Friday, December 7, 2018


Not a Red Cardinal, but Australia's answer, the Red and Green King Parrot, greeting me in the morning.
Perfect herald of Christmas...

December has arrived, and the last page of my Canadian 2018 calendar.
In a few days it will be a year since we last flew across to visit our daughter and her family in Ottawa.  How we wish we could go more frequently!

The snow came early this year - here is a rare sighting of our youngest grandson and his October snowman, mixed in with still-falling Autumn leaves.

Little Aussie has been visiting, riding the dolphin (best inflatable toy we have ever had, has lasted about six years)....

and working on the Christmas Village, as is his wont..

This year he asked for the books to remain on the coffee table, and they became hills and valleys.  Our village now boasts two Town Squares...

and a variety of illuminations...

He then installed all the old Santas (age 20-40 years) on the fireplace..

Little Aussie has quite a flair for the arts, so it was with great excitement we attended his first stage play with his new Children's Drama Group..

He is the one in the dark blue shirt, a tourist in the hilarious farce 'Jet Lag Tours'.  His several lines were loud and clear, and we were naturally totally smitten with it all...

It is entirely possible that I had a birthday last week..
Mr C said it with roses, so beautifully pastel and fragrant..

Dear Daughter sent a sweet textured purse from Canada, with a representation of 'Lake and Mountain' by 'Group of Seven' Canadian painter Lawren Harris:

The original is held at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The Sewing Sisters came over for a Christmas/Birthday lunch..

D gave me an adorable little butter dish - it will have a festive time at Christmas.

and J made the Best melt-in-the-mouth Cupcakes...

A few gifts have begun to assemble by The Tree..
How is your Christmas shopping coming along?

I have been singing at a few Christmas concerts with the Choir for Ladies of a Certain Age, and always find it a great lead-up to the Festive Season.

And that about brings us up to date with the Red Cardinal Nest..

Enjoy the Season


Tuesday, November 27, 2018


'Tis the Season to be busy...
So we added in a little Cultural Trip to Melbourne, Victoria

Our hotel was located along the Yarra River, close to the Arts Precinct..

Loved this Art Deco chandelier, based on the Flinders Street Station, seen in the photo above with the green dome

Went to hear the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall -
Dvorak's 'The Noon Witch' brought back memories of our recent trip to Prague, and a lively performance of Beethoven's Symphony No 5, conducted by Karina Canellakis was enthusiastically received.

Our group travelled to the Heide Museum of Modern Art, which I have long wanted to visit.  The sculpture garden was good.

Geoffrey Bartlett, Australia, 'Circus by the Sea' 1982

Mirka Mora

The current exhibition is 'Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux - Drawings and Dolls'. 
Recently deceased, French-born Mirka Mora (1928-August 2018) was a Melbourne artist and cultural identity since arriving in Australia in 1951.
With her husband Georges, Mora owned several cafes and French restaurants, introducing French cuisine to Melbourne.  Georges became an influential art dealer, and Mirka found time for her painting and textile art, while also raising three little boys.

The dolls were fascinating..

Here is a late photo of Mirka, wearing one of her designs translated into fabric.

I bought the book - the story of their lives together, with the addition of many of their French recipes.

The original 'Heide', now called Heide 1, was this farmhouse owned by John and Sunday Reed, famous art benefactors from the early Twentieth Century.
From 1934 it became a gathering place for young Modernist painters including Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, and Albert Tucker, some of Australia's best-known artists.

Now part of the exhibition spaces, the house has a permanent collection of works from that time.
Sidney Nolan, 'Head, Dimboola' 1943
Sidney Nolan 'Ned Kelly: "Nobody knows anything about my case but myself' 1945
Nolan's Ned Kelly series, about a famous bushranger of the Nineteenth century Colonial era, was painted on the large dining table at Heide.

We moved on to Coombe Estate, once the home of the famous Australian operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).
The property is still owned by her descendants, and has been beautifully preserved.  The garden is stunning.

Our trip to Melbourne was completed with the Australian Opera's production of
Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger' .

Our Pre-performance talk by Prof. Heath Lees was very enjoyable and greatly enhanced our first experience of Wagnerian Opera. 
 The performance lasted six hours!  

No visit to Melbourne is complete without a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria.  They have a fun exhibition of the work of British visual artist Julian Opie:

Back to Brisbane, and another heat wave.  
Spare a thought for the many Queenslanders who are facing awful bushfires today.  Tomorrow will be another scorcher, 37C and higher in many places.

Stay cool and be well.