A Heap of Candied Apple, Quince, and Plum, and Gourd; with Jellies Soother than the Creamy Curd

I’m aware of the fact that it’s more than slightly cliched to post pictures of autumnal bounty, but I’m afraid that sometimes it is inescapable.
Especially when you find stunning seed pods like these.

IMG_0151

This is the seed pod of the southern magnolia, a stunning evergreen tree found everywhere in the suburbs of Florence. The scarlet seeds on the ebony table reminded me of the beginning of Snow White.

“Once upon a time in midwinter, when the snowflakes were falling like feathers from heaven, a queen sat sewing at her window, which had a frame of black ebony wood. As she sewed she looked up at the snow and pricked her finger with her needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red on the white looked so beautiful that she thought to herself, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame.” from Snow White by the Brothers Grimm.

I always liked the idea of the white, the black and the red. Well, it worked for the White Stripes.

image

I have smuggled some seeds home and I shall try to germinate them, though I rather doubt the tree will thrive in north west Skye.

A medlar tree growing in the garden of our apartment block in Florence.P1040629

DH Lawrence was not averse to a medlar. Not he.

“I love you, rotten,
Delicious rottenness.

I love to suck you out from your skins
So brown and soft and coming suave,
So morbid, as the Italians say.

What is it?
What is it, in the grape turning raisin,
In the medlar, in the sorb-apple.
Wineskins of brown morbidity,
Autumnal excrementa;
What is it that reminds us of white gods?

Gods nude as blanched nut-kernels.
Strangely, half-sinisterly flesh-fragrant
As if with sweat,
And drenched with mystery.
Sorb-apples, medlars with dead crowns.”

Extract from Medlars and Sorb Apples, DH Lawrence

The fruit are not commonly eaten in the UK, the fact that they need to be ‘bletted’ or allowed to start rotting is perhaps not so appealing these days. However, Shakespeare expected his audience to be very well acquainted with medlars. Mercutio used them for a most obscene innuendo when he was trying to gee Romeo up.

“Now he will sit under a medlar tree, and wish his mistress were that kind of fruit

As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.

Romeo, that she were, O, that she were

An open or, thou a poperin pear!” from Romeo and Juliet.

The structure of the medlar was reckoned to be reminiscent of female genitals. The fruit were also known then as ‘poperin pears’ – the play on words needs no further explanation.

There were so many trees in fruit while I was there. These costume jewellery berries were also in the apartment garden.

IMG_0035

Fir cones studded with pale green seed pearls.

P1040625

Even juniper, which is under threat in Scotland, grows like a weed in Italy.

P1040101

And fallen cherries litter a deserted car park.

P1030762

And there is always the ubiquitous pokeweed with its cyclamen stems.

P1030469

But even fruit and veg in the Co-Op have an allure in Florence that I never see in Portree.

P1030790

Cardoons – a vegetable I had heard of but never seen before.

P1030795

Porcini (botulis edulis) by the crate.

P1030819

P1030820

And by the packet!

P1030822

You certainly don’t get prickly pear fruit in Portree, although I have seen them in Turkish shops in Hackney.

P1030784

Lime green fractals.

P1030796

Even the beans have the exquisite quality of two tone taffeta.

P1030803

And talking of gourds with jelly soother than the creamiest curd……

P1030778

P1030779

P1030780

The variety is bewildering.

P1030773

P1030800

P1030801

“Taste them and try:

Currants and gooseberries,

Bright-fire-like barberries,

Figs to fill your mouth,

Citrons from the South,

Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;

Come buy, come buy.”

From Goblin Market, Christina Rossetti.

P1030788

P1030787

And not unnaturally, the ceramics are informed by all this natural abundance.

P1030769

IMG_0039

P1030768

However, perhaps sometimes abundance can be too much of a good thing.

P1030775

P1030899

I found this ceramic shop near the Ponte Vecchio; pleionexia central.

P1030897

I could say a lot of things about this piece; and all of them would be unpleasant.

 

 

 

The title of this post is from The Eve of St Agnes by John Keats.

 

Advertisements

About pennimania

Artist, entomologist, grumbler.
This entry was posted in Boboli Personality, Pleionexia, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s