Monday 30 September 2019


A digital collage of an interior scene, produced in Photoshop.

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 29 September 2019


By the pond the reeds are seeding and the fresh new green of Spring is making its appearance. The sky turns from grey to blue and the sun appears and disappears behind rolling clouds. The water birds are just grateful that the rains have filled the pond.

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

Saturday 28 September 2019


We have several birds that visit our garden and this spotted dove is a frequent one. Last week it decided to come into the fernery and got trapped there. Some crumbs on the concrete floor got it to fly low and find the door out into the garden again.

The spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range on the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations have become established. This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia with other turtle-doves, but studies suggest that they differ from typical members of that genus.

This dove is long tailed buff brown with a white-spotted black collar patch on the back and sides of the neck. The tail tips are white and the wing coverts have light buff spots. There are considerable plumage variations across populations within its wide range. The species is found in light forests and gardens as well as in urban areas. They fly from the ground with an explosive flutter and will sometimes glide down to a perch. It is sometimes also called the mountain dove, pearl-necked dove or lace-necked dove.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
as well as part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday 27 September 2019


Sunrise from my window with the guest appearance of some birds. The days are getting longer!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 26 September 2019


Buddleja commonly known as the butterfly bush is a genus comprising over 100 species of flowering plants endemic to Asia, Africa, and the Americas, within the Buddlejaceae family. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr. William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle's death.

As garden shrubs Buddleja is essentially a 20th-century plant, with the exception of B. globosa which was introduced to Britain from southern Chile in 1774 and disseminated from the nursery of Lee and Kennedy, Hammersmith. Several species are popular garden plants, the species are commonly known as 'butterfly bushes' owing to their attractiveness to butterflies, and have become staples of the modern butterfly garden; they are also attractive to bees and moths. The most popular cultivated species is Buddleja davidii from central China, named for the French Basque missionary and naturalist Père Armand David.

Other common garden species include the aforementioned B. globosa, grown for its strongly honey-scented orange globular inflorescences, and the weeping Buddleja alternifolia. Several interspecific hybrids have been made. Some species commonly escape from the garden. B. davidii in particular is a great coloniser of dry open ground; in urban areas in the United Kingdom, it often self-sows on waste ground or old masonry, where it grows into a dense thicket, and is listed as an invasive species in many areas.

Popular garden cultivars include 'Royal Red' (reddish-purple flowers), 'Black Knight' (very dark purple), 'Sungold' (golden yellow), and 'Pink Delight' (pure pink). In recent years, much breeding work has been undertaken to create small, more compact buddlejas, such as 'Blue Chip' which reach no more than 0.6–0.9 m tall, and which are also seed sterile, an important consideration in the USA where B. davidii and its cultivars are banned from many states owing to their invasiveness.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 25 September 2019


Landscape painting is the depiction of landscapes in art—natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, especially where the main subject is a wide view—with its elements arranged into a coherent composition, in a celebration of nature. In other works, landscape backgrounds for figures can still form an important part of the work. Sky is almost always included in the view, and weather is often an element of the composition. Detailed landscapes as a distinct subject are not found in all artistic traditions, and develop when there is already a sophisticated tradition of representing other subjects.

The two main traditions spring from Western painting and Chinese art, going back well over a thousand years in both cases. The recognition of a spiritual element in landscape art is present from its beginnings in East Asian art, drawing on Daoism and other philosophical traditions, but in the West only becomes explicit with Romanticism. Landscape views in art may be entirely imaginary, or copied from reality with varying degrees of accuracy.

If the primary purpose of a picture is to depict an actual, specific place, especially including buildings prominently, it is called a topographical view. Such views, extremely common as prints in the West, are often seen as inferior to fine art landscapes, although the distinction is not always meaningful; similar prejudices existed in Chinese art, where literati painting usually depicted imaginary views, while professional artists painted real views.

Claude Lorrain (born Claude Gellée, called le Lorrain in French; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher of the Baroque era. He spent most of his life in Italy, and is one of the earliest important artists, apart from his contemporaries in Dutch Golden Age painting, to concentrate on landscape painting. His landscapes are usually turned into the more prestigious genre of history paintings by the addition of a few small figures, typically representing a scene from the Bible or classical mythology.

The first painting below is "David Anointed King by the Prophet Samuel." by Lorrain (1647). Oil on canvas. Collection of the French king Louis XVIII (purchase 1682). Louvre museum (Paris, France).
The second painting is also by Lorrain, "River landscape with Tiburtine Temple at Tivoli" (c. 1635), at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1967.

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

Tuesday 24 September 2019


Williamstown is an inner suburb of Melbourne, 8 km south-west from the central business district. At the 2006 Census, Williamstown had a population of 12,733. Williamstown is approximately 15 minutes by car from Melbourne via the West Gate Freeway or a 30-minute train journey from Flinders Street Station. Ferries from Melbourne's Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct take approximately 1 hour. Representative of Williamstown’s maritime history, large scale maritime industry dominates Williamstown's piers precinct and a maritime theme characterises the Nelson Place tourism precinct.

BAE Systems Australia's Marine division (formerly Tenix) has operated out of Williamstown dockyards for nearly 20 years, during which time it has built ANZAC-class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, and will also conduct completion of the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock vessels. The Nelson Place tourism precinct offers some of Melbourne's best waterfront eateries, many catering for al fresco dining and some with spectacular views of Melbourne's city skyline through the masts of bobbing boats on the foreshore. Also located on Nelson Place is a diverse range of arts, crafts and other speciality shops.

HMAS Castlemaine, berthed at Williamstown (and seen in the first photo) is open for public inspection and allows visitors to explore an original World War 2 warship. She is one of the 60 Australian-built Bathurst class corvettes to serve throughout World War Two and the last such vessel still afloat, having been restored by volunteers over three decades. Castlemaine is open to the public on weekends and public holidays.Today visitors can see how crews lived and worked during the war years, witness the original engines turning over and view a wide range of artefacts documenting Australian maritime history.

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 23 September 2019


The Vernal Equinox in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia was on Monday, 23 September 2019 at 5:50 pm AEST. On the two equinoxes every year the Sun shines directly on the Equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal – but not exactly. The Vernal Equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from North to South in September (in the Southern Hemisphere), marking the beginning of astronomical Spring.

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 22 September 2019


Melbourne's rich architectural heritage from the Victorian era can still be found in some pockets of the City and suburbs. Such heritage is in real danger of encroachment and destruction by new building developments that are choking our once beautiful city. Enjoy while we still can...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday 20 September 2019


A wonderful Spring day and where better to spend it than at the Parklands...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 19 September 2019


An early Spring bouquet from our garden. You can see anemones, freesias, bluebells, stocks, primulas, calendulas, marigolds and eau-de-cologne plant foliage. As we are becoming hemmed in by development in surrounding properties, our garden is becoming a refuge for many birds and insects seeking shelter and food in it. Large numbers of bees visiting have put me of the mind to construct a hive or two in the back!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Wednesday 18 September 2019


We have a multitude of paintings hanging at home, nearly all of them originals, either painted by us or by friends (a few of them who are professional artists). We only have a couple of reproductions of works by famous painters hanging on a wall, Of the thousands of paintings that we like, one may ask why choose those particular ones to buy and hang up on the wall?

First, these artists are great favourites, and to have something of theirs on a wall to see daily and admire gives us great satisfaction. Second, the reproductions are facsimile paintings that are done by professional copiers who have great skill in copying faithfully the art work. They work in oils and the colours are brilliant and reproduce wonderfully the spirit of the original. This is something admirable in itself. Third, by viewing such a work in its original dimensions and skilfully painted in the same medium as the original one gets a much better idea of the artist's vision (compared say to a print or a photon in an art book, or a picture on Google).

One of the reproduction paintings we have is Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss". Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes.

Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods. Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his "golden phase", many of which include gold leaf. Klimt's work was an important influence on his younger contemporary Egon Schiele.

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

Tuesday 17 September 2019


We visited the Heide Museum of Modern Art recently (most often simply referred to as “Heide”). This is only one of Melbourne’s public contemporary art museums and is located in Bulleen, east of Melbourne, only a few minutes drive from our house. It was established as a museum in 1981, and is made up of a number of detached buildings, with surrounding gardens and parklands, which go right up to the Yarra River flats. As well as being a wonderful museum, the site is of historical importance and the whole complex is used as gallery space to exhibit works in various media by contemporary Australian artists.

Heide occupies the site of a former dairy farm that was purchased by the prominent Melbourne art collectors John and Sunday Reed in 1934 and became home to a collective known as the Heide Circle, which included many of Australia’s best-known modernist painters, such as: Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Laurence Hope Joy Hester and others, who lived and worked in the former farm house (Heide I).

Between 1964 and 1967, a new house was built (Heide II), and this is considered to be one of the finest examples of modernist architecture in Victoria, and was designed by acclaimed architects McGlashan and Everist. In 1981, the museum was established on the site, incorporating the existing buildings and surrounding gardens & parklands as exhibition and gallery spaces. The main gallery building (Heide III) was constructed in 1993 and the museum continued to broaden its collection of works to include all forms of contemporary Australian art, including some by contemporary indigenous artists.

The museum underwent major refurbishment in 2005-2006. Part of this renewal was the establishment of several sculptural and installation art pieces, landscaping and redesign of the gardens, construction of a new education centre and gallery space, extension of the Heide III building and various other works.   In 2009 after 19 months of redevelopment, the cafe reopened in November as Café Vue at Heide.

The picture shows the installation piece on the lawns to the north of the museum, entitled “Cows”, by Jeff Thomson, 1987 (photographed by J.Gollings, 2004). The cows are made of corrugated iron, which is integral part of outback Australia (and not only!), being used as a construction material, particularly of house and shed roofs. The rural connections of the material are extended by the subject matter, giving a particularly Australian flavor to the bucolic landscape installation. The piece is quite striking, especially when first seen. There are now many imitations of this piece, with all sorts of animals being up for sale in many a local garden centre so everyone can have a corrugated iron pet in their back yard!

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 16 September 2019


Our early Spring brings with it cool showery weather, fresh vegetation and lengthening days.

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

Sunday 15 September 2019


View from my window, with full moon. The asterism effect around the bright moon orb, reminiscent of a star sapphire, was something that developed with the long exposure.

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

Saturday 14 September 2019


Chestnut teal duck family, Anas castanea (Eyton, 1838). The chestnut teal is darker and a slightly bigger bird than the grey teal. The male has a distinctive green coloured head and mottled brown body. The female has a brown head and mottled brown body. The female is almost identical in appearance to the grey teal. The female chestnut teal has a loud penetrating "laughing" quack repeated rapidly nine times or more.

The chestnut teal is commonly distributed in south-eastern and south-western Australia, while vagrants may occur elsewhere. Tasmania and southern Victoria are the species’ stronghold, while vagrants can be found as far north as New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. The chestnut teal prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands, and is indifferent to salinity. This bird is an omnivore.

Chestnut teals form monogamous pairs that stay together outside the breeding season, defend the nest site and look after the young when hatched. Nests are usually located over water, in a down-lined tree hollow about 6–10 m high. Sometimes nests are placed on the ground, among clumps of grass near water. The young hatch and are ready to swim and walk within a day.

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

Thursday 12 September 2019


Abutilon or 'Chinese lanterns' are closely related to hibiscus, and most of the hundred or so species have pendulous, hibiscus-like flowers. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum, and these are the ones most commonly grown in Australian gardens.

They have a wispy, delicate form and colourful, lantern-shaped flowers. For gardeners who prefer plants with a more dense habit, new compact varieties are also available. Another popular abutilon is Abutilon megapotamicum, which is a prostrate or ground covering species with small orange flowers. Abutilon are evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit. They grow to about 2-3 metres tall.

Flowers in the Southern Hemisphere are produced in September to December, but they spot flower at other times. Flower colours include white, pink, red, yellow, orange and salmon. These plants grow well in most parts of Australia, except for the very cold mountain zones. In inland areas be sure to water well and keep protected with mulch. In hot inland climates abutilons appreciate some light shade.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 11 September 2019


Jacob (Jacques) Jordaens (19 May 1593 – 18 October 1678) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and tapestry designer known for his historical paintings, genre scenes and portraits. After Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, he was the leading Flemish Baroque painter of his day. Unlike those contemporaries he never travelled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their intellectual and courtly aspirations. In fact, except for a few short trips to locations in the Low Countries, he remained in Antwerp his entire life.

As well as being a successful painter, he was a prominent designer of tapestries. Like Rubens, Jordaens painted altarpieces, mythological, and allegorical scenes, and after 1640—the year Rubens died—he was the most important painter in Antwerp for large-scale commissions and the status of his patrons increased in general. However, he is best known today for his numerous large genre scenes based on proverbs in the manner of his contemporary Jan Brueghel the Elder, depicting The King Drinks and As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young. Jordaens' main artistic influences, besides Rubens and the Brueghel family, were northern Italian painters such as Jacopo Bassano, Paolo Veronese, and Caravaggio.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Jacob Jordaens: (L) Self Portrait (circa 1648–1650) – Collection of the King Baudouin Foundation. – On loan at Rubenshuis (Antwerp)
(R) Three paintings

Jacob Jordaeens: Mercury and Argus (c. 1635-1640) at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
In 1620 Jordaens first painted Ovid’s mythological story of Mercury and Argus, a tale of the god Jupiter’s transformation of his nymph conquest, Io, into a white heifer. In jealousy Jupiter’s wife Juno sent Argus, disguised as a herdsman, to watch Io, but was foiled when Jupiter dispatched Mercury to lull Argus to sleep and decapitate him. The painting, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, displayed Jordaen’s flamboyant use of colour, lighting and fluid countour. It was so well-known that Jean-Antoine Watteau reproduced it in his 1721 sign for the Paris picture dealer Gersaint. Fifteen years later Jordaens, by then a leading Flemish painter, produced this smaller replica.

Tuesday 10 September 2019


Coop's Shot Tower is a shot tower located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, Australia. It was completed in 1888 and is 50 metres high. The historic building was saved from demolition in 1973 and was incorporated into Melbourne Central complex in 1991 underneath an 84 m-high conical glass roof.

Coop's Shot Tower is 9 storeys high, and has 327 steps to the top. The tower produced six tonnes of shot weekly up until 1961, when the demand for the lead shot dwindled, because of new firearm regulations. The tower was operated by the Coops family, who also managed Clifton Hill Shot Tower.Recently a museum called the Shot Tower Museum has been set up inside of the tower at the back of R.M. Williams, a tenant in the tower. The site is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

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 9 September 2019


Brunetti, the Italian restaurant, café and pasticceria, is a famous Melbourne institution on Lygon Street, Carlton. It is large, yet cosy; noisy and busy, yet intimate; crowded, yet efficient; popular, yet delivers consistently good quality. I've lived in Melbourne long enough to see it growing and growing, but whenever I go there I remember my student years at University and the endless cups of espresso we consumed there...

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

Sunday 8 September 2019


Today we visited the Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne. It was a massive event with hundreds of pieces of art and tens of galleries represented. One of the bonuses was that many of the artists were also present and were standing beside their works, ready to have a friendly chat about them. Although most of the prices were quite reasonable, there were a few paintings that were a little on the pricey side. Nevertheless, this was an event that we thoroughly delighted in and the standard of the art was truly amazing!

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 7 September 2019


A praying mantis is an amazing insect that can be kept as a pet. A praying mantis can catch other insects with its strong front legs. The front legs are lined with spikes and close in a certain way to have a firm grip on the prey. A mantis has a mobile head that can turn around like humans can, large eyes, large front legs to grab prey and four legs meant for walking. 

Praying mantids vary in adult length between 1 and 16 cm. Praying mantids exclusively eat other insects by catching them with their forelegs. They do not use poison but eat the prey alive while they hold it firmly. The praying mantis belong to the order of Mantodea. There are about 2300 species of praying mantis described. They occur on every continent except on Antarctica.

In Northern Europe they do not occur. In Europe, many people see their first praying mantis on holiday in Spain or France. In the United States praying mantids can be found in almost any state. But the most extraordinary species and highest number of species can only be found in the tropical forest of South America, Africa and Asia.

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

Friday 6 September 2019


We've had a couple of fine, sunny and warm Spring days this week. Today, however, the wintry weather has returned and looks like it will linger for a little more. Some trees are quite cautious and will not bud yet!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 5 September 2019


Cymbidium, or boat orchids, is a genus of 52 evergreen species in the orchid family Orchidaceae. It was first described by Olof Swartz in 1799. The name is derived from the Greek word kumbos, meaning 'hole, cavity'. It refers to the form of the base of the lip. The genus is abbreviated Cym in horticultural trade.

This genus is distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia (such as northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Borneo) and northern Australia. The larger flowered species from which the large flowered hybrids are derived grow at high altitudes. Cymbidium plants are sympodial and grow to a height of 60 cm and the racemes as high as 90 cm. The raceme grows from the base of the most recent pseudobulb.

Each flower can have a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, according to the species. They bloom during the winter, and each plant can have up to fifteen or more flowers. The fantastic range of colours for this genus include white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, and red [and orange] and black (and there may be markings of other colour shades at the same time), but not blue. The flowers last about ten weeks. They have a waxy texture. The rounded sepals and petals have about the same dimensions. They show very diverse colour patterns, different for every species.

Cymbidium is one of the most popular and desirable orchids in the world because of the beautiful flowers. These plants make great houseplants, and are also popular in floral arrangements and corsages. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, especially in China. Cymbidiums became popular in Europe during the Victorian era. One feature that makes the plant so popular is the fact that it can survive during cold temperatures (as low as 7˚ C or 45˚ F).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 4 September 2019


Indian ink (North American also India inknoun [mass noun]
Deep black ink containing dispersed carbon particles, used especially in drawing and technical graphics.
Mid-17th century: Originally applied to Chinese and Japanese pigments prepared in solid blocks and imported to Europe via India.

The drawing above is an Indian ink sketch of the Australian Artist Hans Heysen (1877 – 1968), drawn by Louis Kahan (1905 – 2002) - Exhibited in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

The drawing below is my own doodles using Indian ink.

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

Tuesday 3 September 2019


One of the advantages of being a 'morning person' is enjoying the sunrise, the quiet streets and commuting in uncrowded public transport. Here is a sunrise I enjoyed recently in my home suburb of Fairfield, an inner northeastern suburb of Melbourne.

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 2 September 2019


September is the first month of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere and the flowers are blooming in our gardens in Melbourne.

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 1 September 2019