Last Saturday I was listening to From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4. One of the packages was from Croatia and concerned the tug of war between environmentalists and business people about controlling and ‘improving’ yet another stretch of the Danube. It reminded me so much of the Persenbeug Prediction in A Time of Gifts. The forecast of the taming of the Danube which now appears to be entering its final round on the Croat-Serbian border.
In his latest dispatch from his epic walk to Istanbul entitled Summer Metropolis, Nick Hunt encounters more uncontrolled development and taming of nature along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and reflects on how many of us perhaps fail to find the happiness and fun that we seek in our modern world ….
I wandered inadvertently into an all-inclusive resort. Everyone apart from me was wearing coloured plastic wristbands to demonstrate their allegiance to a particular package deal, like some form of indentured servitude. The broiled bodies on the beach didn’t look particularly happy – in fact most of them had the frowns and down-turned mouths of deep dissatisfaction, as if they didn’t quite know why they’d come here or what they were meant to be doing.
His latest article is very good (Nick’s writing seems to be improving with every piece) and shows just how much things have changed since Paddy walked along that same Bulgarian coastline, encountering Greek fishermen in 1934.
Read Summer Metropolis here.
The locus classicus on the subject is not Persenbeug but the peroration on Ada Kale (much closer to the present PROJECT in more ways than one) which concludes Between the Woods and the Water
Rudolf, you may have a point, but I was reminded of the prediction; that was my point. The taming of the river and the change and destruction it would bring. Ada Kale is a consequence of that taming in my view.