Saturday, September 26, 2020

SPRINGTIME CARNIVALE AND TWIN UPDATE

 



Who loves the Carnival of Flowers?
Held annually in the regional city of Toowoomba, the Carnival this year is different - just like everything else in this strangest of strange years!





We enjoyed the Public Garden displays at three venues, as well as a special exhibition at St. Luke's Church.

Sadly, there is no home garden competition, let alone the opportunity to view the beautiful private gardens.

Of course, this was due to Covid19 restrictions, but in fact, the crowds were so dense at the public places, not to mention the difficulty of finding a parking spot, I could only think it might be safer to have the thousands of visitors dispersed across the city in smaller numbers as per usual.
Surely a requirement could be simply a one-way path marked around the garden, as is required everywhere we go these days.









At Picnic Point, we enjoyed a special Carnival treat:
a Violet and Wattle seed ice cream sundae:


Yes, there really is violet ice cream under that fluffy cream!









This is fun...seen in a kids' playground...


Last week I returned to my volunteer guiding role at our GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art).   It was a real joy to be back, meeting my guide friends again, catching up on the news and the exhibitions.

The gallery was closed for months during lockdown, and of course, everything is very different.  Social distancing is absolutely essential.
Our tours are reduced to a maximum of six people, and for only 30 minutes.



Brian Dunlop, Australia, 1938-2009 'Room With a Visitor' 1979

Prominently displayed as you enter Goma is Brian Dunlop's 'Room With a Visitor', 1979.  Doesn't it look like our new 'social distancing' world?
Dunlop studied in Europe as a young artist, and was inspired by Renaissance art.
He himself commented that when he finished this work, he thought it looked like an Annunciation painting, and indeed it does.  
Dunlop was known for his interiors, usually bathed in beautiful light, and offers no explanation for the mysterious scenario.  We make of it what we will, and what a good example of how interpretation of a good art work can change over the years.


It is school holiday time in Queensland, and as the border to the Northern Territory is now open, lucky Little Aussie (our eldest grandson) has been on a trip to Uluru - what fun..




And our beautiful new twin grandsons are doing wonderfully well.

They learnt to breathe unaided in the first week, and have moved from ICU to Special care, visited daily by their parents.

They have regained their birth weights, and moved on to other goals: learning to suckle, enjoying a bath or massage, and the maintenance of body warmth.  

Also, wearing clothes :)

At the moment, I really don't have any photos suitable for publication - but eventually we will.  

Taking photos is difficult because of infection control, and their phones have to be zip-locked when they enter the hospital.  We have seen a few tiny videos taken by kindly staff.  It was wonderful to hear a little voice murmuring....


Be safe and take care


XXXXX







Sunday, September 6, 2020

TWINS!

 


A few days ago we became grandparents again...

A big welcome to little boy twins!

 Mum and Dad are our Sydney-sider son and his Irish wife.
Long-term readers will remember we went to Ireland in 2016 for their wedding, along with Young Aussie who is now a big brother.
Aussie is over the moon to have not one, but two little brothers.


To add to the excitement, today is Father's Day in Australia, and the little footprints above were on cards presented to their Daddy from the twins, in the icu unit of the hospital.  

The twins were born about 8-9 weeks early, and will be in special care for some time.  However, they are doing really well, and learning to breath and eat and recognize their parents.  
Their theme song is Twinkle Twinkle little star....
something which began after I found this fabric to make baby wraps:


Perfect, isn't it?





Young Aussie came to see us yesterday.
Here he is with Papa Cardinal whacking a few balls in the garden..

He still likes the occasional piano lesson, and asked me to teach him Beethoven's Fifth Symphony!!

I found this simple version and after about 20 minutes he was managing it:



His Dad was most impressed....

Last week Aussie turned eleven, and we visited him and his pet chickens:


They are all fluffy, so all have names beginning with F...





In other news, we celebrated Father's Day today with a picnic for Mr Cardinal, now the grandfather of five boys ....


We sat on our favourite spot beside the Brisbane River, always lovely to watch the pelicans, ducks, and canoes...


I made a rustic berry tart - very rustic, but delicious.
Chicken and champagne may also have been consumed...


And continued our explorations of interesting hinterland towns with a drive to Rosewood.  The Rising Sun Hotel has been a gorgeous building in its day and is heritage listed.  So sad that it is in a state of decay..





The beautiful St Brigid's Church, also heritage listed, is in desperate need of restoration.
It is one of Australia's finest wooden churches.





Loved this old wooden seat in the grounds...

It is a sad fate of many regional towns, once prosperous, which go into decline when by-passed by highways, and when industries fade away..


We were also intrigued by the fading beauty of this large house 'Glendalough' built in the early twentieth century by a local politician and businessman, who built to impress.



It has many fascinating and quirky architectural elements, and appears to have been built in three stages. 
The house is Heritage listed, but is in a sad state of neglect.  
It could be a wonderful tourist attraction, but of course would need a large injection of funds.

I found this picture of Glendalough in better days:  

Glendalough - Google image



Surprise from our vegetable pots:  The last of the capsicum plants actually produced fruit.  Twins.  The same day the little identical twin boys arrived.
Isn't that spooky?


Happy Father's Day to all fathers in Australia!

Be safe.

XXXXX






















Sunday, August 23, 2020

THE WESTERLY WINDS OF AUGUST

 

Greetings from the Red Cardinal.
Here it is, August already - and I don't know where I have been lately.
How are you all?  I am so impressed with the bloggers who continue to post through lock downs and difficult days.

It is our coldest month, and this year the Westerly Winds do not disappoint - biting through the air and blowing us to smithereens!


The flowers in our garden are going really well this...
The combination of cold mornings and sunny days seems to work for them.
Our vegetable attempts, on the other hand, have come to very little.
The tomatoes have flowers, but refuse to fruit...


Our zucchini flowers produce a little fruit which disappears in a day..???


Best display of iris we have had in years..


This is the deep waterhole I pass on my daily walks.
Local reports say there has been a platypus there lately,
 although I have not seen it.
The shy platypus is Australia's most unusual animal, and I have never seen one in the wild.  Every time I walk past, I pause, hopefully....

For the unfamiliar, the platypus has the bill and webbed feet of a duck, a beaver style tail, furry body and tail like an otter, and the male has a venomous stinger on the rear feet.  They are mammals, yet the female lays eggs in a burrow on the water's edge.  Their preferred environment is in the water where they feed on insects, shellfish, worms etc, and they are awkward on land.  As this one has not favoured me with an appearance, here is a Google image:



We Red Cardinals have continued with our weekend jaunts into the countryside, visiting some historic villages settled in our State's infancy...




At Forest Hill, we enjoyed the old Post Office cafe, gift shop and restaurant...


and a most delicious carrot, walnut and macadamia cake, with berry syrup and icecream.   And pansies...

A few days later we had guests, so I made my own interpretation:




In other news, I actually braved going into a change room at the Mall, and bought a Marimekko dress at Uniqlo:


I think we will be very happy together.
To my horror, today the Health Department has released a list of venues, days and times, associated with a new Covid outbreak.  And I was there, right in the time frame, the day I bought the dress.

Seems we will be isolating again for a while...



Our GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) reopened recently.  
Prominently displayed is this pretty flower monster 'Flowers that Bloom at Midnight" - one of a series by the famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama [1929-]

Flowers are a staple motif for Kusama, along with polka dots.  
Here the great staring eye makes us think of alien flora in science fiction and fantasy tales.
Perhaps it makes you think of something quite recent??


Our first grandson, Young Aussie, has a birthday coming soon.
He will be Eleven!  Who would have thought...

I have been looking at his baby photos:



Here he is lying on a little Peter Rabbit quilt I made for him..


and enjoying his first Christmas.  What a little cutie he was (and is :)

And here is my best news:

Young Aussie is going to be a Big Brother .... very soon.

I will tell you all about it, when it happens.


Be well, be safe, take care.

XXXX