Tuesday, 30 April 2019

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 840,486 within the city proper, 1,337,743 in the urban area, and 2,431,000 in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country, and is also North Holland’s largest city. It comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin as a dam of the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and seven of the world’s 500 largest companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city.

In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city in which to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer . Famous Amsterdam residents included Anne Frank the diarist, the artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, and the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre.  Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million international visitors annually.

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, 29 April 2019

IN THE GARDEN

In Autumn, the garden becomes a colourful, adventurous place. Brightly coloured berries and fruits counterpoint the changing leaf hues, while the sobering greys, browns and yellow ochres of dying vegetation give the eyes some repose.

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, 28 April 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #115 - CHALLENGE: THROUGH MY WINDOW

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image according to the "CHALLENGE" theme, and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

NEXT WEEK'S CHALLENGE THEME IS: FRUIT
Looking out from my window as the sun sets.

Last week the theme was "SHADOWS" and Jim in Sydney posted a lovely photo of a historic church with beautiful shadows that showed off the architecture. Please visit his blog to see other great photos!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

GINGER

A neighbour's cat tries to keep warm as the temperatures fall with advancing Autumn.

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

Friday, 26 April 2019

Thursday, 25 April 2019

JAPANESE ANEMONE

Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. japonica, and Anemone × hybrida (commonly known as the Chinese anemone or Japanese anemone, thimbleweed, or windflower) are species of flowering herbaceous perennials in the Ranunculaceae family. A. hupehensis is native to central China, though it has been naturalised in Japan for hundreds of years.

The species was first named and described in Flora Japonica (1784), by Carl Thunberg. Thunberg had collected dried specimens while working as a doctor for the Dutch East Indies Company. In 1844, Robert Fortune brought the plant to England from China, where he found it often planted about graves. Height is 1–1.5 m and the leaves have three leaflets. Flowers are 40–60 mm across, with 5-6 (or up to 20 in double forms) sculpted pink or white petals and prominent yellow stamens, blooming from midsummer to autumn.

These plants thrive best in shady areas and under protection of larger plants. They are especially sensitive to drought or overwatering. They can be invasive or weedy in some areas, throwing out suckers from the fibrous rootstock, to rapidly colonise an area. Once established they can be extremely difficult to eradicate. On the other hand, they can take some time to become established.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, VICTORIA

Parliament House in Melbourne, located at Spring Street in East Melbourne at the edge of the Melbourne city centre, has been the seat of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, since 1855 (except for the years 1901 to 1927, when it was occupied by the Parliament of Australia). In 1851, even before the colony of Victoria acquired full parliamentary self-government, Governor Charles La Trobe instructed the colonial surveyor, Robert Hoddle, to select a site for the colony’s new parliament to meet. Hoddle selected a site on the eastern hill at the top of Bourke Street, which at that time, when few buildings were more than two storeys high, commanded a view of the whole city.

A competition was held for a design for the building, and John Knight’s design won the first prize of £500, but was not used. The government architect, Charles Pasley, subsequently came up with a design of his own. Subsequent observers have suggested that he borrowed heavily from Leeds Town Hall, which even today is widely considered to be among the finest civic buildings in the world. The design was later modified by an architect in his office, Peter Kerr. Construction of the project was managed by John Knight who was also on Casley’s staff.

The building is an example of Roman Revival architecture. In December 1855 construction began on the site in Spring Street, and the building was completed in stages between 1856 and 1929. The chambers for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the Victorian Legislative Council were finished in 1856, at which time Bourke Street ran between the two chambers. The library was completed in 1860, and the Great Hall (now Queen’s Hall) and the vestibule in 1879. In the 1880s, at the height of the great boom fuelled by the Victorian Gold Rush, it was decided to add a classical colonnade and portico facing Spring St, which today gives the building its monumental character. This was completed in 1892. The north wing was completed in 1893 and refreshment rooms at the back of the building were added in 1929. 

Despite its protracted construction and evolution of the design, the building today feels very much a single entity. The flow of the rooms, particularly taken in context with the main facade leading to the Queen’s Hall and the parliamentary chambers, is both logical and visually impressive. Pasley and Kerr’s design included plans for a dome, but these were abandoned when a sharp depression began in 1891, and the dome was never built. From time to time governments have expressed interest in completing the building by adding the dome, but have been deterred by the enormous cost.

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





Tuesday, 23 April 2019

SINGAPORE CHINESE OPERA

Singapore has a lively cultural scene with many events staged by both local and international artists. There is the renowned Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Lyric Opera company, the Singapore Dance Theatre, theatre, numerous galleries, museums, artistic and cultural groups that reflect the multicultural community of this small but extremely successful Asian nation. One is constantly reminded of this mixed population by the signage, which is in the four official languages of English, Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil. Singaporean culture is best described as a melting pot of mainly Chinese, British, Malay and Indian cultures - a reflection of its immigrant history.

Although the Western influence is still strong (remembering the British were here from 1819 till 1965), the Asian flavour of the culture is ineluctable and constantly reminds one that Singapore is a strongly Asian nation. Of its permanent residents (3.75 million), close to three quarters are Chinese, 13% are Malay and 10% Indian. However, it should be kept in in mind that Singapore has the sixth-highest percentage of foreigners globally, with about forty percent foreign nationals working and living here, bringing the population up to just over 5 million). This mix of people and cultures and cultures makes the country an interesting and vibrant place to be in, especially when looking at the cultural scene. The successful economy and subsidisation by the state of many artistic and cultural bodies ensures that art and culture receive strong government support.

Traditional Chinese opera (Chinese: 戲曲; pinyin: xìqǔ), or Xiqu, is a form of musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China. It is an amalgamation of various art forms that existed in ancient China, and evolved gradually over more than a thousand years, reaching its mature form in the 13th century during the Song dynasty (960–1279). Early forms of Chinese theatre are simple, but over time they incorporated various art forms, such as music, song and dance, martial arts, acrobatics, costume and make-up art, as well as literary art forms to become traditional Chinese opera.

For centuries Chinese opera was the main form of entertainment for both urban and rural residents in China as well as the Chinese diaspora. Its popularity declined sharply in the second half of the 20th century as a result of both political and market factors. Chinese opera is no longer part of the popular Chinese culture, especially for young people, but it remains an attraction for many older people who find in it, among other things, a national or regional identity. For the Chinese diaspora in Singapore, Chinese opera is a popular entertainment, with often lavish productions being staged regularly.

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 April 2019

TRUGANINA TRIPTYCH

The Truganina Coastal Parklands are located 15 km west of Melbourne CBD, on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, stretching from Altona to Altona Meadows and adjacent to the Cheetham Wetlands and the Point Cook Coastal Park. They were formed through the 'recycling' of more than 300 hectares of parks and former industrial land and are now the largest cluster of parks on Port Phillip Bay, interlinked by cycling and walking trails and featuring a surprisingly high diversity and abundance of landscapes, natural environment and recreational areas, including beachside recreation, picnic & barbecue facilities, grassfields and wildlife conservation areas. The wetlands form part of the Cheetham and Altona Important Bird Area.

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

Sunday, 21 April 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #115 - CHALLENGE: SHADOWS

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image according to the "CHALLENGE" theme, and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

NEXT WEEK'S CHALLENGE THEME IS: THROUGH MY WINDOW
A shady glade in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne.

This post is also part of the Shadow Shot Sunday meme.

Last week the theme was "SUNSET" and Klara in Poland posted a lovely photo of a foggy sunset with beautiful silhouettes. Please visit her blog to see other great photos!

Saturday, 20 April 2019

FIND EASTER (BUNNIES)

The date of Easter Day is usually the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the March equinox. According to the Bible, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred around the time of the Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. This soon led to Christians celebrating Easter on different dates. At the end of the 2nd century, some churches celebrated Easter on the day of the Passover, while others celebrated it on the following Sunday.

In 325CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox. Easter is delayed by 1 week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. The council’s ruling is contrary to the Quartodecimans, a group of Christians who celebrated Easter on the day of the full moon, 14 days into the month.

Not all Christian churches observe Easter according the Gregorian calendar. Some churches still observe Easter under the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was created because the Julian calendar was slightly too long. With the Julian calendar, the equinox date moved towards the earlier dates of March and further away from the Easter. Therefore, the introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for a realignment with the equinox.

In the Gregorian calendar, Easter falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 from 1753 to 2400. In the Julian calendar, used by some eastern or Orthodox churches, Easter also falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25, which in the Gregorian calendar are from April 3 to May 10 from 1753 to 2400.

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

HAPPY EASTER, WHENEVER YOU CELEBRATE IT!





Friday, 19 April 2019

Thursday, 18 April 2019

CUPHEA

Cuphea is a genus containing about 260 species of annual and perennial flowering plants  in the Lythraceae family, native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Americas. The species range from low-growing herbaceous plants to semi-woody shrubs up to 2 m tall. Commonly they are known as cupheas, or, in the case of some species, as cigar plants. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κυφος (kyphos), meaning "bent," "curved," or "humped."

Several Cuphea species are popular ornamental plants or honey plants. C. ignea 'David Verity' and C. micropetalia are popular plants to attract hummingbirds. Cuphea vienco, seen here, is a charming, free-flowering plant with small, smooth green leaves smothered with frilly, vibrant red and purple flowers. Suitable for pots and mixed containers. Bird attracting. The plant copes well in dry conditions. Suitable for full sun or part shade positions. Grows up to 60cm high.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

ORANGE ORCHID

The Crucifix orchid (Epidendrum ibaguense) is a species of the Orchidaceae family that occurs naturally from Mexico to Colombia. It has long, thin stems and leathery leaves. The flowers bloom in clusters, with up to 20 flowers open on a stem at once. They come in orange, red, mauve, purple, salmon and yellow. We have the orange and red varieties growing profusely as potted specimens in our garden and they are very rewarding plants. 

The common name 'crucifix orchid' refers to the lip of the flower (called the labellum), which resembles a small, gold cross. Crucifix orchids are tough, easy to grow, easily propagated and they have vivid, long lasting flowers. In fact, they are an excellent beginner's orchid. They can be grown in containers in a free-draining mix, amongst rocks in the garden, or in soil. They like a frost-free climate and flower best in a full sun position.

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, 16 April 2019

PARIS, FRANCE

 The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Triumphal Arch of the Star) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

The Arc de Triomphe is the linchpin of the Axe historique (historic axis) – a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route that runs from the courtyard of the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806 and its iconographic program pits heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages.

The monument stands 50 metres in height, 45 m wide and 22 m deep. The large vault is 29.19 m high and 14.62 m wide. The small vault is 18.68 m high and 8.44 m wide. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is built on such a large scale that, three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919 (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel. It was the tallest triumphal arch in existence until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, which is 67 metres high. The Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, completed in 1982, is modelled on the Arc de Triomphe and is slightly taller at 60 m.

We stand united with Parisians and all civilised people around the world, sharing their loss of one of the great cultural monuments of the world, the Nôtre Dame of Paris. The cathedral will arise anew from its ashes and continue to symbolise culture and civilisation, faith and enlightenment, sensitivity and broad-mindedness.

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 Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 15 April 2019

A NATURE WALK

At my local nature reserve, where Autumn is showing its colours.

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, 14 April 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #114 - CHALLENGE: SUNSET

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image according to the "CHALLENGE" theme, and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

NEXT WEEK'S CHALLENGE THEME IS: SHADOW
Sunset over the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia.
This post is also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Last week the theme was "CITY LIFE" and Klara in Poland posted a lovely photo of friends meeting outside a theatre. This photo was my favourite! Please visit her blog to see other great photos!


Saturday, 13 April 2019

AQUARIUM

Pterophyllum is a small genus of freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae known to most aquarists as angelfish. All Pterophyllum species originate from the Amazon Basin, Orinoco Basin and various rivers in the Guiana Shield in tropical South America. The three species of Pterophyllum are unusually shaped for cichlids being greatly laterally compressed, with round bodies and elongated triangular dorsal and anal fins. This body shape allows them to hide among roots and plants, often on a vertical surface.

Naturally occurring angelfish are frequently striped longitudinally, colouration which provides additional camouflage. Angelfish are ambush predators and prey on small fish and macroinvertebrates. All Pterophyllum species form monogamous pairs. Eggs are generally laid on a submerged log or a flattened leaf. As is the case for other cichlids, brood care is highly developed.

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



Thursday, 11 April 2019

TRAILING LOTUS

Lotus berthelotii is a perennial plant endemic to the Canary Islands, in the family Fabaceae. This plant is either extinct in the wild or persists as a few individuals. In 1884 it was already classed as "exceedingly rare" and plant collection probably hastened its decline. The plant has a creeping or trailing habit, with leaves divided into 3-5 slender leaflets, each leaflet 1–2 cm long and 1 mm broad, densely covered with fine silvery hairs.

The flowers are orange-red to red, peaflower-shaped, but slender, 2–4 cm long and 5–8 mm broad. Lotus berthelotii is cultivated in the horticulture trade and widely available as an ornamental plant with its needle-like silvery foliage and red flowers for traditional gardens, container (pots), and drought tolerant water conserving gardens. A golden orange flowering cultivar is also grown.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

NORWAY

Norway (Norwegian: Norge), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of 5,312,300 (as of August 2018). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619 km long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.

Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, and its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals. The Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East.

Lillehammer (shown here) is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of 2018, the population of the town of Lillehammer was 28 034. The city centre is a late nineteenth-century concentration of wooden houses, which enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen, surrounded by mountains.

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

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

OAMARU, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses: That of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu; as well as numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Oamaru, shown here, is the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand, is the main town in the Waitaki District. It is 80 kilometres south of Timaru and 120 kilometres north of Dunedin, on the Pacific coast, and State Highway 1 and the railway Main South Line connect it to both. With a population of 13,750, Oamaru is the 27th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the second largest in Otago behind Dunedin. The name Oamaru derives from Māori words meaning the place of Maru (compare with Timaru). The identity of Maru remains open to conjecture!

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, 7 April 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #113 - CHALLENGE: CITY LIFE

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image according to the "CHALLENGE" theme, and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!


NEXT WEEK'S CHALLENGE THEME IS: SUNSET
Ballet busker has a big fan outside the Flinders St Station in Melbourne's CBD...

Last week the theme was "ROCK" and Taken for Granted in the USA posted a nice shot of Rock Island Rocket. The photo below was my favourite this week! Please visit his blog to see other great photos!

Saturday, 6 April 2019

CRESTED PIGEON

The native Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) is a common bird found widely throughout mainland Australia except for the far northern tropical areas. Only two Australian pigeon species possess an erect crest, the crested pigeon and the spinifex pigeon. The crested pigeon is the larger of the two species, shown here in the Darebin Parklands, a nature reserve in suburban Melbourne.

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



Thursday, 4 April 2019

JAPANESE STAR ANISE

Illicium anisatum, commonly known as the Japanese star anise, is a tree similar to Chinese star anise. It is highly toxic, therefore it is not edible; instead, it has been burned as incense in Japan, where it is known as shikimi. Cases of illness, including serious neurological effects such as seizures, reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species.

I. anisatum is native to Japan. It is similar to I. verum, but its fruit is smaller and with weaker odour, which is said to be more similar to cardamom than to anise. While it is poisonous and therefore unsuitable for using internally, it is used for treatment of some skin problems in traditional Chinese medicine.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

MICROSCOPIC MISADVENTURE

This is a photo taken under a microscope, showing a specialised white blood cell called a monocyte. This cell becomes a macrophage, once in tissue, which it patrols for invaders. It has ingested a yeast cell microorganism (the oval structure inside it), and it will now destroy it. The cell is about 0.03 mm in diameter.

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, 2 April 2019

UDAIPUR, INDIA

Udaipur is a major city, municipal corporation and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan of Rajputs founded the city in 1559 AD and shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur. It remained as the capital city till 1818 when it became a British princely state, and thereafter the Mewar province became a part of Rajasthan when India gained independence in 1947.

Udaipur is a very popular tourist destination. Known for its history, culture, scenic locations and the Rajput-era palaces, Udaipur was also voted as the best city in the world in 2009 by the Travel + Leisure magazine. A large number of palaces, temples, public buildings and other cultural, artistic and historic places to visit will be found in the city and close to it.

Illustrated below is Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Courtyard of the Maidens), which is a major garden and a popular tourist space in Udaipur. It lies in northern part of the city and has fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. It was built by Rana Sangram Singh. There is also a small museum here. Sahelion-ki-Bari was created between 1710-1734 for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.

The gardens are set below the embankment of the Fateh Sagar Lake and have beautiful lotus pools, marble pavilions and elephant- shaped fountains. These fountains are fed by the water of the lake gushing through ducts made for the purpose. Each water channel has its distinct sound and the mingling of these sounds complement the ambience of the place.

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.