memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘algarve’

Fruta da Epoca

CHERRIES

CHERRIES

Sweet Cherry.

Vigorous tree with strong apical control with an erect-pyramidal canopy shape, capable of reaching 50 ft. In cultivation, sweet cherries are maintained 12-15 ft in height. Leaves are relatively large (largest of cultivated Prunus), elliptic with mildly serrated margins, acute tips, petioled, and strongly veined.

I love cherries – I reckon they are just about my favourite fruit, except possibly the-perfect-peach (do I dare to eat a peach?)

Consider the cherries which are harvested in due season from the orchards of the Douro valley – red, plump, succulent, delicious.

I doubt that these will end up on the shelves of Sainsburys or Safeways like the strawberries of the Algarve that are whisked away by the waiting refrigerated trucks, throbbing in the misty dawn and driven along the hot dusty motorways of Spain and France and through the Chanel Tunnel to the London vegetable warehouses at dusk.

No, these cherries will flood the fruit markets of Penafiel and Bom Successo and each kitchen-table in the region will have a laughing overflowing abundance and children shall dangle them from their ears and youths and maidens shall dance joyously in the church-squares of the golden valley.

GIRLS DANCING ON BEACH – PAINTING BY THOMAS MILNER

In the Home the appearance of cherries will be greeted by the incurious and unexpressed satisfaction of the continuance of the seasons – of course, cherries, what else? The old people will think.

Because we are not anywhere near this season, the presence of a bowl of shiny dark cherries in front of one of the old dears (brought that afternoon by a visiting daughter) drew tacit attention from some of us.

It was supper-time and the rest of us had boring old stewed apple; but not this old dear who set about her bowl of cherries with a will, spitting out stones while the cup of her curved fingers fed another one into her chewing mouth. From time to time she would lift her crouching face from the plate and glance around with a look that said: eat your hearts out, suckers and if anyone thinks that they’re going to get a bite of my cherries, well they’ve got another think coming …

Blessed are the Ungiven for they shall inherit … for they shall inherit what? … I know, for they shall inherit all the cherries!

Plumbago

I first fell in love with the plumbago bush whilst on holiday in the Algarve more years ago than I care to consider

One minute I was innocent of plumbago, insouciantly minding my own business without a care in the world and then suddenly I discovered plumbagoa combination of the resonance of the name and the delicate beauty of the pale blue flowers proved too much for me.

From then on the final assessment of any garden was reduced to that one reference viz. did it or did it not contain a plumbago bush.

PLUMBAGO BUSH

PLUMBAGO BUSH

Many horticultural avenues fanned out at my feet.

Now I could join in conversations about gardens and gently steer them in the direction of shrubs and bushes, coyly circling the word plumbago like someone shy of mentioning a loved one’s name but nevertheless wanting someone else to bring it up.

Or I could cultivate plumbagos and become an elderly eccentric,

alone in a garden comprising only of plumbago bushes,

my family long since fled from this obsession.

And finally, like Orson Wells at the end of Citizen Kane breathing his last word «rose-bud»,

I would breathe mine

«plumbago»

PLUMBAGO BUTTERFLY

PLUMBAGO BUTTERFLY

Plumbago

I first fell in love with the plumbago bush whilst on holiday in the Algarve more years ago than I care to consider

One minute I was innocent of plumbago, insouciantly minding my own business without a care in the world and then suddenly I discovered plumbagoa combination of the resonance of the name and the delicate beauty of the pale blue flowers proved too much for me.

From then on the final assessment of any garden was reduced to that reference viz. did it or did it not contain a plumbago bush.

ALPINE VALLEY - PAINTING BY THOMAS MILNER

Many horticultural avenues fanned out at my feet.

Now I could join in conversations about gardens and gently them steer in the direction of shrubs and bushes, coyly circling the word plumpago like someone shy of mentioning a loved one’s name but nevertheless wanting someone else to bring it up. Or I could cultivate plumbagos and become an elderly eccentric, alone in a garden comprising only of plumbago bushes, my family long since fled from of this obsession.

And finally, like Orson Wells at the end of Citizen Kane breathing his last word «rose-bud», I would breathe mine – «plumbago»

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