Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

April 23, 2014

R.I.P. Wonderful Writer

The following extract is from the novel Love in the time of cholera - it's written by one of my favourite (in fact, one of the world's favourite!) authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died last week.

The only thing Florentino Ariza salvaged from that disaster was the loving shelter of the lighthouse.  He had gone there in Euclides' canoe one night when a storm at sea took them by surprise, and from that time on he would go there in the afternoons to talk to the lighthouse keeper about the innumerable marvels on land and water that the keeper had knowledge of.  It was the beginning of a friendship that survived the many changes in the world.  Florentino Ariza learned to feed the fire, first with loads of wood and then with large earthen jars of oil, before electrical energy came to us.  He learned to direct the light and augment it with mirrors, and on several occasions, when the lighthouse keeper could not do so, he stayed to keep watch over the night at sea from the tower.  He learned to know the ships by their voices, by the size of their lights on the horizon, and to sense that something of them came back to him in the flashing beacon of the lighthouse.

Excerpt from Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez page 94.

I love this passage for its magic and its memory.  

Living as I do, on this wild, dog-toothed coast which has many lighthouses, I thought I'd team Gabriel Garcia Marquez's lovely words with a few of Brittany's lighthouses ....  in honour of a wonderful writer.  

Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1927 - 2014
The Phare de l'Île Vierge, in northwest Finistère, soars skywards for over 80 meters. It's the tallest lighthouse in Europe and has one of the most powerful beams in the world, (and 397 steps!).

Pontusval Lighthouse on the remote and stunningly beautiful Côte des Légendes, also in northwest Finistère. 

Phare de Sainte Marine, attached to a stone 'Keeper's House' on the estuary opposite Bénodet, built in 1885.

On the horizon, the granite lighthouse found on the Île de Batz, near Roscoff, dominates this inhabited island which is less than 2 square miles.

Phare de Mean-Ruz, built in 1946, from pink granite. It stands on the famous Cote de Granit Rose, in Cotes d'Armor. The original lighthouse built in 1860 was destroyed during World War II, and replaced by this modern castellated design.

The small active lighthouse of Beg Léguer near Lannion, hidden in the trees. The tower height is only 8 meters, making The Phare de I'Île Vierge over 10 times taller!

La Perdrix lighthouse near Loctudy on the south Brittany coast - built in 1915, it was deactivated in 2000, but saved from demolition  by local residents.  (Loving the black and white checkerboard design.)

The lighthouse Saint-Mathieu is built amid the ruins of a 13th C. Benedictine abbey, the monks began showing a light from the tower of the abbey in 1692.  The lighthouse and abbey, with its unique and fascinating history is open in the summer, it's awesome!

A little lighthouse with a big lampshade!  I spotted this at Le Guilvinec, in south Brittany, if you know how it works, let me know!

Lighthouse resources :

Lighthouses of France: Northern Finistère

Lighthouses of France: Southern Finistère

Lighthouses of France: Northeastern Brittany

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