Monday, 31 May 2010


“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.” - Andrew Wyeth

It’s the first day of Winter here in Australia and the weather has been very pleasant. Cool and sunny, but with the good news that our water reservoirs are at 32.7% (592.9 billion litres) full, compared with 26.5% (469.3 billion litres) at the same time last year. We are hoping for more good rains over winter and spring to keep those dams full! I had a very busy day at work today, full of meetings, hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters. At least much was achieved!

As one of my friends celebrated a birthday today (another crazy Gemini!), this is dedicated to all people celebrating a birthday today. And you are in good company with some of the other birthday boys and girls on this day:
  • Henry Francis Lyte, hymn writer (1793);
  • Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, physicist (1796);
  • Brigham Young, Mormon prophet (1801);
  • Mikhail Glinka, Russian composer (1804);
  • John Edward Masefield, poet (1878);
  • John Drinkwater, poet/playwright (1882);
  • Frank Whittle, jet engine inventor (1907);
  • Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Baker), actress (1926);
  • Andy Griffith, actor (1926);
  • Bob Monkhouse, comedian (1928);
  • Pat Boone, singer (1934);
  • Gerald Scarfe, cartoonist (1936);
  • Colleen McCullough, Australian author (1938);
  • Robert Powell, actor (1944);
  • Frederica von Stade, opera singer (1945);
  • Jonathan Pryce, actor (1946);
  • Jason Donovan, Australian entertainer (1968).

The plant for today’s birthdays is the marjoram, Origanum majorana.  The name is derived from the Greek and means “joy of the mountain”.  Astrologically it under the dominion of Mercury and it symbolises blushing shyness.  The ancient Greeks crowned married couples with marjoram, as they believed that Aphrodite had blessed the herb and the pleasant fragrance was the result of the goddess’s touch.

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804–1857) one of today’s birthday boys, was the first of the nationalistic school of Russian composers. His operas “A Life for the Czar” (1836) and “Russlan and Ludmilla” (1842) introduced a characteristically Russian style into the language of music. He influenced many other composers, not only Russians but also many of the other Slavs. The exuberant overture of “Russlan and Ludmilla” is a gem amongst classical music. Here it is!

St Elmo (also known as St Erasmus), whose feast day it is today, was a bishop from Syria who was martyred by having his intestines drawn out through a slit in his belly with a capstan or windlass.  He is often invoked, therefore, against all sorts of intestinal disorders and bellyaches.  Because a capstan was used, he is also one of the patron saints of sailors.  The term “St Elmo’s Fire” describes the electrical discharges that are seen around ships during storms and are thought of by sailors to be a sign of the Saint’s protective presence.


  1. Nice to know us Gemini's are in such good company. I will have to look up who shares my birthday on Thursday.

    Happy birthday to all Gemini's

    And here on the other side of the world it finally felt like Summer yesterday.

  2. I don't like winter and complain endlessly. The endlessly grey and dismal sky during June, July and August makes Melbourne look depressed. Everyone wears dark clothes :( The quality of my writing goes off :(

  3. I prefer winter to summer as the heat doesn't agree with me at all.
    Lovely rousing music!