Saturday, 17 June 2017


“Musicians own music because music owns them.” - Virgil Thomson 

Johann Vierdanck (also: Virdanck, Vyrdanck, Feyertagk, Feyerdank, Fierdanck; ca. 1605–1646) was a German violinist, cornettist, and composer of the Baroque period. Vierdanck was born near Dresden. In 1615 he joined the court chapel of Dresden, where he became a student of Heinrich Schütz and of William Brade. His instrumental works were influenced by the Italian violinist Carlo Farina, also active in the Dresden court.

After visits to Copenhagen and Lübeck, Vierdanck occupied the post of organist in Stralsund from 1635 until his death. He was buried in Stralsund on 1 April 1646.The group Parnassi Musici has recorded several of his instrumental works, from his 1641 publication, for the CD label Classic Produktion Osnabrück.

Here are some of his chamber works performed by the group Parnassi Musici.
1. Canzona in C (No. 21) [04:30]
2. Capriccio in d minor (No. 11) [00:49]
3. Capriccio in a minor (No. 17) [04:11]
4. Capriccio in a minor (No. 2) [01:33]
5. Canzona in G (No. 23) [03:32]
6. Capriccio in a minor (No. 8) [02:26]
7. Passamezzo in a minor (No. 15) [07:23]
8. La sua Gagliarda in a minor (No. 16) [01:54]
9. Capriccio in d minor (No. 3) [02:45]
10. Capriccio in a minor (No. 20) [04:41]
11. Capriccio in d minor (No. 10) [01:50]
12. Capriccio in d minor (No. 18) [03:27]
13. Sonata in d minor (No. 4) [04:11]
14. Canzona in g minor (No. 22) [03:34]
15. Capriccio in d minor (No. 9) [01:01]
16. Capriccio in g minor (No. 19) [03:35]
17. Capriccio in d minor (No. 1) [01:34]
18. Canzona in a minor (No. 24) [05:45]
19. Capriccio in a minor (No. 7) [01:12]
20. Capriccio ‘auff Quodlibethische Art’ in C (No. 25) [06:20]

Friday, 16 June 2017


“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” - Letitia Baldrige 

Afternoon tea in Winter is a lovely tradition and having the right cakes is absolutely essential. One of the cakes we often have is the "1-2-3-4" Yoghurt Cake from Greece. It’s lovely and light and moist.

 Yoghurt Cake

1 cup (250 mL) Greek yoghurt (use the same cup to measure the other ingredients)
1 cup light vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla essence
Your favourite icing to decorate or a simple dusting with icing sugar

Separate the eggs, beating the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (reserve).
Add the oil little by little while beating the yolk-sugar mixture. Once incorporated, add the yoghurt, a little at a time, mixing slowly. Add the vanilla essence.
Stop beating the mixture and add about a quarter of the flour and a quarter of the beaten egg-white alternately until they are used up, folding gently with a spatula to mix thoroughly.
Empty in a well-greased and floured ring cake tin and bake in an oven pre-warmed to 180˚C for 55 to 60 minutes in the centre shelf. Don’t open the oven door for the first 40 minutes or so, but later you may need to cover the cake with a little foil to prevent the top burning. Check if it’s done by inserting a skewer. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven and then upend onto your serving platter. Ice or dust when cake is cold.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


“People can choose between the sweet lie or the bitter truth. I say the bitter truth, but many people don’t want to hear it.” - Avigdor Lieberman 

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant of the aster family, native to temperate Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to other parts of the world including North America, and in some areas has become invasive. It is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons. Tansy is absent from Siberia and some of the Mediterranean islands. The ancient Greeks may have been the first to cultivate it as a medicinal herb. In the sixteenth century it was considered to be “necessary for a garden” in Britain.

The plant is a flowering herbaceous species with finely divided compound leaves and yellow, button-like flowers. It has a stout, somewhat reddish, erect stem, usually smooth, 50–150 cm tall, and branching near the top. The leaves are alternate, 10–15 cm long and are pinnately lobed, divided almost to the centre into about seven pairs of segments, or lobes, which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edges, giving the leaf a somewhat fernlike appearance.

The roundish, flat-topped, button-like, yellow flower heads are produced in terminal clusters from mid-to-late summer. The scent is similar to that of camphor with hints of rosemary. The leaves and flowers are toxic if consumed in large quantities; the volatile oil contains toxic compounds including thujone, which can cause convulsions and liver and brain damage. If you intend to use tansy as a culinary herb do not use it to excess and do not use it at all if you are allergic to it. Some insects, notably the tansy beetle Chrysolina graminis, have resistance to the toxins and subsist almost exclusively on the plant.

Tansy has a long history of use. It was first recorded as being cultivated by the ancient Greeks for medicinal purposes. In the 8th century AD it was grown in the herb gardens of Charlemagne and by Benedictine monks of the Swiss monastery of Saint Gall. Tansy was used to treat intestinal worms, rheumatism, digestive problems, fevers, sores, and to bring out measles. During the Middle Ages and later, high doses were used to induce abortions. Contrary to this, tansy was also said to help women conceive and to prevent miscarriages. In the 15th century, Christians began serving tansy with Lenten meals to commemorate the bitter herbs eaten by the Israelites. Tansy was thought to have the added Lenten benefits of controlling flatulence brought on by days of eating fish and pulses and of preventing the intestinal worms believed to be caused by eating fish during Lent.

Tansy was used as a face wash and was reported to lighten and purify the skin. In the 19th century, Irish folklore suggested that bathing in a solution of tansy and salts would cure joint pain. Although most of its medicinal uses have been discredited, tansy is still a component of some medicines and is listed by the United States Pharmacopeia as a treatment for fevers, feverish colds, and jaundice.

Tansy has also been cultivated and used for its insect repellent and in the worm warding type of embalming. It was packed into coffins, wrapped in funeral winding sheets, and tansy wreaths were sometimes placed on the dead. During the American colonial period, meat was frequently rubbed with or packed in tansy leaves to repel insects and delay spoilage. Tansy was frequently worn at that time in shoes to prevent malaria and other fevers; it has been shown, however, that some mosquito species including Culex pipiens take nectar from tansy flowers.

Tansy can be used as in companion planting and for biological pest control. It is planted alongside potatoes to repel the Colorado potato beetle, with one study finding tansy reduced the beetle population by 60 to 100%. In England tansy is placed on window sills to repel flies; sprigs are placed in bed linen to drive away pests, and it has been used as an ant repellent. In the 1940s, distilled tansy oil mixed with fleabane, pennyroyal and diluted alcohol was a well-known mosquito repellent. Some research studies support these insect-repellent uses.

Tansy was formerly used as a flavouring for puddings and omelettes, but this culinary use is now almost unknown. The herbalist John Gerard (c. 1545–1612) noted that tansy was well known as “pleasant in taste”, and he recommends tansy sweetmeats as “an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space a reasonable quantitie thereof be eaten fasting.” In Yorkshire, tansy and caraway seeds were traditionally used in biscuits served at funerals. During the Restoration, a “tansy” was a sweet omelette flavoured with tansy juice. In the BBC documentary “The Supersizers go ...Restoration”, Allegra McEvedy described the flavour as “fruity, with a sharpness to it and then there’s a sort of explosion of cool heat a bit like peppermint.” However, the programme’s presenter Sue Perkins experienced tansy toxicity. According to liquor historian A. J. Baime, in the 19th century Tennessee whiskey magnate Jack Daniel enjoyed drinking his own whiskey with sugar and crushed tansy leaf.

Many tansy species contain a volatile oil, which can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. If taken internally, toxic metabolites are produced as the oil is broken down in the liver and digestive tract. It is highly toxic to internal parasites, and for centuries tansy tea has been prescribed by herbalists to expel worms. Tansy is an effective insecticide and is highly toxic to arthropods.

In the language of flowers, tansy leaves mean "the truth is bitter", while flowering stems indicate "hate, bitterness and a declaration of war".

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


“Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.” - Harold Kushner 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.   
Mytilene (Greek: Μυτιλήνη; Mytilini in Modern Greek) is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the capital of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is built on the southeast edge of the island. It is also the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Orthodox church. Mytilene has a port with ferries to the nearby islands of Lemnos and Chios and Ayvalık and at times Dikili in Turkey. The port also serves the mainland cities of Piraeus, Athens and Thessaloniki.The city produces ouzo. There are more than 15 commercial producers on the island.The city exports sardines harvested from the Bay of Kalloni and olive oil and woodwork.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 Richter has badly damaged scores of homes on the Eastern Greek island of Lesbos, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 people. Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos and the fire service said the woman was found dead in the Southern village of Vrisa that was worst-hit by the quake, which had its epicentre under the sea, to the South of the island.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management, the epicentre was at a shallow depth of seven kilometres. At least 25 aftershocks were recorded following the initial quake at 3:28 pm local time, Monday 12th June. The tremor was also felt in densely populated Istanbul and the western Turkish province of Izmir, but no injuries were reported there. Earthquakes are common around the Aegean Sea, and both Greece and Turkey frequently report tremors and even more serious quakes. Despite this, people have learnt to live with and survive earthquakes, with most new buildings constructed, being adequate earthquake-resistant structures.

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

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below, and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post: 

Monday, 12 June 2017


“Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone.” - Amy Tan 

Seshat, under various spellings, was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing. She was seen as a scribe and record keeper, and her name means ‘she who scrivens’ (i.e. she who is the scribe), and is credited with inventing writing. She also became identified as the goddess of accounting, architecture, astronomy, astrology, building, mathematics, and surveying. These are all professions that relied upon expertise in her skills. She is identified as Safekh-Aubi in some late texts. Mistress of the House of Books is another title for Seshat, being the deity whose priests oversaw the library in which scrolls of the most important knowledge were assembled and spells were preserved.

One prince of the fourth dynasty, Wep-em-nefret, is noted as the Overseer of the Royal Scribes, Priest of Seshat on a slab stela. Heliopolis was the location of her principal sanctuary. She is described as the goddess of history. In art, she was depicted as a woman with a seven-pointed emblem above her head. It is unclear what this emblem represents. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BCE) called her Sefket-Abwy (‘She of seven points’). Spell 10 of the Coffin Texts states “Seshat opens the door of heaven for you”.

Usually, she is shown holding a palm stem, bearing notches to denote the recording of the passage of time, especially for keeping track of the allotment of time for the life of the pharaoh. She was also depicted holding other tools and, often, holding the knotted cords that were stretched to survey land and structures. She is frequently shown dressed in a cheetah or leopard hide, a symbol of funerary priests. If not shown with the hide over a dress, the pattern of the dress is that of the spotted feline. The pattern on the natural hide was thought to represent the stars, being a symbol of eternity, and to be associated with the night sky.

As the divine measurer and scribe, Seshat was believed to appear to assist the pharaoh in both of these practices. It was she who recorded, by notching her palm, the time allotted to the pharaoh for his stay on earth. Seshat assisted the pharaoh in the ‘stretching the cord’ ritual. This ritual is related to laying out the foundations of temples and other important structures in order to determine and assure the sacred alignments and the precision of the dimensions. Her skills were necessary for surveying the land after the annual floods to reestablish boundary lines. The priestess who officiated at these functions in her name also oversaw the staff of others who performed similar duties and were trained in mathematics and the related store of knowledge. Much of this knowledge was considered quite sacred and not shared beyond the ranks of the highest professionals such as architects and certain scribes.

She also was responsible for recording the speeches the pharaoh made during the crowning ceremony and approving the inventory of foreign captives and goods gained in military campaigns. During the New Kingdom, she was involved in the Sed festival held by the pharaohs who could celebrate thirty years of reign. Later, when the cult of the moon deity, Thoth, became prominent and he became identified as a god of wisdom, the role of Seshat changed in the Egyptian pantheon when counterparts were created for most older deities. The lower ranks of her priestesses were displaced by the priests of Thoth. First, she was identified as his daughter, and later as his wife.

After the pairing with Thoth the emblem of Seshat was shown surmounted by a crescent moon, which, over time, degenerated into being shown as two horns arranged to form a crescent shape, but pointing downward (in an atypical fashion for Egyptian art). When the crescent moon symbol had degenerated into the horns, she sometimes was known as Safekh-Aubi, meaning she who wears the two horns. In a few images the horns resemble two cobras, as depicted in hieroglyphs, but facing each other with heads touching.