance to breaking test.

Mum sure wore her “parachute wedding dress” well. I loved that room in the museum. I guess she could have used it to escape and was probably sorely tested. 🤣(An artist is difficult to live with says Sandy.)

A wonderful memory to leave Italy with. A country we have so enjoyed. Como on the border of Switzerland deserves so much more time . Then it was to the Gotthard Pass and a wave out the window to Switzerland. No looking for a lost wedding ring in this cold!

We decided that Switzerland would be best when the weather was better so instead of spending time in this beautiful country the tunnel is what we took.
16.9km from Basel to Chiasso. (There is a pass road but it is only open in summer.)
It connects southern Switzerland to the Swiss plateau.

We are now well on our way home. Sorry for not looking at anything yesterday. Roy and I have been navigating and the Internet doesn’t work that well for us in Switzerland .

Take care wherever you are.

Sandy 🙂

6 thoughts on “Como and the Gotthard tunnel

    1. Thank you. It not only looked at the past there was an exhibition of students’ projects working with silk and design using paintings from the 15th century as their inspiration for colour and shape. Yes, I enjoyed thinking about Mum Dorothy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow! I love stories like the one shared about your mother in law’s parachute silk dress. I think it’s important to remember what life was like before everything became so cheap and disposable.

    Hope you made it home safe.

    Liked by 1 person

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