“Yea, foolish mortals, Noah's flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.” - Herman Melville
Today we visited a friend of ours in the morning and had coffee with her at her home. After catching up and chatting for an hour or so, we said our goodbyes and we were picked up by another friend who had offered to make a day excursion down to Victor Harbor with us. Although the day was hot, this proved to be a good idea as Victor Harbor is always 5-6˚C cooler than city temperatures.
Victor Harbor is a coastal town only 80 km (just over an hours' drive), south of Adelaide. The town, which overlooks historic Encounter Bay and the Southern Ocean, is a short drive from Cape Jervis and the ferry to Kangaroo Island. The approach from Melbourne is one of the most attractive journeys in Australia, especially along the coast and through the Fleurieu Peninsula. Victor Harbor has a classic Mediterranean climate that is moderated by its proximity to the Southern Ocean, which provides cooling sea breezes at the end of each warm summer's day. Its maritime location also means that Victor Harbor has mild, attractive winters.
In 1802 Captain Matthew Flinders met Captain Nicolas Baudin 11 nautical miles out in Encounter Bay. The explorers were on a very similar mission to chart the coast and record the local flora and fauna of New Holland. Although Britain and France were at war at the time, scientific expeditions were permitted to sail unhindered. France had an interest in claiming portions of the new continent as Britain had done with New South Wales. Governor King of New South Wales had warned Baudin when he arrived in Sydney that the whole of the continent and Tasmania had been claimed by Britain. Nevertheless, Baudin ventured off to explore, chart and name many parts of the southern coast. When Baudin and Flinders met they discussed their discoveries and Flinders advised Baudin the best route back to Sydney. Flinders recorded that, "in consequence of our meeting here, I distinguish it by the name of Encounter Bay".
The area around what is now Victor Harbor was probably known of by white men even prior to this meeting. Whaling out of Sydney was a growing industry and American ships were already competing with British and Australian ships along the southern coasts. The American vessel Union spent the winter of 1803 at the inlet on Kangaroo Island. It has been recorded that gangs of sealers and whalers ranged up and down the coast hunting and accumulating sealskins and barrels of oil. Firearms, the slaughter of wild life, the introduction of disease and the abduction of Aboriginal women by white men all contributed to Aboriginal hostility toward Europeans. In 1830 Captain Sturt journeyed down the Murray River to the sea and noted that the native Ngarrindjeri people of the area were hostile and wary of firearms. In the following year Captain Collet Barker was killed by Aborigines at the Murray Mouth.
Ridgway William Newland, a Congregational clergyman from the south of England, led the first true party of settlers to Encounter Bay in July 1839. The group comprised his family, some relations and friends along with several skilled farm workers and their families. Newland had obtained letters of introduction to Governor George Gawler from Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for the Colonies. Gawler told Newland that the village of Adelaide was becoming overcrowded, that most of the nearby land had been taken up and splendid land was available at Encounter Bay for only one pound an acre. Newland took his advice and transported his party to their new home via the Lord Hobart
The whalers ferried the passengers ashore to Police Point where the excited welcome by the Ramindjeri natives terrified the women and children. Newland chose a campsite in a spot close to Yilki where they pitched their tents in a circle. They lived here for almost two years because Newland's first priority was to make his little community self supporting, even before they built houses. However, they did construct a chapel from bush timber to hold regular Sunday services that all in the vicinity were welcome to attend.
Victor Harbor soon became a bustling seaside port, actually known as 'Port Victor'. The Yilki precinct is home to the original whalers' quarters and tavern. Due to the increased trade up and down the River Murray, Victor Harbor was selected as a safe port for ships to dock and transport wool and grain overseas. The first railway (Horse Drawn) was built from Goolwa to Port Elliot and later extended to Victor Harbor to carry goods brought down by the Paddle steamers. This important historic transport network is still working today, however the Horse Tram takes you to the platform of the steam powered Cockle Train, which links to the paddle steamers at Goolwa Wharf. A visit to the Encounter Coast Discovery Centre on Flinders Parade, is a great place to start your visit to discovering the history of Encounter Bay.
We had a pleasant saunter through the town and its shopping centre, bustling with tourists and locals. There are many souvenir shops, and some with a definite sea-side flavour, including a nice shop called “Nauticalia”. This is a great place to shop for men’s gifts and I certainly enjoyed spending some time in there. Women may find this disappointing (as the ones in our party found), but I was enthralled by all the gadgets, the nautical paraphernalia (compasses, sextants, telescopes, ships equipment, etc), the books, the bric-a-brac, etc.
We had lunch at the Crown Hotel, which offered standard pub food but nevertheless quite fresh and of good quality at a reasonable price. The hotel was full with quite a few locals amongst its patrons (which is always a good sign if one is looking for somewhere to eat). Granite Island is one of the most recognised ecological attractions in Victor Harbor due to its unusual granite formations with crashing white waves, elevated views, flora and fauna and walking trails that provide outstanding panoramic coastal views. Since the early 1990's, significant redevelopment of the island has enhanced the visitor experience and enabled better protection of its flora and fauna. The creation of 300 new penguin burrows in the precinct of the bistro provides a safer and larger breeding habitat.
Many of the unusual features on the island are due to the particular way granite is weathered by wind and water. Typical are the large rounded boulders on the surface of the island. These may become undercut to produce intriguing shapes such as "Umbrella Rock". "Nature's Eye" is another example but in the form of a water-worn pothole. Within the granite on the Bluff and Granite Island, are pieces of pre-existing rock masses which the magma engulfed in its rise from the depths before it solidified into granite. They are known as xenoliths.
To access Granite Island, travel across the wooden causeway by Horse Drawn Tram or take the short walk and watch anglers fish at sea. Facilities include public amenities, a restaurant, kiosk and a souvenir shop.
“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” Hilaire Belloc
Quite on the spur of the moment we decided to come to Adelaide. I got quite a good deal on the internet and we flew in yesterday evening. We have friends here, so it’s always nice to visit. We like the rather laid back atmosphere, which is at the same time cosmopolitan and almost Mediterranean lifestyle. There is quite a lot to do and see here.
Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia. Situated at the base of the Mount Lofty Ranges, 14 km inland from the centre of the eastern shore of the Gulf St. Vincent, it has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers mild winters and a fairly low average annual rainfall. The site of the city was chosen in 1836 by William Light (the colony's first surveyor general), and is on slightly rising ground along the Torrens River, which divides it into a southern business district and a northern residential section. The city is separated from its suburbs by extensive areas of lush parklands. It is named after Queen Adelaide, consort of the British king William IV, and it was incorporated as Australia's first municipal government in 1840, but the city council ran into considerable debt and became defunct in 1843. Adelaide was thereafter controlled by the provincial government until 1849, when a city commission was formed. A municipal corporation was reestablished in 1852, and the city gained a lord mayoralty in 1919.
The fertility of the surrounding plains, easy access to the Murray lowlands to the east and southeast, and the presence of mineral deposits in the nearby hills all contributed to the city's growth. As an early agricultural marketing centre, it handled wheat, wool, fruits, and wine. Adelaide, aided by its central position and a ready supply of raw materials, has since become industrialized, with factories producing automobile components, machinery, textiles, and chemicals. A petroleum refinery was completed in 1962 at Hallet Cove, south of Adelaide near Port Noarlunga; a second refinery has also been completed. Adelaide is connected by pipeline with the Gidgealpa natural-gas fields in Cooper Basin, northeastern South Australia. A focus of rail, sea, air, and road transportation, Adelaide receives the bulk of the products of the lower Murray River valley, which has no port at its mouth. Adelaide's own harbour facilities are at Port Adelaide, 7 miles (11 km) northwest.
Notable city landmarks include the University of Adelaide (founded in 1874), Parliament and Government houses, the Natural History Museum, and two cathedrals: St. Peter's (Anglican) and St. Francis Xavier's (Roman Catholic). The biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts (instituted in 1960) was the first international celebration of its kind to be held in Australia. Population of the metropolitan area is about 1.2 million people.
We spent the day in a leisurely way, firstly ambling around Melbourne St in North Adelaide where our hotel is. Then a short walk through parklands in towards the City, we stopped at the Festival Centre (the white polygonal building in the photograph) and had a cup of coffee by the riverside (River Torrens). Then into the City, where we walked down Rundle Mall and finally we took the tram to the busy cosmopolitan seaside suburb of Glenelg where we had a delicious lunch. We came back to our hotel and our friends came to pick us up to go out to dinner.
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.” - Hermann Hesse
The plant for today’s birthday is the ash, Fraxinus excelsior. It is a symbol of grandeur, nobility, adaptability and modesty. The language of flowers it speaks the words: “With me you are safe”.
It is St John’s Feast Day today, for the Roman Catholic church. St John the Evangelist was the disciple that Christ loved the most. He is the author of the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Revelation. He and his brother James the Greater were sons of Zebedee. His symbol as an evangelist is the eagle and he is the patron saint of authors, publishers, printers and booksellers. The Gospel according to John is clearly different from the other three Synoptic Gospels. John may have used the Gospels of Mark and Luke as his sources. The evangelist has two aims in the Gospel: To show that Christ is the vital force in the Universe forever, and that He lived on earth to reveal Himself in the flesh. This Gospel is by far the most literary of all four and in a philosophical prologue, Jesus is identified with the Word (Logos).
The Apocalypse or Revelation is the 27th and last book of the New Testament, written around 95 AD on the Greek island of Patmos by one John; whether he was the St. John the Apostle or another John, is disputed. This work is mysterious and prophetic consisting mainly of visions and dreams that show allegorically the end of evil and the triumph of God. The careful plan depends heavily on patterns of sevens, e.g, letters to seven churches in Asia Minor and the opening of the seven seals on the scroll in the hand of God. The style is majestic, with constant allusion to Old Testament prophecies, especially those of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah. It has been a very influential work and numerous interpretations of it have appeared from the earliest of times.
On this, St John’s Day, people who were afraid of being poisoned went to church and drank from a chalice of blessed wine, this supposedly protecting them from the effects of poison. The tradition arose from an apocryphal legend that recounts how St John was offered a cup of poisoned wine and he, well aware that it was poisoned, drained it after making the sign of the cross over it.
Today we flew to Adelaide for a four-day holiday. Adelaide is a beautiful city and we always enjoy visiting here and catching up with some old friends. More tomorrow!
apocalypse |əˈpäkəˌlips| noun (often the Apocalypse) The complete final destruction of the world, esp. as described in the biblical book of Revelation. • an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale : A stock market apocalypse | An era of ecological apocalypse. • ( the Apocalypse) (esp. in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation. ORIGIN Old English , via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal,’ from apo- ‘un-’ + kaluptein ‘to cover.’
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” - Herman Melville
Today is Boxing Day, St Stephen’s Feast Day and also the beginning of Kwanzaa.
Boxing Day is so called from a sealed clay pot with a slit on its top (the “Christmas Box”), which tradesmen, servants and children took “boxing” with them. They solicited tips from householders they had served during the past year. When Boxing Day comes round again O then shall I have money; I’ll hoard it up, and Box and all I’ll give it to my honey.
This type of sealed clay pot is still in use in Greece as a money box (koumbarás) that children use to save their coins in. Once it is full, the clay pot is smashed releasing its treasures.
St Stephen was the first Christian martyr, explaining the proximity of his Feast Day to Christmas. Boxing Day was also called “Wrenning Day” because of the old Suffolk custom of stoning a wren to death in memory of St Stephen’s martyrdom. The dead wren was then carried about on a branch of gorse by boys who begged for money. The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, Was caught St Stephen’s Day in the furze; Although he be little, his honour is great, Then pray kind gentleman, give us a treat.
Kwanzaa is an American celebration that is growing in popularity. Celebrated every year from December 26 through to New Year’s Day, this festival sets aside time for African-Americans to commemorate African and African-inspired culture and food, while reinforcing values passed along for generations. Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest” and appropriately, this week-long festival culminates in a glorious feast on December 31 that draws on a variety of cuisines. At the center of the celebration is the table, set with a bowl of fruits and vegetables, a straw place mat, a communal cup and a seven-branched candelabra. The kinara (candle holder) is placed on a handmade woven mat. The kinara holds seven candles, each one standing for one of the seven principles.
SEVEN PRINCIPLES AND DAYS OF KWANZAA
Umoja (unity) To work together in peace with our family, our community, our nation, and our race. Kujichagulia (self-determination) To team up our minds to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves. Ujima (collective work and responsibility) To team together to solve problems and to make our community a safe and productive place. Ujamaa (cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and profit from them together. Nia (purpose) To have a plan for the future and to be willing to help others to succeed as well. Kuumba (creativity) To always do as much as we can, in any way we can, in order to leave our community a better and more beautiful place. Imani (faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The center candle is black, three are red, and three are green. The candles’ colors stand for the dark skin of Africa's people, the continents' green hills, and the blood Africans shed for freedom. And, while the table includes a wide variety of creatively inspired appetizers, main dishes and desserts, the feast is not complete without recipes made with sweet coconut.
TROPICAL COCONUT CREAM PIE
Ingredients 1 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies) 1 2/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided 1/3 cups butter or margarine, melted 1 large banana, sliced 1 1/2 cups cold milk 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla flavour instant pudding & pie filling 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, well drained 2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping Method Heat oven to 325˚F. Mix cookie crumbs, 2/3 cup of the coconut and melted butter in medium bowl until well blended. Press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool. Arrange banana slices in crust. Pour cold milk into large bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup coconut. Spoon over banana slices in crust. Gently stir pineapple into whipped topping. Spread over mixture. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Store leftover pie in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.
“Do you love your Creator? Love your fellow-beings first.” – Mohammed
The birthday flower for today is the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, which is symbolic of the Nativity of Christ. In the language of flowers, the hellebore means calumny and scandal. The flower is also dedicated to St Agnes who is the patron saint of young virgins.
Light Christmas, light wheatsheaf Dark Christmas, heavy wheatsheaf. The day on which Christmas fell prognosticates the weather and the year ahead: If Christmas falls on a Sunday, that year shall be a warm Winter, The Summer hot and dry, peace and quiet amongst the married folk. If on Monday, a misty Winter, the Summer windy and stormy; Many women will mourn their husbands. If on a Tuesday, a cold Winter and much snow, the Summer wet, But good peace amongst the Princes and the Kings. If on Wednesday, the Winter naughty and hard, the Summer good, Young people and many cattle will die sore. If on a Thursday, the Winter mild and the Summer very good and abundant, But many great men shall perish. If on a Friday, the Winter neither bad nor good, the Summer harvest indifferent, Much conflict in the neighbourhoods, treachery and deception. If on a Saturday, Winter will snow, blow hard winds and bitterly cold, The Summer good with a harvest full and bounteous, But war shall rack many lands.
The Dies Natalis Invicti Solis was an ancient Roman festival more of a religious nature and thus important to priests predominantly. It was the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" and marked an important date on the calendar of the Mithras cult. The Mithraic cult was one of the chief pagan competitors to Christianity. Mithras was a sun god and his birthday fell close to the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen and the sun once again appeared unconquered. The Christian tradition absorbed this festival and also that of the Saturnalia, thus attracting many pagans but re-interpreting their mythology according to more appropriate Christian symbolology.
Another winter solstice festival that became absorbed into Christmas was that of Yule or Jol, celebrated especially in the North, wherever the Norse pantheon held sway. Jolnir was another name for Odin, the chief god, the Norse equivalent of Zeus or Jupiter. Odin was the god of ecstasy and intoxicating drink, but also the god of death. The sacrificial beer of Odin became the blessed Christmas beer of the middle ages and also survives in the wassail cup of lamb’s wool. The feasting that occurred during Yuletide also included providing food and drink for the ghosts that roamed the earth around this time (see the Finnish Christmas Eve tradition from yesterday’s blog). Bonfires were lit and this tradition has survived in the form of the yule log (see December 24th). The Christmas tree tradition is essentially a Germanic one that may hail back to the Norse legend of Yggdrasil, the great tree on whose branches rested the universe.
The ivie and holly berries are seen, And Yule Log and Wassaile come round agen. At Christmas play, and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year. Thomas Tusser (ca 1520-1580).
"A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!" - Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Christmas Eve this year has crept up on us without realisation, without much warning. We were talking about it yesterday and concluded that the pace of life must be getting so rapid, so hectic, that time seems to rush by. Either that or we are getting older! Melbourne this year seems to be rather quiet and the traffic has suddenly been reduced. I think that many people have taken an extra long weekend and they have gone away from the metropolis to enjoy an extra long weekend away. For us, a quiet Christmas at home with family and friends.
I take this opportunity to wish all my friends here on Yahoo 360, all the best for the Festive Season, many wishes for a Merry Christmas, health and happiness for everyone and peace for the world.
Tradition dictates that on Christmas Eve all Christmas decorations should be put up, the Christmas Tree trimmed and the ivy, holly and mistletoe brought into the house for the first time only today. The Yule Log or “Christmas Brand” must be brought into the house and this log should be taken from your own trees, found or be given to you, but never bought. It should be lit at dusk with a splinter from last year’s Yule Log. It should burn that night, but preferably burn all night and then all through the twelve nights of Christmas. It should not be left to go out but it can be extinguished and re-lit. The piece that is kept for lighting next year’s log will protect the house from burning down all through the year.
The Christmas candle should be lit for the first time tonight and it should be large enough to light the evening meal for the next twelve days. It should be bright red in colour and must never blow out accidentally but always snuffed at the end of the meal.
The Finns have a tradition that recounts how on Christmas Eve, one of the longest nights in the year, ghosts roam the earth. They set out candles on the graves of dead relatives making the travels of the spirits from and to the graves easier. The candles also placate the ghosts and ensure that the family is safe.
“Silent Night” was composed on this day in 1818 by Franz Gruber and sung for the first time the next day.
Today the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn, and will remain there until it exits it on January 20th. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and is a cardinal, feminine, negative, earth sign. Polar or opposite sign is Cancer. Its fixed Star is Algiedi.
Adjectives that characterise Capricornians are: Aloof, Ambitious, Calculating, Careful, Competitive, Cool, Dependable, Dogged, Earnest, Goal-setting, Patient, Practical, Prudent, Quiet, Self-disciplined, Serious, Tough. The Capricornian may be summarised with the verb: “I utilise”. A mountain top, a great father figure, the boss, the executive. A Capricornian quote: “I will be lord over myself.”
Acanthus, Acanthus spinosus is the birthday flower for today. It signifies in the language of flowers “love of art” and that nothing will separate the giver and the receiver. The astrologers say that acanthus is ruled by the moon. Acanthus leaves served as the inspiration of the Corinthian order of Greek column capitals.
Seeing that I have mentioned the “orders of architecture”, I may as well take that as my subject for Art Sunday. Orders of architecture indicate in any of several styles of classical or Neoclassical architecture, building styles that are defined by the particular type of column and entablature they use as a basic unit. The form of the capital (topmost part of the column) is the most distinguishing characteristic of a particular order. There are five major orders: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite.
The unit used in the measurement of columns is the diameter of the shaft at the base; thus, a column may be described as being eight (lower) diameters high. Ancient Greek architecture developed three distinct orders, the Doric the Ionic, and the Corinthian capital, which were adopted and slightly modified by the Romans in the 1st century BC and have been used ever since in Western architecture.
The Doric order is characterized by a slightly tapered column that is the most squat of all the orders, measuring in height (including the capital) only about four to eight lower diameters. The Greek forms of the Doric order have no individual base and instead rest directly on the stylobate (topmost “step” of the base of the building), although subsequent forms of Doric frequently were given a conventional plinth-and-torus base. The Doric shaft is channeled with 20 shallow flutes. The capital, as stated before, consists of a simple necking; a spreading, convex echinus; and a square abacus. The frieze section of the Doric entablature is distinctive. It is composed of projecting triglyphs (units each consisting of three vertical bands separated by grooves) that alternate with receding square panels, called metopes, that may be either plain or carved with sculptured reliefs. The Roman forms of the Doric order have smaller proportions and appear lighter and more graceful than their Greek counterparts. The Greek Doric order is characterised as being masculine and virile in its appearance. The prime example of the Doric order is the Parthenon of the Acropolis of Athens.
The Ionic order differs from the Doric in having more flutes on its shaft and in the scrolls, or volutes, that droop over the front and rear portions of the echinus in the capital. The echinus itself is carved with an egg-and-dart motif. The height of the entire Ionic order—column, base, capital, and entablature— is nine lower diameters. The base of the column has two tori (convex moldings) separated by a scotia. The shaft, which is eight lower diameters high, has 24 flutes. On the entablature, the architrave is usually made up of three stepped bands. The frieze lacks the Doric triglyph and metope, and hence this area can hold a continuous band of carved ornament, such as figural groups. The Ionic order is described as being feminine and graceful in its general appearance.
The Corinthian order is the most elegant of the five orders. Its distinguishing characteristic is the striking capital, which is carved with two staggered rows of sylised acanthus leaves and four scrolls. The shaft has 24 sharp-edged flutes, while the column is 10 diameters high. This order is the most lavish and opulent and gives a general appearance of richness and luxury, even decadence.
The Tuscan order is a Roman adaptation of the Doric. The Tuscan has an unfluted shaft and a simple echinus-abacus capital. It is similar in proportion and profile to the Roman Doric but is much plainer. The column is seven diameters high. This order is the most solid in appearance of all the orders.
The Composite order, which was not ranked as a separate order until the Renaissance, is a late Roman development of the Corinthian. It is called Composite because its capital is composed of Ionic volutes and Corinthian acanthus-leaf decoration. The column is 10 diameters high.
The Doric and Ionic orders originated nearly simultaneously on opposite shores of the Aegean Sea; the Doric on the Greek mainland and the Ionic in the Greek cities of Asia Minor. (The volutes of the Ionic capital were adapted from Phoenician and Egyptian capital designs.) The Doric may be considered the earlier order of the two only in its developed form. Both orders originated in temples constructed out of wood. The earliest well-preserved example of Doric architecture is the Temple of Hera at Olympia, built soon after 600 BC. From these beginnings, the evolution of the stone Doric column can be traced in architectural remains in Greece, Sicily, and southern Italy, where the Doric was to remain the chief order for monumental buildings for the next eight centuries.
The Greeks as well as the Romans regarded the Corinthian as only a variant capital to be substituted for the Ionic. The first known use of a Corinthian capital on the outside of a building is that of the choragic Monument of Lysicrates (Athens, 335/334 BC). The Corinthian was raised to the rank of an order by the 1st-century-BC Roman writer and architect Vitruvius.
The Romans adopted the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders and modified them to produce the Tuscan order, which is a simplified form of the Doric, and the Composite order, which is a combination of the Ionic and Corinthian orders. Another Roman innovation was the superposed order; when columns adorned several successive stories of a building, they were normally of different orders, in an ascending sequence from heaviest to most slender. Thus columns of the Doric order were assigned to the ground floor of a building, Ionic ones to the middle story, and Corinthian or Composite ones to the top story. To avoid the complications of separate orders for each story, the architects of the Renaissance invented the Colossal order, which is composed of columns extending the height of two or more stories of a building.
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
I sometimes get the impression that I am on a soapbox delivering a monologue, so your comments are welcome.