Saturday 22 July 2017


“The Kangxi Emperor also used to write music notes, and let me review, giving me his own pen, he made me write on his desk, and we often played together the same harpsichord, each with one hand” - Teodorico Pedrini’s letter of 1727 

Teodorico Pedrini, C.M. (June 30, 1671 – December 10, 1746), was an Italian Vincentian priest, musician and composer, but mainly missionary for 36 years at the Imperial Court of China. Pedrini was born in Fermo, in the Marche, then part of the Papal States. He was the founder of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Beijing (西堂). He was the music teacher to three sons of the Qing Dynasty’s Kangxi Emperor, he was co-author of the first treatise on Western Music theory ever written in Chinese: the LǜlǚZhèngyì-Xùbiān, later included in the Siku Quanshu. His Chinese name was 德理格 – Dé Lĭgé.

He was baptised Paolo Filippo Teodorico Pedrini on July 6, 1671, in the parish church of St. Michael the Archangel, in Fermo in the Marche. His father, Giovanni Francesco Pedrini, who had been born in Servigliano on February 5, 1630, had worked as notary in his native town for two years from 1654 to 1656, before going to Rome for ten years, as Chancellor for the Auditor Camerae. He then became the most important notary in Fermo, from 1669 to his death in 1707. Teodorico’s mother was Nicolosa Piccioni, born in Fermo on March 14, 1650, daughter of another notary, Giovanni Francesco Piccioni, from Altidona.

Teodorico received his clerical tonsure in 1687, and the minor orders in Fermo in 1690. He attended the University in Fermo, graduating in Utroque Iure on June 26, 1692. From November 16, 1692 to August 7, 1697 he lived in the Collegio Piceno in Rome. In this period he joined the Academy of Arcadia in 1696, where he received the name of Dioro Taumasio. On December 21, 1697 he received the Subdiaconate; on February 23, 1698 he joined the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul (known as the Vincentians or Lazarists), in March 1698 he was ordained a deacon and two weeks later (on the Easter night of 1698) presbyter, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. In June 1698 he entered the Lazarist house of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Rome, where he remained until January 1702, when he was sent to China, as a missionary of the Propaganda Fide, after meeting Pope Clement XI.

Pedrini’s journey to China was very long, at first following the Via Francigena to Livorno, then by ship to Toulon, and then Paris, where the Nuncio was Filippo Antonio Gualterio, also born in Fermo. Although selected as a member of the first papal legation of Patriarch Carlo Tommaso Maillard de Tournon, who had already left from Spain to the Canary Islands, Pedrini never managed to join him, and, after waiting a year and a half, sailed from Saint Malo with other missionaries, on December 26, 1703, on a French ship heading to South America. The ship landed in Peru December 31, 1704, and stayed there for more than one year. In 1705 he arrived in Mexico but only in March 1707 did he manage to sail from Acapulco, on a Manila galleon.

After reaching the Mariana Islands, Pedrini arrived in the Philippines, where he stayed for almost two years. In Mariveles he joined five other missionaries of the Propaganda Fide, among whom was Matteo Ripa (who later founded the Chinese College in Neaples, now Università degli studi di Napoli L’Orientale), and together they reached Macau in January 1710. Here they met Cardinal Tournon, who recommended Pedrini as a musician at court, in answer to a request from Kangxi himself. After assisting him on his death-bed on June 8, 1710, they set off for Beijing, where they finally arrived on February 6, 1711.

Being, along with Matteo Ripa, the first non-Jesuit missionaries to settle at the Chinese court, 100 years after Matteo Ricci’s death, in 1714 Pedrini spoke with the Kangxi Emperor about the Pope’s decisions over the Chinese Rites, so he could send back to Rome the emperor’s peaceful reactions on the matter. His reports to Rome met the negative reaction of the Jesuits, who strongly opposed the Decrees. This contrast marked all his missionary life, and led him to the dramatic events of 1721 when, at the end of the second Legation of the Patriarch Carlo Ambrogio Mezzabarba, he refused to sign the final document called Mandarin’s Diary, and was imprisoned in the residence of the French Jesuits in Beijing until 1723. The Yongzheng Emperor set him free in February 1723 but the whole fact caused the bitter polemics in Rome in the following years until 1730, which anticipated the final condemnation of the Chinese Rites, with the papal Bull Ex Quo Singulari in 1742.

In 1723 Pedrini bought the residence at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Beijing (popularly called Xitang or “Western Church”), where he established the first non-Jesuit Church in Beijing. Towards the end of his life Pedrini reconciled himself with the Jesuit missionaries, without denying his faithfulness to the Holy See, which had brought him so many problems in all his life, especially from 1714 to 1721. Pedrini died during the night of December 10, 1746, in his house at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel without ever returning to Italy, and was buried in the cemetery of Propaganda Fide, at the expenses of the Qianlong Emperor. Pedrini’s gravestone, visible till the first part of last century in the wall of the All Saints Church, does not exist anymore.

Besides being a priest, Pedrini was also a musician. This competence helped him first to be admitted to the court of the Chinese emperors and then to gain the favour of three successive emperors, ruling during his lifetime – the Kangxi Emperor (1662–1722), the Yongzheng Emperor (1722–1735) and the Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796). As a musician, Pedrini was the teacher of three sons of the Kangxi Emperor, and he constructed musical instruments and mended those present at court.

In addition, carrying on with the work of his predecessor, the Portuguese Jesuit Tomas Pereira, Pedrini completed the text of the first treatise on Western music theory ever published in China, the LǜlǚZhèngyì-Xùbiān, which was later included in the huge encyclopaedic work called Siku Quanshu (1781). With this work Pedrini asserted himself as one of the main figures in the introduction of western music in China. Furthermore, Pedrini is the author of the only Western Baroque music compositions known in China in the 18th century: The Dodici Sonate a Violino Solo col Basso del Nepridi – Opera Terza whose original manuscript is still preserved in the National Library of Běijīng.

Here are some of his representative pieces, as they may have been performed in Chinese Court of his time, performed by Musique des Lumières XVIII-21.

1. Premier divertissement chinois
2. Sonata No. 1 for violin & continuo in A major (Adagio; Allegro; Largo; Adagio; Allegro)
3. Premier divertissement chinois
4. Sonata No. 7 for flute & continuo in B flat major (Grave; Vivace; Adagio; Balletto Allegro; Allegro)
5. Troisième divertissement chinois
6. Sonata No. 4 for cello & continuo in G minor (Grave; Cantabile; Allegro; Grave e Arcate Lunghe; Allegro)
7. Deuxième divertissement chinois
8. Sonata No. 10 for violin & continuo in C minor (Preludio; Corrente Andante; Grave; Sarabanda Vivace; Minuetto Allegro; Adagio; Giga Allegro)
9. Troisième divertissement chinois
10. Sonata No. 5 for flute & continuo in G major (Largo; Allegro; Vivace; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro).

Friday 21 July 2017


“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis 

A cold Winter’s day is simply begging for some hot, gooey, and very sweet baked buns. These Chelsea buns are lovely with lots of hot tea to have on a cold afternoon. Enjoy! 

Chelsea Buns
Ingredients - Dough

2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 cup lukewarm milk
4 cups strong plain white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup caster sugar
60g butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup mixed dried fruit
1/3 cup chopped mixed peel
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or mixed spice
30g butter, melted
2 tablespoons clear honey, warmed
Sugar, for sprinkling 

For the dough, stir the caster sugar into 2/3 cup of the milk and whisk in the yeast. Cover the bowl and leave to stand in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until frothy, then stir in the remaining milk.
Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast liquid, add the beaten egg and mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Put into a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Combine the fruit, peel, sugar and spice. Grease a 30 x 23 cm baking or roasting tin. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 2–3 minutes, then roll out to about 50 x 25 cm. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle evenly with the fruit mixture and roll up, like a Swiss roll, from one long side. Cut into 15 equal pieces and space evenly, cut sides up, in the greased tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave until doubled in size.
While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 190˚C. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven, brush immediately with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the sugar. Cool in the tin.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Thursday 20 July 2017


“The young habitually mistake lust for love, they're infested with idealism of all kinds.” ― Margaret Atwood 

Artemisia abrotanum (southernwood, lad’s love, southern wormwood) is a species of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Eurasia and Africa but naturalised in scattered locations in North America. Other common names include: Old man, boy’s love, oldman wormwood, lover’s plant, appleringie, garderobe, Our Lord’s wood, maid’s ruin, garden sagebrush, European sage, sitherwood and lemon plant.

Southernwood has a strong camphor-like odour and was historically used as an air freshener or strewing herb. It forms a small bushy shrub, which is widely cultivated by gardeners. The grey-green leaves are small, narrow and feathery. The small flowers are yellow. It can easily be propagated by cuttings, or by division of the roots. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

A yellow dye can be extracted from the branches of the plant, for use in dying wool. Its dried leaves are used to keep moths away from wardrobes. The volatile oil in the leaves is responsible for the strong, sharp, scent that repels moths and other insects. It was customary to lay sprays of the herb amongst clothes, or hang them in closets, and this is the origin of southernwood’s French name, “garderobe” (‘clothes-preserver’). Judges carried posies of southernwood and rue to protect themselves from prisoners’ contagious diseases, and some church-goers relied on the herb’s sharp scent to keep them awake during long sermons.

The pungent, scented leaves and flowers are used in herbal teas. Young shoots were used to flavour pastries and puddings. In Italy, it is used as a culinary herb, especially with fatty meats. It has a strong, overpowering flavour and should be used sparingly in cooking.

In herbal medicine, Southernwood was used as an emmenagogue. It was said to be a good stimulant tonic, possessing some nervine principle. It was given in infusion of 1 ounce of the herb to 1 pint of boiling water, prepared in a covered vessel, the escape of steam impairing its value. Apparently, this type of infusion or tea is agreeable, but a decoction is distasteful, having lost much of the aroma. Considerable success was also attributed to it as an anthelmintic, being chiefly used against the worms of children, teaspoonful doses of the powdered herb being given in treacle morning and evening.

Southernwood should not be used by pregnant women. Some people are allergic to Southernwood and one should exercise caution in its use. People with hay fever may find its pollen bothersome and some experience contact dermatitis from the plant.

In the language of flowers, a sprig of southernwood foliage means “constancy”. A flowering stem means “A jest; good humour”.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday 18 July 2017


“Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.” - Iris Murdoch 

“The Cobbler” (2014) Fantasy/Comedy – Director: Tom McCarthy; starring Adam Sandler, Melonie Diaz, Steve Buscemi – 5/10 

Max Simkin (Sandler) repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way one can discover who they really are.

Well, we watched this last weekend and it was a rather tiresome film, even for a Sunday matinée. There was quite a bit of to do with magic and fluff but the film was not a typical fantasy film (it took itself too seriously to be that). There was an attempt at slapstick (but very heavy handed); there were good guys and bad guys and gals (but they were rather half-hearted at what they were about). Sandler looked bored or bewildered most of his screen time and Dustin Hoffman had a gratuitous presence that must have made his bank account look a little healthier. The romantic interests were tokenistic and the single idea of the film about “stepping into someone’s shoes to really understand them” wore thin by the first half hour.

If you haven’t seen this don’t bother hunting it out to watch and if it’s on and you have time to waste, watch it while you are doing the crossword perhaps.


“Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties.” - Enrique Peña Nieto

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.
Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican beach resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas. The 2010 census reported Puerto Vallarta’s population as 255,725 making it the fifth largest city in the state of Jalisco, and the second largest urban agglomeration in the state after the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. The City of Puerto Vallarta is the government seat of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta, which comprises the city as well as population centres outside of the city extending from Boca de Tomatlán to the Nayarit border (the Ameca River). The city is located at 20°40′N 105°16′W.

The municipality has an area of 1,300.7 square kilometres. To the north it borders the southwest part of the state of Nayarit. To the east it borders the municipality of Mascota and San Sebastián del Oeste, and to the south it borders the municipalities of Talpa de Allende and Cabo Corriente. Puerto Vallarta is named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of Jalisco. In Spanish, Puerto Vallarta is frequently shortened to “Vallarta”, while English speakers call the city P.V. for short.

Puerto Vallarta was once named as La ciudad más amigable del mundo (The Friendliest City in the World), as the sign reads when entering from Nayarit. Today, the presence of numerous sidewalk touts selling time-shares and tequila render the city’s atmosphere more akin to tourist-heavy resorts like Cancun and Acapulco, but overall the city’s reputation remains relatively undiminished.

Tourism in Puerto Vallarta has increased steadily over the years and makes up for 50% of the city's economic activity. The high season for international tourism in Puerto Vallarta extends from late November through March (or later depending on the timing of the college Spring Break period in the USA.) The city is especially popular with US residents from the western U.S. because of the sheer number of direct flights between Puerto Vallarta and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Phoenix. The city is also popular with tourists from western Canada with a number of direct scheduled and charter flights from western Canadian cities.

Puerto Vallarta is also a highly popular vacation spot for domestic tourists. It is a popular weekend destination for residents of Guadalajara (tapatíos), and a popular national destination for vacations such as Semana Santa (the week preceding Easter) and Christmas. Also in recent years Acapulco has experienced a rise in drug-related violence and consequently Puerto Vallarta has absorbed a lot of the Mexico City resort vacation business (Acapulco has long been a common destination for tourists from Mexico City). Puerto Vallarta has become a popular retirement destination for US and Canadian retirees. This trend has spawned a condominium development boom in the city.

The city has dozens of nightclubs, hundreds of restaurants and some of Mexico’s best beaches. The original colonial town with many historic landmarks still shines through an endless selection of shopping, art galleries, water and land activities, and hotels. Walk the malecon (boardwalk) and enjoy the views, holiday atmosphere and the numerous pieces of public art and sculpture. Museums, historical sites, interesting architecture and cultural activities will also tempt the more discriminating traveller.

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 17 July 2017


“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” - Carl Sandburg 

Iah ( Egyptian: Jˁḥ, transliterated as Yah, Jah, Jah(w), Joh or Aah) is a lunar deity in ancient Egyptian religion. His name simply means “Moon”. By the New Kingdom, he was less prominent than other gods with lunar connections, Thoth and Khonsu. As a result of the functional connection between them he could be identified with either of those deities. He was sometimes considered an adult form of Khonsu and was increasingly absorbed by him.

Iah continued to appear in amulets and occasional other representations, similar to Khonsu in appearance, with the same lunar symbols on his head and occasionally the same tight garments. He differed in usually wearing a full wig instead of a child’s sidelock, and sometimes the Atef topped by another symbol.

As time went on, Iah also became Iah-Djuhty, meaning “god of the new moon”. Iah was also assimilated with Osiris, god of the dead, perhaps because, in its monthly cycle, the moon appears to renew itself. Iah also seems to have assumed the lunar aspect of Thoth, god of knowledge, writing and calculation; the segments of the moon were used as fractional symbols in writing.

Sunday 16 July 2017


“Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That's the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” - David Lynch 

Teodor Axentowicz (Armenian: Թեոդոր Աքսենտովիչ ; born May 13, 1859 in Braşov, Romania – August 26, 1938 in Kraków) was a Polish-Armenian painter and university professor. A renowned artist of his times, he was also the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. As an artist, Axentowicz was famous for his portraits and subtle scenes of Hutsul life, set in the Carpathians.

Axentowicz was born May 13, 1859 in Braşov, Hungary (now Romania), to a family of Polish-Armenian ancestry. In 1893 in Chelsea, London, he married Iza Henrietta Gielgud, aunt of Val Gielgud and John Gielgud of the theatrical dynasty. A son, Philip S.A.D. Axentowicz was born in Chelsea in 1893. Between 1879 and 1882 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. From there he moved to Paris, where he was a student of Carolus-Duran and continued his education until 1895. During that time he started a long-time cooperation with various journals and started his career as a copyist, duplicating the works of Tizian and Botticelli for Le Monde illustré. He also made numerous travels to London and Rome, where he prepared a set of portraits, one of the first in his career.

In 1894 he started collaboration with Wojciech Kossak and Jan Styka during the preparation of the Racławice Panorama, one of the largest panoramic paintings in the history of Polish art. The following year he moved to Kraków, where he became a professor at the local Academy of Fine Arts. He was also active in the local society and cooperated with various societies devoted to propagation of arts and crafts.

In 1897 he founded an artistic conservatory for women and soon afterwards became one of the founders of the Sztuka society, whose members were such artists as Józef Chełmoński, Julian Fałat, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Jan Stanisławski, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Leon Wyczółkowski and Stanisław Wyspiański. In 1910 he became the rector of the Academy and since 1928 was also an honorary member of the Zachęta Society. He died August 26, 1938 in Kraków.

Throughout his life he had numerous exhibitions, both in Poland and abroad. He was awarded many gold metals at both national and international exhibitions. The most notable were organized in: Berlin (1896, 1913), St. Louis (1904), Munich (1905, 1935), London (1906), Vienna (1908), Rome (1911), Venice (1914, 1926), Paris (1921), Chicago (1927), and Prague (1927). His paintings can be found in almost all public collections in Poland and in numerous private ones there and abroad.

In 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair, Axentowicz received a Special Commemorative Award in recognition of distinguished service in connection with various national sections of the Department of Art. While in Paris, he received the prestigious title of Officier d’Académie Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Member of Académie des Beaux-Arts. In addition to Society of Polish Artists “Sztuka”, he was also a member of Hagenbund and a founding member of the Vienna Secession.

The painting above is his Święcenie (“Celebration”), typical of his folk scene paintings.