Pupa of the cameraria ohridella moth occupy a bowl of fallen leaves from Horváth Géza Sor in Esztergom. The warm weather may temp one or two to appear as moths and the opening leaves of their favourite food in the nearby vase attempts to persuade them that it is really spring. I hope to catch a prime example for further study.
Different parts of the horse chestnut tree including seed, root, bark and leaf were collected from many street trees in Esztergom and Štúrovo. By steeping, boiling, baking and burning, different local colours were surrendered and have been stored in glass jars with a potential for use. Pure chestnut hearts produced a delicate pink as well as an intense lemon yellow, but the light blue alluded to in eighteenth century texts has so far proved elusive.
Conkers from different trees in Sturovo and Esztergom are painted in watercolour made from the colour of the tree itself.
Esztergom (top row)
1 Vadgestena Fasor, Kis Duna
2 Nagy Duna Sétány
3 Horváth Géza Sor
4 Bajcsy Zsilinszky U.
5 Szent Anna Kegyeleti Park
Štúrovo (bottom row)
1 Ostrihomská Cesta
2 Pri Colnici.
4 Adyho ul.
5 Petöfiho ul.
6 Vajanského ul.
I have previously shown that the tree on the site of the former Sport Presso Café in Štúrovo still stands sentry on the approach to the Maria Valeria Bridge. This is its seed, encapsulated in clear resin to preserve its memory forever. The resin is also etched with a drawing of the tree and a record of its exact location.
A second seed from a horse chestnut tree close to the Hungarian side of the bridge, has been selected for this process, but awaits a more favourable economic climate for its completion and only exists in graphic form on the wall next to the completed work (illustrated below).
The root and branch exploration of local street pattern has now given a pleasing graphic to promote public access to my new work at the Bridge Guard Residence here in Sturovo. A two metre square linen canvas dyed in horse chestnut tree colours fills a wall; delicate citromsarga festek from Esztergom and pure concentrated Štúrovo gold.
I have made a Tree of Life symbol based on my interpretation of the street plans of Štúrovo and Esztergom with the connecting ‘trunk’ of the bridge in-between. Strong roots, crown and sturdy trunk provide a road map for connection, continuity and interdependence.
Divisions from the first battalion of the order Cameraria Ohridella penetrated an undefended Slovakia and Hungary as early as 1994 as the diagram above clearly shows. Their steady advance across the 800 kilometers from Macedonia has proved unstoppable, with the walled city of Vienna falling as early as 1992. Advance brigades are now encamped in south east England as the cameraria cyclone has steadily swept the continent. Analysts believe that April will bring a new spring offensive across all occupied territory.
Previous incursions by Ottoman Turks and Mongol Hordes as well as mid twentieth Century ravages during the Second World War have been similarly mapped.
Floes of sheet ice covering about 30% of the river surface are moving down stream on the Duna and it is great sport for local people to watch the stone piers of the Bridge compact then shatter them – before they progress more sedately down stream.
‘Sport Presso’ was a much loved restaurant on the road leading up to the Danube before it was necessarily demolished to facilitate the rebuilding of the Bridge in 2001 (The single span visible through the restaurant window around 1977, is a remaining section of the earlier structure). A horse chestnut tree on the site was enclosed by the restaurant and local people remember the tree’s growing presence displacing a number of tables and chairs.
The tree must have been there before the restaurant opened and a postcard from the 1920s does indicate a tree (and part of the original restaurant building) in this location (ref. my blog for October 20th). A colour photo from 2001 shows the restaurant being taken down around the tree and my own photograph last week reveals it to be the same one; a real survivor left to guard the Bridge.
© With thanks for use of any photographs other than my own to the archive of the Municipal Museum Štúrovo and to Štúrovo City Council.
The recent warm weather ended with day and night long flurries of a fine light snow, which settled on hard frozen ground and on the more giving branches of the studio tree which gained an enhanced highlight of white reflective line overnight.