jueves, 16 de febrero de 2017

Brenan´s house in Churriana, Málaga

Brenan used to live in Yegen (Granada), then he  bought a house with his partner Gamel in Churriana (1934) and they brought down with them from the village three servants: Antonio (the gardener), his wife Rosario (the cook), and her sister Maria (the housekeeper):
The house contained five downstairs rooms as well as kitchen, pantry, bathroom and coachhouse. Upstairs there were ten bedrooms with a mirador or tower, which had once been used as a billiard room, and you could see the city and the sea in the distance. Behind the house there was a patio with orange trees and a fountain, closed at the further end by a raised alberca or tank which was big enough to swim in. Beyond this was a walled garden  planted with fine trees and covering three quarters of an acre (Brenan,1974).

They had left Málaga two months after the outbreak of the civil war in 1936. When they returned to England, they left Antonio with the authority to let the house to pay the taxes, and keep whatever was left over as wages. This Antonio had done, reserving the lodge and garden for his own used and letting the house. The families who took the first floor were Spaniards and found other lodgings when they knew that Brenan and Gamel were returning to their house. But the ground floor had been rented to an Englishman and  he showed no intention of leaving.

Brenan and Gamel had to share the house with another couple. Brenan and his wife occupied the top floor and the tenants the ground floor, except for a garden room off the patio. They lived in the same house for sixteen years without any communication between them.

In spite of the problems, they had left the cold English winter for the warmth of the southern Spain. The mirador had been set aside for their books and furniture. The first book Brenan wrote here was South from Granada. He used to work in the mornings and after tea and in the afternoon went for a walk. The street on which his worked room looked, now it was shaken with the screech of motor traffic. In that time the development of the area was beginning to grow:

The building explosion was accompanied by a parallel explosion in the standard of living. Every Spaniard who had a shop or a business or who worked in the building trade was making money, with the result that, whereas in 1953 there had been only one car in the village and no motor bikes, soon there were several hundreds (Brenan,1974).

Brenan, G. (1974). Personal Record 1920-1972. London: Jonathan Cape.
Brenan, G. (1987): The Face of Spain. London: Penguin.

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