Sunday, 31 December 2017


May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness come through your door.
May your neighbours respect you, trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you, and heaven accept you.


This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 30 December 2017


The domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica) is a pigeon that was derived from the rock pigeon. The rock pigeon is the world's oldest domesticated bird. Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets mention the domestication of pigeons more than 5,000 years ago, as do Egyptian hieroglyphics. Research suggests that domestication of pigeons occurred as early as 10,000 years ago.

Pigeons have made contributions of considerable importance to humanity, especially in times of war. In war the homing ability of pigeons has been put to use by making them messengers. So-called war pigeons have carried many vital messages and some have been decorated for their services. Medals such as the Croix de guerre, awarded to Cher Ami, and the Dickin Medal awarded to the pigeons G.I. Joe and Paddy, amongst 32 others, have been awarded to pigeons for their services in saving human lives.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Friday, 29 December 2017



On a perfect Summer's day
Walking on a fresh green field,
Making memories warm and bright
For a cold and dismal Winter's night.

On a Summerfield my merry fay,
With a kiss a promise sealed:
Lips that savoured cool sweet wine, 
Now in Winter's tears taste brine.

Oh to be in Summerfield again,
'Neath blue sky on verdant grass,
Clasping hands and heart alight
How we'd love, all sense delight...

But instead in Winter's bane
I look in frozen looking glass:
Wrinkles, white hair, all decline,
And for Summerfield I long and pine.


This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Weekend Green meme.

Thursday, 28 December 2017


Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) has a massive inflorescence (flowering structure) consisting of a spathe (collar-like structure) wrapped around a spadix (flower-bearing spike). The spathe is the shape of an upturned bell. It is green speckled with cream on the outside, and rich crimson on the inside. It has ribbed sides and a frilled edge, and can be up to three metres in circumference. The flowers are carried on the lower end of the greyish-yellow spadix. At the base of the spadix, within the protective chamber formed by the spathe, is a band of cream male flowers above a ring of the larger pink female flowers.

When the flowers are ready for pollination, the spadix heats up and emits a nauseating smell. This stench is so bad that the Indonesians call the plant ‘the corpse flower’. Analyses of chemicals released by the spadix show the “stench” includes dimethyl trisulfide (like limburger cheese), dimethyl disulfide, trimethylamine (rotting fish), isovaleric acid (sweaty socks), benzyl alcohol (sweet floral scent), phenol (like Chloraseptic), and indole (like human faeces). The inflorescence rises from a tuber, a swollen underground stem modified to store food for the plant. This tuber, more or less spherical in shape and weighing 70 kg or more, is the largest such structure known in the plant kingdom.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


The Yule log is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe. The origin of the folk custom is unclear. Numerous scholars have observed that, like other traditions associated with Yule (such as the Yule boar), the custom may ultimately derive from Germanic paganism.

The Yule log is generally given as a gift, and is at once put on the hearth. It is unlucky to have to light it again after it has once been started, and it ought not go out until it has burned away. To sit around the Yule log and tell ghost stories is a great thing to do on Christmas Eve, and also card-playing.

Two large coloured candles are a Christmas present from the grocery. Just before supper on Christmas Eve (where frumenty is eaten), while the Yule log is burning, all other lights are put out, and the candles are lit from the Yule log by the youngest person present. While they are lit, all are silent and wish. It is common practice for the wish to be kept a secret. Once the candles are on the table, silence may be broken. They must be allowed to burn themselves out, and no other lights may be lit that night.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath) is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin is in the province of Leinster on Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. The city has an urban area population of 1,345,402. The population of the Greater Dublin Area, as of 2016, was 1,904,806 people.

Founded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin became Ireland's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire before the Acts of Union in 1800. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, later renamed Ireland.

Dublin is administered by a City Council. The city is listed by the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of “Alpha-“, which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts, administration, economy and industry.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 24 December 2017


There is a rather subdued atmosphere at Christmastime in Melbourne this year, no doubt related to the Flinders St incident, but also perhaps because of the general state of the world, and tensions all around the globe. Still, people do make an effort and almost everyone I spoke to said they were "carrying on as usual, no matter what", which is admirable. Nevertheless, one knows everything is not OK and people do mind and everyone wishes things were different.

I did my Christmas shopping in the end, and strolling through the City in the early evening I managed to avoid crowds. The Myer windows were decorated (although they did look rather sparse and spartan this year), and the streets did look festive in their seasonal finery. The arcades were tarted up, yet somehow something was missing. My shopping was over and done with quickly and I went home rather quietly - we live in troubled times and no matter how strident the marketing hype, it's difficult to avoid confronting reality. The world is ailing and its wounds are many. It is up to us to heal them and the answer is not to be found in the shopping centres and consumer meccas...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


By the waters of the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne.

This post is part of the Weekend Green meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday, 22 December 2017


The full moons of the Southern Hemisphere named:

January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead Moon
February: Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon
March: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon
May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon
August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap Moon
October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking Moon
November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon
December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday, 21 December 2017


Corymbia ficifolia is one of around 80 eucalypts which were transferred in 1995 from the genus Eucalyptus to the newly created genus Corymbia. The species was formerly known as Eucalyptus ficifolia. The red flowering gum is one of the most widely cultivated of all eucalypts both in Australia and overseas. It often grows larger and more vigorously in cultivation than in its natural habitat.

The species is best suited to temperate districts with low summer rainfall and humidity. It can be grown in sub-tropical areas in well drained, sunny positions but cannot be regarded as reliable in those areas. Even in temperate areas the species can be unreliable - in the Sydney region, for example, there are some excellent examples but there are probably just as many that fail to thrive.

In suitable climates the tree is moderately fast growing and may eventually reach 15 metres but is often smaller. Foliage is dark, glossy green and the bark is rough and persistent (i.e. it does not shed annually). C.ficifolia flowers prolifically in summer and is a colourful addition to southern hemisphere gardens at Christmas time.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


Xerxes is a male name. It is the Greek version of the Old Persian name Xšaya-ṛšā, which is today known in Modern Persian as Khashayar. It may refer to:
Xerxes I of Persia, reigned 486–465 BC
Xerxes II of Persia, reigned 424 BC
Xerxes of Armenia, ruler of Sophene and Commagene from 228 to 201 BC
Xerxes (Sasanian prince), 6th-century prince and general.

Here is a relief that once graced the northern stairs of the Apadana (audience hall of the palace) at Persepolis is one of the most important examples of Achaemenid art. It shows a king receiving an important official, who performs the ritual greeting that is known as proskynesis (obeisance). Several figures are standing to the left and right.

The king sitting on a throne is often identified as Darius the Great (reigned 522-486). Behind him is another important person, the crown prince. If we accept that the king is Darius, this man must be his son Xerxes I of Persia. The man saluting the king is probably the major of the palace, Pharnaces. He announces the arrival of the tribute bearers.

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Fremantle is a city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 25,000. The city is named after Captain Charles Howe Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of Western Australia and who established a camp at the site. The city contains well-preserved 19th-century buildings and other heritage features. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is Freo.

The native Australian Noongar people inhabited the area that is now Fremantle, which was known as Walyalup. The area was considered as a site for possible British settlement in 1827, when Captain James Stirling, in HMS Success, explored the coastal areas near the Swan River. As a result of Stirling's report, Captain Charles Howe Fremantle of HMS Challenger, a 603 ton, 28-gun frigate, was instructed to sail to the west coast of Australia to establish a settlement there. On 2 May 1829, Fremantle hoisted the Union Flag in a bay near what is now known as Arthur Head, and in accordance with his instructions, took formal possession "of the whole of the West Coast of New Holland" in the name of George IV of the United Kingdom.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 17 December 2017


First snow dusts the spent landscape and masks the ravages of Winter under a blanket of white...
The bare trees resist as the snowflakes fall and are blown by the wind, but soon their branches too will wear a white overcoat.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 16 December 2017


This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever' (Youme) has lovely double lacecap flowers in colours of either delicate pale pink or blue (depending on soil). Grows very well in a pot or tub – this enables you to control the ph of the soil and maintain the beautiful colours.

This compact hydrangea has a strong rooting system and sturdy stems. Because of this, the abundantly blooming flower heads stand up straight.It is a Winter hardy hydrangea down to -22° Celsius. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in (full) sun or partial shade. Prune in spring and you’ll see its wonderful flowers appear once again. The plants grow to 120 cm high and 80 cm wide. A perfect size for planting in a container on your terrace or balcony. This hydrangea is also very suitable for shrub borders, mass planting or combined with other plants.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017


Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste".

Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design. Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century.

Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired.

After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II.

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million (on 30 June 2013) living in Greater Perth. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment.

The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores. Perth is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.

Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856 (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth). The city is named for Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city's population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia.

During Australia's involvement in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, and a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet was based at Matilda Bay. An influx of immigrants after the war, predominantly from Britain, Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia, led to rapid population growth. This was followed by a surge in economic activity flowing from several mining booms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of large mining operations located around the state.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.