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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Brittany as always

Couldn't love anything more than Brittany, except perhaps Provence...Am at Roscoff with friends from Cornwall, a superb painter, who, here, makes sketches in the very old and beautiful church -- and today we go to St. Pol de Leon to see there the church and the cathedral, inside of which -- they tell me -- the columns are mildewed and beautifully green. Here in Roscoff, the enclos used to be near the sea, before it withdrew...and the beams of wood overhead lead into the mouths of dragons, which used to be, in the  Orient, symbols of good and then in Christianity became evil -- George and the Dragon and all that, and i remember Sartre's wonderfully complicated essay on Tintoretto's painting of those two. Anyway, here the beams go into the dragons' mouths, so they cannot endanger the parishioners.
This was a port for contraband, and the history gives depth to every wall, it seems.  Then I went to see the fish, the amazing-open mouths of the lotte, the turbot in its wide splendor, and it all looked like Bosch devils or those medieval maps with monsters in the sea. The sun on the tiles, on those yellow and white flowers,  like British privet, everything perfuming everything, and a man playing a bagpipe against the old walls.

Artichokes and tourteau de mer for supper, and the famous Norman dessert: apple sherbet with calavados on the side. How much you pour over and how much you save in the glass to consume on the side... a whole science.
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