Tuesday, 25 July 2017

EXETER, UK

Exeter is a cathedral city in Devon, England with a population of 129,800 (mid-2016 est.). It lies within the county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. The administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district under the administration of the County Council; a plan to grant the city unitary authority status was scrapped under the 2010 coalition government. The city is on the River Exe about 60 km northeast of Plymouth and 110 km southwest of Bristol.

Exeter was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain, although there is evidence a Cornish tribe existed in Exeter before the Roman invasion. Exeter became a religious centre during the Middle Ages and into the Tudor times: Exeter Cathedral, founded in the mid 11th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation. During the late 19th century, Exeter became an affluent centre for the wool trade, although by the First World War the city was in decline. After the Second World War, much of the city centre was rebuilt and is now considered to be a centre for modern business and tourism in Devon and Cornwall.

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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

FLAMINGOES

Flamingos or flamingoes are a type of wading bird in the family Phoenicopteridae, the only family in the order Phoenicopteriformes. There are four flamingo species in the Americas and two species in the Old World. The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in Africa, on the Indian subcontinent, in the Middle East and southern Europe.

This is the largest species of flamingo, averaging 110–150 cm tall and weighing 2–4 kg. The largest male flamingos have been recorded at up to 187 cm tall and 4.5 kg. It is closely related to the American flamingo and Chilean flamingo, with which it has sometimes been considered conspecific. Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound.

Most of the plumage is pinkish white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into their adult life. The coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds. Secretions of the uropygial gland also contain carotenoids.

During the breeding season, greater flamingos increase the frequency of their spreading uropygial secretions over their feathers and thereby enhance their colour. This cosmetic use of uropygial secretions has been described as applying "make-up". The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks. The greater flamingo feeds with its head down and its upper jaw is movable and not rigidly fixed to its skull.

Here they are seen in the San Diego zoo, and they really put on a spectacular display when we were there.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

CHIMONANTHUS

Chimonanthus (wintersweet) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Calycanthaceae, endemic to China. It is also grown in Iran, called "ice flower" and probably imported from China. The genus includes three to six species depending on taxonomic interpretation; three are accepted by the Draft Flora of China. The name means "winter flower" in Greek.

These plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs growing to 2–13 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, 7–20 cm long and 3–7 cm broad. The flowers are 2–3 cm wide, with numerous spirally-arranged yellow or white tepals; they are strongly scented, and produced in late winter or early spring before the new leaves. The flowers are said to be edible, and can be used to flavour tea. The fruit is an elliptic dry capsule 3–4 cm long.

Chimonanthus praecox, "wintersweet", is the only species widely grown as an ornamental plant, for its spicily scented winter flowers; these are also used in floristry as cut flowering branches, which can also be forced as with forsythia. The petals are quite waxy. The plant prefers medium exposure to sunlight or high dappled shade, a fresh climate (hardy to USDA Zone 7), and soft, acidic permeable ground not waterlogged in winter. A protected, south-facing wall encourages early flowering, and a position should be chosen where its spicy perfume can be appreciated while coming and going from the house. Space needs to be allowed for its eventual spread to 3 m, since untimely summer pruning to keep an ill-sited shrub in check will sacrifice flowering the following winter.

In China Chimonanthus was domesticated during the Song Dynasty and inspired courtly poems from the eleventh century; it flowers at the Chinese New Year, when flowering sprigs are used as hair ornaments. In China, prunings are dried and kept to perfume linen cupboards. The shrub was introduced to Japanese gardens from China in the early Edo period (probably between 1611 and 1629, according to Garden Plants of Japan).

Its introduction into European gardens, from Japan, is noted for England, 1766, when it was grown under glass for the sixth Earl of Coventry in the conservatory at Croome Court, Worcestershire. By 1799 that shrub had grown to be 16 feet high and 10 feet wide. By that time it had been tried out of doors without winter protection and proved hardy in the south of England. Slips of it were distributed among nurserymen and so it entered European horticulture. A larger-flowered (though less fragrant) variety, "grandiflorus" was grown by the comtesse de Vandes in Bayswater, London, before 1819. A yellow-flowered variety (luteus, 1814) is also noted.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

BOATS IN BLUE

Memories of last Summer in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia...

This post is part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

RONCHAMP, FRANCE

Ronchamp is a commune in the Haute-Saône department in the region of Franche-Comté in eastern France. It is located between the Vosges and the Jura mountains. The famous church close to the town is informally known as "Ronchamp", but formally it is the Chapel of Our Lady on High (Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp). It was completed in 1954 and is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and one of the most important examples of twentieth-century religious architecture.

Notre Dame du Haut was thought of as a more extreme design of Le Corbusier’s late style. The chapel is a simple design with two entrances, a main altar, and three chapels beneath towers. Although the building is small, it is powerful and complex. The chapel is the latest of chapels at the site. The previous chapel was completely destroyed there during World War II. The previous building was a 4th century Christian chapel. But, at the time the new building was being constructed, Corbusier wasn’t exactly interested in “Machine Age” architecture. He felt his style was more primitive and sculptural, thus for this project he decided to build something more interesting.

(Excuse the relatively low quality of these photos, however, they are from a very early model digital camera, one of the first I used in my travels).

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






Monday, 17 July 2017

ROCK, TREE, WOOD

An old tree stump on the eroding cliff face reveals the old, unequal fight between rock and wood.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK

The Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) also called the Maned Duck is very common throughout Australia and can be found in most suburban parks and waterways. They are also seen in woodland areas often perching in the trees. The male is on the left, front and has the darker head, while the female behind to the right is more speckled and has a lighter-coloured head. Here they are seen in the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

DIANTHUS AMURENSIS

Dianthus amurensis is a short-lived perennial dianthus that is similar to Dianthus chinensis except for its perennial habit and purple-pink flowers that are often solitary. It is native to the Amur River region of Siberia. Genus name comes from the Greek words Dios meaning "of Zeus" and anthos meaning flower. Specific epithet means from the Amur River area in eastern Asia.

'Siberian Blue' (frequently sold in commerce as 'Siberian Blues') is an Amur pink cultivar that produces reddish-violet to lavender-blue flowers on stems rising to 30 cm tall over a bushy sprawling mound of lance-shaped green leaves (each to 5 cm long). Flowers bloom solitary or in three-flowered inflorescences. Flowers typically bloom from late spring to frost. This is a striking dianthus that is eye-catching and unusual. The lilac-coloured flowers form a wonderful display in a garden bed or in a rockery.

Amur pinks are short-lived perennials that may be grown from seed. They are best grown in gritty, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date. Set out seedlings and/or purchased plants 1-2 weeks before last spring frost date. Plantings are less apt to burn out in poorly drained soils or in hot and humid summers than some other species of dianthus. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom. When flowering declines, plants may be sheared to promote additional bloom.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

AMORGOS, GREECE

Amorgos (Greek: Αμοργός) is the easternmost island of the Greek Cyclades island group, and the nearest island to the neighbouring Dodecanese island group. Along with several neighbouring islets, the largest of which is Nikouria Island, it comprises the municipality of Amorgos, which has a land area of 126.346 square kilometres, and a population of 1,973 (2011 census).

Due to Amorgos' position opposite the ancient beaches of Ionian towns, such as Militos, Alikarnassos and Ephesos, it became one of the first places from which the Ionians passed through to the Cyclades Islands and onto the Greek mainland.

Throughout history, Amorgos was also known as Yperia, Patagy, or Platagy, Pagali, Psichia and Karkisia. Amorgos features a lot of remnants of ancient civilisations. At the time of Archaic Greece, there were three independent city-states there. They are believed to have featured autonomous constitutions but the same currency. Amorgos is distinguished by the size and quality of the walls surrounding the city of Arkesini, by the ancient towers whose remains are scattered all over the island, by the ancient tombs, the stone tools, the inscriptions, the vases and by other antiquities. Due to the name Minoa we suspect that Amorgos had been colonised by the Cretans from ancient times, but there are no archaeological remains supporting this view.

Tourism is increasing slowly, although the geography of the island prevents mass tourism. Amorgos is accessible only by boat. The three main places of tourist accommodation are Katapola, Aegiali and Chora. Hike paths are relatively well maintained. Other activities are scuba diving, wellness activities, and the beaches (although it is not the main attraction of the island compared to other Greek islands). The chapel of St Anne is shown here.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Sunday, 9 July 2017

TIME'S PASSING

“It is my feeling that Time ripens all things; with Time all things are revealed; Time is the father of truth.” - François Rabelais

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.


Thursday, 6 July 2017

GREVILLEA

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae, native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia and Sulawesi. It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville. The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 50 cm tall to trees 35 m tall. Common names include grevillea, spider flower, silky oak and toothbrush plant. Closely related to the genus Hakea, the genus gives its name to the subfamily Grevilleoideae.

Grevillea 'Molly' is a very popular grevillea cultivar which has been planted widely in Australia and other countries. It is a shrub that grows to 1.5 to 2 metres in height and up to 1.5 to 2 metres width and has attractive divided leaves The red inflorescences are about 15 cm long by 9 cm wide.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

THE ZOO

A cycle of ABC WEDNESDAY ends and a new one begins. I hope you've enjoyed my ABC animals poems. Here is the last one in the series:

The Zoo

A stroll we’ve taken through the zoo
And met some beasts inside;
Some moo, some mew, and others coo,
We’ve learnt lots from the guide.

The furry ones, the slimy sleek,
The black, the white, the coloured,
The large, the small, the brave the meek,
The sly, the good, the dullard.

Amongst them all, we humans think
Masters we are, and betters –
Animals keep us in the pink,
While them we tie in fetters.

We take their eggs, and drink their milk,
We wear their fur and leather;
We rob their rennet, seize their silk
We swipe their hide and feather.

We garner blood and roe, and bone,
Honey, manure and shellac;
Whales we dispatch, race horses roan
Despoil the pig, and loot the yak.

And if that all was not enough,
We hunt for sport, for pleasure…
We kill, we maim we play it tough
All for few hours of leisure.

Now we are bent on wrecking Earth,
Destroying both fauna, flora;
When all is lost we’ll see its worth,
Our fate that of Pandora.

So let’s hold on to hope, my dear,
Let’s do something together:
Save bear and boar, and duck and deer,
Our boundless folly tether.

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

ELLIS ISLAND, NY, USA

Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station for over sixty years from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with land reclamation between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990.

Countless immigrants into the USA for many decades have first glimpsed the welcoming shores of their new homeland from this island. It is these people and their descendants who have contributed to the development of the United States and their hard work is only one part of their gratitude for being welcomed into this New World.

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

"The Great Hall at Ellis Island" by Mort Kunstler 1986




Sunday, 2 July 2017

LORIKEETS

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is a species of parrot found in Australia. It is common along the eastern seaboard, from northern Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas. Several taxa traditionally listed as subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet are now treated as separate species. Rainbow lorikeets have been introduced to Perth, Western Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; and Hong Kong.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the  My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.