History for Saturday 22nd September 2012AD.

Today is Saturday the 22nd September 2012AD

Image   Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday, inventor born this day in 1791AD. He discovered the principle of the electric motor and changed the world forever.

Wilhelm Keitel, German Field Marshall born in 1882. During the Second World War he was one of Germany’s most senior military leaders. At the Nuremberg trials he was sentenced to death as a war criminal.

66AD. Emperor Nero creates ‘the Legion 1 Italica’ whose emblem was a boar.

1735. Robert Walpole is the first British Prime Minister to live at 10 Downing Street.

1869. Richard Wagner’s opera ‘Rhine Gold’ premieres in Munich.

Anno Domini.


Ben Chifley, 16th Prime Minister of Australia born 1885. Chifley’s government passed 299 bills in four years including such monumental ones as ”Australian citizenship’, ‘the Snowy Mountains Scheme’ and ‘the post war immigration act’. One of the most successful parliaments in our history. I am sure he would be turning in his grave when he sees what is happening at the moment!!!!!

‘Durry’ is tobacco and ‘Fremantle Doctor’ refers to the cooling afternoon breeze that arrives in Perth from the direction of ‘Freeo’, which is the local slang for Fremantle.

Watercolour Tip.

A one sided razor blade is very good for making corrections and scratching out areas that need more white. However be sure that you have finished painting as trying to paint over corrections done in this manner is always a disaster. Another useful tool is an old toothbrush. Here again the same rules apply!

Lots of maintenance jobs today. The potatoes are sprouting. Should have a crop at Christmas.


Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!


History for Friday 21st September 2012AD.

Today is Friday the 21st September 2012AD

John Loudon McAdam born this day in 1756. He developed the macadam road surface which we now call asphalt, thus transforming overland travel in an inkling.

H. G. Wells, writer born at Bromley in Kent in 1866. Besides his wonderful sci-fi stories, like ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Time Machine’ he wrote about many other topics including history, politics and social commentary. He has been referred to as ‘The Father of Science Fiction’. Love all his work written with such style.

Telichi Igarashi born 1886. He climbed Mt. Fuji at the tender young age of 99 years!

1784. First daily newspaper in America. It was called the Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser.

1903. First cowboy movie ‘Kit Carson’ premieres in the US.

Anno Domini.


Mrs. Caroline Chisholm, the famous social worker was probably the first person to put together a collection of recipes for Australians. She divided the week’s ration of flour and meat into seven portions and then designed recipes based on this. Remember there was no such thing as refrigeration and no supermarket up the road. Odd names appeared like ‘Stewed Goose’ which was really salted meat. The leftovers were boiled to a paste called ‘Station Jack’. Food was a very valuable commodity and houses were burgled for a pound of flour. In 1853 the penalty for stealing 3d. worth of flour [about half a kilo] was 200 strokes with the lash.

Watercolour Tip.

I am convinced that the transparent earth colours are the key to good watercolour landscapes. I must admit it has taken twenty years to convince myself that this is so. We are bombarded with so many new colours and so many gimmicks that it is hard to determine what really works. More and more I am going back to the old traditional values.Image

Beautiful day in the garden. There are four red and green parrots visiting our garden here at Berry. Absolutely magnifico!

See you tomorrow.

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

History for Thursday 20th September 2012AD

Today is Thursday the 20th September 2012AD

Agnes Tyrrell, composer born this day in 1846. During her short life she managed to become one of the few women to compose symphony works in the nineteenth century.

Melvin ‘Slappy’ White, comedian born 1921. It is reputed that ‘he ran away to join the circus’ as a child, and became a master of stand up comedy appearing in such shows as ‘Sanford and Son’, ‘That’s My Mama’ and the movies ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ and ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’!

1187. Saladin begins the seige of Jerusalem.

1746. Bonnie Prince Charlie flees to France from Scotland.

1904. Orville and Wilbur Wright fly a circle in their Flyer 11.

Anno Domini.


Kuranda is a small town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland which is surrounded by tropical rainforest. It has been the home of the Djabugay people for at least ten thousand years. It has become famous for its scenic railway and for the Barron Gorge National Park nearby. About thirty five years ago I used to do pencil portraits at the market held every Sunday in the town.

‘That’s my boy!’ or That’s my girl!’ means you are proud of someone’s achievement usually said shortly after the event, eg After the football game dad said, “That’s my boy!”

‘Pull out of it’ means to get over some emotional upset or mood.

Watercolour Tip.

If you want to see some really good drawing google ‘Franklin Booth’, the American artist whose pen and ink drawings astonished the world in the early 1900’s. I love his set of illustrations for ‘War on the tiger’ by W. G. Fitzgerald.


Arrived in Berry late this afternoon after a lovely drive through Kangaroo Valley. Plenty of mowing tomorrow.

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

History Blog for Wednesday 19th September 2012


Arthur Rackman

Today is Wednesday the 19th September 2012AD

Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre, mathematician and astronomer born this day in 1749AD. He was director of the Paris Observatory and wrote a number of books on the history of astronomy. He was unanimously elected a member of the French Academy of Science and made major contributions to the formation of the metric system of measurement

Arthur Rackman, English illustrator and artist born 1867. This man could draw! His illustrations have a strong Nordic influence and remind me of Kay Nielsen’s work only more aggressive. There are plenty of examples of his work on the net.

Sir William Golding CBE, Nobel Laureate and novelist born 1911. Best known for his work, ‘Lord of the Flies’. He was awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel ‘Rites of Passage’, the first book in the trilogy ‘To the Ends of the Earth’.

1888. World’s first beauty contest was held at the town of Spa in Belgium. The final was chosen out of 21 candidates all vying for the title, ‘beauty queen’!!!!

1939. Lord Haw-Haw becomes radio host of Reichsrundfunl Berlin.

Anno Domini.


Did you know that there are at least four million Australian placenames and possibly more.

Norseman in Western Australia is named after a horse owned by Laurie Sinclair that uncovered a piece of gold bearing quartz there in 1894. Besides goldmining the area has hosts several huge sheep stations.

‘To bad mouth someone’ is to say negative things about them often with very little evidence to back up the claims.

‘A ballpark figure’ is a rough estimate, eg “At a guess its fifty dollars, but that’s a ballpark figure.”

Watercolour Tip.

Practice granulating French Ultramarine on leftover scraps of watercolour paper. You will be surprised how useful this can be especially when doing skies.

A beautiful mist on Massey Park Golf Course this morning which led to a beautiful morning but this afternoon the weather is on the turn. Spinach and bacon quiche tonight. I use cream instead of milk. To hell with the calories!!!!

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

My History Blog for Tuesday 18th September 2012

Image Emperor Trajan

Today is Tuesday the 18th September 2012AD

Trajan, X111 Roman Emperor born this day in 53AD. He was noted for his extensive public building program which reshaped Rome and left such landmarks as Trajan’s Forum and Column.

Actress Greta Garbo born at Stockholm in 1905. The American Film Institute ranked her fifth on their list of greatest female stars of all time after Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman.

1879. The Blackpool Illuminations are switched on for the first time.

1927. The Columbia Broadcasting System goes to air.

Anno Domini.


James Scullin, 9th Prime Minister of Australia born 1867. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, The Wall St. Crash occurred marking the beginning of the Great Depression. A very interesting and tumultuous period in our Federal history. As leader of the Opposition, he had been vocal about the cost of running the Prime Minister’s residence we call the Lodge. During his time in office he and his wife stayed at the Hotel Canberra when parliament was sitting and remained in their home in Melbourne at other times. Its a shame our present leader does not follow his example. We could then use it to house the miscellaneous illigal immigrants that invade our shores.

Balgarup River is a 66km tributary of the Blackwood River. The rivers join at Wild Horse Swamp. The name comes from the Aboriginal and is thought to mean ‘place of the Blackboy Trees’. It was first recorded by surveyor Alfred Hillman in 1840.

Watercolour Tip.

Most unsuccessful paintings are ruined before they are begun. You need to think about what can be played down or left out altogether and very important decide on a focal point before lifting a brush.

Thunder storm developing. The garden will enjoy a good downpour. See you tomorrow.

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

My Daily History Blog for Monday 17th September 2012

Today is Monday the 17th September 2012AD

Jean-Bernard-Leon Foucault, physicist who used the pendulum to prove that the world rotates born this day [some sources say the 18th] in 1819. He also made an early attempt to measure the speed of light, discovered eddy currents and is credited with naming the gyroscope.

David Dunbar Buick, American automobile pioneer born 1854. He founded the Buick Motor Company and created one of the most successful motor brand names in automobile history. I once drove one from Bathurst to Sydney. Man was that a hell of a car!

642. Arabs conquer Alexandria and destroy the Great Library.

1871. The Mont Cenis railway tunnel opens in Switzerland.

Anno Domini.


Berowra, in the Hornsby shire, north of Sydney comes from the Aboriginal and means ‘place of many winds’. Neighbouring suburbs are Berowra Heights and Berowra Waters.

‘An arm and a leg’ means something is very expensive and 24/7 means it is open or operating every hour of the day. It can also means ‘get on with the job!’

Watercolour Tip.

Samuel Prout, painter of watercolours born this day in 1783. A master of Architectural painting, He was appointed ‘Painter in Water-Colours in Ordinary’ to King George iv and later to Queen Victoria. Pure genius at transparent washes!

Typical monday with lots of shopping and household chores. However I did manage some painting in the afternoon. Cantonese fillet steak for dinner this evening. A new culinary adventure. I wonder how it will turn out!

Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!