Saturday, 24 February 2018

GINGER CAT

Many references to "ginger cats" appear in books and films, leading people to believe the ginger cat is a distinct feline breed, like the manx or Egyptian mau. On the contrary, "ginger" simply refers to the coat colour of a cat. For the most part, ginger cats are domestic short-hair or long-hair felines with an orange coat, although cats representing other breeds may be referred to as ginger if orange is their primary colour.

An interesting fact about ginger cats is that, in most cases, they are males. As a result of genetics, the ratio of male to female gingers is 80-20. Morris, the famous Nine Lives cat food mascot, was a typical male ginger cat and most, though not all, gingers encountered in homes, on the street, in shops and in pet shelters will turn out to be male.

Many people seeking to adopt kittens and cats have certain biases when it comes to feline colour. Ginger cats are often considered "friendly and approachable," while black cats are seen as "mysterious and untrustworthy" and white cats are believed to be "lazy and aloof". All of these beliefs, of course, are without foundation. Sweet, wonderful cats come in all colours, shapes and sizes!

This post is part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday, 23 February 2018

EARLY RISERS

Early risers have a wonderful time on the Yarra River. If they're not rowing, they are taking photos...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.







Thursday, 22 February 2018

HAEMANTHUS

Haemanthus coccineus, the blood flower, blood lily or paintbrush lily, is a bulbous geophyte in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to Southern Africa. The generic name Haemanthus is derived from the Greek words haima for blood and anthos for flower; coccineus is the Latin word for red or scarlet. In the Afrikaans language it is known as bergajuin, bloedblom, and many other vernacular names.

Haemanthus coccineus is widespread throughout the winter rainfall region in Southern Africa - from the southern parts of Namibia, to South Africa in the Cape Peninsula, to the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. It is found in Renosterveld and Fynbos habitats. It is an adaptable species, growing in a wide range of soils derived from sandstones, quartzites, granites, shales and limestones. It will survive annual rainfall ranging from 100–1,100 millimetres. The plant adapts to a wide range of altitudes, being found from coastal dunes to 1,200 metres high mountains. It can be a 'gregarious species' found in clumps of hundreds, from the under the shelter of other shrubs on flat land, to in shady ravines and rock crevices.

The flowerheads of Haemanthus coccineus emerge between February and April, with scarlet spathe valves on them like bright shaving brushes, make it a striking plant. The flowers are soon followed by translucent, fleshy berries. There are usually two large leaves per bulb, and occasionally three, which appear after flowering. The brilliant flowerheads account for its early appearance in Europe, being described by Carl Linnaeus in 1762. Together with Haemanthus sanguineus (Jacq.), this was the first Haemanthus to be introduced to European horticulture as an ornamental plant.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

GERANIUM

We know them as simply 'geraniums'. They are one of the most popular container plants, yet they are not really geraniums at all. Botanically they are Pelargonium. There are true geraniums, the perennial cranesbills, but they look little like the annual plants we commonly call 'geraniums'.

The confusion with the names can be traced back to disagreements between botanists over classification and is of little importance to most gardeners, except for the distinction that perennial cranesbill geraniums will come back each year and zonal geraniums, those now classified as Pelargonium, are topical perennials usually grown as annuals in colder climates. They got the prefix "zonal" because of the markings on their leaves.

Zonal geraniums were discovered in South Africa and if you have a similar, subtropical climate, you can grow them as perennials. This coral pink zonal geranium is Pelargonium x hortorum. Zonal geraniums are bushy plants, mainly used for containers and bedding. There has been considerable breeding done, particularly for size and abundance and colours of flowers, so there is a good deal of variety. Zonal geraniums start blooming in mid-spring and will repeat bloom until frost. Deadheading the entire flower stalk after the flower fades will encourage more blooms.

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


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

SALAMANCA, SPAIN

Salamanca is a city in northwestern Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid (414,000), and ahead of León (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).

It is one of the most important university cities in Spain and supplies 16% of Spain's market for the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca attracts thousands of international students. It is situated approximately 200 kilometres west of the Spanish capital Madrid and 80 km east of the Portuguese border.

The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university, but the first to be given its status by the Pope Alexander IV who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca. It is on the Via de la Plata path of the Camino de Santiago.

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, 18 February 2018

MELBOURNE CEMETERY

The Melbourne General Cemetery is a large necropolis located 2 km north of the city of Melbourne in the suburb of Carlton North. The cemetery was opened on 1 June 1853, and the Old Melbourne Cemetery (on the site of what is now the Queen Victoria Market) was closed the next year. The Melbourne Cemetery has much history and home to more than half a million stories. This cemetery is full of fiery preachers, con men, courageous women, scandals, disasters and joyous occasions. Musicians, actors, scientists and ordinary people who have helped make Melbourne the metropolis it is now.

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, 17 February 2018

WILLIE WAGTAIL

The willie wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is a passerine bird native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Eastern Indonesia. It is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range, living in most habitats apart from thick forest. Measuring 19–21.5 cm in length, the willie wagtail is contrastingly coloured with almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts; the male and female have similar plumage.

Three subspecies are recognised; Rhipidura leucophrys leucophrys from central and southern Australia, the smaller R. l. picata from northern Australia, and the larger R. l. melaleuca from New Guinea and islands in its vicinity. It is unrelated to the true wagtails of the genus Motacilla; it is a member of the fantail genus Rhipidura and is a part of a "core corvine" group that includes true crows and ravens, drongos and birds of paradise. Within this group, fantails are placed in the family Dicruridae, although some authorities consider them distinct enough to warrant their own small family, Rhipiduridae.

The willie wagtail is insectivorous and spends much time chasing prey in open habitat. Its common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground. Aggressive and territorial, the willie wagtail will often harass much larger birds such as the laughing kookaburra and wedge-tailed eagle. It has responded well to human alteration of the landscape and is a common sight in urban lawns, parks, and gardens. It was widely featured in Aboriginal folklore around the country as either a bringer of bad news or a stealer of secrets.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.



Thursday, 15 February 2018

URN PLANT

Aechmea fasciata (silver vase, urn plant) is a species of flowering plant in the bromeliad family, native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm. It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern. A. fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as, for example, with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. Scale insects and mosquitos will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves.

A. fasciata is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database under the section for "Skin irritating substances in plants" and is known to cause contact dermatitis, phytophotodermatitis, and contact allergy.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

FUCHSIA

Fuchsia is a genus of flowering plants that consists mostly of shrubs or small trees. The first, Fuchsia triphylla, was discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) in about 1696–1697 by the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier during his third expedition to the Greater Antilles. He named the new genus after the renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566).

There are currently almost 110 recognised species of Fuchsia. The vast majority are native to South America, but with a few occurring north through Central America to Mexico, and also several from New Zealand to Tahiti. One species, F. magellanica, extends as far as the southern tip of South America, occurring on Tierra del Fuego in the cool temperate zone, but the majority are tropical or subtropical. Most fuchsias are shrubs from 0.2–4 m tall, but one New Zealand species, the kōtukutuku (F. excorticata), is unusual in the genus in being a tree, growing up to 12–15 metres tall.

The cultivar shown here, 'Blue Eyes' was hybridised by Reedstorm and its year of registration was 1954.

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

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

PAU, FRANCE

Pau is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, and capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. The city is located in the heart of the former sovereign Principality of Béarn, of which it was the capital from 1464. Bordered by the Gave de Pau, the city is located 100 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 kilometres from Spain. This position gives it an exceptional panorama across the mountain range of the Pyrenees as well as on the hillsides of Jurançon.

Archaeology has asserted that the site has been occupied at least since the Gallo-Roman era. Nevertheless, it wasn't until the first half of the 12th century that the first mentions of Pau as a settlement are found. The town originated from the construction of its castle, likely from the 11th century by the Viscounts of Béarn, to protect the ford which was a strategic point for access to the Bearn valleys and then to Spain. The city thus took its name from the stockade (pau in Bearnese) which set the boundaries of the primitive castle. The village which was built around the castle took advantage of its strategic position as well as the protection of the Viscounts of Béarn to widely develop over the following centuries. Pau became the capital of Béarn in 1464, thus becoming the political, cultural and economic centre of this small State which continued to defend its independence from the neighbouring French, English and Spanish peoples.

The town and its castle took on a new dimension by becoming the seat of the Kings of Navarre, at the capture of Pamplona, by the Kingdom of Castile in 1512. Pau became a leading political and intellectual centre under the reign of Henry d'Albret and his wife Marguerite. The history of Pau is marked by the birth of Henry of Bourbon 13 December 1553 in the castle of his grandparents. He gained access to the throne of France in 1589 under the title of Henry IV. The image of the city is since widely associated with that of this monarch made famous for his willingness to put an end to the seemingly endless Wars of Religion. With the end of Béarnaise independence in 1620, Pau lost its influence but remained the same at the head of a largely autonomous province. It was home to the Parliament of Navarre and Béarn which wrote its texts in Occitan until the Revolution and its dismantling to create the Department of Basses-Pyrénées (becoming Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1969).

The Belle Époque marked a resurgence for the Béarnaise capital with a massive influx of wealthy foreign tourists (including English but also Russian, Spanish and American), they came to spend the winter to take advantage of the benefits of Pau's climate described by the Scottish physician Alexander Taylor. Pau turned widely with the construction of many villas and mansions to accommodate these wintering rich people, the city also developed all elements of modernity for their comfort: Baths, funicular and railway station. It was at this time that Pau became one of the world capitals of the nascent aerospace industry under the influence of the Wright brothers, crowned heads then pressed there to observe the flight of the first flying school in the world.

With the decline of tourism during the 20th century, the Pau economy (and its suburbs) gradually shifted towards the aviation industry and then to that of petrochemicals with the major discovery of the Lacq gas field in 1951. Pau today is a city of about 80,000 inhabitants, the main urban area of Pau and of the Communauté d'agglomération Pau Béarn Pyrénées with 30 neighbouring communes which carry out local tasks together. The Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, founded in 1972, accounts for a large student population. The city plays a leading role for Béarn but also for a wide segment of the Adour area. An administrative capital, it boasts a dense economic fabric including service activities.[note 4] Pau also plays the role of cultural capital with many events, including sports. Pau's heritage extends over several centuries, its diversity and its quality allowed it to obtain the label of City of Art and History in 2011.

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

Monday, 12 February 2018

CITY LIFE

Melbourne's population is presently estimated to be 4.88 million people. The population density of Melbourne is 440 people per square kilometre. Melbourne is booming as far as population is concerned. The population is totally expanding at a quick speed. It has been said that the city grew by 1800 individuals for every 7 days. Melbourne is hustling at a quicker rate to rival Sydney as the nation’s biggest city. The city had the biggest population growth contrasted with all the capital urban cities in the nation.

The population of Victoria is expected to hit 10 million people by the 2050s and Melbourne's population will double by 2031, new figures indicate. Population growth will continue to be strong, according to new figures from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the capital will need another 2 million homes to accommodate the growth. The rising trends in births, life expectancy and migration are said to account for the strong population growth.

As the building boom continues and infrastructure lags behind the unchecked growth, our city is becoming overcrowded, noisier, more polluted, more congested and more unsafe (the number of criminal offences recorded in Victoria went up by more than 50,000 last year — an 8 per cent rise in the per-capita crime rate)...

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

ON THE ROAD TO GUNDAGAI

Gundagai is a town in New South Wales, Australia. Although a small town, Gundagai is a popular topic for writers and has become a representative icon of a typical Australian country town. Located along the Murrumbidgee River and Muniong, Honeysuckle, Kimo, Mooney Mooney, Murrumbidgee and Tumut mountain ranges, Gundagai is 390 kilometres south-west of Sydney (the state capital and largest city in Australia). At the 2006 census the population of Gundagai was 1,998.

Gundagai, perhaps more than any other Australian locality, is referenced in stories, songs and poems. These include Theta's poem, 'Ode to the Dead of Gundagai'. James Riley, 'The Gundagai Calamity', Jack Moses and others in 'Nine Miles From Gundagai', Jack O'Hagan songs 'Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (five miles from Gundagai)', 'Along The Road To Gundagai', 'Snake Gully Swagger', and 'When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai'. Gundagai also features in the song 'The Grand Old Hills of Gundagai'. It is referenced in Scottish band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie's song 'Dust'.

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, 10 February 2018

JUVENILE MOORHEN

I've blogged before about a group of moorhens that laid and hatched their eggs. This is from  the same group of birds at the same location. The juvenile bird on the left is still unsure of the environment and is reliant on the two "mothers" for food, protection and training.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

MONARDA

Monarda is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. The genus is endemic to North America. Common names include bee balm, horsemint, oswego tea, and bergamot, the latter inspired by the fragrance of the leaves, which is reminiscent of bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia). The genus was named for the Spanish botanist Nicolás Monardes, who wrote a book in 1574 describing plants of the New World.

These hardy plants are easily grown and are ideally suited to cottage gardens or for border plantings, producing their colourful blooms over a long period. The aromatic leaves and nectar-rich flowers will ensure that bees and birds will be constant visitors to the garden.

Monarda form large clumps, with the perennials dying away completely in winter but recovering quickly in spring to form thickets of angled stems with lance-shaped aromatic leaves that are often red-tinted and hairy, with serrated edges. In early summer the top of each stem carries several whorls of tubular flowers backed by leafy bracts. The flowers are usually red, pink, or purple.

Monarda species are very hardy and easily grown in any open sunny position with moist well-drained soil. Mildew is often a problem in late summer, so good ventilation is important. Some species can quickly take over and their growth should be monitored and controlled. Propagation is by division when dormant or from basal cuttings.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

EDELWEISS

Leontopodium nivale, commonly called edelweiss, is a well-known mountain flower, belonging to the Asteraceae (daisy or sunflower family). The plant prefers rocky limestone places at about 1,800–3,000 metres altitude. It is non-toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold, aridity, and ultraviolet radiation.

As a scarce, short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas, the plant has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps and Carpathians, and as a national symbol, especially of Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and Switzerland. According to folk tradition, giving this flower to a loved one is a promise of dedication.

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

Monday, 5 February 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC, USA

Charlotte is the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont, it is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population was 842,051, making it the 17th-most populous city in the United States. The Charlotte metropolitan area ranks 22nd-largest in the U.S., and had a 2016 population of 2,474,314. It is the second-largest city in the southeastern United States, just behind Jacksonville, Florida. It is the third-fastest growing major city in the United States. It is listed as a "gamma-minus" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Residents are referred to as "Charlotteans".

Charlotte is home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, which along with other financial institutions made it the second-largest banking centre in the United States from 1995 to 2017 and the third-largest from 2017 to present. Among Charlotte's many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL), the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse, two NASCAR Cup Series races and the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a major international hub, and was ranked the 23rd-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic in 2013. Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. It is located several miles east of the Catawba River and southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake are two smaller man-made lakes located near the city.

When we visited Charlotte quite a few years ago we had a very experience mainly because of the people we met there, who were friendly, courteous and with a good sense of humour. We visited several museums and had a couple of very nice meals.

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.

AN UNLIKELY PLACE

Three different locations, thousands of kilometres apart, fused into one unlikely seascape through the magic of Photoshop. In common, there are: Summer weather, sea, sand surf and memories of good times!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

COFFEE BREAK

In the South Melbourne Market...

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

Friday, 2 February 2018

SUNSET MOOD

South Wharf on the southern bank of the Yarra is surrounded by many shopping, dining and conference facilities. The new South Wharf Promenade is home to some of Melbourne’s most exciting hospitality talent, housed in lovingly restored heritage cargo sheds. These cafés and restaurants boast one of the most beautiful waterside views in Melbourne, all within easy reach of the central city.

South Wharf’s striking pedestrian "Seafarers' Bridge" is fittingly named to reflect Melbourne’s rich maritime history. Officially named in late-2009, the bridge is already popular with walkers and bike riders accessing Melbourne’s world-class Convention Centre and travelling to and from Docklands. This bridge forms a vital connection between the city’s waterfront and the river-front.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Thursday, 1 February 2018