Friday, 22 October 2010

Mellow fruitfulness


We all know it's a spectacular year for scrumping and fruiting - the warm, dry early summer followed by the rains has brought a profusion in the orchards and hedgerows. Quinces, for instance, in a Sandwich garden, with apples, plums and spiders' webs along the wall



and yet more on the fringes of Port Meadow, Oxford, which we walked around last Saturday, and about which I want to write more in due course



as well as fallen cookers in the Woodstock Road garden of friends Juliette and Rory:


Couldn't think of a better musical accompaniment than the second of Strauss's Four Last Songs, sung by the soprano I now listen to most in these desert-island pieces, Anja Harteros. I like her earlier recording with Fabio Luisi better than this, since Jansons doesn't support in quite the same ideal way, but it's still impressive. And bearing in mind Strauss's September would have been the equivalent of our October or even early November, it's not past its sell-by date.



You might need the Hermann Hesse text, since it's not subtitled in English above. Here's my own literal translation:

The garden mourns,
Cool sinks the rain into the flowers.
The summer shudders,
Silently meeting its end.

Leaf on leaf drops golden
From the high acacia tree,
Summer smiles, wondering and faint
In the dying gardendream.

Long by the roses
It lingers, yearning for peace.
Slowly it closes its [great]
Wearied eyes.

3 comments:

Robert McIntosh said...

from Robert McIntosh, architect
I have enjoyed reading your journeying around Norfolk churches in previous blogs, and warmly recommend that you explore Cambridgeshire and the medieval churches there. As an architect I have sometimes worked on ecclesiastical restorations around the county, and I know a few of them well. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Harlton is probably my favourite, but for starters look for the villages of Hardwick and Great Wilbraham.
Just out of curiosity, but why do you not eat ice-cream? Is this from some rare allergy or sensitivity?
Rob McIntosh

toubab said...

hello dearest,
sooo glad you have discovered the wondrous world of the Mumins!
xxSophie

David said...

Sophie elskling, there is no stopping the Moomintrail now. My long-suffering companions endured a chapter of Moominpappa's Adventures read out loud every night of our blissful week in Samos.

Robert, I fear a lifetime will not be enough to explore all the churches I want to see. We're by no means confined to Norfolk churches, but as friend Jill's late mother was warden of Burnham Thorpe, Nelson's church, that's what we raise the money for every September.

But I have a whole circle of Suffolk churches around Long Melford I want to see, and your suggestions, always welcome, have been duly noted. Two weekends ago we discovered the bliss of tiny Binsey near Oxford, and now I'm back I want to write about that.

Ice-cream: boring explanation - sinusitis. So in effect I could, and I do take a gulp now and then of someone else's irresistible ice, but it should be counteracted by garlic. And the Stinking Rose in California does very good garlic ice cream...