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What is the WOW factor?



WOW! Is of course an exclamation of surprise, wonder and pleasure. This will be elicited by sensory stimulation that has triggered the response. It is possible that no vocal sound may be uttered, but  still something or someone  has blown you away, leaving you feeling completely exhilarated. 
 When a bride choses her wedding dress, she hopes that the gown will be seen as stunning & draw gasps of admiration from wedding guests and of course, from the bridegroom. It is unlikely that she left the bridal shop, thinking ” that will do “! The bride to be, is of course looking for the WOW Factor, the quality or feature that causes excitement or admiration.
The WOW factor of course  extends  beyond wedding dresses, to works of art, architecture, natural phenomena and to almost anything you could think of. Looking up at the night sky induces wonder and when there is SuperMoon, there is undoubtedly a WOW factor, which people are quick to comment on and record. The sight of Venus, the morning star and of the planet Jupiter are awe inspiring, without the need for a telescope or binoculars.
Whenever I take photos for Instagram, I always try to give them the WOW factor. Sometimes this requires no editing, but at other times adding a highlight, a contrast  or sharpening the image, shows it at its best. This helps viewers, who are unable to see the actual image to appreciate it.  My taste is not for photos, that are saturated with colour. In my opinion, less is more, to hopefully achieve the WOW factor in photography.
If you have experienced love at first sight, this will be an immediate sensory response, probably beyond explanation. Profound instantaneous recognition that a significant other has entered your life, based on the WOW factor. Lifelong partnerships have been founded on this, where the experience is mutual. There may be a degree of illusion, or the love may be unrequited and it is always as well to remember that all that glitters is not gold!

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Isabella Beeton – Author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management



Possibly some people today may not have heard of Mrs Beeton, who in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was a household name. She was well known for Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1859 – 61, which contained everything a prosperous  Victorian housewife, would need to know for running the home.  The public then and in the years that followed,  visualized her as a matronly cook, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Isabella Mary Mayson was born  14th March 1836, in Milk Lane, London. Her father died when she was young and her mother remarried, Henry Dorling, who worked as a clerk at Epsom racecourse. The family had lodgings there,  and Isabella was able to see at first hand, the organisation involved in running  kitchens, that catered for large numbers of people.
 On 10th July 1856 Isabella married Samuel Beeton, a publisher of books and magazines, and she started writing articles on cookery, to be included in his publications. Isabella lived a surprisingly modern married  life, commuting with her husband into the London office by train from Pinner. She also made annual trips to Paris, enabling her to write articles on fashion. At the same time, in the short space of eight years,
by Maull & Polyblank, hand-tinted albumen print, 1857
Isabella had numerous miscarriages and still births, giving birth to four sons, only two of which, survived to adulthood. These experiences were excessive even at a time of high infant mortality rate. Isabella died  in 1865 at the age of twenty eight following the birth of her youngest son. 
Isabella ‘s publishing success, while facing these health difficulties , was therefore a tremendous achievement. Her famous book on Household Management contained over 1,112 pages, with many coloured illustrations and nine hundred recipes. She taste tested these recipes in her kitchen and in the severe winter of 1858, handed out a nourishing beef and vegetable broth, to poor families for a penny a quart.
 Nevertheless, her skill was not in cooking, but in collecting and editing material for the book. In later years, the two sons who survived to reach adulthood, heard some mockery of the  scale of the ingredients in some of the recipes. However Mrs Beeton was writing for very large Victorian families, who would require dishes made, for example with twelve eggs!
Samuel Beeton, Isabella’s widower, continued to promote the image of her as a matronly cook, in order to publicise the book, and that is the image of her that has persisted throughout history.

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Chances in Life – pure Chance and/ or Synchronicity?



It is undeniable that what happens in life, depends to a certain extent on chance. The very country you are born in is a matter of chance and may determine the opportunities open to you. Progression in a career may be altered for good or ill, by meeting someone, who can change the course of your life.
Finding a life partner may depend on a chance meeting,  by attending a last minute event, or going on a ” blind date”. So much may depend on being “in the right place at the right time”. Once the chance is there, a decision has to be made. People may sometimes wonder what would have happened if they had chosen a different path, with or without the element of chance?
 Someone once said to me that “If” is a very big word! May be one looks back with pleasure and satisfaction at the course taken, or with regret for a missed chance. Luck is a synonym for chance and so it is usual to wish someone “Good Luck” before a major life event or opportunity. Whatever the resources  of health of education, an element of chance or luck is undoubtedly a factor in the course of life.
Taking the idea of chance to another level, Jung introduced the concept of Synchronicity, which is defined as ” meaningful coincidences of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved”  People may experience an epiphany, a sudden revelation or  realisation of the essential meaning of something. This experience may be mysterious or awe inspiring, arousing spiritual or religious emotion. Such an experience is referred to as “Numinosity”
 An experience such as this, may extend to a belief in the Numinous, a deity or spirit, presiding over time and space. New Age practices have involved asking the Universe for something, which indicates a belief by some people outside of organised religions, that there is something  out there! In the end we all have to take our chances.

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The cuisine of the Murcia region in Spain



The region of Murcia is located in the southeast of Spain, on the Mediterranean coast. The area has aalso a long history of wine production dating back to the Roman Empire.

The cuisine of the Murcia region is a typical Mediterranean cuisine. The main characteristic is the use of products such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, olives, almonds, and olive oil. The cuisine is based on the use of fresh vegetables and fish.

The cuisine is rich in vegetables and seafood. Fish dishes are a very important part of the Murcia region’s cuisine. The most popular fish dish is “pescaito frito” which is fried fish served with a garlic-flavored mayonnaise sauce and french fries, the dish is served with a salad of tomato, onion and salt.

Most popular dishes

Other popular dishes are “patatas a la murciana” (fried potatoes with onion, tomato, green peppers, garlic and paprika), “gambas al ajillo” (garlic shrimp) and “arroz con pollo” (chicken with rice).

Murcia region wines

One of the most important dishes in Murcia’s cuisine is “cocido maragato”, a stew made with beans, pork, and vegetables. Or tortilla de patatas, the Spanish omelette, made with potatoes, eggs and onions.

Nice and tasty is el chorizo murciano: a sausage that is made with white pork and spices, such as garlic, paprika and pepper. It is often served boiled, fried or grilled. Murcia is also the home of the distinctive “gazpacho” dish, which is a cold soup made from tomatoes, garlic, bread and olive oil.

Other famous local dishes are: – Gambas al ajillo – Pulpo a la gallega – Langostinos al ajillo – Gambas en salsa rosa – Salpicón de atún.

Wines of the Murcia Region

The Murcia region of Spain is known for its wines, which are exported all over the world. The region produces a number of different wines, including those made from the red grape variety, Monastrell, which is the most widely planted in the region. The Murcia region also produces a number of white wines, such as those made from the grape variety, Albillo and Macabeo. These wines are typically dry and crisp and are often consumed during the summer months.

There are seven Denominations of Origin (DO) for the wines found in Murcia: “Albacete, Alicante, Alicante-La Mancha, Elche, Jumilla, Lorca and Murcia”

The area’s climate is typically warm and dry, and many of the vineyards are located on hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The soil is very rocky, so vines are planted in terraces to ensure a good supply of water.

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