“Three Friends Remember Vernon” is published in Spanish and in English…
for 3 good reasons:
1. Vernon chose Spanish at an early age
Vernon chose Spanish (and French) for his “O” levels. As I was checking his papers, I came across his notebooks with his school work: History, Geography, Latin, French, and Spanish.
2. English & Spanish have been our common languages at both home and workEnglish and Spanish have been the languages we have always used, indistinctively, at home. While English has always been predominant in the workplace for obvious reasons, Spanish has also been essential, if only because we have often translated documents from Spanish into English. Some of our friends are English. Others are Spanish. A few others are French. Most of them speak English and Spanish even if they chose to write here in their mother tongue.
3. POPPIES is a blending of English & Spanish
As you probably know POPPIES is an acronym in English from the initials of Spanish words
Quién me iba a decir que ese guiri excéntrico con pinta de profesor de Oxford al que conocí hace unos 30 años, gracias a nuestros respectivos hijos, me iba a dejar tantos recuerdos de buenos ratos, veladas musicales, comidas especiadas, vino, conversaciones sobre lugares NO comunes y risas y amigos compartidos.
Gracias por las obras, autores e intérpretes que me descubriste y por las horas que compartimos escuchándolas, a veces con el enfado de los demás, porque no les dejabas (dejábamos?) hablar un poquito.
Viejo cascarrabias, niño grande, ya te echamos de menos.
Tu “melófona” amiga
Vernon, you were a true and generous friend. Always happy to receive visitors, share experiences and debate whatever had caught your attention at the time. I met many interesting people because of you. I already missed those times (invariably late evenings) from the time you became too ill to continue with them. I hope that we, your friends, can find a way to meet up and remember you.
Vernon was very knowledgeable about many things. I particularly liked to hear his views and recommendations about music.
Thanks, Vernon, for taking on the task of educating me on classical piano music. I did indeed follow your advice and purchased all the Beethoven piano sonatas and The Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould and many more that you recommended. Those CDs remain amongst my most treasured ones to this day.
Vernon also loved to cook and was very pleased to offer visitors generous helpings of whatever he was cooking at the time. His French dishes were particularly good. He also loved to play the piano and entertain guests. Classical, blues and jazz music were his specialities.
Vernon, I have many fond memories of the nights we used to spend at your flat in Madrid, laughing, joking, enjoying your good cooking, your anecdotes, the endless YouTube music videos and comedy sketches you played for us and also, of course, your piano playing and singing.
Maybe we will get to read the autobiography you were writing these last few years Vernon. I hope Paloma will let us see the latest copy.
One thing you won’t be able to do now Vernon is to correct my grammar. I’ll be looking out for any grammatical errors in your biography, but I know it will be very difficult to find any.
You will be truly missed, Vernon. Thanks for being such a good friend.
Por las veladas
Me encantaban las veladas en casa de Vernon y Paloma. Siempre salía de ellas con calidez en el pecho y habiendo aprendido algo. De música, de literatura, de gramática, de historia, de costumbres, de actualidad… De compartir, sobre todo. Alrededor de su mesa, entre vino y comida preparada con cariño, compartimos con Vernon experiencias, ironía, anécdotas jugosas, algún reto, buen humor…
Y por la música
Y, por supuesto, excelente música. Su apertura de mente, su curiosidad, su independencia de criterio, la diversidad de sus conocimientos, su capacidad de disfrutar, su amor a la vida… Todo ello hacía de Vernon el centro de un pequeño mundo en el que podíamos entrar y reconocernos. O incluso recuperar un poco de algo precioso que habíamos perdido. Agradezcco a la vida el haberte conocido, Vernon. Has dejado una huella luminosa en mi corazón.