Members of Crewkerne & District U3A heard about ancient and modern Egypt at their monthly meeting. Guest speaker Janet Diamond spent three years living in Cairo, in the early 1980s. Her time in the Egyptian capital led to a lifetime fascination with Egyptology. Soon after moving there with her husband and young son, Janet visited the Royal Necropolis of Saqqara and was awestruck by its beauty and monumental scale. She told U3A members that she was hooked on its ancient civilization that was 3,000 years old and after reading and learning more, went on to gain a diploma in Egyptology.
While Janet’s talk inevitably covered the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and Karnak temple complex, she also described everyday life in Cairo commenting: “It was a difficult but rewarding place to live. The heat was intense, often over 40 degrees Centigrade and it didn’t rain during the three years we were there, so everything was covered in layers of dust.” From the window of her Egyptian home, Janet could see water buffalo, camels and sheep. In the wake of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Cairo became a place of refuge as many fled the conflict and the traffic often became gridlocked. Janet’s talk was illustrated with pictures of Cairo as it was and as it is now. She was thanked by U3A members Denise Smith and Val Warren who said: “It was an amazing talk.”