The Exquisite Adonis Blue

The Adonis Blue, loveliest of all the blue butterflies and rivalled perhaps only by the White Admiral as a thing of delicate wonder in flight, adorning as it does the beauty of the chalk uplands of southern England. This is the butterfly of our joyous childhood excursions to Hod Hill, where, I hope, it will continue to flourish long after the footprints of rapacious men fade from view.

Apricot Jam

It has been a good summer for fresh fruit from the garden, with peaches at home and apricots and greengages in France, inter alia. The jam made from the apricots is quite outstanding on a slice of pain noir. Slurp!

Confiture à l’abricot faite à St. Martin au mois de juin

Waking in London II

Waking in London on the second day, I am now a member of the oldest private French restaurant club in the city, having been introduced by Charlie. I was smitten by the cadre, a real coup de foudre, by the charm of the patron and by his willingness to converse in French. What clinched it, however, was the music. What could constitute a warmer welcome than “Je me suis fait tout petit”, by Georges Brassens! When the owner of the club declared how much he was missed, I knew I was in the right place and that there was no resisting the temptation of membership. The cheese board takes some beating, too; indeed it was one of the finest I had seen.

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Waking in London

On waking, this time in London, I have two of the greats on my mind, Erasmus and Proust, the former for a titbit characteristic of his inventive wit and of which I have only recently become aware, which merely reveals that I should have made a point of reading footnotes more assiduously:

“He was born Gerrit Gerritszoon. Believing that this name derived from the German word begehren (to desire), he manufactured the name by which he is known by translating “desired” into Latin (desiderius) and Greek (erasmus).”

the latter for his eyes and for the painstakingly inventive character of his relationship with them:

“Je n’oublierai jamais, dans une curieuse ville de Normandie voisine de Balbec, deux charmants hôtels du XVIIIe siècle, qui me sont à beaucoup d’égards chers et vénérables et entre lesquels, quand on la regarde du beau jardin qui descend des perrons vers la rivière, la flèche gothique d’une église qu’ils cachent s’élance, ayant l’air de terminer, de surmonter leurs façades, mais d’une matière si différente, si précieuse, si annelée, si rose, si vernie, qu’on voit bien qu’elle n’en fait pas plus partie que de deux beaux galets unis, entre lesquels elle est prise sur la plage, la flèche purpurine et crénelée de quelque coquillage fuselé en tourelle et glacé d’émail.”