Aquarelle

Acquarelle is the rather lovely French word for a watercolour, and this one (in the Musee Marmatton Monet) was actually owned by Monet towards the end of his life. The artist is Eugene Delacroix, a painter better known for flashy history paintings of the kind M. Emmanuel disdained in Villette (Cleopatra with her pots and pans around her like a kitchen maid), but this piece, smaller than a laptop screen is beautiful and might have reminded Monet of another sunrise over water, the first “Impression” that he himself submitted to the 1874 exhibition he and his friends put on after being snubbed by the Salon. To English eyes it looks rather like a Turner.

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Greek summers

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Gliko: This can be made of muscat or rosaki grapes, of quince, or even of very immature walnuts. It often greets the traveller after a laborious journey on foot across the mountains, served with ice-cold water from the village fountain.

The gliko is presented on a saucer with a spoon and is consumed under a fig tree in the courtyard. The lady of the house provides you with a rush-seated chair to sit upon, and another on which to rest your legs. She sprinkles the courtyard floor with water from a water jar to lay the dust and cool the air, and presents you with a sprig of basil and glass of spring water whilst you dispatch the gliko.

Hospitality: to be able to discern precisely what your guests are in need of.

Patience Gray, Honey from a Weed and Lucien Freud’s self portrait (Man with a Thistle, 1946)

Cats in the kitchen

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Came for the Ravilious, stayed for the Tirzah Garwood.

I’m still a fan of Ravilious’ work but there’s no doubt that both he and Edward Bawden were shits in that particularly mid-20th century bohemian way (sexual freedom for the man; sock washing and the “satisfaction” of using her art and skills to appreciate his for the woman).

Tirzah’s memoir, Long Live Great Bardfield, sits alongside that other interesting and un-self-pitying piece A Slender Reputation and covers amongst other things the ways in which she managed to keep her art going even during the paper rationing of World War 2. I find her work has so much sly humour in it, she must have been delightful.

A bottle of Bass

Inspector Maigret is well known for his bottles of cold beer and ham sandwiches to fuel a case, but Charles Parker in the first Peter Wimsey novel, Whose Body?, also dines on ham sandwiches and a bottle of Bass whilst Peter goes to Wyndham’s to search for gossip on the case.

Bass is part of Peter John Cooper’s memories here too, jobbing on the local shoots that could be part of Peter’s next mystery, Clouds of Witnesses.