Monday, 29 July 2019

LYON, FRANCE

Lyon, or Lyons, is a city in east-central France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, about 470 km from Paris and 320 km from Marseille. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais. In 2013, Lyon city had a population of 500,715 and is France’s third-largest city after Paris and Marseille. Lyon is the capital of the department of Rhône and the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The metropolitan area of Lyon had a population of 2,237,676 in 2013, the second-largest in France after Paris.

The city is known for its cuisine and gastronomy and historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically an important area for the production and weaving of silk. It played a significant role in the history of cinema: Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinematographe in Lyon. The city is also known for its famous light festival, Fête des Lumières, which occurs every 8 December and lasts for four days, earning Lyon the title of Capital of Lights.

Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking, as well as for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, and in recent years has fostered a growing local start-up sector. Lyon hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, Euronews, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. Lyon was ranked 19th globally and second in France for innovation in 2014. It ranked second in France and 39th globally in Mercer’s 2015 liveability rankings.

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.

SAMPLER

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

GREAT HALL, NGV

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is an art gallery and museum in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest and the largest public art gallery in Australia. Since December 2003, NGV has operated across two sites. The main gallery, known as NGV International, is located on St Kilda Road, in the heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct of Southbank, with a branch gallery at Federation Square.

The Great Hall, created by Leonard French between 1963-1967 is a magnificent space, often used for performances, concerts and all sorts of other functions. The ceiling is high (13.72 metres), and vast (60.9 x 15.24 metres) and so heavy with glass and steel that its downward projecting triangles need to be held up by a series of slim steel columns. Looking up, one becomes aware of the wonder of one of the largest glass ceilings in the world. The kaleidoscopic tent of light suspended high above the NGV International's Great Hall is part of the building's fabric and an iconic part of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Leonard William French OBE (born 8 October 1928) is an Australian artist, known principally for major stained glass works. French was born in Brunswick, Victoria. His stained glass creations include a series of panels in the cafe and foyer of the National Library of Australia in Canberra, and this stained glass ceiling for the great hall at the National Gallery of Victoria.

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


Saturday, 27 July 2019

SPIDER

The Australian garden orb weaver spider (Eriophora transmarina) is a very common species of spider with many variants in size, shape, and colour across the coastal regions of the eastern states of Australia. It has a very large abdomen when well-fed and exhibits a tremendous colour-range from off-white through tan, brown to almost black. It has a roughly leaf-shaped pattern on the top of its abdomen with a complex outline that is darker than the surrounding area. There may also be several whitish spots or one or more stripes.

The spiders' cephalothoraxes (heads) and proximal (closer to the body) leg segments are usually darker, mostly reddish or reddish brown. They are able to change their colour with each moult to better match the background upon which they rest during the day. The spiders are notable for the often large and intricate webs which they weave at night. They are usually nocturnal feeders, resting head down in their webs waiting to catch flying insects. They make their sticky rounded orb webs near lights and between trees where insects are likely to fly. During the day the spider will often rest somewhere near the web, usually under a leaf or twig, or in a crevice in bark or rock.

They are commonly found around human habitation so may be found resting under eaves and in similar places. When disturbed they will retreat towards this rest area, although under imminent danger the spider will drop to the ground and "play dead". Occasionally individual spiders will remain on the web during the day, possibly when prey has not been caught for a while, but this makes them more vulnerable to predation by birds. Their bite is not dangerous to humans but may induce mild, local pain, redness, and occasionally swelling for a period of 30 minutes up to three to four hours. The female is larger than the male, having a body length of 20 - 25 mm compared with 15 - 17 mm for the males. Females may also be distinguished by a needle-like epigynum protruding in the direction of the spinnerets.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Thursday, 25 July 2019

CAPE PRIMROSE

A popular house plant, Streptocarpus, is an Afrotropical genus of flowering plants in the family Gesneriaceae (the Gesneriads). The genus is native to Afromontane biotopes from central, eastern and southern Africa, including Madagascar. The flowers are five-petalled, salverform tubes, almost orchid-like in appearance, and hover or arch over the plant. In the wild, species can be found growing on shaded rocky hillsides or cliffs, on the ground, in rock crevices, and almost anywhere the seed can germinate and grow.

For the home, there are now many hybrids of various colours and forms available. The genus is defined by having a spirally twisted fruit (from Greek via Latin, where strepto = twisted, carpus = fruit - Greek: Στρεπτόκαρπος), although this character is also found in some other Old World genera of Gesneriaceae. Although generally referred to simply as "Streptocarpus", or "Streps", the common name for subgenus Streptocarpus is "Cape Primrose", referring to the nativity of several species to South Africa and their superficial resemblance to the genus Primula. The common name for subgenus Streptocarpella is "Nodding Violet".

There are a few odd Asian species of Streptocarpus that however do not belong in the genus. Molecular systematics has shown conclusively that they are not true Streptocarpus and should be placed in another genus. DNA studies have shown that, despite not having a twisted fruit, the genus Saintpaulia (African Violets) evolved from within the Tanzanian Streptocarpus subgenus Streptocarpella. This particular hybrid with the striking dark blue flowers is "Anderson's Crows' Wings".

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

CLOCKTOWER

South Melbourne Town Hall is a civic building located on Bank Street in South Melbourne, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It is of state heritage significance to Victoria being listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Town Hall was built between 1879-80 to the design of noted Melbourne architect Charles Webb. It was built to house what was then known as the Emerald Hill Town Council, as well as a Public Hall, a Mechanics Institute and Library, the Post and Telegraph Department, the Police Department and Courthouse and Fire Brigade. 

In the 1930s some interior elements were refurbished and new council chamber furniture was installed, designed by Oakley and Parkes. The Town Hall was built on an elevated site, the centrepiece of a formally planned block, with a forecourt in the form of a small curved park. It was built in the Victorian Academic Classical style with French Second Empire features, dominated by a very tall multi-stage clocktower. The building is on the Victorian Heritage Register, along with the park and the 1905 Boer War memorial in front.

In 1994, the Cities of South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and St Kilda were amalgamated to form the new City of Port Phillip. The new council administration was centred at the St Kilda Town Hall, with only secondary offices retained at the South Melbourne Town Hall. That same year, the Federal Government created the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), which became the main occupant of the building. ANAM is the national centre for the further development of musicians with outstanding talent in Australia, and the hall has become a concert venue.

The building was restored in 2004 thanks to a state government heritage grant, enabling the reinstatement of the decorative roof and iron cresting (removed in 1945), and restoration of the original ochre exterior colour. In 2012 Multicultural Arts Victoria, Victoria's peak arts organisation promoting cultural diversity in the arts, moved their home to the South Melbourne Town Hall. In 2018, a significant part of the internal roof collapsed and parts of the building were closed off for many months whilst significant construction works were carried out (earlier that year, substantial works were completed on updating the lift which broke down frequently).

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


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

BOLOGNA, ITALY

Bologna is the largest city (and the capital) of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, located in the heart of a metropolitan area (officially recognised by the Italian government as a città metropolitana) of about one million. The first settlements date back to at least 1000 BC. The city has been an urban centre, first under the Etruscans (Velzna/Felsina) and the Celts (Bona), then under the Romans (Bononia), then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality (for one century it was the fifth largest European city based on population).

Home to the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna hosts thousands of students who enrich the social and cultural life of the city. Famous for its towers and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre (one of the largest in Italy) thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s, on the heels of serious damage done by the urban demolition at the end of the 19th century as well as that caused by wars.

An important cultural and artistic centre, its importance in terms of landmarks can be attributed to a varied mixture of monuments and architectural examples (medieval towers, antique buildings, churches, the layout of its historical centre) as well as works of art which are the result of a first class architectural and artistic history. Bologna is also an important transportation crossroad for the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical, electronic and nutritional industries have their headquarters. According to the most recent data gathered by the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) of 2009, Bologna is the first Italian city and the 47th European city in terms of its economic growth rate.

Bologna is home to numerous prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions as well as one of the most impressive trade fair districts in Europe. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music”. The city of Bologna was selected to participate in the Universal Exposition of Shanghai 2010 together with 45 other cities from around the world. Bologna is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.

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, 22 July 2019

MOSAIC + MOSAIC

Today's mosaic is inspired by and (based on, literally) a real mosaic by artist Carol Hill who lives south of Adelaide, in South Australia. This is her website here, please visit and admire her fine mosaic work. The mosaic by Carol is in the lower part of the image, and on top of that I added my selected photos that seemed to me to harmonise with the themes of the three panels.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

CUBE

Melbourne Museum is in the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building. It was designed by Denton Corker Marshall Architects and finished construction in 2001. The museum is a rich response to Melbourne’s urban condition, and provides a place for education, history, culture and society to engage with each other in a contemporary setting.

It is now an important part of Melbourne’s soft infrastructure. It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, and is a venue of Museum Victoria, which also operates the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks Museum.The museum has seven main galleries, a Children's Gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level and was constructed by Baulderstone Hornibrook.

The entire Children's Gallery (housed in what looks like a giant Rubik's Cube) is aimed at 3-8 year olds, (although it is proving to be popular with all ages), and consists of three spaces; the exhibition gallery Big Box, The Learning Environment and the Tattersall's Children's Garden.

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




Thursday, 18 July 2019

GAILLARDIA

Gaillardia, the blanket flowers, is a genus of flowering plants in the sunflower family, Asteraceae, native to North and South America. It was named after an M. Gaillard de Merentonneau or perhaps Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a patron of botany. The common name may refer to the resemblance of the inflorescence to the brightly patterned blankets made by Native Americans, or to the ability of wild taxa to blanket the ground with colonies.

Many cultivars have been bred for ornamental use. These are annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, sometimes with rhizomes. The stem is usually branching and erect to a maximum height around 80 cm. The leaves are alternately arranged. Some taxa have only basal leaves. They vary in shape. They are glandular in most species. The inflorescence is a solitary flower head. The head can have 15 or more ray florets, while some taxa lack any ray florets. They can be most any shade of yellow, orange, red, purplish, brown, white, or bicolored. They are sometimes rolled into a funnel shape. There are many tubular disc florets at the centre of the head in a similar range of colours, and usually tipped with hairs. 

The fruit usually has a pappus of scales. The cultivar "Arizona Sun" illustrated here provides a blaze of summertime colour that thrives, whatever the weather! There is a constant display of large flower heads in fiery shades of orange, yellow and red. The cheery blooms persist well into autumn, and make spectacular cut flowers for an indoor display. This low maintenance, hardy perennial is trouble-free and even copes well on poor, dry soils. Perfect for containers or filling gaps at the front of sunny borders.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

BAROQUE

The Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It followed Renaissance art and Mannerism and preceded the Rococo (in the past often referred to as "late Baroque") and Neoclassical styles. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well.

The Baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome, then spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an even more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and Central Europe until the mid to late 18th century.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (7 December 1598 – 28 November 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was, also and even more prominently, the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture, a typical and grandiose example of which is the Four Rivers Fountain (see below) in the Piazza Navona in Rome.

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



Tuesday, 16 July 2019

ST LOUIS, USA

St Louis is an independent city and inland port in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city developed along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which forms Missouri’s border with Illinois. In 2010, St Louis had a population of 319,294; a 2015 estimate put the population at 315,685, making it the 60th-most populous U.S. city and the second-largest city in Missouri after Kansas City. The St Louis metropolitan area includes the city as well as nearby areas in Missouri and Illinois; with an estimated population of 2,916,447, it has the largest metropolitan area in Missouri and is the nineteenth largest in the United States.

St Louis was founded in 1764 by fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named after Louis IX of France. Claimed first by the French, who settled mostly east of the Mississippi River, the region in which the city stands was ceded to Spain following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War. Its territory east of the Mississippi was ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain, the victor. The area of present-day Missouri was part of Spanish Louisiana from 1762 until 1803; the French persuaded King Charles IV of Spain to cede Louisiana back to France in 1800, but the Spanish continued as administrators of the territory until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

After the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase, St Louis developed as a major port on the Mississippi River. In the late-19th century, St Louis was ranked as the fourth-largest city in the United States. It separated from St Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics. Immigration has increased, and the city is the centre of the largest Bosnian population in the world outside their homeland.

The economy of metro St Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. Its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Centene, Boeing Defense, Emerson, Energizer, Panera, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Ralcorp, Monsanto, Scottrade, Edward Jones, Go Jet, Purina and Sigma-Aldrich. This city has also become known for a growing medical, pharmaceutical and research city. St Louis has two professional sports teams: The St Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. The city is commonly identified with the 192 m tall Gateway Arch in Downtown St Louis.

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, 14 July 2019

RED DOOR

If one lives in a house with a red door, one must wear red pants!

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme.

MINE

Two creations of mine about 20 years apart. The blue pastel sketch on the right was done first in a live figure drawing session. The photograph on the left was taken yesterday. They both depict similar feelings I was experiencing at the time.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

FELICIA

Felicia amelloides (blue daisy) is a herbaceous perennial of family Asteraceae, native to South Africa. Its beautiful blue flowers are quite striking and do well without much care. Pruning and dead-heading is essential, though.

This post is part of the Floral Friday meme.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. As at June 2013, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1.29 million. The demonym "Adelaidean" is used in reference to the city and its residents. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. 

Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens, in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light's design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parklands. Early Adelaide was shaped by religious freedom and a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties, which led to the moniker "City of Churches".

As South Australia's seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist's World's Most Liveable Cities index in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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










Tuesday, 9 July 2019

KOLKATA, INDIA

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. In 2011, the city had population of 4.5 million, while the population of the city and its suburbs was 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. In 2008 its gross domestic product (adjusted for purchasing power parity) was estimated to be US$104 billion, which was the third highest among Indian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi. As a growing city in a developing country, Kolkata has pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overcrowding, and other problems.

The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata, which was built between 1906 and 1921 after a proposal by Lord Curzon. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly River, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road. The memorial was funded by many Indian states, individuals of the British Raj and the British government in London. The princes and people of India responded generously to Curzon’s appeal for funds and the total cost of construction of this monument was entirely derived from their voluntary subscriptions.

The Victoria Memorial’s architect was William Emerson (1843–1924), president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design is in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. This style uses a mixture of British and Mughal elements as well as Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences. The building is 103 m by 69 m and rises to a height of 56 m. It is constructed of white Makrana marble. The gardens of the Victoria Memorial were designed by Lord Redesdale and David Prain. Emerson’s assistant, Vincent J. Esch designed the bridge of the north aspect and the garden gates.

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.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

GOLDEN CELEBRATION ROSE

'Golden Celebration' ™ (Ausgold) bred by David Austin is a delightful variety in their English Rose Collection. It is one of the largest-flowered and most magnificent of the English Roses. Its colour is rich golden yellow and the flowers are in the form of a giant, full-petalled cup. It has excellent shapely growth, forming a nicely rounded, slightly arching shrub with ample foliage.

It is very reliable and easy to grow. It is an ideal rose to mark any celebration or important event. The flowers are initially tea-scented but often develop a wonderful combination of sauterne wine and strawberry. It features repeat flowering and will benefit from summer pruning in most areas. This variety won the best shrub and most fragrant rose awards at the Rose Awards Day 2000.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

LAS PALMAS, CANARIES

Las Palmas (officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) is a city and capital of Spanish Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, off the north-western coast of Africa. It is the co-capital (jointly with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), the most populous city in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, and the ninth largest city in Spain with a population of 383,308 in 2010. It is also the fifth most populous urban area in Spain and (depending on sources) ninth or tenth most populous metropolitan area in Spain.

Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union lying outside the European continent. Las Palmas is located in the northeastern part of the island of Grand Canary, about 150 kilometres off the Moroccan coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. It enjoys a very mild and pleasant semi-arid climate highly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. Locals know it as the “Eternal Spring”, with an average annual temperature of 21.3 °C. According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the U.S., Las Palmas enjoys “the best climate in the world”.

The city was founded in 1478, and considered the de facto capital of the Canary Islands until the seventeenth century. Today, the city is co-capital of the Canary Islands with Santa Cruz. It is home of the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a 4-year term with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), as well as half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government, and the High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. Thus it is the judicial and commercial capital of the Canary Islands, and is also home to a large part of the executive power.

The city is located in the north-eastern part of the island set in magnificent scenery composed of two bays and their beautiful beaches – Playa de las Canteras and Playa de las Alcaravaneras. It has an impressive infrastructure of hotels and apartments and its harbour Puerto de La Luz is one of the most important in all Europe, giving the city a very cosmopolitan feel. Only under the impulse of tourism and economic activities of the 1960s was the city finally consolidated with a population that has doubled in the last 30 years.

Las Palmas offers a variety of theatre, cinema, opera, concerts, visual arts and dance performances. The city hosts the Canary Islands Music Festival, the Theatre and Dance and the International Film Festival. The main City Festival, celebrating the foundation of the “City Fiestas de San Juan” is held in June. The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is known not only in Spain but also worldwide, and is one of the main attractions for tourists. The city centre of Las Palmas, specifically the Vegueta and Triana neighbourhoods, are included in the tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A host of museums, exhibition halls, auditoriums and libraries contribute to the cultural life of the city.

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.