Typical of Australian art is an appreciation of contrasting styles. At Everglades Gardens, it's mainly European flowers and trees, but at some places in nature, and in botanic gardens, such as at Mount Tomah, you can find stunning native plants, in particular, the waratah, floral...

Some Definitions

Twins can be either monozygotic ("identical"), meaning that they develop from one zygote, which splits and forms two embryos, or dizygotic ("fraternal"), meaning that they develop from two different eggs. In fraternal twins, each twin is fertilized by its own sperm cell. Spontaneous division of the zygote into two embryos is not considered to be a hereditary trait, but rather a spontaneous and random event. Identical twins are not dependent on race, country or ethnicity. The odds of having identical twins are the same for every couple, in every pregnancy, wherever they live in the world. As yet, the reason for the occurrence of identical births is unknown. There is, therefore, something mysterious about the occurrence of identical twins. Monozygotic twinning occurs in birthing at a rate of about 3 in every 1000 deliveries worldwide, that is about 0.3 percent of the world population, and is uniformly distributed in all populations around the world.

Identical Twins and Research

Identical twins spend their lives being compared for the benefit of science. They can assist psychologists in untangling the effects of nature versus nurture, or aid speech pathologists in understanding the causes of stuttering. As they share duplicate DNA, as well as the same upbringing, they are generally similar, if not exactly comparable, individuals.

We live near the beach at Coogee, so we are fortunate enough to get a fairly constant sea breeze.  But other areas in Western Sydney and in the Western plains were not so lucky. Residents of Richmond on the north-west fringe of Sydney saw the mercury climb to 47 degrees on Saturday, placing the town within less than a degree of the title of global hot spot. Tamworth reached 44C and Moree 46C, while Walgett and Bourke were heading towards a sweltering 47C. 2016-fires-nsw As soon as you leave the eastern seaboard, temperatures soar in summer. And it's getting worse. My husband travels by train to Lidcombe to go to work, and he feels the difference as he nears the far western suburbs of Sydney. We were warned that this weekend past was going to break records. I'd joined a long queue in Harvey Norman store on Friday to purchase an electrical fan for our daughter and her two young boys; most of the inexpensive electric fans in the district were already sold out. The woman in front of me in the queue was buying the same fan—along with dozens of other women—for her daughter.

I'm remembering the Jacaranda Festivals of my childhood at Grafton in northern New South Wales, with a certain nostalgia. Did such a time of innocence really exist? Is this celebration different today? Below is a photo from my sister's album of her, Susan, and our little sister, Jill, folk dancing with school friends at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival in the fifties. jill-susan-dancing-jacaranda-festival This annual spring-time celebration begins at the end of October and lasts until the first week in November. It has gone on since nineteen thirty-four, and was the first such folk festival in the country. The Grafton Jacaranda Festival  is in full swing in my hometown as I write this post. It is a spring celebration that is held every year during the first week in November. At this time, the jacaranda trees are in full bloom. Some childhood memories are golden. Or, in this case, mauve, lilac, purple, and, as Dad once said, "heliotrope". It's hard to pin down the actual colour of the flowers that bloom on the jacaranda trees, and form carpets of blossoms on the surface of the roads and avenues. Sometimes they seem lighter hued, mauve in my memory, at other times, darkly purple.

I was drawn to the exotic name Ein Gedi, when coming across it in my brother's first novel set partly in Israel. Then in a friend's writing based on a poem by Ted Hughes from "Folktale", part of  Hughes' collection entitled Capriccio.  Hughes refers obliquely...

Like for most things, you can only understand the strong emotions grandparents feel  towards their grandchildren once you've experienced it.

Some live only for their children and grandchildren. I cannot imagine this. I feel so lucky and priviliged to have my twin passions, my family AND my writing. I've reconnected recently with people from my past, one who told me that he is bored with his life.  What about the joys of learning new things, of travel, exploring different places, cultures and scenery? How can anyone be bored when there is so much to do and to see, even in one's own country, not to mention other places on planet earth?

The Vitruvian Man is a drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1490. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the architect Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man (Wikipedia). vitruvian-man

Golden Ratio and Art  This drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture. Vitruvius determined that the ideal body should be eight heads high. Leonardo's drawing is traditionally named in honor of the architect.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man (Wikipedia)

The human body:  The measurement of the human navel to the floor and the top of the head to the navel represents the Golden ratio.

In a previous post, "The Golden Ratio In Nature"  I pointed out how this ratio appears in many forms of nature and of science.

Many buildings and artworks reflect the Golden Ratio: the Parthenon in Greece, and many other classical buildings in Europe. But it is not really known if it was designed that way. Some artists and architects believe the Golden Ratio makes the most pleasing and beautiful shapes. There is a mathematical ratio commonly found in nature—the ratio of 1 to 1.618—that has many names. Most often we call it the Golden Section, Golden Ratio, or Golden Mean, but it's also occasionally referred to as the Golden Number, Divine Proportion, Golden Proportion, Fibonacci Number, and Phi. Now, a Duke University engineer has found the Golden Ratio to be a compelling springboard to unify vision, thought and movement under a single law of nature's design.