Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Edgar Degas "Blue Dancers" c. 1890
 The Australian Ballet is back in town - goody!!

I went to see the double-bill "Imperial Suite" program...

Two ballets I've not previously seen -
gorgeous classical dance, not narrative stories, just achingly beautiful poetic motion....

Ballet Imperial (1951) choreography by George Balanchine, a tribute to the spirit of Russian ballet, an homage to Petipa and Tchaikovsky - the music was the Concerto No 2 in G for Piano and Orchestra Op. 44.

Our much-loved Qld Symphony Orchestra was in the pit,
and the dancers wore a symphony of deep blues and purples - the Imperial blue and white of the Winter Palace.

Serge Lifar's 'showpiece' ballet, Suite en Blanc (1943) -
created for the Paris Opera Ballet, a dazzling and difficult display, a rare gem of the Australian Ballet's repertoire.
I loved it to bits...

From the magical opening - white on a black background, dozens of dancers artfully arrayed -

to the exciting and spectacular ending...

In the cool of the morning, I looked out to see this pesky, garden-destroying pest, perched high on our neighbours' roof:

Behold the Australian brush turkey, the enemy of all Brisbane gardens and gardeners...

They can barely, fly, so why did he make the effort to go up there?

AAAHHHHH - that would explain it!!

After a while, Mr Turkey managed to flutter across the adjoining fence and into our gum tree, where he perched, and sulked, while I took photos..

Eventually he managed to climb down, and go about his business.
Which would be scratching around in the mulch looking for food, tossing said mulch all about the lawns and paths, making a mound for hatching eggs, and creating havoc, and making his turkey gobble noise.

Begone, turkey pest - go back to the bush!

This is my 299th post - 
Coming up, to celebrate 300 posts, and 3 years of blogging, I am having a Red Cardinal giveaway.

Stay tuned...


Sunday, February 23, 2014


I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

From 'My Country', Dorothea Mackellar, (1885-1968)

I thought of this poem, written by Australian poet Mackellar at the age of 22 while travelling in the United Kingdom, when we were out driving with my father recently.  This summer has seen little rain, and many heatwaves, which show no sign of abating at the moment.  
Consequently, much of the countryside out from Brisbane is looking very hungry.

Australia is an island continent of 7,692,024, with 23,000,000 people, most of whom live on or near the fertile South-East, and South-West, marked in red in the map, which shows people per In fact 89% of the population live in urban areas.
You can see that the greater part of the continent is pale yellow, with less than 0.1 population per sq. km. 

Even close to the coast, as we are, times can become very difficult in the farming lands.

Australian artists have sought to capture the spirit of the 'sunburnt country', Australia...

The first painting we bought for our first home was a print of "The Cricketers",1948, by Sir Russell Drysdale [1912-1981], described by the National Gallery of Australia as 'one of the most original and haunting images in all Australian art'. 

'Road with Rocks', Sir Russell Drysdale

Drysdale paints the ochre coloured inland, desolate landscapes inhabited by sparse figures under ominous skies.

"Western landscape", 1945, Sir Russell Drysdale
In 1944 The Sydney Morning Herald assigned Drysdale to go into far western New South Wales to 'illustrate the effects of the then devastating drought'.  His reputation was assured by a series based on the derelict gold-mining town of Hill End.

'Red Landscape', Sir Russell Drysdale

As we drove back towards his town, we thought my 93-year-old Dad was asleep.
We stopped for me to take a series of tree shots, when a voice suddenly emerged from the back seat:
''Make sure you get that bird under the big tree"...

Sure enough, half hidden in the weeds, there was a white crane, which flew off when it realised it was under surveillance..

Sometimes my Dad is as sharp as ever..

Have a lovely week


Monday, February 17, 2014


Hello!  Well, it is well-known that I love the Symphony Orchestra, 
and so the 2014 Concert Season opener was definitely on the agenda.

 I frocked up in my LBD, sparkly things, and new navy shoes...

The Concert Hall was packed, everybody was excited, old friends were greeted, champagne passed round...

Australia's own internationally famous Simone Young, flitting back from her permanent positions in Hamburg, conducted with triumphal flair ..

The wonderful Russian Violinist Shlomo Mintz, performed one of my all-favourites:
Beethoven's Violin Concerto..
Couldn't find that on Youtube, but here is Shlomo playing Paganini..

He is simply sensational!

The evening ended with a flourish, Mahler's Symphony No 1, the Titan - here's a little clip from YouTube:

I have been well-spoiled this Valentine's - dinner, the concert, and a dozen long-stemmed red roses.  Well done, Mr Cardinal...

Meantime, over in snow-bound Canada, our Dear Daughter, cake maker extraordinaire, produced this valentine cake, with help from her little boys.  Meringue hearts round the sides, whipped cream, sprinkles and sponge cake.
Something for everyone there...

In other celebratory occasions, the Obamas greeted the French President, M. Hollande for a formal dinner.
Here is Michelle in what I think is a brave choice ...

I like the colour, but all that fabric is a bit, um, voluminous?

Well, it turns out there are two skirts going on here...

Remind you of anyone?

Stay dry, warm, or cool, depending...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014


In our own simple way, we celebrate Valentine's Day 
here in the Red Cardinal Nest...

Back in the days of long ago, we were a classic office romance -
knew each other slightly, from a distance, then Valentine's Day came around.

Young Mr C surprised and charmed me with the sweetest little heart-shaped Valentine card...expressing his interest and hopes....

It worked!!!

I like to decorate the house a little romantically...

Yes, the day is over-commercialised, and yes, the shops sell a heap of trashy products in very poor taste...

but you don't have to buy into that side of it.

This heart dish belonged to my mother, and I have had the earrings for many years...

I make us some sweet treats:  raspberry coconut squares..

and always a sponge cake in my Very Old heart tins.

The uncomfortable hot weather continues, and I made this cool top from white linen and floral left-over fabric.  From my latest bundle of new patterns, it is Vogue V8798.  I'll wear it when we go our for a little Romantic Dinner..

Friday morning I'll amuse myself wearing this el cheapo top from K Mart to choir rehearsal.

And one more thing, Malouf Pharmacies are giving away free samples of my first ever French Perfume, the delicious Joy by Patou...
shown here with my ruby heart earrings a gift from wonderful Mr C on our 40th wedding anniversary.

Happy Valentine's Day, readers one and all...


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


A little bit of rain, and a little less heat, and the Garden of Neglect begins to shine once more...

Little Aussie has been to visit for a few days,
which gladdens the hearts of we old grandfolks..

His swimming is coming on a treat..

Then there is the cooking:

Rustic they may be, but these are his chocolate dinosaurs:

eaten while watching these guys:

We went to see the animals:
Cai Guo-Qiang's Heritage at the GoMA

Aussie was impressed; he loves animals.

I bought him a little giraffe at the Gallery shop, and when we came home this is what we played:

I've been off to the sewing group at lovely R's place -

Pom poms were the order of the day:

'cept I didn't know, so I wore my latest sew, DKNY Vogue V1250 :

I loved this jersey fabric, but am a bit underwhelmed by the finished dress.
On the plus side however, it is cool and easy to wear when the heat is soaring up into the mid- 30s C..

Fifty years ago this week Beatlemania hit the USA, and the world.
Seems just like last week.
I had a crush on Paul.
Who did you love?

The Red Cardinal clicked past 40,000 pageviews the other day.
This milestone was sullied by a weekend attack from the Sinister Creeps of Spam, who bombarded me every few minutes with idiotic madness on old posts.
So I've had to turn on the Word Verification.  Sorry folks, I'll leave it a week or so then check how things are going.

Also approaching will be my 300th post.

I am planning another giveaway - stay tuned!