Thursday, December 29, 2011


Little did we know what lay ahead as New Year 2011 rolled around.
Seeking as ever a colder climate away from our summer heat,
the Red Cardinals flew off to Christchurch, New Zealand, just after New Year...

Christchurch was cool, peaceful, and very pretty.
Hydrangas were in bloom:  enormous, fabulous bushes in many shades of pink and blue - simply gorgeous.

We went punting on the Avon - a sweet and shallow waterway winding through the city.

Beautiful weeping willows swept the Avon River banks.

We all wept for Christchurch when about six weeks later,
on the 22nd February, the city was rocked by a devastating earthquake.
The lovely cathedral remains partly destroyed,
and the city centre still closed off, perhaps never to be reopened.
So very sad, and we are so glad we saw it just in time.

Spookily, I took this photo of the window of an antique shop.
They had left things as they were after a previous,
smaller quake, while they were away on hols.
I wonder how they fared in the Big One.

On January 11, we flew on to Queenstown on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu.
On arrival we turned on the TV to the shocking news of huge floods back here in Brisbane, expected over the next 24 hours.
And so it came to pass, the worst floods in our history, while we were safely in another country,  feeling guilty and powerless because we could not help our hometown in its darkest hour.

Such was New Year 2011

There is a wonderful painting of Lake Wakatipu currently on show at Qld Art Gallery, at the exhibition Eugene von Guerard: Nature Revealed.
Von Guerard painted it in 1877 on a short visit to NZ,
and the painting is here on loan from Auckland Art Gallery.

In news from the Red Cardinal Garden,
the Snake Catcher came yesterday,
and removed the 2-metre python from under a shrub at the back of our garden.
Mother crow had been distressed and agitated all morning.
Peace is now restored, and a very relieved mother bird can enjoy the New Year with her chick.

And from the Red Cardinals,
Wishing you a Very Happy New Year, Dear Readers!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Kate's Christmas hat was perky and perfect;
just the right note of Christmas cheer and traditional deep red.
After so many years of being Waity Katie,
she has developed such a Star Quality this year,
looking every inch the princess.

I love the hat, but also the coat.
Beautifully tailored, by an "Independent British Dressmaker"
according to the Palace spokesperson.
Here's cheers for Dressmakers - you don't often hear about them these days!
Whoever he/she is, fame will be just around the corner.

I enjoy the cool English climate, 
and the royals appear to enjoy their brisk walk in the chilly air.

On New Year's Day 2009, I took this photo of frost on the fallen leaves
and grass on the edge of St James Park, just outside Buckingham Palace.

It was certainly cold, but also beautiful.
We watched squirrels racing about, and I saw my first
robin red-breast... so cute and pretty.

A mad squirrel decided to climb Mr Cardinal's leg!

Much to the amusement of a Japanese tour group nearby,
who all took photos ...

The Ice Queen, in the window of Fortnam & Masons.
She was actually a bit spooky.

Red Cardinal snowmen, 
after Little Aussie had his way with their accessories.

I stepped on the bathroom scales this morning!
Suffice to say, there will be no more of this for me;
Mr Cardinal will have to deal with the leftovers himself.
(Mr Cardinal is rubbing hands with glee and looking for the custard 
as we speak).

Salad for lunch today, I think..

Friday, December 23, 2011


I boiled a Christmas Pudding in a calico cloth:

I glazed a portion of ham leg with Faux Fuchsia's
fantastic marmalade, mustard, ginger ale recipe,
and studded it with cloves:

It is possible I used the wrong mustard.  Oh well, scrumptious anyway.

I made a Yule log:

Mr Cardinal gave me Christmas flowers:

On Christmas Eve we ate Shepherd's Pie,
a family tradition started years ago after a little joke made by our son
when he was about six, and learning the significance of shepherds at Christmas!

I sang carols with the choir at Christmas Eve Mass
and wore my angel brooch:

On Christmas morning, I received an exciting collection of
lovely gifts from
Mr Cardinal and our children:

My daughter sent this pretty necklace and earrings from Canada:

We began the day with a pink breakfast table:

So - is it the food, the gifts, the tinsel, lights and trees?

No, best of all, Christmas was about Family,
about counting our blessings, going to church,
 and gathering together with those we love.
The highlight was having four generations under our roof,
from my 91 year old father, who loved every gift and all the food,
to our 2 year old Little Aussie grandson,
who had the Best Time Ever, excitedly saying "I open, I open"
as each gift appeared. 
Soooo sweet.

What does Christmas mean to you?
I hope your day was special too!


Best Wishes to all fellow Bloggers, Readers, and personal friends and family
for a truly wonderful Christmas and a Very Happy New Year,

The Red Cardinal

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I bought Christmas Crackers from a local El Cheapo store,
because I liked the colours.

However, I thought they needed a bit of extra sparkle.
I raided the sewing room and found a bit of glue, some lace, beads, flowers and sequins, and had a lovely crafty time:

Our eldest grandson, Little Aussie, is here for Christmas!
Oh, the joy and delight for us oldies ..

Our vacuum cleaner has become a Big Red Car -
Somehow I am not so sure I would have tolerated this from my children,
but when it is a grandchild, it is Extremely Cute!

He also plays piano, and sang me a Snow Man Song of his own creation...
The child is a genius, of course!

One day he might sing in a choir at Christmas like Grandma ...

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I love fresh greenery among the Christmas decorations -
this conifer is just the right blue/green colour to pretend
 it is part of a snow scene long ago and far away.

Kate wore black velvet last night:
She looked brilliant - look at that diamond and ruby necklace, too!
Note the frill across the bodice ...

Source: My Royals

As soon as I saw this pic, my mind flashed back to 1981,
and the excitement of Diana's first public outing after her engagement to Charles:

Source: Google Images

Her glamourous black, frilled, strapless dress caused a sensation!

A way for Kate honour her late mother-in-law?
Style adviser's idea?

Just wondering ..........

Our grandson Little Aussie will be here this week -
I wonder what he'll make of my gingerbread cookies?

Only five more sleeps!


Our friends the lorikeets come every morning,
enjoying a few sunflower seeds from our bird feeder. 
Their bright colours blend right in with the Christmas season.

My friend M. gave me this beautiful tea set for Christmas.
See: Lorikeet colours.
I love it a lot, and we'll give it quite a workout over the season.

This is my lifetime collection of cookie cutters.
From all around the world.
Festive gingerbread, coming soon.

Does anyone know the name of this yellow flower?
We have a couple of tough old shrubs which get covered in these brilliant yellow blooms.
The lorikeets become ecstatic with the excitement
of swilling the nectar they apparently contain.
Some people don't like the lorikeets' noise,
but I think they are really cute and funny.

Last night I sang carols with my
Choir for Ladies of a Certain Age.
We visited this historic church located in a hollow
directly beside our biggest sports stadium here in Brisbane,
and thankfully preserved during the construction.
The church was beautiful, and the singing exhilarating -
you know it's Christmas when you sing the Angels songs... 

I wore my sparkly Angel brooch, recently found at Seers, Vancouver.
On Sale! Only $4.00

The agapanthus display continues, despite or perhaps due to total lack of fertiliser, thinning out, mulching,
or any other gardening action.  These really are the champions of the neglected garden. 

I  don't know the name of this climber, either,
but like its pink trumpet flowers.

My mother called this plant Billy Goat Weed,
and treated it with appropriate disdain.
These days I think it is called Vinca,
and provids cheerful colour with absolutely no effort.
Added bonus: it is Pretty in Pink!

Happy Christmas prep, ladies!