|Niña top, Niño below|
In Patrick O’Brian’s The Nutmeg of Consolation a ship by that name is given it because of one of the titles of the Sultan of Pulo Prabang. Below a conversation between Captain Jack Aubrey and his surgeon friend Stephen Maturin:
“Tell me, what was the title poor Fox tripped over during our first audience with the Sultan?”
‘Kesegaran mawar, bungi budi bahasa, hiburan buran buah pala.’
‘I dare say. But it was your translation of it that I meant. What was that last piece?’
‘Nutmeg of consolation.’
‘That’s it: those were the very words hanging there in the back of my mind. Oh what a glorious name for a tight, sweet, newly coppered, broad-buttocked little ship, a solace to any man’s heart. The Nutmeg for the daily use: of Consolation for the official papers. Dear Nutmeg! What joy!
Coincidentally for me the colour of nutmeg is orange. And my cats are...
It has been now some time since my Rosemary died on December 9, 2020. I tell everybody that it is very difficult to have to adapt to living alone when, by my calculation, before December 9, I lived alone once in Buenos Aires for 7 months.
But of late I have come to the conclusion that I am wrong. My grandmother, educated me with aphorisms from her 19th century Spain, or from the refrains that Sancho Panza gave to Don Quijote. One of them, referring to people who when around would make it seem like they were not around, was, “La compañía del niño muerto,” or “the company of a dead child.” Not so my cats.
My cats, Niño and Niña are a double living link to my Rosemary. We all lived under the same roof. I have no idea how much the cats remember of her.
They provide me with a constant presence and they stare at me with
intelligent eyes. At night they snuggle up and I feel the warmth of their
bodies. In the morning they let me sleep. I walk with Niño around the block in
the afternoon when the weather permits. Today I was working in the back lane
garden and the two were there. And it was warm enough that I was able to walk with Niño with only a flannel shirt for warmth.
|Niño on Trutch Street 29 March 2022|
Our Argentine pope has declared the dogs and cats may go to heaven. I will not comment on how that jars or agrees with my personal beliefs. But it does bring into my consideration that the company of my cats prevent me from living alone. We live with each other.
| Niño on Trutch Street March 29 2022|
Interesting to me is that fact that consolation in Spanish is consuelo. But Consuelo is also a name given to women. They are named after Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza y el Consuelo or Our Lady of Hope and Consolation. I cannot imagine a woman being called Hope but it is beautiful for a woman to have the name of Esperanza.
And Patrick O'Brian's book is very special as in it Stephen Maturin is in the dark as to the rules of a cricket match that he watches. So in O'Brian trivia The Nutmeg of Consolation is the cricket novel.