Saturday, 4 February 2017


“The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead.” - Igor Stravinsky

I have been working very hard the past couple of weeks, so I have been missing a few of my regular daily posts here. When I work at my computer, I enjoy listening to music played softly in the background. Telemann is perfect for this and here is a sample of his oboe writing.

Georg Philipp Telemann (14 March 1681 -- 25 June 1767) was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family’s wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually settled on a career in music.

He held important positions in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach, and Frankfurt before settling in Hamburg in 1721, where he became musical director of the city’s five main churches. While Telemann’s career prospered, his personal life was always troubled: His first wife died only a few months after their marriage, and his second wife had extramarital affairs and accumulated a large gambling debt before leaving Telemann.

Telemann was one of the most prolific composers in history (at least in terms of surviving oeuvre) and was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the leading German composers of the time (he was compared favourably both to his friend Johann Sebastian Bach, who made Telemann the godfather and namesake of his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, and to George Frideric Handel, whom Telemann also knew personally).

Telemann’s music incorporates several national styles (French, Italian) and is even at times influenced by Polish popular music. He remained at the forefront of all new musical tendencies and his music is an important link between the late Baroque and early Classical styles.

Here are some of his Oboe Sonatas performed by Paul Goodwin (Baroque Oboe), John Toll, (Harpsichord), Susan Sheppard (Baroque Cello), Nigel North (Archlute, Theorbo), Lynden Cranham (Baroque Cello).

Friday, 3 February 2017


“The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.” - Jacqueline du Pré 

Cymbopogon, better known as lemongrass, is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family (Poaceae). Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus) are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, or gavati chaha, amongst many others.

Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisines and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico.

Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. Despite its ability to repel some insects, such as mosquitoes, its oil is commonly used as a “lure” to attract honey bees. Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee’s Nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees.

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grow to about 2 m and have magenta-colored base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent (especially against mosquitoes) in insect sprays and candles, and in aromatherapy, an is used widely in Bintan Island, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Its origin is assumed to be Indonesia.

The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, as a flavouring. Citronella is usually planted in home gardens to ward off insects such as whitefly adults. Its cultivation enables growing some vegetables (e.g. tomatoes and broccoli) without applying pesticides. Intercropping should include physical barriers, for citronella roots can take over the field.

Lemongrass oil, used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts found in India as a preservative. It is used at the Oriental Research Institute Mysore, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage in Kerala, and many other manuscript collections in India. The oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves, and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

East Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin grass or Malabar grass, is native to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, while West Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to South Asia and maritime Southeast Asia. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suitable for cooking. In India, C. citratus is used both as a medicinal herb and in perfumes. 

C. citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine, but a study in humans found no effect. The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case. Lemon grass is also used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha, which is a traditional herbal brew used against coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Inclusion of stems of lemongrass in a bouquet carries the message: “Beware, bad tongues are gossiping about you.”

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


“Faith makes all things possible. Love makes all things easy.” - Dwight L. Moody

The Midweek Motif at Poets United this week is “Faith”. Here is my contribution:


My soul a hollow shell;
My heart an empty echoing place
In whose vacant chambers
Cold loneliness shuffles its steps.

My life a barren void;
My sweet dreams annulled
All hopes sublimated
In the wake of your bitter renunciation.

My spirit vacuous;
My routine existence lost
In a desert of frozen wastelands
As I attempt to cope with betrayal.

Shall I attempt trust again?
Shall I believe in seemingly ingenuous smiles?
Shall I ever be able to risk all again?
Shall I walk the tightrope of love once more?

How much more simple to wander the desert,
Trust only the promise of a certain, rapid death
As my parched heart and soul quickly dehydrate
And my lifeblood thickens, clots, solidifies.
Love is the half-remembered nightmare
That hastens me on my spiralling downward plunge
Into the pointless peregrinations
Within a vast desert in which there is no hidden oasis.
Once faith is lost, it is not easily found again.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” - Julia Child 

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

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

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

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.

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