And this is exactly the scene that we found. A serene piece of England transported to the far end of the earth; a National Trust tea room would not have been out of place amongst the well kept shrubs and cottage garden borders. South America seems to specialise in this type of liminality; isolated remnants of transplanted northern European material and psychological culture incorporated into the predominant and home-grown Latin American hegemony: German style houses throughout rural Chile; Welsh enclaves in Patagonia; English country clubs and polo in the prosperous hinterlands of Buenos Aires; the Falklands, a Hebridean outlier garrisoned by red, white and blue.
Thomas Bridge's son, Lucas, 'went native' amongst the Yamana and used Harberton as a refuge for the dwindling numbers of indigenous speakers during the aggressive colonialism of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Argentina. He wrote a thrillingly titled memoir Uttermost Part of the Earth (1947) that I would love to find a copy of; perhaps to read on a visit to the soft green hills of Harberton, south of Totnes in deep England, busy and prosperous in the fifteenth century but now a quiet backwater, and be transported again to this facsimile dreamscape in the 'land of fire', 8,000 miles distant.
This is the latest in a regular-occasional series of posts on specific landscapes and places that are particularly meaningful to me, for whatever reason; after all, interest in the topographical is nothing without a feeling for sense of place: genius loci.