The Riviera Revisited (1939)

FullSizeRenderFound — a 30 page holiday brochure by Charles Graves – The Riviera Revisited. [London], [1939]. Probably written in 1938 and portraying a relaxed lifestyle, with plenty of good food and booze. Olive oil is not recommended as sun protection! After WW2 Charles Graves wrote 2 longer books on the Riviera – The Royal Riviera and (again) The Riviera Revisited… The picture of bathers at Eden Roc is from the booklet.

A Summer’s Day.

Juan-Les-Pins is the only resort I have ever visited four years in succession. I can think of no greater compliment. It has an admirable beach. It has a summer and winter season, like practically every other place on the Riviera. But whereas six or seven years ago the clientele was mainly English and American, it is now largely French, which I find charming. Somehow the prettiest girls from Paris go there for their summer holidays, and the restaurant of the casino has indubitably the best hors-d oeuvres in the world. The man who makes them is worth a fortune to any London restaurant or hotel. He stuffs everything with everything else. Pimentoes, aubergines, sardines, olives, tunny fish and so on. The casino is famous for the light-hearted character of its gambling. In the summer you wear white flannels or anything else. The croupiers smile (a distinct rarity). The champagne cocktails are first-class. The lobsters are as fresh as God made them; so are the crayfish. Let me quote from “And the Greeks”: Continue reading

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36 hours in the water with a lion

When I read the caption stuck on the back of this press photo of a certain Otto Kemmerich I was a bit taken aback, to say the least. According to the reporter,’ the famous German swimmer, accompanied by his trained lion ”Leo” have swum for more than 36 hours in a tank at the Circus Busch at Hamburg’. It was also reported that Kemmerich was planning to swim 50 hours without a break, also with his ‘pet’ and hoped to swim the Channel with Leo.

A bit of internet investigation revealed that the feat took place in April 1928 and that Leo wasn’t a feline at all, but a sea-lion, which suggests that the incompetent journalist had never heard of a cat’s dislike of water and had obviously never been shown any action shots of Herr K together with his  pet. In fairness to ‘SSS’, the idiot in question, something may have been lost in translation from German to English, but surely any decent journalist must read back what he or she has written before releasing it to the world.

If the caption survived the sub-editor’s rigorous scrutiny there must have been red faces all around the press rooms of  the papers that carried the story. Personally, that image of a fully grown lion swimming for 1 ½ days in a tank with a very edible human alongside him will remain with me for a long time.

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The Art of Swimming 1819

From a book published in Venice in 1819 L'Arte del Nuoto: Teorico Pratica this plate of a man swimming with a horse. The first plate is fairly self explanatory with the swimmer leading the horse through water with a bridle. The second less so - according to the text it is probably about using a  horse in water if you cannot swim...

Chiunque, non sapendo nuotare sarà costretto di passare con un cavallo in un'acqua non gaudiosa, quand'il cavallo  sia mansueto o gia accostumato deve piutosto entrarvi con esso lui (Fig. 26) tenendolo per la criniera colla testa appogiata all'inietro sull'acqua accanto all sua, evitando dal fissarlo in faccia perche avanzi e così lascerassi in balia di un animale dalla natura dotato di una facoltà che il solo studio puo sviluppare nell'uomo. Che se poi il cavallo ricusasse di avanzare in tale positura puossi anche starsene sul suo dorso, avvertendo di tenere la testa più vicina che sarà possibile a quella del cavallo.

Google translates this thus - Anyone, not knowing to swim will be forced to go with a horse in the water is not joyful, quand'il horse is meek ​​or already accostumato piutosto must enter it with him (Fig. 26) holding the mane with his head on appogiata all'inietro 'water next to her, avoiding the stare in the face because leftovers and so lascerassi at the mercy of an animal by nature endowed with a faculty that study alone can develop in humans. What then if the horse declines to advance in this posture one can, also sit on its back, warning to keep his head closer than it will be possible to that of the horse.