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(Born Wednesday 14 May 2014 at 5:23 AM, 3.3 kg 53 cm)

 

Marvellous.  Emily, my eldest daughter, has given birth to my first natural Grandchild (I have three step-grandchildren).  She and Guido have named him Leander.  Mother and child are well.

According to Wikipedia, the original most famous Leander is the central character the the Greek Myth of Hero and Leander.

In the myth, Leander (Ancient Greek: Λέανδρος, Léandros), a young man from Abydos on the Asian side of the Dardanelles fell in love with Hero a priestess of Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus the goddess of love) who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont

His soft words, and his argument that Aphrodite would scorn the worship of a virgin, persuaded the beautiful Hero to take Leander as her lover. Every night he would swim across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. These trysts lasted through the warm summer.

On Hellespont, guilty of true love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might:
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair.

from Christopher Marlowe's poem Hero and Leander

 

But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light.  Leander lost his way and was drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.

 


The Last Watch of Hero by Frederic Leighton,
depicting Hero anxiously waiting for Leander during the storm.

 

According to Wikipedia, people named Leander include:

A number of warships and warship classes of the Royal Navy have been given this famous name:

  • HMS Leander, various Royal Navy ships

    • Leander class, three ship classes

     

  • HMNZS Leander, a Royal New Zealand Navy light cruiser of World War II, originally HMS Leander of the British Royal Navy

  • SS Leander, a number of ships with this name

  • Leander (clipper), a clipper built in 1867

 

I like the Myth of Hero and Leander.

When we were in Turkey in 2005 we crossed the Hellespont twice in a rented car. It didn't float on water but there was a convenient ferry. We were there principally to visit the battle site at Gallipoli but the whole region is interesting.  The Hellespont (Dardanelles) has been famous in history, myth and religion since the invention of writing; and maybe earlier.  The ancient city of Troy was nearby.

 

 

 

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Travel

In the footsteps of Marco Polo

 

 

 

 

Travels in Central Asia

 

In June 2018 we travelled to China before joining an organised tour in Central Asia that, except for a sojourn in the mountains, followed in the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Great Silk Road.

The term ‘silk road’ was first coined by a 19th century German historian and has stuck ever since to a series of somewhat flexible overland routes across Eurasia extending 11,000 km (7,000 m), a third of the way around the world, from Xi'an in China to the Mediterranean Sea.  It linked on ‘en route’ to the other great trade route that came from India, through modern Pakistan to Afghanistan, via one of five 'invasion routes' that included the Khyber pass and the Kabul River valley, that almost connects to the upper reaches of the Indus near Rawalpindi (and modern Islamabad). See our travels in Northern India for more information: Click Here... Today this whole network is called the Great Silk Road. 

The ancient silk road is by far the longest and oldest overland trade route in the world. Chinese silk has been found in the hair of Egyptian mummies that were embalmed around three thousand years ago, arriving there by some arcane series of trades.  But by Roman times, trade along the Silk Road was more organised, as the Roman historian Pliny wrote: 'so Roman women may expose their charms through transparent cloth'. Trade, often via India, grew after Genghis Khan conquered Central Asia and beyond in the 13th century.  Yet, hidden behind the veil of that great and feared Mongol Empire the existence of China was almost forgotten by medieval Europe, so many believed that silk originated in India. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

The Soul of the Matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's hot, dry and dusty when they finally arrive in Jaisalmer.  But then, how often is it not? 

In the markets a wizened woman of indeterminate age is using a straw broom to aggressively sweep the area in front of her shop. The dust will soon be kicked back by passersby or swept back by her neighbours; requiring her to sweep again and again.  She will do the same again tomorrow; and the day after; and the day after that.

Jennifer's mind is elsewhere. She's has dreamt of visiting exotic India ever since a client at the hairdressers told her, with enthralling details, of her adventures here.

They've arrived in the dusty city in the late afternoon, by road from Jodphur.   In spite of his preference to visit California again, she's finally persuaded Bruce that he might like India and should try something a bit less conservative.

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Opinions and Philosophy

A Carbon Tax for Australia

 12 July 2011

 

 

It's finally announced, Australia will have a carbon tax of $23 per tonne of CO2 emitted.  This is said to be the highest such tax in the world but it will be limited to 'about 500' of the biggest emitters.  The Government says that it can't reveal which  these are to the public because commercial privacy laws prevent it from naming them. 

Some companies have already 'gone public' and it is clear that prominent among them are the major thermal power generators and perhaps airlines.  Some like BlueScope Steel (previously BHP Steel) will be granted a grace period before the tax comes into effect. In this case it is publicly announced that the company has been granted a two year grace period with possible extensions, limited to its core (iron and steelmaking) emissions.

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