Tuesday, 25 February 2014


“It is the destiny of mint to be crushed.” Waverley Lewis Root
Spearmint, Mentha spicata, is the birthday plant for this day.  The generic name is derived from Minthe, a nymph of ancient Greek legend. She was the beautiful daughter of the river god Cocytus. Pluto, the god of Hades fell in love with her and this being discovered, his wife Persephone, turned Minthe into the herb.  The ancient Greeks used to perfume different parts of the body with different scents, the arms being scented with mint.  The herb symbolises burning love and in the language of flowers means: “Let's be friends again”.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of:
Georg Friderich Händel, German composer (1685);
Carlo Goldoni, playwright (1707);
José de San Martin, Argentine revolutionary (1778);
Pierre Auguste Renoir, French impressionist artist (1841);
George Reid, Australian PM (1845);
Frederick McCubbin, Australian artist (1855);
Benedetto Croce, philosopher (1866);
Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor (1873);
Myra Hess, pianist (1890);
Zeppo (Herbert) Marx, comedian (1901);
(Karl-Gerhard) Gert Frobe, actor (1913);
Anthony Burgess (John Burgess Wilson), writer (1917);
Tom Courtenay, actor (1937);
Herb Elliott, Australian runner (1938);
David Puttnam, director/producer (1941);
George Harrison, of Beatles fame (1943).
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759) was a German-English baroque composer. His music is powerful, melodic, ebullient and deeply moving at times.  By 1705 he had produced two operas in Hamburg; he spent the next four years in Italy, where he absorbed Italian style. Moving to England in 1712, he wrote music, including the famous “Water Music” (1717), for George I.
He presented operas in London until 1741. Among his 46 operas are “Julius Caesar” (1724), “Atalanta” (1736), and “Serse” (1738), with its tenor aria now known as the Largo. His masterpiece is the sacred oratorio, “The Messiah”. This is a setting of verses from the Old and New Testaments as arranged by Charles Jennens. Händel composed it between August 22 and September 14, in 1741 in his London Home in Brook Street.
His other 32 oratorios include “Acis and Galatea” (1720), “Esther” (1732), “Saul” (1739), and “Judas Maccabeus” (1747). He also composed ≈100 Italian solo cantatas; many orchestral works, among them the Twelve Concerti Grossi (1739); harpsichord suites; organ concertos; and the anthem “Zadok, the Priest” (1727), used at all British coronations since that of George II.

On this day in 1723, Sir Christopher Wren, English architect of St Paul's in London died. In 1899, Paul Julius von Reuter, German founder of Reuter's News Agency died; in 1906, Anton Arensky, Russian composer, pianist and conductor died. In 1914, Sir John Tenniel, English illustrator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland died. In 1983, Tennessee Williams, US playwright of "A Streetcar Named Desire", "A Hard Day's Journey into Night", "Mourning Becomes Electra", died.

Today is also Kuwait's Independence Day. Kuwait has been a UK protectorate since 1899, but gained its independence in 1961. It is one of the Persian Gulf states wedged between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  Most of the country is a low desert, its area about 24,300 square km, the population about 2,5 million people.  The discovery of rich oil deposits made Kuwait one of the richest countries in the world, sparking off Iraq's attempted annexation a few years ago.


  1. Oh Handel for lunch...how lovely! I am being bad and skipping all the slow movts.:) Thank you for this one.

  2. Have it playing int eh background for quite some time now. Beautiful!