Sunday, August 4, 2019


Perhaps in preparation for our forthcoming long trip, we cardinals have been flitting here and there of late..

On a recent trip to the Granite Belt, south-west of Brisbane, we spent our first night in a grand B&B...

The Abbey of the Roses was a former convent school...
where my late mother was a boarder during her high school years, a very long time ago.  Our accommodation was in a room adjacent to the former large dormitory where 80 girls slept in narrow beds, guarded by the nun/nurse whose room was firmly outside their door, at the top of the stairs!

The dormitory is on the upper level, with all the windows along the side.

and this is the only photo I have of my mother in her school uniform, aged about 14.  She had never had a haircut.

The beautiful old convent building is heritage listed..
I saw the music room, where my mother had her piano lessons and examinations.

Sadly, the sweet Chapel has been deconsecrated, but is preserved.

Along with other guests, we had a delicious hot breakfast served in the former nuns' dining room.

We drove further south through the town of Stanthorpe, and on to the cool region of wineries and apple orchards.
It seemed wrong not to visit a place with a Red Bird logo...

Their lunch of rustic pumpkin soup and bread was just right..

Four vineyards and wineries later, we retreated to a motel for the night.

Next day, at the Jam Factory..
buying Apple Strudel jam, Boozy Plum and Shiraz jam, and a few other treats.

We made our way south to Wallangarra, a town lost in the mists of the past..
Back in the 1800s, Queensland and New South Wales each decided on different gauge railway networks.  I know, how silly and what poor planning.
Wallangarra is on the border of the two states, and became the connection point of the rail traffic between Brisbane and Sydney.
This old Station was a bustling place before road and air links replaced the era of railroad dominance.  Travellers stepped off their train on one side, could eat in the long dining room inside, and then go out the other side to connect to the different gauge train to continue the journey.

A museum of the town's history and a quiet cafe now occupy the building.

Kangaroos were jumping about on the lines when we visited.  Apart from the occasional steam train excursion, the line is rarely used now.

Last weekend we flew off to Sydney with Little Aussie..

At the Powerhouse Museum, to see their exhibition celebrating the anniversary of the Moon landings..

This Moon sculpture was beautiful...

An old Women's Weekly... Mr Cardinal still has an original Life Magazine from the day...

1969 fashion and decor..

lunar toys and child's space suit..

Aussie and his Dad inspect a rocket..

Aussie attempts to land Apollo 11 on a simulator..
(he was adopting a Darth Vader look that day)

A look at the landscape of Mars...

Moon buggy..

Meanwhile, over in Canada, our other two grandsons were attending similar exhibitions in Ottawa..

Canada boy No 2 is showing the same artistic talent as his older brother, producing his own take on the Moon landings...

Yes, another Moon sculpture..

The Red Cardinal garden of Neglect struggles on,
confused by the weather as are we all.

We had a burst of very cold days in June, a warmest average July ever recorded, about 2 deg higher most days.
Lots of heavy fog in the mornings.

Cold minimum today, 5 deg, but up to 25 in the afternoon.

The Iris seem happy enough..

But the pansies I have always grown through Winter are dying despite my ministrations..

And several ferns have developed strange white parasite infestation..

Poinsettias seem to think it is Christmas...

I think it is Global Warming.
What do you think?

Have a great week


Sunday, July 21, 2019


The Red Cardinal, about fifty years ago

Exactly fifty years ago, the world watched in wonder as a man from Earth walked on the Moon for the first time.
Like many of my vintage, I remember that day very well.
It was a bleak Winter's day in Brisbane, a working day, and there was a television at my office where we could watch progress.
At lunch time I walked to the shops down the street, and remember people watching televisions in the stores.

Of course, we have all seen the historic vision of Neil Armstrong as he stepped down that 'one small step for man', many times since.  But nothing equals that historic and awesome day.

We all imagined that by fifty years on, there might be people living there, or continued space voyages to further planets.  Perhaps we did not realise the fragility of that first and the few subsequent moon landings and the high possibility of tragedy.  Future trips to the moon, if they occur, will be vastly different.

This weekend we went to see 'Appollo 11' and enjoyed it immensely.  It really felt like re-living the day, but in brighter colour.  
And it was fun to see those 60s fashions again too...

A few weeks after the Moon Landing, I moved to a new office, in a different part of town.  In fact, I went to work in this building:

Margaret Olley [1923-2011] The Treasury Building (Brisbane) 1947
Mr Cardinal and I like to pretend we are the couple in the foreground.
Because this is where we met, working in a Government office, and a few years later we were married.  
Sadly, we think, the beautiful old Treasury Building has become a casino..

This picture is part of a current exhibition at GoMA, Brisbane:
 Margaret Olley: A Generous Life...

Catch it if you can.  It is very popular, with happy crowds every day.

Margaret Olley was a popular Queensland artist and personality, decreed a National Treasure before she passed away in 2011..

Here are a few of my personal favourites:

Margaret Olley 'Marigolds and Limes' c 1975
Margaret Olley Lemons and Oranges, 1964

Margaret Olley 'Cliveas' 1984 and 'Chianti Bottle and Pomegranates 1994-95

Margaret Olley 'Yellow Room' - her home in Paddington, Sydney.
Margaret Olley was not only a prolific painter, she was a popular muse with her fellow artists.  Her portrait was painted by many very well-known Australian artists, and twice she was the subject of the winning Archibald Prize, Australia's foremost prize for portraiture of well-known identities:

In 1948, as a young woman, she was painted by William Dobell:

William Dobell: 'Margaret Olley 1948'
This winning portrait caused a sensation in post-war Australia.
Olley wears a dress she made from parachute silk and a pair of sleeves from a wedding gown.  She covered her straw hat with everlasting daisies she had picked herself.

Ben Quilty 'Margaret Olley 2011' and the Red Cardinal
In the final year of her life, Olley was painted by young Australian artist Ben Quilty, who she had mentored and encouraged in his development as an artist.
She was 88 years old, and enjoyed the fuss and accolades of the Archibald Prize win.  Quilty says that when he finished the painting, he took a photo of it to show the now frail Olley at her home.  She took a look and said 'That's the old girl'!  
And that is this old girl... 

In a few short weeks we are off on our next adventure:  a trip to the south of France, via London, and on to Canada to see our daughter and her family.

Hello Canada Duck!

Be good

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Time flies by, and before I know it May is nearly over, and Winter begins on the 1st June...

On Mother's Day, all our children were in other cities or overseas...

We decided to visit The Mountain, where we took my father for so many excursions in his final years.

The Palm Grove is still lovely in the dappled sunlight:

and guess what I saw, climbing a tree as we entered the park:

Yes, a good old scrub python, about three metres long, sliding its way up into the tree canopy...

As a more genteel adventure, we moved along to my favourite plant nursery.
Loved the swans, but resisted purchase (they were awfully expensive)..

Our Peace rose has been prettily performing..

and Australia had a Federal Election.
Living on the edge of the city, we go to vote at a small country school nearby..
Not queues or crowds, and always the traditional fund-raising Sausage Sizzle, which has now become known colloquially as the Democracy Sausage.

It seemed wrong not to indulge...

In other news, I have spent a lot of time at the hardware store buying knobs and fittings, and Mr Handyman has been here for a 10 hour marathon of restoring, mending, replacing, and generally refreshing the Cardinal Nest.
It feels so satisfying to smarten things up again...

With the cooler weather, I am growing violas and pansies like the flower tragic I remain..

Winter heralds the season of the Country Shows, and we took Little Aussie to our local event..  

He loved it, and went on three turbulent show rides in succession -
before lunch!

Horseshoe sculpture, and the Show Bag stand
After much consideration, a Show Bag was bought for the lad to take home..

On to inspect the work of local artists:

Lorikeet Art!!

The gardening competitions..

and the Cooking:

Watching the Axe-men..

and the riding..

Loved the well-dressed judges in the Ring...

Meanwhile, over in Canada, our grandsons have been visiting the Tulip Festival:

Boy draws tulip..

and the National Gallery of Canada, being watched by Maman, 1999(Louise Bourgeois).  I like to visit the giant spider every time we go to Ottawa..

This is me on our last visit in December, 2017.  It was sooooo cold, about -23C.

We are looking forward to another visit later this year....

and hope to see some excellent Autumnal action:

Gatineau National Park, 2011 (Red Cardinal)

And as the first snows fall in the Australian Southern states, the Snow Bush has burst into bloom in the Red Cardinal garden:

Be good and take care