Saturday 6 May 2017


“If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” - Emily Brontë

Domenico Gallo (1730 – c. 1768) was an Italian composer and violinist. Born in Venice in 1730, Gallo composed mostly church music, including a Stabat Mater. Gallo also composed violin sonatas, symphonies and possibly violin concertos.

Some trio sonatas by Domenico Gallo were long attributed to Giovanni Pergolesi, including those upon which Igor Stravinsky based his music for the ballet “Pulcinella”. In fact, half of the surviving works by Gallo were once attributed to Pergolesi, probably because Gallo was little known, Pergolesi was famous and his name would sell the music.

It is known that in 1750 Gallo composed a two-voiced oratorio, “In Celebration of the Glories of B. Giuseppe Calasanzio”, the libretto of which by G. Barsotti was published in Venice in the same year. In addition, Gallo composed six violin and cello sonatas (Venice s.d.), and six sonatas for two flute and bass flutes, published in London in 1755, which would suggest perhaps that Gallo spent some time in England. However, much about what is known of this composer is speculative.

Here are 12 Trio Sonatas by Gallo:
1. Trio sonata No 1 in G 0:00
2. Trio sonata No 2 in B flat 5:45
3. Trio Sonata No. 3 in C minor 12:03
4. Trio Sonata No. 4 in G major 17:25
5. Trio Sonata No. 5 in C major 23:52
6. Trio Sonata No. 6 in D major 30:15
7. Sonata for 2 violins & continuo No 7 in G minor 35:36
8. Trio Sonata No. 8 in E flat major 42:12
9. Trio Sonata No. 9 in A major 48:15
10. Trio Sonata No. 10 in F major 53:32
11. Trio Sonata No. 11 in D minor 58:38
12. Trio Sonata No. 12 in E major 1:03:41

Friday 5 May 2017


“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” - Mark Twain 

More cool and wet weather in Melbourne is forecast for the weekend so what better than some soup for warming away the Autumn coolness? 

Cauliflower Soup

1 cauliflower, washed and chopped up
2 leeks (white parts), washed and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek powder
1 litre chicken (or vegetable) stock
Grated Parmesan cheese 

Sauté leek in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the cauliflower and stir through until thoroughly mixed. Add the salt, pepper and spices, stirring through.
Add two cups of the stock, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender and then remove from the heat. Purée in a good blender with remainder of the stock. Simmer until hot.
Serve soup in large bowls with grated Parmesan, on the side.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Thursday 4 May 2017


“Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green, When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen.” – English Folk Song 

Lavandula (common name, lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia, is often referred to as lavender, and there is a colour named for the shade of the flowers of this species.

The English word ‘lavender’ is generally thought to be derived from Old French lavandre, ultimately from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of infusions of the plants during the laundry process in order to make clothes fragrant. The botanic name Lavandula as used by Linnaeus is considered to be derived from this and other European vernacular names for the plants. However it is suggested that this explanation may be apocryphal, and that the name may actually be derived from Latin livere, ‘blueish’.

The names widely used for some of the species, ‘English lavender’, ‘French lavender’ and ‘Spanish lavender’ are all imprecisely applied. ‘English lavender’ is commonly used for L. angustifolia, though some references say the proper term is ‘Old English Lavender’. The name ‘French lavender’ may be used to refer to either L. stoechas or to L. dentata. ‘Spanish lavender’ may be used to refer to L. stoechas, L. lanata or L. dentata.

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard. The species originally grown was L. stoechas. Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard (or spikenard) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

The genus includes annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plants, and shrub-like perennials, subshrubs or large shrubs. Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in other species they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.

Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce coloured bracts at the apices. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish. The calyx is tubular. The corolla is also tubular, usually with five lobes (the upper lip often cleft, and the lower lip has two clefts).

The most common form in cultivation is the common or English lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly named L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida (Egyptian lavender). Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range.  Commonly such adventitious establishment is apparently harmless at best, but in some cases Lavandula species have become invasive. In Australia, Lavandula stoechas has become a cause for concern; it occurs widely throughout the continent, and has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920. It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.

Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. All types need little or no fertiliser and good air circulation. In areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Organic mulches can trap moisture around the plant base, encouraging root rot. Gravelly materials such as crushed rocks give better results.

Commercially, the plant is grown mainly for the production of essential oil of lavender. This has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used as a natural mosquito repellent. These extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandin, Lavandula × intermedia (also known as Dutch lavender), yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance.

Lavender is grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressings. The flowers yield abundant nectar, from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. It is also used to make lavender sugar. Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep’s-milk and goat’s-milk cheeses. A recipe for Lavender Candy can be found here.

Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal teas. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts, pairing especially well with chocolate. In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.  Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul's Cuisinière Provençale.

In the 1970s, a blend of herbs called herbes de Provence which usually includes lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cooking. For most cooking applications the dried buds, which are also referred to as flowers, are used. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the characteristic scent and flavour of lavender are derived. Lavender greens have a more subtle flavour that is compared to rosemary. The greens are used similarly to rosemary or combined with rosemary to flavour meat and vegetables in savoury dishes. They can also be used to make a tea that is milder than teas made with the flowers.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that lavender is considered likely safe in food amounts and possibly safe in medicinal amounts. NIH does not recommend the use of lavender while pregnant or breast-feeding because of lack of knowledge of its effects. It recommends caution if young boys use lavender oil because of possible hormonal effects leading to gynaecomastia, and states that lavender may cause skin irritation and could be poisonous if consumed by mouth. Employ common sense and caution when using lavender and its products!

In the language of flowers, sprigs of non-flowering lavender denote purity and caution. Fresh lavender flowers mean “encouragement” and “fortification”. Bouquets of dried lavender flower spikes carry the meaning: “Silence and devotion” – widows often took bouquets of dried lavender to the graves of their dead husbands.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday 2 May 2017


“The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.” - DavidRussell 

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.
Launceston is a city in the north of Tasmania, Australia at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers where they become the Tamar River. Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania after Hobart. With a population of 86,633, Launceston is the twelfth-largest non-capital city in Australia. It is the only inland city in Tasmania.

Settled by Europeans in March 1806, Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest cities and is home to many historic buildings. Like many Australian places, it was named after a town in the United Kingdom – in this case, Launceston, Cornwall. Launceston has also been home to several firsts such as the first use of anaesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere, the first Australian city to have underground sewers and the first Australian city to be lit by hydroelectricity. The city has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Local government is split between the City of Launceston and the Meander Valley and West Tamar Councils.

Built in two complementary sections forty years apart (1863 and 1903), King’s Bridge near Launceston, Tasmania, is a very elegant and gracefully arched, open girder steel bridge which carries Bridge Road/Trevallyn Road across the Tamar River. Built to carry main road traffic north from Launceston to the town on the coasts of Bass Strait, the bridge is now protected from heavy West Tamar traffic by the newer adjoining Paterson Bridge, which was brought into service in the 1960s. King’s Bridge is now reserved for local traffic only. Part of the bridge’s appeal is that it is the perfect terminating element to the renowned Launceston Gorge within the Trevallyn State Reserve. The reserve is bounded by the South Esk River on all but the northern side. In the east is the Trevallyn Lake, formed by the Trevallyn Dam, and in the east is Cataract Gorge. 

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 May 2017


“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.” - Don Miguel Ruiz 

Osiris, from Egyptian wsjr or jsjrt, Coptic ⲟⲩⲥⲓⲣⲉ) was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead, but more appropriately as the god of transition, resurrection, and regeneration. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail.

Osiris was at times considered the oldest son of the earth god Geb, though other sources state his father is the sun-god Ra, and the sky goddess Nut, as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son. He was also associated with the epithet Khenti-Amentiu, meaning “Foremost of the Westerners”, a reference to his kingship in the land of the dead. As ruler of the dead, Osiris was also sometimes called “king of the living”: Ancient Egyptians considered the blessed dead “the living ones”.

Osiris was considered the brother of Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus the Elder, and father of Horus the Younger. Osiris is first attested in the middle of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt, although it is likely that he was worshipped much earlier; the Khenti-Amentiu epithet dates to at least the first dynasty, also as a pharaonic title. Most information available on the myths of Osiris is derived from allusions contained in the Pyramid Texts at the end of the Fifth Dynasty, later New Kingdom source documents such as the Shabaka Stone and the Contending of Horus and Seth, and much later, in narrative style from the writings of Greek authors including Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus.

Osiris was considered not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. He was described as the “Lord of love”, “He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful” and the “Lord of Silence”. The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death – as Osiris rose from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic.

By the New Kingdom all people, not just pharaohs, were believed to be associated with Osiris at death, if they incurred the costs of the assimilation rituals. Through the hope of new life after death, Osiris began to be associated with the cycles observed in nature, in particular vegetation and the annual flooding of the Nile, through his links with the heliacal rising of Orion and Sirius at the start of the new year. Osiris was widely worshipped as Lord of the Dead until the suppression of the Egyptian religion during the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

Osiris is represented in his most developed form of iconography wearing the Atef crown, which is similar to the White crown of Upper Egypt, but with the addition of two curling ostrich feathers at each side. He also carries the crook and flail. The crook is thought to represent Osiris as a shepherd god. The symbolism of the flail is more uncertain with shepherds whip, fly-whisk, or association with the god Andjety of the ninth nome of Lower Egypt proposed. He was commonly depicted as a pharaoh with a complexion of either green (the colour of rebirth) or black (alluding to the fertility of the Nile floodplain) in mummiform (wearing the trappings of mummification from chest downward).

Eventually, in Egypt, the Hellenic pharaohs decided to produce a deity that would be acceptable to both the local Egyptian population, and the influx of Hellenic visitors, to bring the two groups together, rather than allow a source of rebellion to grow. Thus Osiris was identified explicitly with Apis, while really an aspect of Ptah, who had already been identified as Osiris by this point, and a syncretism of the two was created, known as Serapis, and depicted as a standard Greek god.

The cult of Osiris continued until the 6th century AD on the island of Philae in Upper Nile. The Theodosian decrees of the 390s, to destroy all pagan temples, were not enforced there. The worship of Isis and Osiris was allowed to continue at Philae until the time of Justinian I, by treaty between the Blemmyes-Nobadae and Diocletian. Every year they visited Elephantine, and at certain intervals took the image of Isis up river to the land of the Blemmyes for oracular purposes. The practices ended when Justinian sent Narses to destroy sanctuaries, arrest priests, and seize divine images, which were taken to Constantinople.