Saturday 10 June 2017


“The way that I see astrology is as a repository of thought and psychology. A system we’ve created as a culture as way to make things mean things.” - Eleanor Catton 

Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite “The Planets”, he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success. His distinctive compositional style was the product of many influences, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss being most crucial early in his development. The subsequent inspiration of the English folksong revival of the early 20th century, and the example of such rising modern composers as Maurice Ravel, led Holst to develop and refine an individual style.

There were professional musicians in the previous three generations of Holst’s family and it was clear from his early years that he would follow the same calling. He hoped to become a pianist, but was prevented by neuritis in his right arm. Despite his father’s reservations, he pursued a career as a composer, studying at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford. Unable to support himself by his compositions, he played the trombone professionally and later became a teacher—a great one, according to his colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams. Among other teaching activities he built up a strong tradition of performance at Morley College, where he served as musical director from 1907 until 1924, and pioneered music education for women at St Paul’s Girls’ School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was the founder of a series of Whitsun music festivals, which ran from 1916 for the remainder of his life.

Holst’s works were played frequently in the early years of the 20th century, but it was not until the international success of “The Planets” in the years immediately after the First World War that he became a well-known figure. A shy man, he did not welcome this fame, and preferred to be left in peace to compose and teach. In his later years his uncompromising, personal style of composition struck many music lovers as too austere, and his brief popularity declined. Nevertheless, he was a significant influence on a number of younger English composers, including Edmund Rubbra, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten. Apart from The Planets and a handful of other works, his music was generally neglected until the 1980s, when recordings of much of his output became available.

“The Planets”, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst.

From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holsts friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.

Here is “The Planets” suite:
0:00 Mars
7:27 Venus
14:52 Mercury
18:39 Jupiter
26:11 Saturn
35:26 Uranus
41:12 Neptune

Friday 9 June 2017


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell 

We have been having more crisp winter days in Melbourne, and as the evening falls earlier and earlier with the night cold and dark, some hearty comfort is definitely needed. Here is a favourite vegetarian dish of ours that foots the bill!

Vegetable and Bean Winter Stew

3 tbsp of olive oil
+ 2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tender celery stick, finely chopped
1 leek, white part, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sweet red capsicum, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground smoked paprika
4 cups of a mixture of cooked and drained, black-eyed beans, haricot beans and butter beans
Chopped parsley and red chilli (if desired) for garnish

Heat the 3 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the celery, leek and onion and stir. Cook until the celery looks almost transparent and then add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring all the time.
Add the canned tomatoes, red peppers and 2 cups of vegetable stock and boil for about 30 minutes, stirring to break down the tomatoes, until the sauce is starting to reduce and the peppers are soft.
In a skillet, put the 2 tbsp of oil and once hot, add the drained beans, stirring through to heat up. Add the herbs and spices, stirring thoroughly.
Add the beans to the vegetable mixture and boil for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a little water if the mixture becomes too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
When ready, serve in individual warmed bowls and top with some chopped parsley and chilli if desired.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Wednesday 7 June 2017


“Contrary to what the cynics say, distance is not for the fearful; it's for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love.” — Meghan Daum

When the one we love is far away from us we discover a new way of loving. The experience of our affections alter in quite subtle ways and hits us with quite a punch in our everyday life. The longer the period of absence is protracted, the greater our change and our every action and thought begins to be coloured by that absence. The poem below is for the Poets United Midweek Motif, “Oceans”.
Across the Oceans

Though far away, you are close to me,
Because your distant presence
Attunes within my heart, your heart.

Though far away, I hear your voice,
When you call me; and its lingering echo
Resonates deep within my soul.

Though far away, I see your face,
Your smile a distant sun that warms
Each ice-cold fibre of my body.

Though far away, I taste your kiss,
Each time I bite into a ripe strawberry,
Fragrant, lush, juicy and succulent.

Though far away, I speak your name,
And my winged words fly out,
Across the oceans, swiftly to find you;
And in their beaks they carry my kisses,
And in their claws grasp my solitude.

Though far away, you’ll hear my words,
Calling your name, giving you kisses.
And my solitude, delivered to you, will be no more,
As you open your arms and in your dream of me
Will feel my love enveloping you softly.

Across the oceans, distance is annulled,
Love bends both time and space, taming them
And the oceans lose their breadth and depth;
Together our souls will meld and fly above
The crashing waves to find our sunny place.

Tuesday 6 June 2017


“A poor fisherman who knows the beauties of the misty mornings is much richer than a wealthy man who sleeps till noon in his palace!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan 

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.   
Castellammare del Golfo (Sicilian: Casteddammari) is a town and ‘comune’ in the Trapani Province of Sicily. The name is roughly translated ‘Sea-Fortress (castle [on the] sea) of the Gulf’, deriving from the medieval fortress in the harbour. The body of water it sits upon also takes its name from the fortress, Golfo di Castellammare.

In ancient times, Castellammare had been the harbour of Segesta, one of the main towns of the Elymian people.  Fishing has been important in Castellammare del Golfo dating back to ancient times. Today the town’s economy continues to be based on fishing with the addition of tourism.

The small town is noted, however, for having been the birthplace of many American Mafia figures, including Salvatore Maranzano, Stefano Magaddino, Joseph Barbara, Gaspare Milazzo, Peter Magaddino, Giovanni Bonventre, Pietro Caiozzo, Gaspare DiGregorio, Matteo DiGregorio, Sebastiano Domingo, Giovanni D’Anna, Francesco Puma, Camillo Galante, Pietro Crociata, Michele Adamo, Girolamo Asaro, Francesco Garofalo, Giovanni Fiordilino, Giovanni Tartamella, Joseph Buccellato, Francesco Buccellato, Vito Buccellato, Natale Evola, Vincenzo Danna, Charles DiBenedetto, Jimmy Costa, Giovanni Romano, Sasa Parrino, Cola Schiro, Joseph Notaro and Joseph Bonanno. From this name comes also the Castellamarese war, fought by Joe Masseria clan against Salvatore Maranzano clan for the leadership of the Italian Mafia in New York City.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby 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 5 June 2017


“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” - H. P. Lovecraft 

Ḥeḥ (also Huh, Hah, Hauh, Huah, Hahuh and Hehu) was in Egyptian mythology, the personification of infinity or eternity in the Ogdoad, his name itself meaning “endlessness”. His female counterpart was known as Hauhet, which is simply the feminine form of his name. Like the other concepts in the Ogdoad, his male form was often depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed human, and his female form as a snake or snake-headed human. The frog head symbolised fertility, creation, and regeneration, and was also possessed by the other Ogdoad males Kek, Amun, and Nun. Together with his female counterpart Ḥauḥet, Ḥeḥ represented a member of the Ogdoad of eight primeval deities whose worship was centred at Hermopolis Magna. The other members of the Ogdoad , Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet, Kuk and Kauket, who joined together to create the cataclysmic event that gives rise to the sun and sun god, Atum. 

The other common representation depicts him crouching, holding a palm stem in each hand (or just one), sometimes with a palm stem in his hair, as palm stems represented long life to the Egyptians, the years being represented by notches on it. Depictions of this form also had a shen ring at the base of each palm stem, which represented infinity. Depictions of Heh were also used in hieroglyphs to represent one million, which was essentially considered equivalent to infinity in Ancient Egyptian mathematics. Thus this deity is also known as the “god of millions of years”.

The god Ḥeḥ was usually depicted anthropomorphically, as in the hieroglyphic character, as a male figure with divine beard and lappet wig. Normally kneeling (one knee raised), sometimes in a basket (the sign for “all”), the god typically holds in each hand a notched palm branch (palm rib). These were employed in the temples for ceremonial time-keeping, which use explains the use of the palm branch as the hieroglyphic symbol for rnp.t, “year”. Occasionally, an additional palm branch is worn on the god's head. In Ancient Egyptian Numerology, Gods such as Heh were used to represent numbers in a decimal point system. Particularly, the number 1,000,000 is depicted in the hieroglyph of Heh, who is position in his normal seated position.

The personified, somewhat abstract god of eternity Ḥeḥ possessed no known cult centre or sanctuary; rather, his veneration revolved around symbolism and personal belief. The god’s image and its iconographic elements reflected the wish for millions of years of life or rule; as such, the figure of Ḥeḥ finds frequent representation in amulets, prestige items and royal iconography from the late Old Kingdom period onwards. Heh became associated with the King and his quest for longevity. For instance, he appears on the tomb of King Tutankhamen, in two cartouches, where he is crowned with a winged scarab beetle, symbolizing existence and a sun disk. The placement of Heh in relation to King Tutankhamen's corpse means he will be granting him these “millions of years” into the afterlife.

Sunday 4 June 2017


“I think cubism has not fully been developed. It is treated like a style, pigeonholed and that’s it.” - David Hockney 

Alexander Bogomazov or Oleksandr Bohomazov (Russian: Александр Константинович Богомазов, Ukrainian: Олександр Костянтинович Богомазов; born April 7, 1880 in Yampol, Russian Empire – died on June 3, 1930 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) was a Ukrainian painter, known artist and modern art theoretician of the Russian Avant-garde (historically the term “Russian Avant-garde” refers to the art of all countries which were parts of Russia/USSR in the beginning of 20th century). In 1914, Alexander wrote his treatise “The Art of Painting and the Elements”. In it he analysed the interaction between Object, Artist, Picture, and Spectator and sets the theoretical foundation of modern art. During his artistic life Alexander Bogomazov mastered several art styles. The most known are Cubo-Futurism (1913–1917) and Spectralism (1920–1930).

Alexander Bogomazov was born in Yampol, Kharkov Governorate, as a second child to Konstantin Bogomazov. His mother Anisia abandoned the family shorty after his baptism. His ethnic background was Russian, yet Alexander spent virtually all his life in Kiev. From 1896 to 1902, Aleksander Bogomazov attended the Institute for Agriculture in Kherson. From 1902 to 1905, he attended the Kiev Art School (KKHU), at the same time he had close contact with Alexander Archipenko and Aleksandra Ekster.

In 1905, he participated in political demonstrations and strikes. In the same year he was expelled from the Kiev Art School. In 1906, he studied in the studio of S. Swiatoslavskiy. Bogomazov had an exhibition in Kiev, together with Archipenko. That year he moved to Moscow and became the student of Fyodor Rerberg and Konstantin Yuon. In 1907, he returned to Kiev. After 1907, he had regular exhibitions in Kiev, including the Association of Russian Artists and the Moscow Society of Independent Artists. In 1908, he participated in the exhibition with the group of artists Zveno (“The Link”) in Kiev together with David Burliuk, Wladimir Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster and others.

In 1911, he journeyed to Finland. From 1912 to 1915, he taught at a school for the deaf and mute in Kiev. From 1913 to 1914, he studied the works of the Italian Futurists. At this time he developed art theories, and published his essay The Art of Painting and the Elements. In 1914, he organized the exhibition Kiltse (“The Ring”) in Kiev, together with Aleksandra Ekster, Eugène Konopatzky among others. In 1915, Bogomazov moved to the Caucasus, where he worked as a teacher and painter. In 1919, he taught at the First State Studio for Paintings and Decorative art in Kiev. From 1919 to 1920, he was the Head of the Department for Art Education in the Ukrainian Commissariat for Visual Art. At the same time he was the co-founder of the Ukrainian Agitprop Movement, and created designs for the Agitprom movement.

From 1922 to 1930, he taught at the Kiev Art Academy (KKHI) together with Vadim Meller, Vladimir Tatlin, Victor Palmov. In 1927, he was a founding member of the Association of the Revolutionary Masters of Ukraine (ARMU), together with D.Burliuk, V.Meller, V.Palmov, V. Yermilov and others. In the same year, he participated in the All-Ukrainian Exhibition Ten years October (Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa), together with Tatlin, Meller, Palmov, Epshtein among others. Alexander Bogomazov died on June 3, 1930 in Kiev.

The painting above is his “Sharpening Saws” of 1927.