Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Five holidays in one

Over the last two weeks Jeff and I have enjoyed five mini-holidays:

1. We had a friend Ros come to visit.

2. Jeff took the kids to Granny & Gramps's farm while I went to Perth for a weekend to scrapbook.

3. We met up in Perth and drove to Southern Cross for a holiday staying three nights with another friend, Naomi. While there, we explored the site where gold was first found in WA.

And clambered all over Baladjie Rock.

On the way back we stopped off at Merredin to visit the historical water tower.

4. After a brief spell at home for a sleepover birthday party for Anna,

we drove via the Tin Horse Highway

to Wave Rock and Hyden.

"Where a man can see for miles
Still get lost, still be free.
At home in the bush
Where the heart wants to be."

Then it was on to Kalgoorlie for another three-night holiday, this time with my brother and his family.

We returned home via Perth again, this time spending a night in a caravan park where Granny and Gramps were also, purely by coincidence, staying.

5. We had more friends visit, Tim & Helen and their baby Nathanael, so their music team could bless our church with a Sunday morning special.

Now we are back home, without visitors, and the kids are back at school. Loving life.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Anna's new desk and the Waldseemüller map

We gave Anna a new desk, complete with hutch bookshelf and chair, for her birthday. It's already getting lots of use.

(It's the fruit of the first time I've enjoyed a visit to yIKesEA ever: we were in and out in 10 minutes, thanks to checking the product availability section of their website before we arrived, avoiding the display floor area entirely, heading straight to the correct warehouse shelves to pick and then pay for the goods before leaving immediately. "Do not pass GO, do not collect $200": But we did get to enjoy a couple's night out together afterwards with the time we'd saved.)

This evening we had a family DVD night and watched the first episode of The Map Makers series, on the Waldseemüller Map, now named after its cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller. Originally called the Universalis Cosmographica, it was the first map to illustrate a fourth continent with an ocean separating it from Asia. Its publication was the first time the name "America" was used in printed form. 1000 copies of the map were produced in 1507, but there is now only one extant copy known. Found in 1901 and purchased in 2003 from a German prince's family library for a cool US$10 million, the Waldseemüller Map now resides in the US Library of Congress.

[Image source:]

An accompanying book, the Cosmographiae Introductio, written by Waldseemüller's co-worker Matthias Ringmann, states that the fourth continent has been named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci:

"from Amerigo the discoverer ... as if it were the land of Americus, thus America"

"There is a fourth quarter of the world which Amerigo Vespucci has discovered and which for this reason we can call 'America' or the land of Americo. We do not see why the name of the man of genius, Amerigo, who has discovered them, should not be given to these lands, as Europa and Asia have adopted the names of women."

This last part shows why America wasn't named Amerigo: Waldseemüller and Ringmann feminised the explorer's name in line with the names of the three previously known continents, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Amerigo Vespucci originally worked with Christopher Columbus, who discovered the West Indies, islands off the coast of the American continents. Columbus thought he had reached the eastern expanses of Asia. Vespucci later sailed in his own ship, reporting in letters his discoveries of a continent-sized land mass which he determined and demonstrated not to be the same Asia as earlier described by Claudius Ptolemy and Marco Polo. Vespucci's letters indicate he realised the true nature of the newly-discovered lands, but they may not even have been written by Vespucci himself. Some were possibly partially or even wholly fabricated by their publishers. After Vespucci's death, his name was besmirched by Columbus's supporters, who wanted Columbus proclaimed as the discoverer of the newly-identified continent. However, the name "America" stuck.

This is Anna's take on the episode, which she drew/wrote on her desk's magnetic whiteboard immediately after watching it.

"CC [Captain Columbus] discovered islands that were part of America but didn't really discover America.
FOCC [Friend of Captain Columbus] discovered America for real unlike CC but didn't get the credit he deserved."