Sunday, May 9, 2010

an early sensory treat...

what a delight it was walking into the supermarket today and being enveloped by the wonderful fragrance of jonquils...  they're known as mid-winter through spring flowering bulbs so they're a tad early - but i'll enjoy 'jonnies' whenever they want to bloom... i don't think there's anything more beautiful than scented flowers - i remember when i was young you could actually smell a florist shop 'a mile away' (my that seems like an aeon ago - huh, not the case now so i was taking the opportunity to buy three bunches - a bargain at $6 a bunch - i would have bought more but unfortunately that was all that was left!!!)...

The world seems sad
mid winter's gloom,
But all is well
when the jonquils bloom.
(from the plantanswers website)

along with daffodils, jonquils are part of the narcissus genus - their botanical name being narcissus jonquilla - narcissus is derived from the greek word narke - meaning deep sleep, numbness. stupor or paralysis - there are varied interpretations out there so take your pick... some attribute the naming of the flower to its narcotic fragrance...

of course there is mythology and folklore associated with the origins and medicinal properties of the plant...

"Myths tell their own version of how the flower came to be. Long ago, according to Greek mythology, a mountain nymph named Echo fell madly in love with a mortal named Narcissus. He was a handsome but vain youth who was preoccupied with his own interests: hunting and admiring his good looks. He rudely ignored Echo’s efforts to interest him, so she sadly hid in a cave, suffering in grief until she died and faded away. Only her voice remained, which still haunts caves and canyons today. After her death, Narcissus became so absorbed in looking at his reflection in the water, that one day he fell in and drowned. The gods changed him into the flower that bears his name to remind us of the consequences of vanity and egoism. Similar versions of this myth exist in Roman, Arabic, Egyptian, Spanish, and Portuguese cultures.

The Romans believed that sap from the daffodil could heal wounds. However, it contains tiny sharp crystals called calcium oxalate that may actually irritate the skin. These crystals keep animals from eating the plant and are the reason that when daffodils are combined with other flowers in a vase, other flowers will wilt.

The powerful perfume of the daffodil can sometimes be overpowering, a reference to the word narcotic, which is related to narcissus. Although narcissus bulbs are poisonous, they have been used for centuries in medicines when mixed with other ingredients."  from authorsden

and who could forget dali's famous surrealist representation - metamorphosis of narcissus... an article by Rosa Maria Maurell i Constans entitled "Dalí and the Myth of Narcissus" makes interesting reading on his interpretation of ovid's version of the myth...

perhaps narcissus was gay - another interpretation expounded by some - you can listen to "narcissus and ameinias - gay love story" here... and then there was the brilliant and ebullient (but now deceased) performer and 'gay icon' freddie mercury who deserves a mention here for his reputed quote "i'm as gay as a daffodil, my dear"... now he was the true epitome of a narcissist if ever there was one!!!!


you might remember i mentioned getting new glasses a couple of posts ago... it hasn't been going too smoothly... there was a promise of them being ready within 10 days of my eye test - well, after a few phone calls and 17 days later they were finally ready for me to collect on friday - i'd arranged to leave work early, taking toil for the saturday morning (i was working the full day at st kilda!!!!) - i was soooo looking forward to getting them... i happily headed off to the optometrists, tried them on and wouldn't you know it - i couldn't read a thing with them... distance, that was okay but hey, i need to be able to read too... i was one very disappointed and pissed off womon... so close, and yet so far!!!! so i had to go through the tests again so the 'measurements' could be checked... yep, seems like the laboratory fucked up - after waiting so long i had a feeling something was going to be wrong!!!!! so it looks like another 'less than 10 days' wait... at least i got me old ones tightened while i was there - who knows how long they'll have to last!!!!


and here's an update on stefania's and pietro's travels - they started out in malta, then it was on to italia - according to steph's latest email they're in ascoli piceno, near the apennine mountains - i'm checking out a trip tracker widget at the moment but am having problems embedding - i'll keep working on that one... she says ascoli is a lovely medieval town with a population of approximately 50 thousand... it's full of interesting medieval buildings and a roman bridge dating back to the augustan era... oh, she also says it's cold!!!!

and hopefully the next post will have an update with really good news about the land in malmsbury... things are looking good for a sale soon so fingers crossed!!!!

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