Saturday 13 May 2017


“Music is the poor man’s Parnassus.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Agostino Guerrieri (most probably born in Milan circa 1630 -  died, circa 1684) was an Italian composer and violinist of the Baroque period. Guerrieri was born around 1630 into a wealthy Milanese family. Before 1650 he was singer at the chapel of the Cathedral of Milan and a pupil of Antonio Maria Turati, director of the same chapel. Later he worked for a long time in Genoa, where he also served as a Master of Music at the Cathedral there. In 1673 he published the Opus 1 Sonatas in Genoa for the church and also for lay uses. In 1676 instead published the Partite sopra Ruggiero. Guerrieri died after 1684 and remarkably little is known of his life.

Here are the Opus 1 sonatas, played by the period instrument ensemble Parnassi Musici, whose origins are in the 2nd violin section of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Freiburg. This group confronts its listeners time and time again with the unexpected, both in terms of its superb musical standards as well as its highly imaginative programming. The members of the ensemble (as of 2008) are Margaret MacDuffie (Violin), Matthias Fischer (Violin), Stephan Schrader (Cello), and Martin Lutz (Harpsichord & Organ). This kernel is augmented from time to time by guest musicians according to the needs of the performed works.

1. Sonata a 4, "La Sevesca" 0:00
2. Sonata a 2, "La Galeazza" 3:03
3. Sonata a 1, "La Sevaschina" 6:09
4. Sonata a 2, "La Brignoli" 9:51
5. Sonata a 1, "La Tita" 13:02
6. Sonata a 3, "La Viviani" 18:31
7. Balletto primo per camera 22:35
8. Sonata a 2, "La Lucina" 25:58
9. Balletto secondo 32:14
10. Sonata a 1, "Malincolica" 35:43
11. Sonata a 2, "La Marchetta" 39:29
12. Sonata a 2, "La Benedetta" 41:24
13. Sonata a 1, "La Rotini" 44:11
14. Sonata a 2, "La Rosciana" 49:57
15. Sonata a 3, "La Pietra" 52:37
16. Sonata a 4, "La Rovetta" 57:20

The painting at the top of the page is a ‘Vanitas’ Still Life by N.L. Peschier (1660).

Friday 12 May 2017


“I love the food in Thailand because of the exotic spices they use. Their style of cooking is unique to their culture and always amazing.” - Venus Williams 

We ate out a couple of weeks ago and I had a lovely Thai chicken stir-fry. A friend gave me the recipe and yesterday, we tried it at home. The flavour was slightly different, but overall I was very pleased with the way this turned out!

 Thai Chicken Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
700 g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Thai green curry paste
270mL can coconut cream
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 and 1/2 cups chopped seasonal green vegetables
3 cm length of ginger root, peeled and shaved
1 cup coriander leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
Steamed basmati rice and lime wedges, to serve

Heat a wok over high heat until quite hot. Add half the oil and half the chicken, stir-frying for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken.
Add curry paste to wok, stir-frying for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Return chicken and any juices to wok, stirring thoroughly. Add the ginger and stir.
Add coconut cream, fish sauce, and vegetables. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until vegies just tender. Stir through coriander and lime juice. Serve with steamed basmati rice and lime wedges.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday 9 May 2017


“What land is this? Yon pretty town Is Delft, with all its wares displayed: The pride, the market-place, the crown And centre of the Potter’s trade.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

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. 
Delft is a city and a municipality in the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, to the north of Rotterdam and south of The Hague. Delft is known for its historic town centre with canals, Delft Blue pottery, the Delft University of Technology, painter Johannes Vermeer and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek, and its association with the royal House of Orange-Nassau.

 The city of Delft came into being aside a canal, the ‘Delf’, which comes from the word delven, meaning delving or digging, and led to the name Delft. It presumably started around the 11th century as a landlord court. From a rural village in the early Middle Ages, Delft developed to a city, that in the 13th century (1246) received its charter.

The town’s association with the House of Orange started when William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), nicknamed William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger), took up residence in 1572. At the time he was the leader of growing national Dutch resistance against Spanish occupation, known as the Eighty Years’ War. By then Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and it was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. An attack by Spanish forces in October of that year was repelled.

 After the Act of Abjuration was proclaimed in 1581, Delft became the de facto capital of the newly independent Netherlands, as the seat of the Prince of Orange. When William was shot dead in 1584, by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof, the family’s traditional burial place in Breda was still in the hands of the Spanish. Therefore, he was buried in the Delft Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day.

 The painter Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was born in Delft. Vermeer used Delft streets and home interiors as the subject or background of his paintings. Several other famous painters lived and worked in Delft at that time, such as Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius, Nicolaes Maes, Gerard Houckgeest and Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet. They all were members of the Delft School. The Delft School is known for its images of domestic life, views of households, church interiors, courtyards, squares and the streets of Delft. The painters also produced pictures showing historic events, flower paintings, portraits for patrons and the court, and decorative pieces of art.

The city centre retains a large number of monumental buildings, whereas in many streets there are canals of which the borders are connected by typical bridges, altogether making this city a notable tourist destination.

Delftware or Delft pottery, also known as Delft Blue, is blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century. Delftware in the latter sense is one of the types of tin-glazed earthenware or faience in which a white glaze is applied, usually decorated with metal oxides. It also forms part of the worldwide family of blue and white pottery, using variations of the plant-based decoration first developed in 14th century Chinese porcelain, and in great demand in Europe. Delftware includes pottery objects of all descriptions such as plates, ornaments and tiles. The most highly-regarded period of production is about 1640–1740.

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

Monday 8 May 2017


“Light and Darkness. One cannot exist without the other. There is no true Master, without the power of balance. ” ― Luis Marques 

Nephthys (Greek: Νέφθυς) or Nebthet or Neber-Het was a goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. A member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis in Egyptian mythology, she was a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites  because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set.

Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet (transliterated as Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, from Egyptian hieroglyphs). The origin of the goddess Nephthys is unclear but the literal translation of her name is usually given as “Lady of the House”, which has caused some to mistakenly identify her with the notion of a “housewife”, or as the primary lady who ruled a domestic household. This is a pervasive error repeated in many commentaries concerning this deity. Her name means quite specifically, “Lady of the [Temple] Enclosure”, which associates her with the role of high priestess.

At the time of the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Nephthys appears as a goddess of the Heliopolitan Ennead. She is the sister of Isis and companion of the war-like deity, Set. As sister of Isis and especially Osiris, Nephthys is a protective goddess who symbolises the death experience, just as Isis represented the (re)birth experience. Nephthys was known in some ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the “Useful Goddess” or the “Excellent Goddess”.

Late Ancient Egyptian temple texts describe a goddess who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship. Nephthys is regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis (Inpu) in some myths. Alternatively Anubis appears as the son of Bastet or Isis. As the primary “nursing mother” of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Horus, Nephthys also was considered to be the nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself. Though other goddesses could assume this role, Nephthys was most usually portrayed in this function. In contrast Nephthys is sometimes featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath.

In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a kite, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection. Nephthys’ association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk (and its piercing, mournful cries) evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations usually offered for the dead by wailing women. In this capacity, it is easy to see how Nephthys could be associated with death and putrefaction in the Pyramid Texts. She was, almost without fail, depicted as crowned by the hieroglyphics signifying her name, which were a combination of signs for the sacred temple enclosure (hwt), along with the sign for neb, or mistress (Lady), on top of the enclosure sign.

Nephthys was clearly viewed as a morbid-but-crucial force of heavenly transition, i.e., the Pharaoh becomes strong for his journey to the afterlife through the intervention of Isis and Nephthys. The same divine power could be applied later to all of the dead, who were advised to consider Nephthys a necessary companion. According to the Pyramid Texts, Nephthys, along with Isis, was a force before whom demons trembled in fear, and whose magical spells were necessary for navigating the various levels of Duat, as the region of the afterlife was termed.

While Nephthys’ marriage to Set was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Set the villain, but with Set’s other aspect, the benevolent figure who was the killer of Apophis. This was the aspect of Set worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler. This benign aspect of Nephthys is corroborated Nephthys’ role in assisting Isis in gathering and mourning the dismembered portions of the body of Osiris, after his murder by the envious Set. Nephthys also serves as the nursemaid and watchful guardian of the infant Horus.

As a mortuary goddess like Isis, Neith, and Serqet, Nephthys was one of the protectresses of the Canopic jars of the Hapi. Hapi, one of the Sons of Horus, guarded the embalmed lungs. Thus we find Nephthys endowed with the epithet, “Nephthys of the Bed of Life”, in direct reference to her regenerative priorities on the embalming table. In the city of Memphis, Nephthys was duly honoured with the title “Queen of the Embalmer’s Shop”, and there associated with the jackal-headed god Anubis as patron.

Not always lugubrious, Nephthys was also considered a festive deity whose rites could mandate the liberal consumption of beer. In various reliefs at Edfu, Dendera, and Behbeit, Nephthys is depicted receiving lavish beer-offerings from the Pharaoh, which she would “return”, using her power as a beer-goddess “that [the pharaoh] may have joy with no hangover”...

Sunday 7 May 2017


“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up.” - PabloPicasso  

Tadeusz Makowski (29 January 1882, Oświęcim - 1 November 1932, Paris) was a Polish painter who worked in France and was associated with the School of Paris.

From 1902 to 1906, Makowski studied classical philology at the Jagiellonian University. During that time, he also began studying art at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts with Jan Stanisławski and Józef Mehoffer. Upon completing his studies there in 1908, he moved to Paris, where he would live for the rest of his life.

Originally he painted in the relatively conservative style taught by his professors. Then, he painted some frescoes that attracted the attention of a group of Cubist painters led by Henri Le Fauconnier, who worked in Montparnasse. This had a decisive influence on his work and the paintings of the period reflect the cubist ideals. At the invitation of Władysław Ślewiński, he spent the war years in Brittany and would return there several times. These trips inspired him to depart from strict cubism and go back to studying nature; creating many stylised landscapes.

Later, his favourite subjects were carnivals, fairs and children, done in a style inspired by the old Dutch Masters, Polish folk art and naïve art. He also did woodcut book illustrations. During the 1920s, he lived briefly in the Netherlands. From 1912 to 1931, he kept a diary that was published in Warsaw in 1961 by the State Publishing Institute (PIW).

Above is his “Winter”, painted in 1918. There is an element of naïve simplification in the painting, but its overall composition, subject matter, atmosphere and palette of colours pays homage to Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Hunters in the Snow”. More representative of his oeuvre are the children playing and dressing up.