Saturday 6 August 2016


“The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency - half tiger, half poet.” - Yehudi Menuhin

Francesco Antonio Bonporti (11 June 1672 – 19 December 1749) was an Italian priest and amateur composer. He was born in Trento. In 1691, he was admitted to the Collegium Germanicum in Rome, where he studied theology. There, he also studied composition under the guidance of Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni and, although it is not confirmed, violin with Arcangelo Corelli.

Back in his native Trento, he was ordained a priest in 1695. In 1740 he moved to Padua, where he lived until his death. He influenced Johann Sebastian Bach in the development of the invention, and in fact several of his works were mistakenly included in a set of Bach’s inventions. In reality, Bach had transcribed for harpsichord four violin pieces from Bonporti’s op. X (1712). Bonporti’s musical works consists of twelve collections, published between 1696 and 1736. He died in Padua in 1749.

Here are his “Invenzioni a Violino Solo” op. 10 with Chiara Banchini (Violin solo), Jesper Christensen (Harpsichord), Gaetano Nasillo (Violoncello).

Friday 5 August 2016


“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” - Victor Hugo

Our Winter seems to be dragging on this year, with quite a few rainy days, cold temperatures and wind now and then. The grey days give way to dark, cold nights and it seems the gardens in particular are having a hard time. Most tress are still bare and the blossom is in no hurry to arrive this year. A few magnolias that have started to bloom are rather reluctantly unfurling their buds and even the Spring bulbs are delayed. Wintertime calls for comfort food and what better than this traditional English dessert treat?

Lemon Steamed Pudding
1 tablespoon butter, at room-temperature, for greasing
4 and 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons),
plus 2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plain flour
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Berries for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease six 180 mL ramekins with the butter and place in a roasting pan.
Whisk together the golden syrup and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice in a small bowl and then divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins.
Whisk together the lemon zest, sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl. Stir in the milk and flour, alternating 3 times, and then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice (the batter will have a very liquid consistency).
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a separate bowl, and then gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the ramekins, filling them up to about 1 cm from the top.
Pour hot water into the roasting pan until about halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until the cakes have puffed and turned light brown on top, about 45 minutes.
Allow the ramekins to sit in the water for about 10 minutes before carefully removing them. Place a dessert plate on top of a ramekin and invert. If the cake does not naturally release, run a paring knife along the sides of the ramekin and try again. You should see a glossy lemon curd layer on top of the cake, with the treacle sauce running down the sides.
Repeat with the remaining ramekins. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries on the side (if desired).

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Thursday 4 August 2016


“One trophy is good, but two are better. That way, when a hero wears his medals on his chest, at least his steps are level as he walks by.” - Johan Cruyff

Tropaeolum majus (garden nasturtium, Indian cress or monks cress) is a flowering plant in the family Tropaeolaceae, originating in the Andes from Bolivia north to Colombia. The species has become naturalised in parts of the United States (California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut). It is of cultivated, probably hybrid origin, with possible parent species including T. minus, T. moritzianum, T. peltophorum, and T. peregrinum. It is not closely related to the genus Nasturtium (which includes watercress).

The first Tropaeolum species was imported into Spain by the Spanish botanist Nicolás Monardes. He published an account in 1569 entitled “Joyful News out of the Newe Founde Worlde” in which he described, among other things, the plants and animals discovered in South America. The English herbalist John Gerard reports having received seeds of the plant from Europe in his 1597 book “Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes.”

Tropaeolum majus was named by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who chose the genus name because the plant reminded him of an ancient custom. After victory in battle, the Romans used to set up a trophy pole called a tropaeum (from the Greek tropaion, source of English “trophy”). On this the armour and weapons of the vanquished foe were hung. Linnaeus was reminded of this by the plant as the round leaves resembled shields and the flowers, blood-stained helmets. The common name “nasturtium” means “that which makes your nose twist” because of the pungent smell of the leaves.

It is a herbaceous annual plant with trailing stems growing to 1 metre long or more. The leaves are large, nearly circular, 3 to 15 centimetres diameter, green to glaucous green above, paler below; they are peltate, with the 5–30 cm long petiole near the middle of the leaf, with several veins radiating to the smoothly rounded or slightly lobed margin. The flowers are 2.5–6 cm diameter, with five petals, eight stamens, and a 2.5–3 cm long nectar spur at the rear; they vary from yellow to orange to red, frilled and often darker at the base of the petals. The fruit is 2 cm broad, three-segmented, each segment with a single large seed 1–1.5 cm long.

The Elizabeth Linnæus Phenomenon (Das Elisabeth Linné-Phänomen), is the name given to the phenomenon of “Flashing Flowers”. This is seen especially at dusk, when the orange flowers may appear to emit small “flashes of light”. Once believed to be an electrical phenomenon, it is today thought to be an optical reaction in the human eye caused by the contrast between the orange flowers and the surrounding deep green. The phenomenon is named after Elisabeth Christina von Linné, one of Carl Linnaeus's daughters, who discovered it at age 19.

The plant is widely cultivated, both as an ornamental garden flower and as a medicinal plant. It is listed as invasive in several areas, including Hawaii, Lord Howe Island, New Zealand. Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful companion plants. They repel a great many cucurbit pests, like squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars. They have a similar range of benefits for brassica plants, especially broccoli and cauliflower. They also serve as a trap crop against black fly aphids, while attracting beneficial predatory insects.

All parts of the nasturtium plant are edible. The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir-fries. The flowers contain about 130 mg vitamin C per 100 grams, about the same amount as is contained in parsley. Moreover, they contain up to 45 mg of lutein per 100 gr, which is the highest amount found in any edible plant. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and dropped into spiced vinegar to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers.

In the language of flowers the nasturtium flower means “conquest; victory in battle”; the seed pods indicate “maternal love, charity;” while the leaves mean “patriotism, love of one’s country”.

Wednesday 3 August 2016


“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

For this week’s ‘Midweek Motif’, Poets United explores the topic, ‘The Song of a Single Word’. The challenge to participants is: “Choose a word which sings to you. Write a poem from its lyrics – or write a lyrical poem in answer to it.” My word is ‘Celandine’, which I think is a beautiful sounding word describing two different flowers (Chelidonium majus and Ficaria verna), both a sunny yellow colour. My poem below:


The longer days of warming breezes
Are days like draughts of heady wine;
No more the icy Winter freezes –
Now blooms the yellow celandine.

The cellar door will open wide,
The sun will heat the greening vine;
As hands in labour useful guide,
Smiles happily the golden celandine.

The swallows build their nests
And ondines sport in seaside brine;
Hearts faster beat, with cupid’s jests,
While blossoms sunny celandine.

I feel my quickened pulse and try
To utter now to the love of mine:
“You are my sun and apple of my eye,
You are my blonden celandine…”

Tuesday 2 August 2016


“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel!

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us! Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Lhasa is a city and administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The main urban area of Lhasa is roughly equivalent to the administrative borders of Chengguan District, which is part of the wider Lhasa prefecture-level city, an area formerly administered as a prefecture. Lhasa is the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau after Xining and, at an altitude of 3,490 metres, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. The city has been the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century. It contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palaces.

The Potala Palace (shown here) was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site. The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (died 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress called the White or Red Palace on the site, built by Songtsän Gampo in 637.

The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m thick, and 5 m thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings (containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues) soar 117 metres on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m in total above the valley floor. Tradition has it that the three main hills of Lhasa represent the “Three Protectors of Tibet”: Chokpori, just to the south of the Potala, is the soul-mountain of Vajrapani; Pongwari that of Manjusri; and Marpori, the hill on which the Potala stands, represents Avalokiteśvara.

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

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below,and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post:

Monday 1 August 2016


“Cinema can fill in the empty spaces of your life and your loneliness.” - Pedro Almodovar

Have you heard of film and the movies referred to as the “Seventh Art”? It is certainly more common to see this characterisation in many European languages (French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, etc), than it is in English. It is a term that came into being in the early days of cinema when people realised the rich possibilities of the medium in producing not only entertainment, but also works of art.

Ricciotto Canudo (2 January 1877, Gioia del Colle – 10 November 1923, Paris) was an early Italian film theoretician who lived primarily in France. He saw cinema as “plastic art in motion” and is the one responsible for calling it the “Seventh Art”. In his manifesto “The Birth of the Sixth Art”, published in 1911, Canudo argued that cinema was a new art, “a superb conciliation of the Rhythms of Space (the Plastic Arts) and the Rhythms of Time (Music and Poetry)”, a synthesis of the five ancient arts: Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry (cf. Hegel’s ‘Lectures on Aesthetics’).

Canudo also provided a platform for Cubism and Orphism, in his publications entitled ‘Montjoie’. The first issue was published on 10 February 1913. According to Canudo this was the only avant-garde magazine. Participating artists included Guillaume Apollinaire, Maurice Raynal, Albert Gleizes and Joseph Csaky. The magazine paid special attention to poetry, prose, articles on art, literature, music and history. The staff included André Salmon, Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie, Fernand Léger, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Raoul Dufy, Stefan Zweig, Robert Delaunay, Max Jacob, and Emile Verhaeren.

The third issue of the second volume of Montjoie, published March 18, 1914, was devoted entirely to the 30th Salon des Indépendants. The article written by André Salmon included photographs of works by Joseph Csaky, Robert Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Alice Bailly, Jacques Villon, Sonia Delaunay, André Lhote, Roger de La Fresnaye, Moise Kisling, Ossip Zadkine, Lucien Laforge and Valentine de Saint-Point. Publication of the magazine stopped on the eve of the First World War.

Canudo later added dance as a sixth precursor, a third rhythmic art with music and poetry, making cinema the seventh art. In Paris, he established an avant-garde magazine ‘Le Gazette de sept arts’ in 1920, and a film club, CASA (Club des amis du septième art), in 1921. His best-known essay ‘Reflections on the Seventh Art’ was published in 1923 after a number of earlier drafts, all published in Italy or France.

So in summary, the Seven Arts are:
1. Architecture
2. Sculpture
3. Painting
4. Music
5. Poetry
6. Dance
7. Cinema

Sunday 31 July 2016


“Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The eccentric and playfully self-advertising Viennese artist known as Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born as Friedrich Stowasser on 15 December 1928. He did not assume his nom d’artiste until 1949 (‘sto’ meaning ‘one hundred’ in Slavic languages and ‘Wasser”’ meaning ‘water’). Even in adolescence Stowasser brought home reports from school attesting to his “exceptional feeling for colour and form”.

After taking the examinations qualifying for university entrance, Hundertwasser spent three months at the Viennese Art Academy studying under Professor Robin Christian Andersen. Hundertwasser was, however, more indebted to the work of Egon Schiele and Walter Kampmann, which he saw at their exhibitions, than to the brief period of academic instruction.

Hundertwasser travelled extensively in Italy, where he met René Brô, whom he accompanied to Paris. Hundertwasser had thought of continuing formal training at the École des Beaux-Arts but spent only one day at that institution. Instead he found the numerous and adventurous trips he took to Morocco, Tunisia, Nepal, Tokyo and Siberia inspirational for the path he intended to follow. Taking Viennese Jugendstil as his point of departure, Hundertwasser developed an abstract, decorative, two-dimensional and vibrantly colourful, utterly distinctive style distinguished by ornamental spiral and labyrinth forms, circles, meanders and biomorphic shapes.

During the 1960s Friedensreich Hundertwasser was extremely successful, with a 1962 retrospective in the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale and a 1964 retrospective mounted by the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. In addition, the first comprehensive catalogue of his œuvre was published.

Active in the ecological movement, Hundertwasser was committed to making life liveable in a humane environment that was close to nature. He furthered his aims by issuing manifestos and making provocative public appearances, for instance giving a speech in the nude (1968) in Vienna. Between 1968 and 1972 Hundertwasser re-hauled the old sailing vessel ‘San Giuseppe’ at docks in the Venice lagoon, rechristened it ‘Regentag’ [‘Rainy Day’], and going to see in it several times.

So versatile and prolific was Hundertwasser that he also designed coins and stamps for Austria, Senegal and the UN from the 1970s. Moreover, Hunderwasser was the first European artist to have work carved by Japanese master carvers. In 1981 Hundertwasser was appointed head of the master classes for painting at the Viennese Art Academy. The famous Hundertwasser House in Vienna, begun in 1983, attests to Hunderwasser’s skill as an architect. The year before he died, Hundertwasser was working on a catalogue raisonné of his works and presented the Uelzen Station architectural project. Friedensreich Hundertwasser died on a cruise ship off New Zealand in 2000.

The painting above is “Columbus Landed in India”. Signed Friedensreich and numbered 687. Painted at La Picaudière, May 5 - Seeshaupt, May 25 - Venice, Giudecca, July 2 1969. Mixed media: Egg tempera, wax, oil and water colour on paper, primed with chalk and PV (polivenil); mounted on hemp with PV (polivenil) 81 x 111 cm. The painting was sold for 3,932,247 Swedish Kroner (≈$605,000 AUD) at auction. The painting shows the brilliant colours and intricate interlocking shapes characteristic of the artist, as well as the appearance of a spectral face often found in Hundertwasser’s works.