Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

12 July 2006

"There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets."
Proverbs xxvi. 13.

Go rambling without purpose on a Sunday afternoon & who knows what you will discover by the road-side?

"This Land of Rainbows spanning glens whose walls,
Rock-built, are hung with rainbow-coloured mists--"

By curious coincidence, this poem by Wm. Wordsworth is part of a collection called "Yarrow revisited". The other coincidence is that these two rainbows stretch over a valley called Glen!

8 July 2006

They did things in style back then!!

Browsing old books about Shimla, I found this gem in one by S. J. Duncan sometime ago. It's too priceless for words.
The era is Victorian. The family small: a young mother, three children & their ayah (maid). The journey is complicated: they are moving from Calcutta to Shimla. The distribution of their luggage is as follows:
1st camel load: Two large trunks & two small ones with clothing.
2nd camel load: One large trunk containing children's clothing, plate chest, three bags, one bonnet-box.
3rd camel load: Three boxes of books, one box containing folding chairs light tin box with clothing.
4th camel load: Four cases of stores, four cane chairs, saddle stand & mackintosh sheets.
5th camel load: One chest of drawers, two iron cots(!), tea table, pans for washing up.
6th camel load: Second chest of drawers, screen, lamps, lanterns, hanging wardrobes.
7th camel load: Two boxes containing house-linen, two casks containing ornaments, ice-pails & doormats.
8th camel load: Three casks of crockery, another cask containing ornaments, fitler purdah bamboos, tennis-poles (!).
9th camel load: Hot case, milk safe, baby's tub and stand, sewing machine, fender and irons, water cans, pitchers.
10th camel load: Three boxes containing saddlery, kitchen utensils, carpets.
11th camel load: Two boxes containing drawing room sundries, servants' cots, iron bath (huh?), cheval glass, plate basket.

Travel light, anyone?!

Stations along the Kalka-Shimla railway line

(Strictly for the detail-minded!)
Kasauli Road
Summer Hill

7 July 2006

A Contemplation upon flowers

Not all flowers have souls,
But roses, for they are memories of lovers,
And lilies, their prayers,
Azaleas; who give themselves to the winds,
And irises, beloved of Pindar,
And the pale œnothera,
Incandescent in the twilight,
And many sweet and simple flowers—
Snowdrops and violets,
White and delicately veined—
And all shadowy wind-flowers.
But not tree blossoms,
Which are the breath of Spring,
Nor poppies, splendid and secret,
And sprung from drops of Persian blood,
Nor water-lilies, who have but their dreams,
And float, little worlds of scent and color,
Wrapt in their golden atmosphere.

~ Florence Taber Holt ~

This is a picture of an aeonium. Since I am nt particularly knowledgeable about plant, I'm still undecided as to whether this is an "Aeonium undulatum" or an "Aeonium arboreum". The plant has succulent rosettes of waxy leaves, generally at the end of naked stems.

More of "Yarrow".

Okay, I know this one - gladiolus!

Gladiolus is a genus of perennial flowering plants which belong to the iris family (Iridaceae). About 10 species are native to India. The long, sword-like leaves look particularly atractive.

Tiger-lily. Also known as Columbia lily or lilium columbianum. What a stunning plant with its waxy orange leaves and dramatic black speckles!

A school-going friend supplies the following information (TMI?):

Kingdom: Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida -- Monocotyledons
Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae -- Lily family
Genus: Lilium -- lily

Species: lilium columbianum

Iberis - Candytuft. This perennial comes into bloom the last part of April and lasts through June in Shimla. In fact, this plant I have photographed was the last of a straggling group. I love its evergreen foliage (not visible here) as it provides a lovely dark backdrop to these delicate flowers. Kungfoo_Kitty helpfully adds here that it also has wonderful medicinal properties.

Foxglove is the common name for plants of the Digitalis species. These plants, biennial or perennial, are native to the Mediterranean region, and can reach heights of 1.2 to 2 meters. The primary value of foxglove is medicinal - digitalis, a cardiovascular drug extracted from the leaves, is the most effective drug available for heart failure caused by hypertension or arteriosclerosis.

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