Monday, April 24, 2017


'Banumbirr: Morning Star Poles', artists from Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island), NT, Australia
Hello there,
time to look at some more Indigenous Australian art...

Currently on display at GoMA are these unique ceremonial Morning Star Poles,
made by artists from Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island) which is a small island off Arnhem land along the northern shores of Australia.
The poles are beautiful, as is the story which accompanies them.

There are over 70 poles, but several different artists, each series showing different clan designs and features.  Though made for public exhibition, these poles are still held sacred by their makers.

The Yolngu people call the planet Venus 'Banumbirr' and tell how she came across the sea from the east, naming and creating animals and lands as she crossed the shoreline, travelling westwards across the country.

It is told that each day at sunset spirits on Burralku, an island to the east hold a morning star ceremony.  As dancing intensifies the rising dust creates the twilight which gradually becomes darkness.
During the day the star is hidden by an old woman in a special feathered bag, and just before dawn she releases the star on a long string.

First it ascends to the top of a tall pandanus tree to survey all the places it will visit, then flies over Arnhem Land heralding the dawn, pausing over each of the clans related to it.  As the sun rises the old woman reels in Banumbirr by its feathered string to be hidden again until the next evening.

The Yolngu people had observed that Venus never strays far from the Sun, which they explain in terms of the rope binding the two bodies together (gravity).  The Morning Star ceremony has to be planned well in advance since Venus rises a few hours before dawn only at certain times of the year, which vary from year to year.  So we know that the Yolngu people also track the complex motion of Venus well enough to predict when to hold the Morning Star Ceremony.

Raki (string) spiritually central to the Banumbirr story, is made from bark fibres and human hair wrapped around the poles and then painted with clan designs.  Great lengths of feathered strings, pul pul, and feather tufts representing the bright star are attached to achieve the transcendent beauty the Banumbirr poles require.

Meanwhile, the garden is having a great time with the slightly cooler temperatures and managing to produce some blooms...

Our Peace rose is in bud - watch this space....

Cute new Palm Beach basket from a great online store: Ladychatterleysaffair
and Wanda Panda yellow shoes - because I don't have to live in sandals every day, now that Autumn's here...

Happy 91st Birthday to Her Majesty, who sensibly spent the day at The Races.
Doesn't she look wonderfully alert and happy...

Tomorrow is Anzac Day, when we Australians remember those who served our country in times of war..

Google image 
My Grandfather and his two brothers joined the Australian Imperial Forces during World War I, and served in Flanders and The Somme.
En route to Europe, the Australians trained in Egypt and the Australian War Memorial preserves many photos of them, pictured near the Pyramids and the Sphinx.  Young Australian men saw it as a great adventure, but as we know, many did not return.

Fortunately my Grandfather survived his time in the trenches of Flanders and returned to Australia to have a family which included my Dad, who passed away last year at 95.

Lest we Forget.

Sydneysider Son and Little Aussie are coming this weekend.


Have a great week.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Well, Easter has come and gone,
 and I hope you all had a blessed and special time.

We two cardinals flew off to a beach for three days...

Do you love the smell of the salt sea air?

the passing boats...and lifeguards?

the gentle roar of the surf...?

the rock pools..

The fish...

Fish art

We dined on fish and chips, and lovely Queensland grilled barramundi..

More fish art

It is possible I had a slice of cherry pie..

My Easter bonnet, er, sun hat.

Our view was gorgeous...

and when we came home, the first pansies of the Autumn have bloomed..
Sunshine is gentle again, and the plants love it.

Our roses are covered in buds after the recent rains.

Life is good.

What did you do over the Easter weekend?  


Saturday, April 15, 2017


Giotto 'Resurrection', Scrovegni Chapel, Padua.
On Easter Sunday morning, I wish you all peace and happiness from the Red Cardinals.

We are having a short break by the beach, enjoying the wonders of nature and beautiful weather.

Blogging by iPhone!

Back soon....

Monday, April 10, 2017


Hello - long time no blog!
I've been laid low by the virus of the year, not having received my flu jab because it is late coming to the doctor..
Why is that?

Cyclone Debbie has been and gone, leaving much flooding and other devastation in her wake.  We had a local flood, and some confused wildlife.
Four of these wild turkey chicks were found wandering around our garden...

This is at our local creek, where I walk.  It only lasted one day.
In other areas, people were days cut off from electricity and all services.
It takes a long time for communities to recover from these events.

I went to a High Tea to meet some local Sewists.  Look at those lemon meringue swans, which were mouth-watering.
The ladies were lovely and welcoming, and all wore gorgeous self-made outfits.

I loved the pattern and fabric swap - such fun...

Our garden is finally making an Effort - after all those months of drought.
And the weather has turned a little chilly (big smile)...

In a confluence of events you could not organise if you tried,
carpenters arrived to fix our deck railings which had some dry rot...

the same day Little Aussie arrived to spend a few days of his holidays...
with a broken arm!

He is such a climber, fell out of a tree.
Imagine how excited he was with all the action going on outside:

High decks with railing removed...Danger!

Much carpentry went on down on the lawn...

and we decamped to the local village store - Aussie loves a chocolate milk and croissant... and they have board games to play...

His Lego city construction went on for days...

There now, all better...

I found this little cupboard (the one on top) - drastically reduced floor stock at a local gift shop..  It has improved our laundry room by 150%!

Beautiful lunch with friends on Sunday - that trifle really was the business.

We are all so thrilled with the cooler weather. 
Even put a blanket on our bed...

Stay warm - and dry


Monday, March 27, 2017


After a week of gentle rain, the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect is picking itself up and looking much more refreshed...

The birds are enjoying things too..

and we enjoyed a great night out at the new Australian production of My Fair Lady, always one of my favourite musicals.

To celebrate 60 years since its Broadway debut, the original leading lady Dame Julie Andrews, has come to Australia as Director.

Here she is with the stars of the Brisbane production.
Dame Julie is now 81 years young, and still gorgeous...

and here she is as Eliza Doolittle in the original stage production, back in the 1950s.

The show was absolutely 'loverley'...

and here's the secret from our great night at the theatre:
We were up near the front of the stalls, and near to the side aisle.
Just as the lights dimmed three people came and sat beside us, brought out clipboards, and made notes on the show, with whispered asides during the applause.  And guess what?  One of them was Dame Julie herself!
I could not help taking a peek over at her from time to time.  
She is very tall and slender with delicate features and very fine skin.  Just lovely.  There was no chance of conversation or an autograph - they timed their exit just before the lights came back on.

Meantime, I've also been enjoying 'Making Modernism' at QAG.
No photos are allowed, but here are a few of my favourites, shown in my catalogue:

Georgia O'Keeffe: 'Petunia No 2' 1924
Georgia O'Keeffe: 'Pelvis IV' 1944
O'Keeffe collected old weathered bones in the desert of New Mexico.  This beautifully painted picture gives a glimpse of the brilliant blue skies of the American West, with a daytime moon.

Margaret Preston 'Western Australian Gum Blossom' 1928
Margaret Preston 'Australian Coral Flowers' 1928
Margaret Preston 'Implement Blue' 1927
Grace Cossington Smith 'Things on an Iron Tray on the Floor' c 1928
Grace Cossington Smith 'The Window' 1956
Grace Cossington Smith 'The Lacquer Room' 1936
  These three early Twentieth Century women artists, two Australian and the American O'Keeffe, each forged their own personal and individual Modernist style of painting.  I hope you enjoyed a look at their work.

Spare a thought tonight for the people in tropical North Queensland as Cyclone Debbie edges closer and closer to our coastline between Mackay and Townsville.  The cyclone is expected to make landfall in about twelve hours from now, bringing extremely high winds and a possible four metre storm surge, escalating to at least category 4.
Today about 25,000 people were evacuated from low lying areas, and the authorities are doing everything possible to prepare for this weather event and prevent loss of life.

Australia is a large country, and as this event is 800km (500 miles) north of us,  we are safe and sound in our nest. 
 Thoughts and prayers for those in the affected areas.