Saturday 19 August 2017


“There are more bad musicians than there is bad music.”- Isaac Stern 

Pietro Domenico Paradies (also Pietro Domenico Paradisi; 1707 – 25 August 1791), was an Italian composer, harpsichordist and harpsichord teacher, most prominently known for a composition popularly entitled “Toccata in A”, which is, in other sources, the second movement of his Sonata No. 6. A reviewer of a modern edition of his sonatas, all first edited by the composer, noted in passing “Paradies (never Paradisi, it seems)” suggesting that Paradisi might be a modern adaptation.

Paradies was born in Naples or Bari. Probably a student of Nicola Porpora, he dedicated himself at first to composing for the theater. In 1746 he moved to London, where he became known as a teacher of harpsichord and singing; among his students was Gertrud Elisabeth Mara, probably around 1750 and possibly Thomas Linley the elder. In 1770 he returned to Italy. He died in Venice.

His reputation is due to his music for the harpsichord, esteemed by music historians. His musical style was influenced by Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti. Especially celebrated above all were his twelve sonatas for clavicembalo (London, 1754). The Toccata in A that is still played often today is an Allegro movement from his sonata VI in A major, which has established for itself a considerable discography, although there has been a revival of more of his music recently, at least regarding the keyboard sonatas. He was also the author of concertos for organ and for harpsichord, individual pieces for harpsichord, arias and cantatas.

Here are his Sonatas for Harpsichord played by Ottavio Dantone.

Friday 18 August 2017


“I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.” - W. H. Auden 

Occasionally, we love having a dinner where the table is spread with little tidbits. Canapés; bite sized morsels of smoked salmon, cheeses and vegetables; little baked puff pastry cheese triangles; smoked oysters; buttered squares of home-made bread; potato chips, etc. These meals can be quite some trouble to prepare, but they are a wonderful change, and the smorgasbord effect is usually appreciated by our visitors. Each person can have what they fancy and as much as they like.

Smoked Salmon Canapés

Sliced home-made bread squares, buttered
Marinated smoked salmon slices
Cream cheese (softened and whipped)
Chopped fresh dill

Marinate the smoked salmon in olive oil and lemon juice. You can use it unmarinated if you wish. Cut the salmon into small strips and roll each piece around a few capers to form a bite-sized morsel.
Spread the cream cheese on the buttered bread squares and lay the salmon parcels on them. Decorate with the dill. Enjoy!

Thursday 17 August 2017


“All those spices and herbs in your spice rack can do more than provide calorie-free, natural flavorings to enhance and make food delicious. They're also an incredible source of antioxidants and help rev up your metabolism and improve your health at the same time.” - Suzanne Somers 

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant (Curcuma longa) of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, and requires temperatures between 20 and 30° C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.

When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used as a colouring and flavouring agent in the cuisines of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Pakistan, especially for curries, as well as for dyeing. Although long-used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various diseases, there is little high-quality clinical evidence for use of turmeric or its main constituent, curcumin, as a therapy.

Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to 1 m tall. Highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes provide the plant with an anchor in the soil. The leaves are alternate and arranged in two rows. They are divided into leaf sheath, petiole, and leaf blade. From the leaf sheaths, a false stem is formed. The petiole is 50 to 115 cm long. The simple leaf blades are usually 76 to 115 cm long and rarely up to 230 cm. They have a width of 38 to 45 cm and are oblong to elliptic, narrowing at the tip.

In China, the flowering time is usually in August. Terminally on the false stem is a 12 to 20 cm long inflorescence stem containing many flowers. The bracts are light green and ovate to oblong with a blunt upper end with a length of 3 to 5 cm. At the top of the inflorescence, stem bracts are present on which no flowers occur; these are white to green and sometimes, tinged reddish-purple, and the upper ends are tapered. The hermaphrodite flowers are zygomorphic and threefold.

The three 0.8 to 1.2 cm long sepals are fused, white, have fluffy hairs and the three calyx teeth are unequal. The three bright-yellow petals are fused into a corolla tube up to 3 cm long. The three corolla lobes have a length of 1.0 to 1.5 cm and are triangular with soft-spiny upper ends. While the average corolla lobe is larger than the two lateral, only the median stamen of the inner circle is fertile. The dust bag is spurred at its base. All other stamens are converted to staminodes. The outer staminodes are shorter than the labellum. The labellum is yellowish, with a yellow ribbon in its centre and it is obovate, with a length from 1.2 to 2.0 cm. Three carpels are under a constant, trilobed ovary adherent, which is sparsely hairy. The fruit capsule opens with three compartments.

Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Its use as a colouring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine. Turmeric is used mostly in savoury dishes, but also is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, Patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut-jaggery mixture on the leaf, then closing and steaming it in a special utensil (chondrõ).

Most turmeric is used in the form of dried and powdered rhizome. In some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan, and Kanara), turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. Turmeric leaves are mainly used in this way in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart a distinctive flavour. In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric sometimes is used as an agent to impart a golden yellow colour. It is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn colour, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.

Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric also is used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in East Asian recipes, such as pickle that contains large chunks of soft turmeric, made from fresh turmeric. Turmeric is used widely as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient. Various Iranian khoresh dishes are started using onions caramelised in oil and turmeric, followed by other ingredients. The Moroccan spice mix ras el hanout typically includes turmeric.

In India and Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its colour. It also is used in Nepal for its supposed value in traditional medicine. In South Africa, turmeric is used to give boiled white rice a golden colour, known as geelrys (yellow rice) traditionally served with bobotie. In Vietnamese cuisine, turmeric powder is used to colour and enhance the flavours of certain dishes, such as bánh xèo, bánh khọt, and mi quang. The powder is used in many other Vietnamese stir-fried and soup dishes.

The staple Cambodian curry paste kroeung, used in many dishes including Amok, typically contains fresh turmeric. In Indonesia, turmeric leaves are used for Minang or Padang curry base of Sumatra, such as rendang, sate padang, and many other varieties. In Thailand, fresh turmeric rhizomes are used widely in many dishes, in particular in the southern Thai cuisine, such as the yellow curry and turmeric soup. In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron because it was used widely as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.

Phytochemical components of turmeric include compounds called curcuminoids, such as curcumin (diferuloylmethane), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcumin constitutes 3.14% (on average) of powdered turmeric, having variations in content among the species of Curcuma longa. In addition, volatile oils include turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberene. Other constituents are sugars, proteins, and resins.

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia where it is collected for use in Indian traditional medicine (also called Siddha or Ayurveda). Claims that curcumin in turmeric may help to reduce inflammation have not been supported by strong studies. Turmeric or its principal constituent, curcumin, has been studied in numerous clinical trials for various human diseases and conditions, but the conclusions have either been equivocal or negative.

In the language of flowers, a spike of flowering turmeric means: “You have captivated me with your exotic beauty.” The use of leaves only in an arrangement carries the message: ‘Your charms are duplicitous.”

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday 15 August 2017


“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” - Helen Keller 

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.
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven, often shortened to the Assumption and also known as the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition), according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of Anglicanism, was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”.

 In the churches that observe it, the Assumption is a major feast day, commonly celebrated on 15 August. In many countries, the feast is also marked as a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church and as a festival (under various names) in the Anglican Communion.

Lourdes (Lorda in Occitan) is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is part of the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Occitanie region in south-western France. Prior to the mid-19th century, the town was best known for the Château fort de Lourdes, a fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre.

In 1858 Lourdes rose to prominence in France and abroad due to the Marian apparitions seen by the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous, who was later canonised. Shortly thereafter the city with the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes became one of the world’s most important sites of pilgrimage and religious tourism. Today Lourdes hosts around six million visitors every year from all corners of the world. This constant stream of pilgrims and tourists transformed quiet Lourdes into the second most important center of tourism in France, second only to Paris, and the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land. As of 2011, of French cities only Paris had more hotel capacity.

Yearly from March to October the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of mass pilgrimage from Europe and other parts of the world. The spring water from the grotto is believed by some to possess healing properties. An estimated 200 million people have visited the shrine since 1860, and the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognised 69 healings considered miraculous. Cures are examined using Church criteria for authenticity and authentic miracle healing with no physical or psychological basis other than the healing power of the water.

Tours from all over the world are organised to visit the Sanctuary. Connected with this pilgrimage is often the consumption of or bathing in the Lourdes water which wells out of the Grotto. At the time of the apparitions the grotto was on common land which was used by the villagers variously for pasturing animals, collecting firewood and as a garbage dump, and it possessed a reputation for being an unpleasant place.

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 14 August 2017


“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” - George Santayana 

Heqet (Ḥeḳet; also Ḥeqtit, Ḥeḳtit) is an Egyptian goddess of fertility, identified with Hathor, represented in the form of a frog. To the Egyptians, the frog was an ancient symbol of fertility, related to the annual flooding of the Nile. Heqet was originally the female counterpart of Khnemu, or the wife of Khnemu by whom she became the mother of Heru-ur. The name is written as ḥqt with the determinative “frog”, or alternatively as ḥqtyt with the “egg” (goddess) determinative. Its Middle Egyptian proununciation may have been close to /ħaˈqaːtat/, whence possibly the name of Greek Hecate (Ἑκάτη).

The beginning of Heqet’s cult dates to the early dynastic period at least. Her name was part of the names of some high-born Second Dynasty individuals buried at Helwan and was mentioned on a stela of Wepemnofret and in the Pyramid Texts. Early frog statuettes are often thought to be depictions of her.

Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she was associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title “She who hastens the birth”. Some say that (even though no ancient Egyptian term for “midwife” is known for certain) midwives often called themselves the Servants of Heqet, and that her priestesses were trained in midwifery.

Women often wore amulets of Heqet during childbirth, which depicted the goddess as a frog, sitting in a lotus. Heqet was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter’s wheel. In the Osiris myth, it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was a goddess of the last moments of birth.

As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet’s role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase “I am the resurrection” in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism. A temple dedicated to Horus and Heqet dating to the Ptolemaic Period was found at Qus.

Sunday 13 August 2017


“The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.” - Desmond Morris 

Charles Constantin Joseph Hoffbauer (June 28, 1875 - July 26, 1957) was a French-born artist who became a United States citizen. He painted a wide variety of subjects, including many that depicted scenes of historical interest.

Charles Hoffbauer was born in Paris. His parents, Féodor Hubert Hoffbauer and Marie Clemence Belloc Hoffbauer, were of Alsatian origin. Féodor Hoffbauer was a well-known archeologist, architect, and artist, and likely influenced his son's interest in history. As a child, Charles sometimes assisted his father in conducting research. The elder Hoffbauer’s 1882 book on Paris architecture, Paris à Travers les Ages, has been updated over the years and remains in print with the latest edition published in 2007.

After receiving a traditional elementary and secondary education in French schools, Hoffbauer attended the École des Beaux-Arts for three years. He studied under Fernand Cormon, François Flemeng, and symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. Classmates of Hoffbauer included Paul Baignères, Charles Camoin, Henri Evenepoel, Raoul du Gardier, Henri Manguin, Albert Marquet, Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. Shortly before his 21st birthday, Hoffbauer reported for his mandatory French military service. He trained at Falaise, Normandy for 18 months. Completing his military service in September 1897, he returned to Paris and began his career as an artist.

In 1898, Hoffbauer’s first submission to the Paris Salon was awarded Honorable Mention, and the following year he became the youngest artist to earn a Gold Medal and be deemed Hors Concours—a status he held for seven years. Hoffbauer’s artistic skill was rewarded again in 1902 when Revolt de Flamands won the Bourse de Voyage award, and the artist used the five thousand-franc prize to fund a summer sketching trip to Italy in 1903. The drawings Hoffbauer produced during this visit inspired Triomphe d’un Condottiere¸ a work that was awarded the highest honour (the Prix du Salon) by the Paris Salon in 1906. The artist continued to travel over the next several years, producing work while visiting Milan, Rome, Cairo, Aswan, Athens, and Venice.

However, the place that truly captured Hoffbauer’s attention he had only seen in photographs: New York City. Images of Manhattan’s skyline captivated Hoffbauer and served as artistic inspiration throughout 1904; he produced a significant amount of studies and paintings featuring New York’s skyscrapers and metropolitan life, all without ever stepping foot on American soil. American and European audiences alike were impressed with Hoffbauer’s vibrant cityscapes that successfully reproduced the iconic scenery of the great city. Hoffbauer made his first trans-Atlantic journey to the United States in 1909, arriving in New York on December 21. One year after his arrival Hoffbauer met and befriended Roland Knoedler of Knoedler Galleries, who became the artist’s primary dealer in the United States.

Two one-man exhibitions held at Knoedler Galleries in 1911 and 1912 garnered Hoffbauer significant acclaim with American audiences. In an excerpt from Knoedler’s 1912 exhibition catalogue, fellow artist Arthur Hoeber describes his admiration for Hoffbauer: “One feels he has caught the spirit of American progress; caught much of its practicalness[sic], with not a little of its vitality, for these pictures of our city are sui generis and they fairly exude American bigness and bustle, the sense of accomplishment despite great obstacles.”

Hoffbauer’s artistic career had several significant highlights in 1912: In addition to the success of his solo show at Knoedler Galleries, the artist chose to repaint Triomphe d’un Condottiere, a work that had earned him Prix du Salon six years earlier. The repainted piece was met with great success when it was exhibited that year at the Architectural League, and Hoffbauer’s audacious decision was rewarded with a commission for the Battle Abbey murals at the Confederate Memorial Institute at Richmond, Virginia.

In 1914, Hoffbauer’s progress on the Battle Abbey murals was halted by World War I; the artist volunteered as a private and spent the next four years serving on the front and working as an official war artist. He returned to the United States in 1919 and was able to complete the Battle Abbey murals one year later; the success of Hoffbauer’s depictions of Confederate leadership was so great that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for the City of Richmond in 1925.

Hoffbauer continued to produce work and exhibit throughout the 1920s: He accepted a mural commission for the State Capitol at Jefferson City in 1921 and also showed pieces at the Paris Salon and the Art Institute of Chicago. Hoffbauer’s career took an interesting turn in 1935 after he watched Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs, which inspired him to pursue film animation. He considered the United States to offer the greatest potential for success in this field and in 1936, Hoffbauer made the decision to move to New York. The artist believed that there was an existing void in the realm of film animation that he could fill by dramatising historical events. While this idea was turned down during a 1938 meeting with Walt Disney, the legendary film animator encouraged Hoffbauer to move to California and work for him.

Hoffbauer accepted Disney’s offer and relocated to Hollywood in 1939, and two years later, on December 26, the artist became a naturalised American citizen. The success Hoffbauer achieved as a muralist and painter during the 1940s and early 1950s was monumental: He was offered mural commissions from McCornack Hospital in Pasadena, the Citizen’s Committee for the Army and Navy, and the N.E. Mutual Life Insurance Company, and also participated in exhibitions at the Los Angeles Museum, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Stanford University. Hoffbauer left California in 1953 and settled in Rockport, Massachusetts, where he resided until his death in 1957.