No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
– Emily Brontë
It’s my most favorite time of the year !
The Castle Lady
No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
This year the Vatican announced plans to replace all motorized vehicles in Vatican City with electric cars by 2017 in a special Green Vatican Initiative. The plan drawn up this year is slated to bring the city to a carbon neutral state by the year 2024. All guards and officials will be using Tesla cars to achieve this and their partnership with same will provide all the vehicles necessary. The projection for the fleet will include 25 black and gray in color and a white version will be the pontiff’s PopeMobile and will be fitted with special security features and specifications.
In an interview with the Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis declared, “I am delighted to make Vatican City a model for sustainability in a world growing too dependent on fossil fuel,” further, he said, “Environmental degradation is one of the great moral issues of our time and I intend to lead by example.”
An Italian newspaper early in the game has suggested that Tesla will modify its iconic T logo into a crucifix just for this project. Although a spokesperson for the company has denied this as being a part of the proposal an image was put up on social media creating a big controversy over it. Now the mayor of Rome is joining in with a vow to adopt some of the Vatican’s new environmental initiative, taking it city wide with plans to put curbside charging stations not just in the area surrounding the Vatican but in other parts and neighborhoods where it is said the parking is extremely limited. Mayor Ignazio Marino’s office are now reviewing proposals for a new fleet of municipal vehicles with hybrid or all-electric engines.
Not everyone is sold on the idea, however. One citizen of Rome, Paolo Barbarosso, who lives in the old area of Borgo where cobbled streets prevail and adjacent to the Vatican says, “It was bad enough when they installed their public composting toilets. First an assault on our noses, now parking troubles and traffic jams!”
There are other concerns, additionally, involving how the new environmental policies will affect tourism at the Vatican. There are plans to expand the restricted area reserved for tour buses and security points will experience increased wait times as well as the fact that available resources once available to tourist operations will become limited as well. The expenditure for the new fleet of cars has not been revealed to the public but there are already critics of this resource many of whom are saying it was an excessive venture, to say the least. One Italian environmentalist has said that the money spent on the cars could have been better spent on purchasing carbon offsets or supporting NGOs who would bring broader solutions to the climate change in the country.
To get in on the conversation and find out more you can check out tweets under hashtags #NoNewPopeMobile and #AprilFools.
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When was the last time that a crash course in any subject, leave alone English History, has been edifying and fun at the same time ? I’ll bet you think it’ll never happen but an event shaping to take place from July 2nd to the 17th of September this year will change your life forever and leave you more informed than you have ever been on the subject.
With a cast of 1,000 actors and actresses and music along with special effects a spectacular event at Auckland Castle in Durham, at Bishop Auckland south of Durham, will take place the latter part of summer. It will include re-enactment of historical events in actual context- horses and all- on a huge arena stage in the round. Kynren will be an outdoor show held in one evening and will only run an hour and a half ! Never before or ever again, for that matter, will you get so much avoirdupois for a quid!
If this sounds like an event that you can really get into- and out of quickly- check out their web site here http://elevenarches.org and get the entire story. Have fun !
A mother needs faith.
Genuine, hearty, loving trust in God,
a life of meek, glad acquiescence in His will,
and lived daily through years in the presence of children,
is an immense power.
They never can get away from the sweet memory that Christ was their mother’s friend.
Throughout Europe (and those who have propagated these little lovelies in the United States, in areas where wet springs prevail, normally), Lily of the Valley is enjoyed as a most marvelous addition to gardens or any rock garden they may cultivate. In France there is a tradition of small bouquets being given to lovers and loved ones on May 1st. These flowers migrate and show up sometimes, unexpectedly, like long lost relatives. A year ago this happened in an area of my property which I normally just clear of weeds and leave alone. The photo shows my entire yield last year when the weather was pretty much like it has been here for the past three days. Nothing is stranger than a sudden monsoon in Denver except for snow in July. I’ve never experienced the latter. I have only heard about it all my life. Summers can be incredibly hot here so it would be almost hilarious for me to experience that here, now. I’ll keep you posted. For now, enjoy this little token of May. – The Castle Lady
This flower has many names throughout the English-speaking world which includes Ladder-to-heaven, Lily Convalle, May Lily and Our-lady’s tears but its Latin technical name is Convallaria Majalis and is a member of the Liliaceae family. It is very popular for wedding bouquets and is often a constituent in perfumes in combination with other flowers or alone. Avon, surprisingly, has an excellent version in their perfume Haiku with this flower as the top note. All parts of these flowers have been used as pharmaceuticals for heart disease and emmenagogue. They travel through creeping underground stems which are rhizomes, very much like an Iris bulb and each sprig will produce two to three oblong, pointed leaves crowned in the middle with white, bell-shaped blooms on single 4 to 10 inch upright stalks. Some of the plants produce red berries. The scent of the blooms may attract nightingales.
Interestingly enough, the FDA has classified Lily of the Valley as poisonous but it has been used as far back as the 16th century by herbalists as a tea for easing gout, in wine for promoting memory and even as eye drops ! The tea was referred to as golden water and was stored in gold or silver chalices. It is used, even today, like Foxglove in medications to strengthen the heart beat and the effects are much more subtle. It may be best to use this only with authoritative medical supervision.
With May fast approaching and with Shakespeare’s recent revival in the form of the 400th anniversary of his passing, I thought I’d make one tribute to his verse and will complete my poetry offerings for this month. Just for the record, Shakespeare most likely died on his birthday because he was baptized on April 26th of 1564. In the painting he is about 21 years of age. The following sonnet was written by the Stratford bard and also happens to be one of my favorite poems. – The Castle Lady
As it fell upon a day,
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
With a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and plants did spring:
Everything did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone:
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn,
And there sung the dolefull’st ditty
That to hear it was great pity:
Fie, Fie, Fie, now would she cry,
Teru, Teru, by and by:
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain:
For her griefs so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah thought I, thou mourn’st in vain;
None take pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee.
King Pandion, he is dead:
All thy friends are lapp’d in lead:
All thy fellow-birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing.
Even so poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.
Whilst as fickle fortune smil’d
Thou and I were both beguil’d.
Everyone that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find.
Every man will be thy friend,
Whilst thou hast where with to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call:
And with such-like flattering
‘Pity but he were a king.’
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have him at commandement;
But if fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown:
They that fawn’d on him before,
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep:
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.