Friday, December 12, 2014

The native taste

So many of them went out walking,
so many of them untentative. If a
cadence is native to the English,
is it the footfall, shedding boy-
hood, stamped by Fielding's Joseph 
Andrews, and rich tradition since,
which marks their alien vistas as
domestic nourishment, achieved? 

               My chief object in settling in Spain
               was to educate myself. Four years on
               the modern side of a public school 
               followed by four years spent in the
               war had left me very ignorant about
               many things that I wished to know. I
               had therefore shipped off to Almería
               a number of wooden cases packed with
               books that I had selected with care.

               This immense panorama gave its char-
               acter to the humble village that
               looked out on to it. It could never
               be escaped from and it dwarfed every-
               thing else. In summer when the sun was
               high it became a pulsating jangle of
               reds and yellows and magentas in which
               nothing that was hard could be distin-
               guished; then in the evening the shapes
               reaffirmed themselves while mauve and
               lilac tones gave a look almost of trans-
               parency to the mountains of the coastal
               range. In storms the scene became dram-
               atic with mists swirling by and great
               rainclouds piled overhead, while at
               night.. the stars glittered as fierce-
               ly as they do in deserts.


Gerald Brenan
Personal Record
  1920 - 1972
Alfred A. Knopf, 1975©

Jack Adair-Bevan
Paûla Zarate
Matthew Pennington
Iain Pennington
The Ethicurean Cookbook
  Recipes, Foods and Spirituous
  Liquors, from our Bounteous
  Walled Garden in the Several
  Seasons of the Year
  [The Mendips, Somerset]
    Winter:  Beetroot Carpaccio
    with honeyed walnuts, mizuna,
    purslane, land cress, and flaky
    sea salt
Ebury Press
Random House, 2013©

i   Martin Conte
ii  Brenan at Yegen


  1. Gerald Brennan, whose writing and photos I had access to at the /national portrait gallery, and whose intersection with Dora Carrington, also gave rise to all sorts of interest. Complex to say the least. I simp;y loved the sheer amount of books he took to Espana

    1. Kind of you to share this recollection. As you would know, he shared his house for a time with a friend who arrived, similarly provisioned (possibly more than one, but this one had been on the verge of rounding up some strays from Brenan's library on departure, only to be foiled without a direct confrontation). Other complexity to which you allude continued throughout his life, as you also know, and engaged many, even this student, in layers of intersection which I hope, for all others, was also fondly memorable if not sustainingly lasting.