Monday, June 30, 2014

Derek's coffee art!!

Hi Gals and Guys !    We're coffee addicts and of course we have one of those nice machines.   Derek had  been struggling for sometime trying to create coffee art, with little success, so for one of his two birthday presents I gave him a proper barrista's milk jug - hes' been  practicing since his birthday, (27th of May)  and  he's been making slowish but steady progress.   However this morning at our 11oclock,  he produced a real masterpiece a lovely swan - straight out of Swan lake -it was brilliant, then after lunch he scored again.   This time with a dancer -obviously straight out of 'So You Think You Can Dance!'  I just had to tell you!   Cheers for Derek -  and he hasn't even been to a barrista's school!!!  'bye for now - Julia!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Everything in the garden is green!

Hello Guys and Gals!   Do you own garden tools -mostly the small ones like trowels, clippers and, oh  yes,  those green thumb gloves and other makes like that?    Aren't they a pest?   Of course, when the directors and designers of these items get together  when they have to decide on the colour of these items. . .   'Well it's garden stuff -Okay let's choose green!    After all green is a common garden colour.'   Oh no that's nothing to do with it.   They are green because it's so easy to lose these little friends in the green shrubs, clippings,the grass and so on.   Then when the item is lost all we poor souls have to do is to go back to our supermarket or garden centre and stretch our plastic to purchase replacements - it's so good for sales,  isn't it?   Ugh!!   Cheers as ever Julia

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Christianity and Astrology

In AD312 the Emnperor Constantine became a convert to Christianity and instigated a campaign against pagan practices. In AD358 astrologers were among those threatened with death. Over the following centuries the most antagonistic of Christian theologians were however somewhat confused by the apparent scientific basis of astrology, and what seemed a very obvious relationship between medicine and astrology which it would be foolish, they thought, to deny. Their attempts to assert that some areas of the sbject were theologically dangerous while others were permissable resulted in great confusion. The major example of a precarious balance between the two attitudes to astrology was seen in the wrok of the Grerek philosopher Plotinus, who asserted that men and women must be in control of their own destiny, while aspects of their life - including their physical health - were evidently influenced by the planets. There was also the difficulty, for those Christians who abhorred astrology, that God had apparently chosen to signify the birth of his Son by astrological means; the easy way out was to have it both ways, as did Tertullian, who accepted the Star of Bethlehem while asserting that the twelve planets had now been replaced by the twelve Apostles. Others, Origen among them,  teetered uneasily on the edge of accepting 'the stars' as having been placed in the sky by God as symbols, while failing to reconcile this with the suspicion that astrology was deeply anti-Christian. St Augustine was a fierce critic of astrology as a thing of the Devil, though many of his arguments were based on a fallacious understanding of the history of the subject. Later, medieval Christians found it easier to reconcile their faith with their view of astrology as a useful tool which God had given them; many of the Popes were sympathetic, accepting the dedication of books on astrology, sometimes empoloying their own astrologers, and in a few cases being themselves competent astrologers. It was even permissable to speculate about the horocope of Christ Himself, and from the 13th century onwards the development of natural science seemed to support the view that it was impossible to deny the effects that the planets had on the life of mankind - that, as Robert Grossetest, the Bishop of Lincoln, put it, 'nature below effects nothing unless celestial power moves it and directs it.'
It seemed possible at one time that astrology would becme totally acceptable, taught in every European university as a matter of copurse. The waves of approval and disapproval that affected the Christian view of the subject rose and fell over the centuries, however - at one extreme astrologers were persecuted and condemned (though there was no such pogrom against them as against alleged witches; and none was burned by the Inquisition), yet at the other extreme members of the clergy were openly practising astrology, in some cases positively from the altars of their churches. The opendulum swung decidedly against astrology after the Reformation, and Pope Sixtus V issued a papal bull in 1586 which had the result that Italian universities ceased to teach it. Elsewhere the Pope's condemnation had a more limited effect, which esulted in Pope Urban VIII subsequently condemning as heretichs everyone who approved of the subject (presumably including his papal forebears). Astrology however refused to die, and during the Renaissance there was renewed intellectial discussion of the subject. At a political and social level it was in the ascendant, and the voice of the Church as much diminished. With the coming of the Age of Enblightenment, churchmen - however suspicious they were of science - welcomed increasing criticism of astrology as a pseudo-science, and from then until the present day a steady but generally ineffectual antipathy has been maintained. The Catholic Church as might be expected has continued to condemn the study of the subject, and has been joined in general by other Churches, the fiercest condemnation coming from right-wing evangelists. Sunce it is probably the case that only diminishing number of modern astrologers assert that the prediction of events is possible, there seems no more reason why modern Christian should condemn astrology than that they should condemned psychiatry or weather-forecasting, but traddition dies hard.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Mr Lilly thought of Cancer

Qualities of the Sign Cancer   Is the onely house of the Moon, and is the first Sign of the Watry or Northern Triplicity, is Watry, Cold, Moyst, Flegmatick, Feminine, Nocturnal, Moveable, a Solstice Signe, mute and slow of Voyce, Fruitful, Northerne.
Diseases   It signifies Imperfections all over, or in the Brest, Stomack and Paps, weak Digesnion, cold Stomack, Ptifick, salt Flegms, roten Coughs, dropsicall Humours, Impostumations in the Stomach.
Places Cancer signifieth   The sea, great Rivers, Navigable Waters; but in the Inland Countries it notes places neer Rivers, Brooks Springs, Wels, Cellars in Houses, Wash-houses, Marsh grounds, Ditches with Rushes, Sedges, Sea banks, Trenches, Cisternes.
Shape and Description   Gene4rally a low and smal stature, the upper parts of more bignesse then the lower, a round Visage; sickly, pale, a whitely Complexion, the Haire a sad browne, little Eyes, prone to have many Children, if a Woman.
Kingdoms, Countries and Cities subject to Cancer   Scotland, Zealand, Holland, Prussia, Algier, Constantinople, Venice, Millan, Genoa, Amsterdam, Yorke, Magdeburg, Wittenburg, Saint-Lucas, Cadiz.
-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Astrological animals

The lion, bull, eagle and a winged human figure represent the four fixed signs of the Zodiac, and are linked to the four elements - the lion said to represent emotion, the bull the physical aspect of life, the eagle aspiration and the winged figure the union of these elements in a human being. In the Old Testament the creatures are described (in Exekial I, 5-10) and there is a clear association with the four beasts 'full of eyes before and behind' described in Revelations (IV, 6-10).
The lion is related to the sign of Leo, the fire element the evangelist St Mark and the archangel Michael.
The bull to Taurus, earth, St Luke and Uriel
The eagle to Scorpio, water, St John and Gabriel
The winged figure to Aquarius, air, St Matthew and Raphael.

See Parkers' Encyclopaedia of Astrology (ISBN 978-1-905857-71-5)

oh, and don't forget to read Julia's advice today in Forecasts at

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is it 'Hokey Pokey' or 'Hokey Cokey'?

Well gals and guys, I'm confused and unless you're an old, you will be too.   These are the names of a group dance, in which everyone stands in a ring and starts singing 'You put your right arm out, you put  your right arm in and you shake it all about - you  do the hokey cokey and you turn about - that's what it's all about.'   The dance got rowdier and rowdier as all parts of the body came in for the 'treatment',  and in between every body part everyone rushed to the middle of the circle singing the praises of the hokey cokey.   Now here's where I'm confused -  because  we in the UK -always sung hokey cokey while I've recently learned here in Australia  everyone one sung hokey pokey!!!  (What went on in the States if it crossed the Atlantic Pond?)   Am I right in thinking that in the UK hokey pokey was though a bit rude with considerable innuendo? Going back several decades, hokey-pokey  was a name for ice cream, sold in little glasses  and these were sort of 'washed' by the seller, but strictly not allowed to be bought for children who had  nice clean mothers!    Sorry about this load of rubbish, but there you go!!!    Cheers Julia!  P.S: Don't forget to go to  to get to our web site and go on from there to read my fun forecasts for the day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where are all the topless ladies?

Walking along the esplanade at Balmoral in the sun (the Australian Balmoral, not the Scottish one!)  I was nostalgically reminded of the days when a beach like that would have been full of ladies happily sunbathing, topless. I remember our first visit to the South of France, when to my amazement most of the women on the beaches from Cannes to Monte Carlo had rejected the top half of their bikinis – some time before this was happening in the UK, even when the weather was warm enough. When did that fashion start? On the continent I suppose as early as the 1950s, but it was probably in the 1960s that topless sunbathing became ubiquitous on beaches almost everywhere. There were attempts to ban this, of course – and indeed both left-wing governments (Russia) and right-wing ones (the US) were equally hysterical in legislating against women appearing in public with bare breasts. Women however were determined to do what they wanted with their bodies, and being free to explore their top halves to the sun was one of them. The ‘bra-burning of the late 1960s was political in a way topless sunbathing or swimming was not, I think; but there was a sort of politics involved, after all – the determination that they should be free to wear, or not wear, what they wanted.
Strangely, today, to quote Wikipedia, ‘media reports in recent years note that the number of women sunbathing topless on French beaches has markedly declined, and that younger French women have become more disapproving of exposing breasts in public. Even in some parts of Europe generally considered to have a liberal attitude towards toplessness, such as Sweden, surveys show there is considerable resistance to its acceptance.’ So once determined they had the right to expose their breasts if they wanted, women have gone into reverse and are determined – as some have put it - ‘to keep their breasts for their boy-friends’. Fine, if that’s the real season; but fashion has always been strongly allied to changing social mores. Are we set for a return to Victorian values? (watch out for the return of the crinoline, ladies).
 Just interested, that’s all.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just to irritate everyone . . .

Getting on towards the middle of winter here, and this morning we went down with a friend to Bamoral Beach and strolled. Temperature in the middle 60s/20s but felt warmer; bright blue sky, the beach newly combed and the light brown sand smooth as a baby's bottom. Sat on the balcony of the tea room and drank good Australian flat whites while the waters gently lapped at the timbers below. Then walked again, past one woman in a bikini (a little brave, maybe), others walking their dogs, or just strolling aimlessly; a few batheing - 'warmer in than out', one said, and I dare say that was true. Just wondered what location on earth could possibly rival the scene.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cabbages, sheep and astrology

The connection between astrology and husbandry is almost as long as the history of astrology. In America particularly early almanacs were packed with information and advice as to how astrology could forecast the weather, and how the positions of the planets could be used to good effect in the planting and gathering of crops and the breeding of cattle. This could be as simple as advising the picking of apples when the Moon was full, thus drawing the juices into the fruit, or more complex, but it was always practical and forthright, viz Jerome Cardan:
'Graft not Trees, the Moon waning, or not to be seen, and if you shear sheep in her increase the wool will grow again the better.'
'Sow or plant when the Moon is in Taurus, Virgo or Scorpio in good Aspect of Saturn, but when she is in Cancer set or sow all kinds of pulses, and in Libra or Capricorn dress your Gardens and trim your small Trees and Shrubs,'
Planting by the Moon is traditional in the East, and there have been somewhat inconclusive studies by Western astrologers.

-          from Parkers’ Encyclopaedia of Astrology (Watkins, ISBN 978-1-905857-71-5
-          and read Julia’s forecasts for your day at

Friday, June 13, 2014

Julia's got to Chapter one-hundred!

Hi gals and guys! Yes that's true, mind you  quite a few of the chapters are pretty short and I must add that the end of the tunnel  is now clearly in view !   So what's this all about? you ask quite rightly.   You see, for a fairly long time  I have been writing a Family Saga.   It is faction but there's masses of  real family history in it.  I can only  write it at times when I am not working on  things like our recent dailies and other regular work,or any new commission that comes along. Hence that's why it is having a long 'birth'!   ' I know so much about a branch of my mother's family who emigrated to Sydney, arriving on Boxing Day 1882.   They were successful builders in Plymouth UK, and decided to come to Australia to make their fortunes - which they did!   They  settled first in Park Street Sydney then on the North Shore; and when Derek and I were house hunting to come here to live,  we looked at a house in Ernest Street; but it had just been sold- I didn't know at the time that not one, but two members of my family lived in that Street!   My story has a lot of characters and story lines but I don't think it's bitty!   I am covering one decade and it ends in 1892.  I think there is something for everyone in it which will appeal to gals and to you guys!   So much is factual - like the wife of one of the two couples who was a very talented dressmaker who hits the realms  of society fashion, their building projects and many of the people whose paths they crossed and with whom they worked and had relationships.. .   I have a young heroine who was my great Aunt, and  in one of her letters to my aunt in the UK asks after me and my brother. She's a real feisty lass who doesn't miss a thing!   She's a talented artist and also works with her sister-in-law in the fashion company. The men of the family are clever and they eventually team up with extremely successful businessmen in Melbourne.    There's the odd tragedy, and the book  will be the first of  three, which will take us via the twenties two World Wars and. . . ? . . Well we'll see!  Oh yes, gals,I do have the odd gorgeous  hunk or two.  My characters range in age from birth to one or two real 'olds' in their late eighties!!!   The Saga will be called 'Coming South'.  I'll keep you Blogged!    Cheers -  now back to Christmas 1889!  always - Julia!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What time is it now, for goodness sake?

Easy - 'standard time', they say. This is the time set for a particular area of the earth's surface, adopted for the sake of clarity and good timekeeping.The zones are measured from Greenwich - i.e., New York, which is placed on the 75th meridian west of Greenwich, is five hours slow, compared to Greenwich time. Tokyo uses the 135th meridian east of Greenwich, and is nine hours in advance of Greenwich time - so when it is noon in Tokyo it is 3 a.m., GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). There are however endless complications for astrologers attempting to discover how a local time historically relates to Greenwich: at the turn of the century seven European countries and most of the countries of South America were still refusing to accede to GMT; others changed to GMT then changed back. There was in addition - and continues to be - local adaptation of 'summer time', and sometimes in emergency 'double summer time'. Good luck, chaps!

-          from Parkers’ Encyclopaedia of Astrology (Watkins, ISBN 978-1-905857-71-5

Friday, June 6, 2014

Seventy Years ago!!!!

Hi guys and gals    Well, yes, I see that the celebrations for the D-Day Landings are being most impressive.   I suppose celebrations is correct in one big sense of the word because - albeit after quite along time - that remarkable effort achieved so much; but the loss of life has to be remembered very differently.   I have my own personal memory of that date.   I think it must have been the evening before, because either the terrific noise of aircraft must have wakened me or my parents got me out of bed to see what was going on,   We were living  inland, in Gloucestershire at the time, and I think Double Summer Time (daylight saving time) was in operation -this meant even more hours of day light for farmers, and it didn't get dark until about 11 at night.    The three of us looked out of one of the front upstairs windows of our house and the planes were going over in huge droves  - yes really huge ones.   There were quite a few US bases in that area of the UK, and  at that moment  no announcement had as yet been made on the BBC's Home Service or their Forces Programme.   My Dad's voice still rings in my ears as he several times said   'There's something big going on'  My Mum's re-assuring response was 'Well at least they're their ours'!'    Obviously  they were mostly American !  What had been  a constant cry earlier in 1941 when the Plymouth blitz was raging was how one could tell by the sound of the planes where they were 'ours' or the dreaded 'theirs' !   Yes we were usually right - the sound was totally different! Plymouth UK is some 150 miles South West of where we were living in Gloucestershire at the time, due to my Dad's war work.   So yes, I can definitely say that the night  before the 6th of June 1944 was a night I well remember - little though I was ! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What time is it? - Come back, the Goons.

A blast from the past . . :

BLUEBOTTLE: What time is it, Eccles?
ECCLES: Um, just a minute. I got it written down here on a piece of paper. A nice man wrote the time down for me this morning.
BLUEBOTTLE: Eug! Then why do you carry it around with you, Eccles?
ECCLES: Well, um, if anyone asks me the time, I can show it to them.
BLUEBOTTLE: Wait a minute Eccles, my good man.
ECCLES: What is it, fellow?
BLUEBOTTLE: It’s written on this piece of paper, what is eight o’clock, is writted.
ECCLES: I know that, my good fellow – that’s right, when I asked the fellow to write it down, it as eight o’clock.
BLUEBOTTLE: Well, then, supposing when somebody asks you the time it isn’t eight o’clock?
ECCLES: Well, then, I don’t show it to them.
BLUEBOTTLE: I wish I could afford a piece of paper with the time written on. Here, Eccles – let me hold that piece of paper to my ear, would you? . . . Here, this piece of paper ain’t going.
ECCLES: What? I’ve been sold a forgery!
BLUEBOTTLE: No wonder it’s stopped at eight o’clock. You should get one of them thing my grandad’s got. His firm gave it to him when he retired. It’s one of them things what it is that wakes you up at eight o’clock, boils the kettle, and pours a cup of tea.
ECCLES: Oh, yeah – what’s it called?
BLUEBOTTLE: My grandma.
ECCLES: Ah. Here, wait a minute – how does she know when it’s eight oclock?
BLUEBOTTLE: She’s got it written down on a piece of paper.