Thursday, December 31, 2015

NEW YEAR, 2016

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Happy New Year to all readers of the Red Cardinal blog.
The above photo of last night's fireworks is taken from the place I love to be:
The Queensland Art Gallery, on the banks of the Brisbane River.

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This is the Story Bridge, a little way down river.

The cardinals celebrated with friends.  I wore my new Christmas dress:

My sister is the best cook.  Her retro bacon and prune rolls made me fall off my 'no red meat' wagon..

In other news, the significance which is to be found in my previous post, 
it has snowed in Canada...

and who's a happy little boy...

I've packed away all the Christmas decorating, taken down the tree, and vacuumed up the tinsel.
We usually wait until Twelfth Night, but we are soon departing on a little journey.

Wishing you all the very best year in 2016, full of health, happiness and special opportunities.
And thank you for continuing to visit the Red Cardinal Blog.
You really do make a difference to my life.


Saturday, December 26, 2015


Christmas Morn dawned slightly cooler, and with gentle rain.
Perfect in a hot Australian Summer.
I caught these two love-birds/lorikeets, having a Christmas snuggle.
Well, Christmas is all about love and family, after all...

I took few pictures.  Christmas is for experiencing first and foremost...
We enjoyed the Christmas Eve Mass, with a children's Nativity play.
Much like this:

Our play had a similar enthusiastic donkey, and the best pair of sheep being shepherded in to see the manger.  Two tots, aged one and two, in long white tee shirts.  Priceless.

It reminded me of Little Aussie's Dad when he was small:

As he said at the time, he was 'Jophets', and so Joseph has been named in our house ever since...

He went on to further acclamation the next year, as a gift bearer to the kings:

He is the one in blue.  He can't remember if he had the Frankincense or the Myrrh - but it doesn't look like the gold...

But I digress.
We enjoyed, as always, the familiar carols - beginning with 'O Come all Ye Faithful', and ending with 'Joy to the World'.
They have joy and meaning in the right context.
Which is not in the local mall.

And later that night, as stockings were filled..

egg nog and Christmas cake:

The pretty green plate is a gift from a friend.

As is our tradition, Christmas morning means ham and eggs.
I glazed the ham two days before, and it was Good...

Little Aussie was here, and loved his gifts.

We had been to see the new Star Wars movie a few days ago...and really enjoyed it.  But can't give away the Spoilers...

We moved on to our Rocket Scientist son's for lunch.
The table setting was so elegant..
and the food superlative.
Our Daughter-in-law is the best cook.  Ever.

I have been thoroughly spoilt by my family.
It was so nice to have four days of house-guests, action and activity, enlivened by the presence of Little Aussie, who has become The Young Jedi (at least for now).

He has lost his two front teeth.
The lisp is adorable...

We did Skype with Canada, where there has been no snow for the children this Christmas.  

He will always be the Little Bebe to me...
standing forlornly with his new snow toys...

And on to the leftovers....


Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Thank you Dear Readers for your visits and comments throughout the year.
I love and appreciate every one of them, and feel blessed by the friendships and connections made with other bloggers throughout the world.

Night of Silence/Silent Night - a carol arrangement I have enjoyed singing with several choirs.  It is wonderful when the two melodies intertwine at the end!
I hope you enjoy it too.

Federico Barocci 'Birth of Christ' 1597
Wishing you and yours a Peaceful, Joyful and Very Happy Christmas

From Patricia, the Red Cardinal.


Sunday, December 20, 2015


Merry Christmas to you,
as we slip sweetly into Christmas week.
 I must share this beautiful picture of cardinals, sent to me by the lovely Debra Turner, of The Savvy Shopper.
Debbie was one of my very first followers, and lives in New York.  Lucky girl.
How she ever found this little Australian blog is quite the mystery to me, but illustrates the joy and fun of blogging:  you meet lovely, like-minded friends, all over the world.  
Check out The Savvy Shopper - she is full of good information and ideas.

I made a new front door wreath, with bits from the Christmas old plain green base, some red fake berries which have appeared in many of my Christmas creations, and a few small pine cones from the collection.  For once, I decided not to use the glue gun, because there is no going back with that thing.  I tied and twisted everything in place, and sprayed with my fake snow. Done.

We have been back at the Wild Canary garden/cafe again, celebrating Christmas with friends.  They grow all the salad, herbs and edible flowers right there beside the restaurant.  Who knew all those flowers could be eaten?
The vinaigrette is made from nasturtiums and the fish is North Queensland barramundi, the best and sweetest fish in the universe...

I shared this tiramisu with Mr C - which seemed only fair..

That garden centre is full of temptation...

Meanwhile, back at the Cardinal nest, the yellow hibiscus is having a spectacular summer...

while the last stand of agapanthus have burst forth.

I've been to choir practice at the church.  All set for Christmas Eve Mass.

Have a splendid Christmas week.


Thursday, December 17, 2015


Spirit of the Plains, 1897, Sydney Long, Australia.
An Australian bush nymph leads her dancing birds through the gum treed plains of the Australian bush, in a freize-like painting by Australian artist Sydney Long [1871-1955].  For many years, this popular work has fascinated visitors to the Queensland Art Gallery.  Notice the elaborate treble clef formation of the procession, beautifully based on a European, Art Nouveau, sensibility.

The dancing birds, however, are brolgas, Australian native birds, and the official bird emblem of our state of Queensland.  The brolga is a member of the crane family, and a common wetland bird species in tropical and south-eastern Australia.  Best known for the intricate mating dances, their performance begins with a bird picking up some grass and tossing it into the air, then catching it, jumping a metre into the air with outstretched wings, with much strutting, calling and bobbing of the head.  Sometimes they dance singly, or in pairs, and sometimes a whole group will dance together.

While I have occasionally seen brolgas in swampland, I have never seen them dance.  I'm sure it is quite spectacular...

So why did I think of brolgas today?

Many readers have commented on my Christmas decor, with wintry scenes of snowmen, while outside we are in the middle of a hot Summer.
And I thought it time to introduce another Australian Christmas carol:
The Carol of the Birds.
The first line is 'Out on the plains the brolgas are dancing, lifting their feet like war-horses dancing'...

This carol is sung many different ways, faster and slower, with orchestral or organ accompaniment, but I chose this version because of the pictures.
You will see lots of Australian native birds, including my old friends, the lorikeets.
The word 'Orana' means Welcome!



Monday, December 14, 2015


As the World Powers have been meeting in Paris to discuss climate change,
we have been having some Extreme Summer Storms - the type which cause mayhem with power outages and hail.  Thankfully, the Cardinal nest has escaped with nothing more bothersome than a lot of leaves and branches to clean up..

Over 85% of Queensland is in drought, with farmers in desperate circumstances.
Suddenly, here in the South East, the storms have brought new green to the countryside.

We took my father for a long drive on Sunday, and we all enjoyed the rare sight of so much green in the fields and along the roads.
Not so long ago, it was all dead and brown.

In other news, we celebrated 44 years of wedding bliss.
Mr C bought us this lovely planter basket of blooms to celebrate.
Well done, and very festive for Christmas.

As promised, I would like to show you some work from the APT8, the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art currently running at our GOMA.

This sculptural work comes from a remote village, Puhputra, in Chhattisgarh, India, which has become renowned for a small group of artists who have developed a unique sculptural tradition to adorn their surroundings.

The story begins in the 1950s, when a young woman, Sonabai, was confined to her house by a much older husband, forbidden to talk to others or be seen.  After ten years of marriage, she had not produced a child, and for this was ostracised.  Then finally, when Sonabai gave birth to a son, she was still locked away in her home, cooking and cleaning and caring for her baby.
She had no toys for her son, and in desperation dug clay from the edge of her well and fashioned toys for him, animal and human figures.

She loved the process and soon filled the rooms with clay figures.  In the summer it was unbearably hot, 46-52 deg C.  To cool down the environment, she began shaving strips from bamboo poles, curling them into circles, typing these into grids, and joining them between columns in her interior courtyard.  She covered this with clay creating lattices to catch the breeze and cool the rooms.

She added figures to the lattice, birds and winding snakes.
She had invented an entirely new style of art.

Eventually, Sonabai was permitted to move out into the community, and began to teach her art form to the people.  She was bewildered when local researchers were sent from a new museum and took a panel away from her house as an exhibit.  Her fame spread, and in 1993, Sonabai travelled to Brisbane for the third Asia-Pacific triennial where she created a work that replicated part of her own home.  This work is now part of the Qld. Art Gallery collection.

Sonabal passed away in 2007, and her house has become a much-admired museum.  The works currently on exhibition were done by a collaborative group which includes her son, Daroga Ram.  They are some of the few practicing proponents of the tradition.

This is Sonabai, with some of her original work.

Out of tragic circumstances, Sonabai found a way to make her art, and fortunately it led to her having a fulfilling and interesting life, and to leaving a legacy for all to enjoy.

The pieces are wonderfully vibrant and appealing, and I notice how readily the visiting public are drawn to admire and enjoy them.

Some people have finished their Christmas cooking, and card sending, and gift purchasing.  
I am not one of these people.

This week, I will make a big effort.
And, possibly, a Christmas cake.

Keep cool, and dry.