Thursday, 20 October 2016


Conium maculatum (hemlock or poison hemlock) is a highly poisonous biennial plant herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family Apiaceae, native to Europe and North Africa. 

It is a herbaceous biennial plant that grows to 1.5–2.5 m, with a smooth, green, hollow stem, usually spotted or streaked with red or purple on the lower half of the stem. All parts of the plant are hairless (glabrous). The leaves are two- to four-pinnate, finely divided and lacy, overall triangular in shape, up to 50 cm long and 40 cm broad. The flowers are small, white, clustered in umbels up to 10–15 cm across. When crushed, the leaves and root emit a rank, unpleasant odour often compared to that of parsnips. It produces a large number of seeds that allow the plant to form thick stands in modified soils.

The toxicity of the plant has inspired many of its common names: In addition to the English poison hemlock, the Australian Carrot Fern, and the Irish devil's bread or devil's porridge, poison parsley, spotted corobane, and spotted hemlock are used.

Eight piperidinic alkaloids have been identified in C. maculatum. Two of them, gamma-coniceine and coniine, are generally the most abundant, and they account for most of the plant's acute and chronic toxicity. Due to high potency, the ingestion of seemingly small doses can easily result in respiratory collapse and death.

Coniine causes death by blocking the neuromuscular junction in a manner similar to curare; this results in an ascending muscular paralysis with eventual paralysis of the respiratory muscles which results in death due to lack of oxygen to the heart and brain. Death can be prevented by artificial ventilation until the effects have worn off 48–72 hours later. For an adult, the ingestion of more than 100 mg (0.1 gram) of coniine (about six to eight fresh leaves, or a smaller dose of the seeds or root) may be fatal.

In ancient Greece, hemlock was used to poison condemned prisoners. The most famous victim of hemlock poisoning is the philosopher Socrates. After being condemned to death for impiety and corrupting the young men of Athens, in 399 BC, Socrates was given a potent infusion of the hemlock plant. Plato described Socrates' death in 'Phaedo'.

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


View from Folly Bridge, looking downstream on the River Thames towards the Oxford University College boat houses.

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

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


The Park Güell (Catalan: Parc Güell) is a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill, in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain). Carmel Hill belongs to the mountain range of Collserola – the Parc del Carmel is located on the northern face. Park Güell is located in La Salut, a neighbourhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. With urbanisation in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”

Park Güell is the reflection of Gaudí’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. He put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in the analysis of geometry. To that, the Catalan artist adds creative liberty and an imaginative, ornamental creation.

Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organised grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch. They also envisioned a community strongly influenced by symbolism, since, in the common elements of the park, they were trying to synthesise many of the political and religious ideals shared by patron and architect: therefore there are noticeable concepts originating from political Catalanism – especially in the entrance stairway where the Catalonian countries are represented – and from Catholicism – the Monumento al Calvario, originally designed to be a chapel. The mythological elements are so important: apparently Güell and Gaudí's conception of the park was also inspired by the Temple of Apollo of Delphi.

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, 17 October 2016


The Tropicana Fruit Juice Bar in Melbourne's CBD is a well-known landmark at 213 Elizabeth St. If nothing else, the bags of oranges and fresh pineapples will certainly catch your eye! Certainly brings a bit of sun to the sidewalk, even on a rather grey Melbourne day...

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

Sunday, 16 October 2016


The ‘Mother Church of Victoria’, St Francis’ Church, was built between 1841 and 1845 on the block of land originally reserved for the Catholic Church in Melbourne. Soon after Melbourne’s pioneer priest, the Franciscan Fr Patrick Geoghegan, arrived in 1839, a temporary chapel made of second-hand floorboards was erected on the site of the future St Francis’ Church. When sufficient funds were raised to finance a permanent building, Geoghegan commissioned the architect Samuel Jackson to design the present church, which he dedicated to St Francis’ of Assisi.

The foundation stone of St Francis’ Church was laid on 4 October 1841. The first mass was celebrated in the completed nave of the church on 22 May 1842. And the church was blessed and opened on 23 October 1845. St Francis’ became Melbourne’s first Catholic cathedral with the arrival of Bishop James Alipius Goold in 1848. Its cathedral status ended when the nave of the partially built St Patrick’s Cathedral was opened for worship in the late 1860s.

Although the church may be dwarfed by the huge office blocks surrounding it, it is still a wonderful place to visit and find some spiritual sustenance. The beautiful ‘Ladye Chapel’ on the western side of St Francis’ Church was constructed in the mid 1850s and blessed on 31 May 1858. This is an awe-inspiring place for quiet reflection or prayer.

This post is part of the Our Beautiful World meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme,
and also part of the Spiritual Sundays meme,
and also part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.

Saturday, 15 October 2016


Welcome to the Saturday Silhouettes meme! This is a weekly meme that looks at SILHOUETTES in photography.

SILHOUETTE |ˌsɪlʊˈɛt| noun: The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background.
ORIGIN - late 18th century: Named (although the reason remains uncertain) after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French author and politician.
This post is also part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

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As this is a small but select meme, please visit other contributors and add a comment - they like comments about their work as much as you do!

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Mokara orchids are a hybrid between three different orchid varieties (genera: Ascocentrum, Vanda and Arachnis) in the family Orchidaceae. They were developed in the late 60's and are now one of the most popular orchid on the market. They are excellent cut flowers, which in ideal conditions will last a few weeks in the vase.

They have a few distinctive elements that differentiates them from:
1) Thicker stems is a good differentiator. They have a much thicker stem than those found on Dendrobium orchids;
2) The closed bud of a bloom is quite small and round, unlike the Dendrobium which is larger, more elongated and 'bell shaped' at the base.
3) The petals on each bloom are often broader and fleshier than that found on a Dendrobium orchid. Mokara's are great for earthy and bright coloured arrangements (a lot of red, orange yellow, strong purple and pink varieties).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Nhill is a town in the Wimmera, in western Victoria, Australia. Nhill is located on the Western Highway, half-way between Adelaide and Melbourne. At the 2011 census Nhill had a population of 2278. "Nhill" is believed to be a Wergaia word meaning "early morning mist rising over water" or "white mist rising from the water".

Nhill is the administrative headquarters for Shire of Hindmarsh and residents are mainly employed in either farming or food processing, most notably in grain and fowl. The town is home to a community of Karen people. Originally coming to Australia as refugees, the Karen community settled in Nhill in the early 2010s to work at the Luv-a-Duck food processing facility. In 2012, there were over 100 Karen residents in Nhill.

The 2011 Australian census listed the main religions in Nhill as Uniting Church 26.8%, Lutheran 15.6%, Anglican 13.4% and Catholic 12.9%. 31.3% either recorded "no religion" or did not answer.

The Electoral district of Lowan is a rural Victorian Legislative Assembly (Lower House) electoral district of the Victorian Parliament. Lowan includes the country towns of Casterton, Coleraine, Dartmoor, Dimboola, Hamilton, Horsham, Jeparit, Kaniva, Nhill and Rainbow. It is the largest electoral district in Victoria. The current seat was established in 2002 although several previous seats held the same name.

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

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Le Mont-Saint-Michel (Norman: Mont Saint Miché, Breton: Menez Mikael ar Mor, English: Saint Michael's Mount) is an island commune in Normandy, France. It is located about one kilometre off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 100 hectares in size. As of 2009, the island has a population of 44.

The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: On top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.

Its unique position (on an island just 600 metres from land) made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The Mont remained unconquered during the Hundred Years' War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. The reverse benefits of its natural defence were not lost on Louis XI, who turned the Mont into a prison. Thereafter the abbey began to be used more regularly as a jail during the Ancien Régime.

One of France's most recognisable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques.

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