Tuesday, 29 April 2014

"Z" is for Zinnia, Zenith and more

The Zinnia, originally from South America and Mexico, is a single stem flower in a variety of beautiful colours. It's named after the German botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-59).

Zadkiel is the Angel of the planet Jupiter, and the 12 signs of the Zodiac are used for writing daily horoscopes. 

Zeitgeist is the spirit of the time, the moral or intellectual tendency which is characteristic of the period. 

Zen involves the search for the ultimate truth through our inner light and self mastery. It originated in 6th century China and is still practised today in Buddhism.

There are also the Zombies which we find in the horror Zone; Zero; Zurich and Zedland, the former collective name for the counties of Dorset, Somerset and Devon. 

Zenith is the point in the Heavens immediately above our heads, as opposed to the Nadir which is beneath our feet, and a Zephyr is the soft, gentle west wind found in classical mythology.

Finally, we have the lovely "Zzzzzzz...", the symbol for sleep and a time for us to rest at the end of the 2014 A-Z Blog Challenge. 

I've enjoyed taking part for the first time this year, visiting other blogs, meeting new friends and seeing again those I knew. 

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Monday, 28 April 2014

"Y" is for Yeats, Yarrow and more

The Huang He in China is known as the Yellow River because of the yellow coloured earth it carries suspended in it's water.

The evergreen Yew tree is native to the UK and commonly planted in Churchyards. It's become a symbol of immortality although the leaves and berries are poisonous. 

Yggdrasil is the Ash tree in Scandinavian mythology whose roots and branches bind together Heaven and Hell. It's considered to be the tree of life and knowledge, and of time and space.

A Year is a period of time occupied by the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, and the Yeh-Teh is the Tibetan name for the famous Yeti or Abominable Snowman. There's also Yule, our Christmas festival; York; Yoga; the yellow Yarrow flower and Ysolde, the heroine of the Arthurian romance.

And, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) who wrote one of my favourite poems, "He Wishes for The Cloths of Heaven":

"Had I the heavens embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog. I'll be posting "Z" here tomorrow to conclude this year's A-Z Challenge.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

"X" is for Xanthoceras, a Kiss and more

Xanthoceras is a small tree native to Northern China, 

and the beautiful Xeranthemum originates from Southern Europe. The flower symbolises eternity and immortality.

The Xanthorrhoea is a slow growing perennial from Australia which can be stimulated to flower by a bush fire.

We have an Xray; Xanthic acid; the name Xavier which derives from Francis Xavier, the Catholic Saint; Xanthippe who was Socrates' wife; Xanthus, Achilles' horse and the "X" which, as in the abbreviated Xmas, denotes Christ.

"X" is also the well known symbol for a kiss. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), an English Romantic poet, has been admired by many including Thomas Hardy, William Yeats and Oscar Wilde. He married Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and wrote about the importance of a Kiss in his poem, "Love's Philosophy":

"The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle-
Why not I with thine?

See the mountain's kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother:

And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?"

I'll be posting "Y" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Friday, 25 April 2014

"W" is for Words, William and Wisteria

I love the magic of Words, the intriguing patterns they create in phrases, and the alchemy of a sentence. It's all there waiting to be written and read.

The name "William" has been popular across the years, and it was my Great Grandfather's name. I have his Christening cup in the cabinet at home. 

There's William Blake (1757-1827) too, the wonderful poet who wrote "The Tyger": 

"Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?..."

And the magnificent Wisteria which adorns many a building and wall.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, my friends.

I'll be posting "X" here on Monday to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

"V" is for Venice and a poem I wrote

 "Memory murmurs deep
 amongst the gondolas
 of the Grand Canal.                                           
 It walks the Bridge of Sighs,
 lingers long in whispers,
 Byron's first kiss of love.

 Magic meanders
 the Rialto Bridge,
 a green tinged light along
 the Piazzetta San Marco,
 where violin notes sea sparkle,
 beckon a lovers' embrace.

 Taste again with me
 the Veneto wine at Carnevale,
 Prosecco in sensuous Murano glass,
 as the campanile's silver notes
 thread stars, inside hearts, and
 the moonlight we once recalled."

I'll be posting "W" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

"U" is for Unicorn,Undine and more

The Unicorn is a mythical creature which uses it's horn to detect whether a liquid contains poison. 

The Undine is a water spirit who doesn't have a soul, but if she marries a mortal and bears him a child she can obtain one.

Utopia was the name given by Sir Thomas More in 1516 to the imaginary island which he wrote about in a political romance, where everything was perfect - the laws, morals, politics etc.

And "Upgraded Performance" is my Son's Gym in Warwick. I enjoy helping Tom manage the business, and taking part in the Ladies' fitness classes which he runs. 

Please follow the link if you would like to read more: Warwick Gym 


I'll be posting "V" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

"T" is for Tulip and Alfred Lord Tennyson

One of my favourite flowers is the tulip in it's many lovely colours.

Tulips were brought to Europe in the 1500s, and were so popular in the Netherlands that they became a form of currency from 1634 to 1637.

In 13th century Persia where they originated, a gift of a yellow or red tulip was considered to be a declaration of love, with it's black centre symbolising a heart burned by passion.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was the British and Irish Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria's reign. He wrote the poem "The Lady of Shallott" which was published in 1833. 

The poem is based on an Arthurian legend and is linked to the 1888 painting by John William Waterhouse:

"...There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott..." 

And I'll be posting "U" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. 

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Monday, 21 April 2014

"S" is for Stonehenge, St Just in the Roseland and the Sunflower

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, built between 3000BC and 2000BC. It has religious significance for many, including the Druids.

Stonehenge could easily have been a burial ground or an astronomical observatory, but it's real purpose is unknown.

I came across St Just in the Roseland unexpectedly, when I was visiting Cornwall a few years ago. I was overwhelmed by it's beauty.

The 13th century Church is built on an earlier Pagan site set in stunning riverside gardens on the River Fal.

There's a legend too that Jesus, with Joseph of Arimathea, visited the Roseland peninsula of which St Just forms a part, and this very special place does have a sacred atmosphere.

And who can resist the magnificent Sunflower, whose name derives simply from the shape of it's flower and resemblance to the Sun?

I'll be posting "T" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

"R" is for Rain, Rainbows and more

I came to realise in writing this post that we have different feelings about rain.

Sometimes it can be fun as in the classic 1952 musical comedy "Singin' in the Rain", starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, which was set in Hollywood in the late 1920's.

Children make us laugh when they splash in a puddle, and it can be beautiful too when there's a rainbow caused by the reflection and refraction of light in the sky.

We complain sometimes when it rains heavily, on those days when the sky is so dark it looks as if it'll never stop, yet rainwater is vital to our survival. It's responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on earth,

and because of this rain has featured in people's prayers across the centuries in an appeal to their God, or Gods, for continued life...

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall softly upon your fields.
Until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand."

Traditional Celtic Blessing

How do you feel about rain?

I'll be posting "S" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog.

Friday, 18 April 2014

"Q" is for Queen, Quai d'Orsay and more

I love reading about the many Queens in history. There's Elizabeth 1st and her passion for Robert, Lord Dudley; also Henry VIII, her father, and the intriguing story of his six Queens between 1509 and 1547.

We have Boudicca, the famous Queen of the Iceni, who died in 60AD or 61AD. She quarreled with the Roman Empire and led an uprising against it's army in Britain.  

Life is a quest, with it's many questions to be answered. Query the quotidian to find your quota of happiness!

Paris has it's queues; Victor Hugo's Quasimodo in "Notre-Dame de Paris", and the Quai D'Orsay which runs along the left bank of the River Seine.

There are the Monks who wrote long ago with quills and, in taking part in a quarterly quiz you may be asked about a quadrille; the tiny quail; Quakers; quinine; possibly the old Queensberry rules for boxing or Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec God whose name means feathered serpent.

And it's time now for me to quit the blog, be quite quiet under my quilt. I'll go quickly, but thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog! 

Have a lovely weekend, my friends! I'll be posting "R" on Monday to continue the A-Z Blog Challenge. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

P is for Phoenix, Pompeii and Pansy

The Phoenix was a fabulous bird associated with the sun and was said to be the only one of it's kind. 

According to Greek legend it lived for a number of years before it made a nest of spices and sang a melodious dirge. The Phoenix flapped it's wings to set fire to the pile, burnt itself to ashes and regenerated into a new life. A fabulous tale!

Tacitus, a Roman senator and historian (c.56AD - after 117AD), thought that the Pheonix lived for 500 years, but others have said it's lifespan was between 250 and 700 years. The truth is we don't really know.

Pompeii is an ancient Roman town near Naples in Italy, which was buried beneath a lava flow when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. 

The site and artefacts have been well preserved due to lack of air and moisture over the centuries, giving us now an insight into the life of this special city. 

Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years, and a place which I visited in the early 1980s. I won't easily forget the experience. It was a very hot day, without any shade, and an incredible journey into a lost time.  

And there's, the beautiful pansy,  

my Mother's  favourite. I planted them in pots for her garden every Spring and Autumn. She loved to see their vibrant colours all the year round. 

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams Blog. I'll be posting "Q" here tomorrow to continue the A-Z Blog Challenge.