1 february 2008

nostalgie d'eaux

The lake was moved by strange tides. Sometimes, as at the present moment, it sank to a single, opaque pool in a wilderness of mud and rushes; sometimes it rose and inundated five acres of pasture. There had once been an old man in one of the lodges who understood the workings of the water system; there were sluice gates hidden among the reeds, and manholes, dotted about in places known only to him, furnished with taps and cocks; that man had been able to control an ornamental cascade and draw a lofty jet of water from the mouth of the dolphin on the South terrace. But he had been in his grave fifteen years and the secret had died with him.

- Evelyn Waugh, Scoop

On my meanderings through these dry, white hills I have come across crumbling irrigation works that date from the time when Andalucia was joined with northern Morocco as an Arab province known as Al-Andalus. When the Moors lived here this part of Spain was a garden; now it is a desert.

- John Hopkins, Tangier Diaries