I don’t know if I went to Vancouver during my life in the mid-19th century, but I have a strong inkling that a desire to see India and South America was part of my motivation.  I’ve had recurring impressions of this very Victorian conceit about what a jungle was and of books with lavish plates festooned with engravings of banana leaves, of Indian temples surrounded by ladies and gentlemen in Victorian attire… the impressions were strong a moment ago, so strong I could almost home in on what it was but the thought was gone as soon as I turned my attention to it.

It was always in the back of my mind when I saw places like the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, with its whimsical decor in the kitchen and dining room where banana tree chandeliers painted with monkeys and parrots hung over a long Regency table.  I’m pretty sure I felt it in Portobello Road and Camden Market too, whenever I would see tropical-themed things from that era or antique Victorian taxidermy of exotic species.  I didn’t know what to make of it at the time but now I strongly associate it with that life at sea.

Incidentally, this latest flicker- the most intense by far- was as I was listening to Isao Tomita’s rendition of “Claire de Lune” though I don’t think the specific music had anything to do with it.


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