Saturday 31 August 2019


The common bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) is a species of medium-sized, heavily built pigeon. Native to Australia and one of the country's most common pigeons, the common bronzewing is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests. Males of the species have pale-yellow to yellow-white foreheads, and pink breasts. Both males and females have an easily discernible white line around and proximate to their eyes. Common bronzewings also have patches of red, blue and green on their wings, a feature which is characteristic of all bronzewing pigeons. Young birds are usually duller in colour and browner than the mature common bronzewing.

Rarely found far from a source of water, common bronzewings either travel alone or in pairs or in flocks, and are usually cautious, making approach by humans or other animals difficult. Common bronzewings are, on average, between 30 and 36 centimetres in length. The common bronzewing's diet primarily consists of seeds and all varieties of vegetables. It searches for food in small groups. The search can sometimes last for days, and, since the pigeon must drink frequently, it utilises watering holes or any other available source of water.

Common bronzewings construct a rough nest of twigs and sticks, which is placed low down in a tree or bush. The eggs hatch after a period of roughly 14 to 16 days, after being incubated by both the male and the female. Both parents share the responsibility of caring for the young. In common with other pigeons, common bronzewings release a milky substance from their crop to feed their young. This specimen was seen in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne.

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

Thursday 29 August 2019


Daphne odora (winter daphne) is a species of flowering plant in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to China, Japan and Korea. It is an evergreen shrub, grown for its very fragrant, fleshy, pale-pink, tubular flowers, each with 4 spreading lobes, and for its glossy foliage. It rarely fruits, producing red berries after flowering. The Latin specific epithet odora means "fragrant".

It grows best in fertile, slightly acid, peaty, well-drained soils. It grows in full sun or partial shade, and is hardy to −10 °C, possibly lower. In Korea, the plant is also poetically called "churihyang" - a thousand mile scent - referring to the fragrance of the foliage. In Japan, the plant is more commonly known as "jinchoge".

Plants are not long lived, senescing within 8 to 10 years. Daphne generally do not react well to root disturbance, and may transplant badly. D. odora is also susceptible to virus infection, which causes leaf mottling. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and a range of domestic animals and some people experience dermatitis from contact with the sap. Daphne odora is propagated by semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 28 August 2019


Utagawa Hiroshige (/ˌhɪəroʊˈʃiːɡeɪ/,  Japanese: 歌川 広重), born Andō Hiroshige (安藤 広重; 1797 – 12 October 1858), was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that tradition. Hiroshige is best known for his horizontal-format landscape series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and for his vertical-format landscape series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.

The subjects of his work were atypical of the ukiyo-e genre, whose typical focus was on beautiful women, popular actors, and other scenes of the urban pleasure districts of Japan's Edo period (1603–1868). The popular series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai was a strong influence on Hiroshige's choice of subject, though Hiroshige's approach was more poetic and ambient than Hokusai's bolder, more formal prints. Subtle use of colour was essential in Hiroshige's prints, often printed with multiple impressions in the same area and with extensive use of bokashi (color gradation), both of which were rather labour-intensive techniques.

For scholars and collectors, Hiroshige's death marked the beginning of a rapid decline in the ukiyo-e genre, especially in the face of the westernisation that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Hiroshige's work came to have a marked influence on Western painting towards the close of the 19th century as a part of the trend in Japonism. Western artists, such as Manet and Monet, collected and closely studied Hiroshige's compositions. Vincent van Gogh even went so far as to paint copies of two of Hiroshige's prints from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
The First Shono from the Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido Highway (Hoeido version)
James McNeil Whistler at the NGV International, 25 March – 19 June 2016. The artist like so many others of his time was fascinated by Japanese Prints, which he collected. Hiroshige and Hokusai were favourite Japanese artists.

Tuesday 27 August 2019


Spring has started to make itself felt in the Southern Hemisphere and going for a walk around the neighbourhood makes it very apparent. The wattles are in full bloom at the moment and their yellow flowers are cheering the often-grey skies. Plum trees are also in flower, and the spring bulbs, primulas and polyanthus are in full bloom.

The weather, however, is quite changeable and Winter is showing us his teeth as he smiles while leaving. It’s often been cold and wet and grey, raining now and then. The days are getting longer though, and the dangers of frost are past, I think. It was sunny and fine today. September is around the corner and whether you consider September 1 or September 21 the first day of Spring, both are not far away.

With Spring come renewed feelings of hope and optimism, one’s mind starts thinking of new ventures, one dreams of trips away, fresh projects and a reawakening of dormant love, perhaps. The creative juices seem to start flowing with renewed vigour too and one can look forward to greater sources of inspiration for writing, art, photography. Later in Spring, the city comes alive for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Australia’s most prestigious horse racing event. It is also the time of the year to explore the vineyards and spa country of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.

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.

Sunday 25 August 2019


As Winter nears its end, days of sunshine become more frequent and the wattles start to bloom. Their cheery yellow blossom and the delicious fragrance herald Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 24 August 2019


A curious little dog watching us pass by on our neighbourhood walk.

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

Friday 23 August 2019


A fine Winter's day today with clear skies and sun shining, however, very cold with the wind lowering the temperature considerably. It didn't deter the blooming magnolias from putting on a good show and reminding us that Spring is on its way...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 22 August 2019


Chaenomeles japonica is a species of Japanese Quince in the Rosaceae family. It is a thorny deciduous shrub that is commonly cultivated. It is shorter than another commonly cultivated species C. speciosa, growing to only about 1 m in height. The fruit is called Kusa-boke (草木瓜) in Japanese.

Chaenomeles japonica is also popularly grown in bonsai. It is best known for its colourful spring flowers of red, white or pink. It produces apple-shaped fruit that are a golden-yellow colour containing red-brown seeds. The fruit is edible, but hard and astringent-tasting, unless bletted. The fruit is occasionally used in jelly and pie making as an inferior substitute for its cousin, the true quince, Cydonia oblonga.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 21 August 2019


A grisaille (/ɡrɪˈzaɪ/ or /ɡrɪˈzeɪl/; French: gris [ɡʁizaj] 'grey') is a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles include a slightly wider colour range. Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille.

A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, as underpainting for an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from. "Rubens and his school sometimes use monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers." Full colouring of a subject makes many more demands of an artist, and working in grisaille was often chosen as being quicker and cheaper, although the effect was sometimes deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons.

Grisaille paintings resemble the drawings, normally in monochrome, that artists from the Renaissance on were trained to produce; like drawings they can also betray the hand of a less talented assistant more easily than a fully coloured painting.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" is a small panel painting in grisaille by the Netherlandish Renaissance printmaker and painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It is signed and dated 1565.
"Saint Geneviève provisioning Paris under siege" (Sainte Geneviève ravitaillant Paris assiégé) (1897-1898) by Pierre PUVIS de CHAVANNES - Distemper, pencil and chalk on canvas (National Gallery of Victoria). 

There are three vast panels (465.0 × 287.0 cm; 465.0 × 345.5 cm; 463.0 × 285.0 cm), covering an entire wall of the 19th-century gallery at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. They are the full-scale preparatory cartoons in grisaille, for part of a mural series for the Pantheon in Paris.

It is a legendary scene from the life of the saint during the siege of Paris by Childeric, king of the Franks, in 464. The city was surrounded and the people were starving; we can see them here in the crowd on the left, some obviously distressed. Rowing at the head of 11 boats, Genevieve supposedly made it past the siege lines and brought food back to the city from Troyes. She appears in the middle of the central image aboard her vessel. Others are bringing bags of grain ashore from the boats. As it turned out, Childeric was impressed by Genevieve’s heroism and the saint became an intermediary between the conquering king and the city.

Tuesday 20 August 2019


Yarra Bend Park has been one of Melbourne’s largest expanses of inner suburban parkland for nearly 150 years. Yarra Bend Park and neighbouring Studley Park were reserved in 1877. Both park areas and several reserves were combined in 1929 to create one large park. The combined area became known as Yarra Bend National Park despite never being raised to formal national park status.

During the 1930’s additions included picnic and sporting grounds, toilet facilities and a public golf course. The Yarra Bend Golf Club House, officially opened in May 1936, is an original example of American ‘Country Club’ type architecture. The Park provides a great open space for walking, bike riding, riverside cafes, golf, boating, BBQs, picnicking and a host of other leisure activities.

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 19 August 2019


Some early Spring blossom is making its appearance in Melbourne despite the cold, wet and grey weather!

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

Saturday 17 August 2019


Kingfishers are to be found all over Australia, but ­predominantly in coastal regions. We have 10 native species, including the kookaburra, which is the largest. Kingfishers nest in tree hollows, in burrows in riverbanks and in termite nests. They feed on small animals, including fish, frogs, yabbies, snakes, insects and nestlings of other birds. Covered in brilliant green, blue, turquoise and orange plumage, some kingfishers were once in danger of being hunted to extinction for their feathers.

Despite their elaborate appearance, these stocky birds are tough, and hunt by darting upon prey in a flash of colour from branches above the river or forest floor. The kingfisher’s heavy beak is the perfect tool for killing victims quickly – they smack their hapless prey against tree branches before swallowing it whole.

The Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx [Alcedo] azurea) length, 17–19cm; wingspan, 25–29cm makes its home along the banks of coastal and inland rivers, swamps and mangroves. During breeding season, it lines its nest with fish bones and scales. Found along much of our northern and eastern seaboards, as well as Tasmania, this species hunts for small mammals, reptiles, fish and frogs.

This one was seen in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. They are shy birds, usually keeping out of sight and easily disturbed if encountered, flying off rapidly.

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

Thursday 15 August 2019


Iberis sempervirens (evergreen candytuft, perennial candytuft) is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native to southern Europe. It is a spreading subshrub growing to 30 cm high by 40 cm broad. As an ornamental plant it is a spring-blooming favourite, often seen cascading over rocks and walls, or used as groundcover.

The glossy, evergreen foliage forms a billowing mound, with many fragrant, pure white flowers for several weeks during spring and early summer. When grown in a garden it may require light pruning right after blooming, but otherwise plants can be left alone in autumn and early spring.

It is drought-tolerant once established. It prefers a well-drained site, so heavy clay soils that stay wet in winter should be avoided. It is not easily divided. Iberis is so named because many members of the genus come from the Iberian Peninsula. Sempervirens means "always green", referring to the evergreen foliage. This plant and the cultivar 'Snowflake' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 14 August 2019


Fauvism | ˈfəʊvɪz(ə)m | noun [mass noun]
A style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of colour that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement's leading figure.
Fauvist noun & adjective
French: Fauvisme, from fauve ‘wild beast’. The name originated from a remark of the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles at the Salon of 1905; coming across a quattrocento-style statue in the midst of works by Matisse and his associates, he is reputed to have said, ‘Donatello au milieu des fauves!’ (‘Donatello among the wild beasts’).

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
The artists, their work, their relationships, their achievements and the critical and commercial response to their work are discussed in this absorbing book by Sarah Whitfield, the first in many years to offer a reappraisal of Fauvism.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. "Street, Dresden". 1908 (reworked 1919; dated on painting 1907) - MoMA, New York.
In 2018, MoMA shared some of its collection with Australia when 200 works travelled to Melbourne for MoMA at NGV, an exclusive exhibition for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Winter Masterpieces series.

Tuesday 13 August 2019


Flinders Street railway station is a railway station on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne, Australia. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. Backing onto the city reach of the Yarra River in the heart of the city, the complex covers two whole city blocks and extends from Swanston Street to Queen Street. Flinders Street is served by Metro's suburban services, and V/Line regional services to Gippsland. It is the busiest station on Melbourne's metropolitan network, with some 92.6 million passenger movements recorded in 2011/12.

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 12 August 2019


Anemone ( /ənɛˈməniː/), is a genus of about 120 species of flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae in the north and south temperate zones. They are closely related to Pasque flowers (Pulsatilla) and Hepaticas (Hepatica); some botanists include both of these genera within Anemone.

The name of the flower is from the Greek ἀνεμώνη (anemōnē) which means "daughter of the wind", from ánemos "wind" + feminine patronymic suffix -ōnē. We have many anemones in our garden and take great pleasure from them as they bloom and announce the coming of Spring.

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

Sunday 11 August 2019


It's been wintry, rainy, cold and grey in Melbourne the past week and there's been a lot of run off from the storm water drains. It always looks picturesque in the Darebin Parklands where the storm water drains into one of ponds. Always good to remember this and put all rubbish in the bin, don't throw it in the street. Keep our storm water drains clean!

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday 9 August 2019


The Seafarers Bridge is a footbridge over the Yarra River between Docklands and South Wharf in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The bridge connects the north and south banks of the river while providing a formal entrance to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The bridge main span is supported by steel ties connected to elliptical arches, with three arches on the north side and four arches on the south side. The bridge was named in homage to the ‘Mission to Seafarers’ centre located nearby on the northern bank of the Yarra River and to represent Melbourne’s rich maritime history.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 8 August 2019


The Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule, syn. Papaver croceum, P. miyabeanum, P. amurense, and P. macounii) is a boreal flowering plant. Native to subpolar regions of Europe, Asia and North America, and the mountains of Central Asia (but not in Iceland), 

Iceland poppies are hardy but short-lived perennials, often grown as biennials, that yield large, papery, bowl-shaped, lightly fragrant flowers supported by hairy, one foot, curved stems among feathery blue-green foliage. They were first described by botanists in 1759. The wild species blooms in white or yellow, and is hardy from USDA Zones 3a-10b.

All parts of this plant are likely to be poisonous, containing (like all poppies) toxic alkaloids. In particular, P. nudicaule has been shown to contain the benzophenanthidine alkaloid, chelidonine.

These are just starting to bloom in our garden despite the cold and rainy Winter weather we are currently experiencing.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 7 August 2019


Etching | ˈɛtʃɪŋ | noun
A print produced by the process of etching: Etchings of animals and wildflowers.
[mass noun] The art or process of producing etched plates or objects: The artist dispensed with the medium of etching. | A dozen cycles of etching interspersed with the implantation of ions.

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. Ink is then forced into the incised design and prints are made on paper. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today.

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

Rembrandt: The Little Children Being Brought to Jesus ("The 100 Guilder Print") c. 1649 (Print in the NGV, Melbourne)

The so-called Hundred Guilder Print is Rembrandt's most famous etching. Rembrandt began to make studies for this celebrated print earlier, but in its main types and in its final decisive achievement the etching belongs to the beginning of the mature period. The popular title, found in the literature as early as 1711, is derived from the high price the print is said to have fetched at a sale. According to an anecdote recorded by the eighteenth-century art dealer and collector J.P. Mariette in his Abecedario, it was Rembrandt himself who paid this sensational price for an impression of his own print.

The etching illustrates passages from Chapter 19 of the Gospel of St Matthew. Rembrandt treated the text with liberty; he merged the successive events into a simultaneous one, with Christ in the centre preaching and performing his miracles. According to the text, Christ had come from Galilee, a large multitude following, and he began to preach, healing the sick. The crowd look to the Lord, waiting for their turn to be healed. Near the centre, to the left, a young mother with a child advances to Jesus. St Peter interferes, restraining her, but Christ makes a counter-movement. It is the moment when he says the famous words: 'Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven'.

Sunday 4 August 2019


Fairfield Boathouse was established in 1908 by John St Clair as a picnic, camping and refreshment room area. John St Clair was a piano tuner from Smith St, Fitzroy, with a vision. He firstly wrote a letter to the Premier suggesting that he open a refreshment room and boat shed area, with motor boats at Fairfield Park. The Premier had to seek the approval form Yarra Bend Hospital of the Insane because the proposal for the boat shed was actually on the hospital grounds. The Premier gave his permission for the boat shed project to go ahead.

Mr St Clair built the boat shed and six years later Fairfield Park was set aside from the same grounds. However Mr St Clair had seven troubled years with Crown Bailiffs over building permits. Eventually in 1915 the Heidelberg council bought him out. In 1923 the boathouse was raised by 12 feet to help minimise flood damage, a frequent threat to boathouses along the Yarra. Boat and canoe carnivals and open air carnivals were common sights at Fairfield until the 1950’s.

Boating popularity declined until finally the Fairfield boathouse was closed in 1980 as it was declared unfit for human habitation. In 1985 the boathouse was restored and re-opened. The derelict building had recently housed squatters and possums. The project took 30,000 hours of restoration work. Meticulous work and an eye for detail was required for rebuilding. Even the gardens have been restored to encourage native birds. It now enjoys renewed popularity and is a pleasure to visit.

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

Saturday 3 August 2019


The noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) is a bird in the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae, and is endemic to eastern and south-eastern Australia. This miner is a grey bird, with a black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch behind the eye and white tips on the tail feathers. Males, females and juveniles are similar in appearance, though young birds are a brownish-grey. As the common name suggests, the noisy miner is a vocal species with a large range of songs, calls, scoldings and alarms, and almost constant vocalisations particularly from young birds.

Noisy miners are gregarious and territorial; they forage, bathe, roost, breed and defend territory communally, forming colonies that can contain several hundred birds. Each bird has an 'activity space' and birds with overlapping activity spaces form associations called 'coteries', the most stable units within the colony. The birds also form temporary flocks called 'coalitions' for specific activities such as mobbing a predator.

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

Friday 2 August 2019


A few rays of sunlight before the downpour on a Winter's morning in High St Northcote.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 1 August 2019


Rose bouquets make very special gifts and if you are familiar with the language of flowers you can make a subtle statement to drive home a sentiment you wish to convey to the recipient of the bouquet. A red rose means "I love you", but a yellow rose stands for jealousy and infidelity. A white rose symbolises purity, while the rosebud suggests young and innocent love and the moss rose, voluptuous love. In the language of flowers, each rose type, rose colour and rose part have a different signification.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Flowers meme.