Monday, February 23, 2015


This sculpture of a whale, held by a human hand, is on display at our local garden centre.
Made of stainless steel links, it glitters in the sunshine, drawing our attention to the fact that human intervention is needed to save the whales from extinction.

The sculpture was the winner of the 2014 Swell Sculpture Festival Environmental Awareness Award.

The Garden Centre is a perfect place to display such a piece.

I've been watching the Oscars.  Three cheers for our four Australian actresses:

Nicole Kidman, in a column of sequins..
very nice..

Kate Blanchett, always regal.  
Love her blue necklace..

Naomi Watts, always finds something unusual and stunning.

Margot Robbie, the new girl on the block, in elegant black.

It is well known I love pink, so here is my line-up of 'best in pink':

Loved Keira's maternity gown
(even if it is a bit Angelina bridal veil - ish)

and after all, if Anna Wintour wears pink, then it must be OK!

PS, I rather like that red roses on black and white look, too.

Have you ever made a mug cake?
Sometimes, like yesterday, I make us a Chocolate Mug Cake for Two:

4 tbsp flour, 5 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 egg, 3 tbsp milk, 3 tbsp melted butter (or oil), 3 tbsp chocolate chips, 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Mix it up in a bowl: I just whisk it with a fork.
If you are using choc chips, sprinkle a few more on the top.
When out of chocolate, I use muesli instead.
Divide between two sturdy and fairly large coffee mugs.
Microwave on medium-high for 1 minute, then for another 30 seconds, more or less according to your oven.
It is perfectly cooked when moist and gooey in the middle.

This is a dangerous recipe to know...
you are now only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time.
However, we find it a better idea than making a whole cake for two, which leads to other temptations..

Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post.
Brisbane was spared the impact of high cyclonic winds, and thanks to the flood mitigation work of the past few years, we are fine.
Spare a thought for the many towns further up the Queensland coast who are without power, water, fuel or essential supplies.  Many have lost their homes.
The army is going in to help clean up, and clear the roads to restore communication with the outside world.

This is the local creek where I walk, 
with much of the footpath under water. 
All is now calm, and the water has receded.

Have a lovely week.


Thursday, February 19, 2015


It will be a day of drama here in Queensland today.
A few minutes ago,  Category 5 Cyclone Marcia crossed the coast around Yeppoon and Rockhampton, on the Tropic of Capricorn, 500 km north of Brisbane.

Fingers crossed, and thoughts and prayers for the people of this area, many of whom have already been evacuated from their homes and are in the Cyclone Shelters.

Picture: NASA

Meantime, Cyclone Lam is bearing down on the Northern Territory, leaving the tip of Queensland in a 'Cyclone Sandwich' with one on either side!

 On the edge of the rain action, here in Brisbane it has rained steadily for 24 hours, and local flooding is expected today.

It was windy yesterday but is strangely calm this morning..

Cockatoo sheltering in our gum tree..

It is a strange, eerie time..
I find it difficult to settle, and have the TV on for constant updates.

Michael Sailstorfer [Germany, b.1979] Wolken (Clouds), 2010
Currently on display at QAG, Wolken consists of a multitude of black rubber inner tubes from truck tyres, knotted together and suspended to evoke darkly menacing clouds.  
Visitors are engulfed by this ominous force of nature, created from synthetic materials.  
Michael Sailstorfer draws on the legacies of Fluxus, Land Art, and the Readymade, combining man-made materials and natural forms.
It seems an appropriate work to show you today.

We are told to stay off the roads, and my Choir Rehearsal has been cancelled.
Just as well..

Meantime, in other distractions, did you see these rubies?

Garlands of diamonds and pear-shaped rubies, with matching long earrings, and a bracelet, though to possibly be a gift from Saudi Arabia,
Camilla wore this to a Royal Film Performance of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
After ten years of marriage to the Prince of Wales, Camilla looks chic and comfortable with the trappings of Monarchy...

Everybody out there:
Keep Dry, Don't drive, and Stay Safe.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Our Canadian grandson made this card for his parents -
I just had to share it...
Papa and Mama, I love you

Our Annual Valentine heart sponge cake: 
this year we were very careful and put half of it in the freezer.
I know, getting cautious in our old age.

Tulips on our last visit to Canada, May 2013.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that last Sunday Ottawa was the coldest national capital on the planet!  Overnight it was -25 C, with wind chill factor making it -38.
My daughter reports that Friday was -27 C in her area, wind chill -40.
On her way to work her car tyre blew out, plus 2 others went flat.
The car was towed, she organised a rental, and still made it to class for period 2.  She is very intrepid, my girl.

Fingers crossed the flowers of Spring will arrive before we make our visit this year.

I bought a new iron - it is endless excitement around here..
The box says, to my amusement:
'Designed to help serious ironers achieve superior results, fast'

This would be because it has the same attributes as my first iron, acquired when I was about 16 - a decent bit of weight, a stainless steel soleplate, and it steams.  I like to whip through ironing Mr C's shirts, perfectly, in about 90 seconds each, so no modern namby pamby lightweight teflon for moi...

Do you like ironing?  I actually prefer it to most other housework.  

That quirky, flamboyant fashion designer Zandra Rhodes was made a Dame the other day.  She made gorgeous frocks for Princess Diana, and the Princess Royal, back in the day.

When we voted for our State Parliament recently, I gave hardly any thought to those who, in the past, have been denied this democratic right.
The indigenous people of Australia only achieved full voting rights in State and Federal elections in the 1960s, and our state, Queensland, was one of the last to remove any restrictions on Aboriginal voting rights.

Perhaps our nation was influenced by the Civil Rights movement in the United States, when discrimination was still practiced long after the 1964 legal desegregation in the South.  It was very difficult for blacks to register to vote, and they were thwarted at every turn.

This is the topic of Selma, the Oscar nominated movie about Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) and his followers, and their march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama in 1965 to fight for voting rights. 
As a consequence of their efforts, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the movie ends with actual film footage of the demonstrators on their heroic walk.  So moving, and a reminder to be thankful for our freedoms. 

And what are we eating tonight?
Some very rustic pancakes I threw together while I have been writing this post..

Happy Shrove Tuesday, dear readers.


Friday, February 13, 2015


I visited the Brisbane Flower Markets this week.
Look at the sea of red roses, destined for Valentine's Day.

I don't know why, but I have never been to the flower market before, despite always knowing it was there.
It was freezing cold in the refrigerated rooms!

Here are some flowers for you, my readers, on
St Valentine's Day, 2015..

I brought home some pale pink, champagne coloured roses for the dining room:

and placed some potted pink blooms on the coffee table:

On a whim, I decided to continue the theme and make a little patchwork heart pillow...

Just for fun..

We took my Dad for a drive to the mountains last week.
He has become so frail lately, but enjoyed seeing the view from the car.
Not so long ago, he would have jumped out for a better look...

However, there is no lack of enthusiasm for going out into the country -
 he loves it.

I have some exciting news:
I've been to the travel agent, and we have chosen our flights for our next trip to Canada, later this year.

It will be wonderful to see the beautiful spring flowers,
and perhaps see the elusive red cardinal?

But, best of all, we will see our dear daughter, and these two little grandsons..
who are growing like weeds...

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day, 
with love from the Red Cardinal