Saturday, 29 April 2017


“Life is like a flute. It may have many holes and emptiness but if you work on it carefully, it can play magical melodies.” - Evan Carmichael

Michel Blavet (March 13, 1700 – October 28, 1768) was a French composer and flute virtuoso. Although Blavet taught himself to play almost every instrument, he specialised in the bassoon and the flute which he held to the left, the opposite of how most flautists hold theirs today. Quantz writes of Blavet: “His amiable disposition and engaging manner gives rise to a lasting friendship between us and I am much indebted to him for his numerous acts of kindness.”

Born in Besançon as the son of wood turner Jean-Baptiste Blavet, a profession which he followed for some time, he accidentally became the possessor of a flute and soon became the finest player in France. Blavet was famous for maintaining impeccable intonation, even when he played in difficult keys, and for the beauty of his tone. Voltaire expressed his admiration for his playing and Marpurg spoke of him as a virtuoso of the highest excellence who preserved his innate modesty despite his unbroken popularity.

In 1721, Blavet entered the service of Louis, Count of Clermont and became his steward of music. In 1726 he joined the Duke of Carignan and took part in the newly formed Concert Spirituel for the first time. In 1728 he published his first book of flute music, containing six sonatas for two flutes without bass. From 1731 to 1735, he performed at the Concert Spirituel with Jean-Marie Leclair, Jean-Pierre Guignon, Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, Jean-Baptiste Senaillé, and Jacques Aubert.

In 1738, Blavet became the principal flute in Louis XV’s personal musical ensemble, the “Musique du Roi”, and in 1740 at the Paris Opera orchestra. He played in the quartet (flute – Blavet, violin – Guignon, viola da gamba – Forqueray the younger, cello – Édouard) that played the premiere performance of the Paris quartets by Telemann. Blavet turned down a post in Frederick the Great’s court, which Quantz eventually accepted after the pay had been increased significantly.

In 1752 Blavet modelled on Italian interludes the first French comic opera, ‘Le Jaloux corrigé’. He also wrote a march for the Grande-Loge, having joined the Masons under the influence of the Comte de Clermont who was Grand Master of the Order in France. Blavet’s three ‘Recueils’ for two flutes are undated, but internal evidence suggests that they come from the early 1750s. The breathing marks (h, for haleine) indicated in the ‘Recueils’ and his op. 2 remain an invaluable aid in understanding eighteenth-century French musical phrasing. He died in Paris in 1768.

Blavet wrote primarily for the transverse flute, in the so-called ‘Italian’ as well as the French style. His surviving works include a concerto and three books of sonatas (1740). His surviving works are written only in the easiest keys, since he published them for amateurs to play.

Here is a selection of flute music by Blavet, played by Frank Theuns, Marc Hantaï, Martin Bauer, Ewald Demeyere, and Wim Maeseele.

Friday, 28 April 2017


“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

Nothing better on a cold wet day like fresh, crusty bread well-baked from scratch in the oven. Fortunately, the easy recipe we have allows this indulgence. We have never invested in a bread making machine and probably this is wise given the number of people that have and rarely use them. I have seen countless such machines being sold for peanuts in garage sales...

 Easy Bread

Shortening or oil, for greasing and brushing
250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamon seed
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
175ml lukewarm water
100 ml lukewarm milk
1/2 cup olive oil
Extra water, for brushing
1 tsp nigella seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Brush a 10 x 20cm loaf pan with the shortening to lightly grease. Measure all your ingredients.
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and stir to mix. Add the milk and stir well.
Place the flour, herbs and spices and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the water/milk/yeast mixture and oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball. Brush a large bowl with the shortening or oil to grease. Place the dough into the bowl and turn it over to lightly coat the dough surface with the butter. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and then place it in a warm, draught-free place to allow the dough to rise.
Leave the dough to prove until it is double its size, between 45-75 minutes at 30˚C. When the dough is ready, it will retain a finger imprint when lightly pressed.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down in the centre with your fist and knead on a lightly floured surface again for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic and returned to its original size.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a smooth round. Place the portions of dough side by side in the greased loaf pan. Brush lightly with the melted butter. Stand the pan in a warm, draught-free place, as before, for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen about 1cm about the top of the pan.
Gently brush the loaf with a little water and then sprinkle with the nigella seeds if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Turn the loaf immediately onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
Once cool, store the loaf in a well-ventilated place at room temperature.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.” - Laurence Binyon

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.  
The Shrine of Remembrance is located in ANZAC Square, between Ann Street and Adelaide Street, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. With its 'Eternal Flame', the Shrine is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs).

The Shrine of Remembrance is a major Brisbane landmark of cultural, architectural and historic importance and is a key component of the Queensland Heritage listed square and annually hosts ceremonies for ANZAC Day and Armistice Day (now referred to as Remembrance Day). A service marking Singapore Day (The Fall of Singapore, 15 February 1942) is held annually on the closest Sunday to the 15th, in remembrance of the losses of the 8th Division during World War 2.

Funds were raised by public subscription for a memorial to fallen soldiers in World War I and in 1928 a competition was held for its design. The competition was won by Sydney architects Buchanan and Cowper who proposed a Greek Revival structure. The Shrine took two years to build and was dedicated on Armistice Day 11 November 1930 by Governor John Goodwin with a dedication plaque.

Designed in the Greek Classic Revival style, the columns of the Shrine of Remembrance are built of Helidon sandstone, and the Eternal Flame is kept in a brass urn within the Shrine. The steps leading to the Shrine of Remembrance from ANZAC Square are made of Queensland granite. The 18 columns of the Shrine symbolise the year 1918, when hostilities ceased.

There is a crypt in the lower section of the Shrine of Remembrance which contains the World War I and World War II Shrine of Memories, which contains memorial plaques to numerous Australian regiments who fought during these campaigns. There is also a World War I memorial sculpture on the Shrine of Memories external wall.

Each year, on ANZAC Day, on 25 April, a Dawn memorial service is held at the Shrine of Remembrance, with wreaths being laid around the 'Eternal Flame' in memory of those who died in conflict. There is also a memorial service held each year on Remembrance Day, 11 November and wreaths are again laid at the 'Eternal Flame'.

This post is part of the Our World 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, 24 April 2017


“A lioness has got a lot more power than the lion likes to think she has.” - Jacki Weaver 

In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet (or Sachmis, meaning “the powerful one”) is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. Her cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty, Amenemhat I, moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy, the centre for her cult was moved as well. Religion, the royal lineage, and the authority to govern were intrinsically interwoven in ancient Egypt during its approximately three millennia of existence.

Sekhmet is also a Solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra and often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bast. She bears the Solar disk and the uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. With these associations she can be construed as being a divine arbiter of the goddess Ma’at (Justice, or Order) in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, associating her with the Wadjet (later the Eye of Ra), and connecting her with Tefnut as well.

In order to placate Sekhmet’s wrath, her priestesses performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year. This practice resulted in many images of the goddess being preserved. Most of her statuettes were rigidly crafted and do not exhibit any expression of movements or dynamism; this design was made to make them last a long time rather than to express any form of functions or actions she is associated with. It is estimated that more than seven hundred statues of Sekhmet once stood in one funerary temple alone, that of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile.

She was envisioned as a fierce lioness, and in art, was depicted as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, who often was dressed in red, the color of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each breast, an ancient leonine motif, which can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs on lions. Occasionally, Sekhmet was also portrayed in her statuettes and engravings with minimal clothing or naked. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet at Leontopolis.

To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of wine ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess—when she almost destroyed humanity. This may relate to averting excessive flooding during the inundation at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood-red with the silt from up-stream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save humankind.

In a myth about the end of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor or Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him. In the myth, Sekhmet’s blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or haematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra. The same myth was also described in the prognosis texts of the Calendar of Lucky and Unlucky Days of papyrus Cairo 86637, where the actions of Sekhmet, Horus, Ra and Wadjet were connected to the eclipsing binary Algol.

Sekhmet later was considered to be the mother of Maahes, a deity who appeared during the New Kingdom period. He was seen as a lion prince, the son of the goddess. The late origin of Maahes in the Egyptian pantheon may be the incorporation of a Nubian deity of ancient origin in that culture, arriving during trade and warfare or even, during a period of domination by Nubia. During the Greek dominance in Egypt, note was made of a temple for Maahes that was an auxiliary facility to a large temple to Sekhmet at Taremu in the delta region (likely a temple for Bast originally), a city which the Greeks called Leontopolis, where by that time, an enclosure was provided to house lions.