Companion to Day Forty: Purple

The locals wore purple and carried gold on their wrists and necks.

‘This is the place,’ said Sol.

Mal leered.

Oldy and I exchanged glances.

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Hello to all the students I met today – especially Cat and Chris.

Purple is a common colour nowadays. It didn’t used to be. To make purple, you need shellfish. Dead ones. A lot of them – like about a bucket per square metre of cloth.

To make purple cloth, you leave the shellfish a few days (until just walking past smells bad enough you want to vomit). Then you use a mallet to smash them into tiny pieces – making puffs of rotting shellfish with each hit.

THEN you boil them in water for about a week. Then you stick your cloth in the shellfish slime for another few days (so now your shellfish have been dead almost a fortnight). When you pull it out, your cloth looks pale blue for the first few seconds, then when the air touches it (it reacts to oxygen) it turns a deep purple colour.

Naturally, you get servants to do all that. Which is why purple is considered the colour of royalty.

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