Sunday, September 29, 2013


It being a lovely clear Spring day, today I packed a healthy picnic...

collected my Dad, the eager almost 93-year-old, and we headed off into the bush.

The picnic area is beside the headwaters of a river, with picturesque stony rapids, and deeper pools where lots of children were swimming - it was quite a warm day...

We love these very tall gum trees, and you can see some of the many people who were camping here by the river...

We set up our picnic under this wild fruit tree, which none of us could recognise.  Anyone?

Lots of red bottle-brush trees attracted many varieties of birds,
and Dad enjoyed identifying them for us.
He might have a bit of dementia, but many of his faculties are very good.
He described to us how this area would have been covered with thick undergrowth in centuries past, which encouraged the very tall trees to seek the light above the scrub.

We drove through a district named Kerry by the early Irish settlers..
Here is the local church, and look at this closeup of the gate in the foundations:

yes, a wee Irish shamrock!

This sadly unloved building used to be the local Irish Pub, and would have looked very pretty and welcoming in its hey day..

An old dance hall - it made me remember a tune from my childhood:
the bittersweet Irish song: The Kerry Dance.
Long-term readers of the blog might know I like to sing in choirs -
my very first on-stage experience of this was when I was about eight,
singing in a large school choir.
I found a version on YouTube, sung by Grand Ledge High School Madrigals.
A rather more sophisticated arrangement than the one I originally learnt, but it is the type of choral music I enjoy singing today:

The little farming communities have tended to be swallowed up by 'progress' - better transport and communication mean less local life, small holdings have been bought up and amalgamated into much larger farming establishments, the dairy industry has mechanised and there is no living for a farmer with a small herd, as in days gone by...
I wonder if those who remain are haunted by the ghosts of times past - and The Kerry Dance?

Have a great week, to be sure..


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I always liked the beauty and style of Grace Kelly,
lovely actress, and perfect Princess of Monaco...

so I have been looking forward to the movie "Grace of Monaco"
starring Australia's own Nicole Kidman..

Well I will have to wait a little longer, because I hear today that the premiere has been delayed until 2014.

I loved Grace's ladylike fashions...

and similarly, the style of Jackie Kennedy ...

always elegant, very clean lines ..

I liked Audrey Hepburn, too:

I suppose it is no surprise that I now like the similar style of Duchess Kate ...

I'm sewing again - this froth of pink linen and silk..
Over the past year I have lost 16kg, about 35 pounds -
summer temperatures are soaring, and I am going around looking like a clown in baggy clothes...
As fast as I take something in, I have to take it in again -
I don't mind if it is something I love, but lots of things are being tossed away.

And now I can create a new wardrobe ..

The forecast for today is record-breaking (for September) temps in the high 30s.

Keep Kool!


Sunday, September 22, 2013


As Summer makes a break for it, attempting to overthrow Spring in all her prettiness,
I have been enjoying "Summer in February".
 Having heard of it in a recent post on Rosemary's blog, Where Five Valleys Meet I found it at our local library...

Set among the Edwardian era artistic community the Newlyn School in Cornwall, it is the tragic but true love story of a beautiful young artist, Florence, who had the misfortune to marry the wrong man, and another man who truly loved her. 

A film version of 'Summer in February' has been released in England, and I hope it arrives at a theatre near me some time soon....

Fletcher, Blandford, 'Evicted' 1887
The very first painting acquired by the new Qld Art Gallery in 1896, and to this day one of its most popular works: 'Evicted' by Blandford Fletcher, an artist who was also associated with the Newlyn School.
Fletcher travelled regularly to France where he came in contact with the painter Jules Bastien-Lepage, whose romanticised rural scenes had a strong influence on Fletcher.  He adapted this style to a British context.

Considered a fine example of Victorian social realism, 'Evicted' depicts a widow and her young daughter being forced from their home.
The painting has sentimental appeal, and relies on an emotional response in the viewer.  It is an overcast Autumn day, as shown  in the scattered brown leaves, and dull colours.  This heightens the sense of loss and sadness.  The sympathetic townsfolk look on but do not intervene.  Central to the painting is the child, whose innocent but injured eyes stare straight out to the viewer.  Behind her is a broken toy, which adds to the pathos.  By their door stands the bailiff in his top-hat, having done his duty and achieved the required result.
One of the consequences of the Industrial Revolution was the increase in poverty and hardship faced by families, and Fletcher and other Victorian artists attempted to represent and bring attention to the plight of the social underclasses.

The painting is quite large, 123 cm x 185 cm, and the figures almost life-size.
This adds to the realism, and involvement of the viewer.

'Evicted' was exhibited at the Royal Academy, where it was much admired by British Prime Minister Gladstone.
It is nearly always on display at QAG, Brisbane, and when it is taken down for any length of time,  enquiries are made as to its whereabouts.

And speaking of the gallery, the exhibition of Quilts from the V&A finished today, after a hugely successful run.  I have never seen so many women of a certain age in the gallery all at once, and all having the best time.

I have been studying toy catalogues:

because a certain Little Bebe is turning one pretty soon...

And who's a clever little boy???

Grandparenthood is wonderful...

Have a great week, wherever you are.


Monday, September 16, 2013


So, what is this, falling on the leaves?

And glistening on petals?

Yes, it is raining!  After three very dry months....

Our grass has become brown and crunchy underfoot..

Should be green..

Yesterday these two palm fronds crashed - and they are not dead.
This is not normal behaviour; I think the dry spell might be the cause.

Star jasmine is still popping up all over, whatever the weather..

And we went to see the new release, Blue Jasmine, with our own Cate Blanchett starring in Woody Allen's latest movie.
We loved it, 11/10!
Cate is a brilliant actress, and we enjoy Woody's quirky scripts and characters.

In other riveting news, my recently purchased Indigenous painting has been stretched and framed..

I kept it simple, as I don't think these works benefit from traditional European frames.. and this is how they are presented at the state galleries.

I made a shirt from this bright, ethnic type print cotton, 
which I found on our recent trip to Emerald.
Light and bright, very Australian colours, just in time for summer.

Lovely weather for ducks!

Have a great week


Friday, September 13, 2013


Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, 1935-2013:  'Travellers no. 3', 2001

This elegant porcelain still-life arrangement, currently on display at Qld. Art Gallery, celebrates the life of distinguished Australian ceramic artist, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, who recently passed away aged 78.
Hanssen Pigott was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1935 and created a new language for ceramics through her famous still-life groupings of pots, bowls, bottles, jugs and cups carefully displayed in precise arrangements.
They became sculptural artworks. 
Early training in Australia was followed by establishment of a studio in London, then later in the Loire valley during the 1960s.
Later she returned to Australia and worked in Tasmania, then Adelaide and Brisbane.  Constantly experimenting with wood firing, her pieces were refined, quiet and delicately beautiful.  She continued to exhibit in London until the end of her life.
I never met her, but I do know one lucky person who did, and who owns a collection of these beautiful pieces.

And from the sublime to the dreadfully mundane, summer has hit this week with soaring temperatures, well into the 30s.
However, we had a cold snap about 10 days ago, and in a cold corner of our back garden a few days before the heat came I found this:

One lonely daffodil....
I plant bulbs, despite the climate being tropical and completely unsuitable, just to have the fun of occasionally getting this result.

My friend V last week presented me with this great bunch of cuttings, all eminently suitable for the sub-tropical garden.  We are cleaning out some old beds, and creating a leafy understory beneath a few large trees.
Some I planted straight into the soil without trying to strike them in water...
Fingers crossed...Thank you V!

I have planted orange cliveas and orange day lilies - my love of orange is well-known.  So of course, I love this dress Michelle wore the other day.

.. and of course, who wouldn't want to look like this on their first post-baby appearance.  I have never worn a dress which sparkles all over...
but I suspect I'd love it! 

In other news, the Red Cardinal blog welcomes its 40th Follower:
Khammany @ Sweet Inspired Home.  
Pop on over and have a look at her pretty blog.

Remember our new grandson, the Little Bebe we travelled to Canada to meet last May?
Well, look at him now:

Not yet 10 months old, but standing ..
sometimes without holding on!!

Today I went to rehearsal at my Choir for Ladies of a Certain Age,
and (Hurrah) we sang my favourite lullaby, which makes me think of the little man:  "Mille Cherubini in Coro".

Here's Andrea Bocelli singing it, with chorus, on YouTube:

Enjoy, and have a great weekend, dear readers.