As I set up this site, it occurs to me that a number of posts are going to appear somewhat out of chronological sequence, but as long as they fulfil an evocative function, I’m not too concerned. I think I’ll persevere with it, and I may even catch up with myself. This visit in September 2016, so rich in discovery and rediscovery, led on to some interesting reading, notably of histories of the Medici, starting with Lauro Martines’ “April Blood”, an authentic ripping yarn brought to life by an historian equal to the task.
Hollyhocks, bicycles and proximity to the sea are the essence of the Île de Ré, albeit in a platitudinous nutshell.
An essential key to a better understanding of the sixteenth century mind and a long overdue pleasure.
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. LJ
This is a bleak assertion, particularly when considered in the light of contemporary potentialities, such as the clash between the forces of intransigent reaction and those of inelastic neo-puritanical progressivism, each in its way tending toward fanaticism and the false certainty of the “premature synthesis”, each therefore requiring caution. I would march for neither. The poignancy of Zweig’s allusion to the fate of Erasmus’ spirit of tolerance and moderation bears with it the weight of a terrible indictment, when we consider the manner in which all that he, the author, held dear, including life itself, was extinguished by Nazism.
The world would gain much were the spirit of Erasmus to walk abroad amongst us in this age of populist frenzy, fecklessness and phoney hope. That of Zweig would be of comparable benefit.
How delightful to be back on the Île de Ré cycling through the vines and along seaside tracks lined with tamarisk and broom!
My flight was delayed for only an hour by a spectacular storm over Southampton. What followed in its wake was no less imposing.
On reading George Clare’s moving work “Last Waltz in Vienna”, I find myself introduced to the Yiddish term “tahm”, which denotes “the ability to change without apparent effort the commonplace into the superb”, a beautiful notion, I think, deployed by the author with reference to his maternal grandmother, Adele Immerdauer.
“Boil in the Bag”… It occurs to me to entitle my novel thus, with the subtitle being “A chap’s rediscovery of cycling”…