Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014



Sentimental human beings that we are, we now look back wistfully on the year gone by.

2013 like all previous years had its share of ups and downs; our preference, however, is to dwell on the fun times experienced during the course of the year. Some of these are presented below in pictures and by the short YouTube video.





Here are the Lyrics should you wish to sing along:

Auld Lang Syne Lyrics by Robert Burns
Note: Burns’ original Scots verse[4]
(as Scots speakers would sound)
(Burn's own Ayrshire dialect)


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?
CHORUS
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.
CHORUS
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS



Auld Lang Syne
(Modern Lyrics)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

CHORUS
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.









Wishing you all good health, happiness and prosperity in the coming Year.

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

BoSt Dragon Gallery

Enjoy this collection of Dragon art from BoSt Productions.

Smelling the Daisies

Two Dragons stop to examine the trail of flowers left by the passage of their cousin the Quilin. (more about the Quilin at The Gentle Quilin). One of them loves to eat the daisies, the other seems to be content just to smell the fragrance.
Smelling the Daisies





Dragons by the Shore

Dragons enjoy hunting for sea creatures and quite often you can see them hovering over the shallows looking for whales and Great White Sharks.
Dragons by the Shore

The Long Way Home

After a full day hunting whales it is time for the Dragon to return to its own home territory to rest and enjoy a full belly.
The Long Way Home

Dragon Country

Even though the Dragon may enjoy an occasional trip to the seaside their home territory still provides vistas of natural beauty and abundant game.
Dragon Country


The Rustler

The increase in human population brought mankind into the Dragon's traditional domain and Dragons soon came to prefer the soft, fatty animals men brought with them. Men were so nice to keep their cows and sheep all together in fenced pastures and on ranges, and so smart to breed an animal that doesn't even have the sense to run when they see a Dragon swooping down on them.
The Rustler


Dragon Sunset

Another day ends for the Dragon and he heads home for a well-earned rest.
The Dragon at Sunset



Pendragon

As Dragons encountered mankind more often they, and man, got used to each other. Legends arose about Dragons helping and being equal partners with certain heroic figures. But Dragons live a long time and men usually don't. It was usually the Dragon who had to say goodbye to their friend.
Pendragon
















Return to Dragon Hall

Mankind was given rule over the earth, and used their technology to despoil the land and lay waste to the entire planet. Dragons went into hiding, mourning for the beauty they once knew. Finally, after most of the humans died out the Dragons returned and helped the survivors subsist in the new, harsh land.
Return to Dragon Hall











Otherworldy Dragon

When the desert winds pick up and the sand swirls in sheets the Dragon's sparse home gets very harsh indeed. Luckily Dragons are a hardy race and have evolved protection against the elements.
Otherworld



All pictures are digital artwork by Steve Caunce


Thank you.








Sunday, 1 December 2013

Dragons Celebrate the Festive Season

The Dragons Celebrate the Festive Season



In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice is when the Sun appears at noon at its lowest angle above the horizon which usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year. In the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice usually occurs on June 20 to 21 each year.


The Winter Solstice is celebrated as a holiday season and many festivals and celebrations of different religions and cultures take place around this time.


The mythical Dragon is no exception; however, he is a shy one. Look about you, you may be fortunate enough to spot one when and where you least expect it.






The Twelve Days of Christmas



Lyrics:






On the first day of Christmas, 

my true love sent to me

A partridge in a pear tree.




On the second day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the third day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 


On the fourth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 




On the fifth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the sixth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the seventh day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the eighth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the ninth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the tenth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 


On the eleventh day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree. 



On the twelfth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,



And a partridge in a pear tree!


Happy Holidays Everyone.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Gargoyles

Gargoyles



Halloween will soon be upon us and we will be mercilessly bombarded with all that is dark and scary. This is the time when ugly is beautiful and fear mongering is the norm. My thoughts turn therefore to a varied yet common motif donning mainly historical buildings of most western metropolises, Toronto being no exception. Blissfully unaware we all go about our daily business under the protective gazes of grotesque gargoyles.


Gargoyles are actually the good guys for they are said to frighten off and protect those structures, old buildings or churches from any evil, harmful spirits.


About AD 631-641, a colourful French legend sprang up about St. Romanus (“Romain”). In this the former chancellor of the Merovingian king Clotaire II who was made bishop of Rouen, recounted the tale of how he’d delivered the country around Rouen from a diabolical monster called Gargouille or Goji.

Rouen-gargoyles courtesy of Jon Marc & Mary Carol's Ex-pat adventures


The description of La Gargouille pegged him to be a typical dragon, with bat like wings, long neck, and the ability to breathe fire from its mouth.  At that time this dragon had engendered much fear and perpetrated much destruction with its fiery breath. Spouting water, he supposedly devoured men and ships whole. Each year, the residents of Rouen were forced to placate Gargouille with an offering of a victim, usually a criminal, though it was said that the dragon much preferred maidens.  St. Romanus promised to deliver the townspeople from this terrible danger and in recompense they would all be baptized and later construct a church. 

rouen-cathedral-gargoyle by ShironekoEuro



It is natural to have multiple versions of such a popular fable: In one scenario, St. Romanus purportedly subdued the creature using a crucifix and led the then docile beast back to town on a leash made from his priest’s robe. In another version St. Romanus captured the beast with the help of the only volunteer, a condemned man.

In both cases the monster was led back to Rouen and burned, but only partially. You see the head and neck, being tempered by its own fiery breath, could not be incinerated. Undaunted, the head of Gargouille was still utilized for protection and was promptly mounted on the wall of the newly built church to scare off evil spirits.

Since then, in commemoration of St. Romain, the Archbishops of Rouen were granted the right to set a prisoner free on the day that the reliquary of the saint was carried in procession.



During the 12th century when gargoyles were manifest in Europe the medieval world already held the view that many creatures exhibited varied mystical powers and several animals were privileged by being anthropomorphized, (that is to say, human qualities ascribed to them). 


The Roman Catholic Church, by then an influential entity, seizing this opportunity, utilized these images to convey certain ideas to the illiterate populous and also to convert pagans to Catholicism.



Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the church; the primary use was to convey the concept of evil through the form of the gargoyle. Some medieval clergy viewed gargoyles as a form of idolatry, for example, in the 12th century St. Bernard of Clairvaux was famous for speaking out against gargoyles. Also gargoyles were said to scare evil spirits away from the structure, thereby reassuring the congregants that their church was a safe haven from evil spirits.


On the practical side, Gargoyles serve another vital purpose in architecture. Usually an elongated, granite beast with a spout, was designed to direct the flow of rainwater off of the roof. A trough, cut in the back of the gargoyle (the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall) directed rainwater to exit through the open mouth. Ingeniously therefore, the damaging rainwater was also steered away from the masonry walls and the mortar between to prevent erosion.


Gargoyles had their humble beginnings in the form of fountainheads. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans fancied these animal configured waterspouts. The term gargoyle was most often applied to medieval work, but throughout history some means of water diversion, when not conveyed in gutters, were adopted. In ancient Egyptian architecture, gargoyles showed little variation, typically carved in the form of a lion's head. Similar lion-mouthed water spouts were also seen on Greek temples, modeled in the marble or terracotta cymatium of the cornice.


Many medieval cathedrals included gargoyles and chimeras. Although most had grotesque features, over the years the term gargoyle had come to include all types of images. Some gargoyles were depicted as monks, or as combinations of real animals and people, many of which were humorous. Unusual animal/human hybrids, or chimeras, did not act as rainspouts and are more properly called grotesques. They served more as ornamentation, but are now synonymous with gargoyles.


Both ornamented and unornamented water spouts projecting from roofs at parapet level were a common device used to shed rainwater from buildings until the early eighteenth century. After that time more and more buildings installed drainpipes to carry the water from the roof gutters to the ground and only very few buildings using gargoyles were constructed. This was because some people found them frightening and sometimes heavy ones were eroded and fell off, causing damage.


In 1724, the London Building Act passed by the Parliament of Great Britain made the use of downpipes compulsory on all new construction spelling the general demise of Gargoyles and relegating them to place in history and fable.


Still Gargoyles are popular as ornamentation on distinctively styled modern buildings. There they not only live but also thrive, frightening and fuelling the imaginations of new generations.


The End