Thursday, April 25, 2019



Today is ANZAC Day, when we remember the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, established in World War I.
My grandfather like so many Australians, served on the front line in Flanders, and two great-uncles of Mr Cardinal lost their lives there, young men far from their homes in Queensland.

I made some Anzac biscuits, as is my tradition...
Containing oats, butter, golden syrup, coconut and flour, this recipe was developed around the time of WW1.  The biscuits were sent to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily, and the they lasted well on long sea voyages.
The recipe contains no eggs, apparently due to a shortage of eggs (many farmers joined the war effort) as well as the fact that eggs would shorten the life of the sweet and healthy treat.

This is my recipe:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut
4 oz. butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut.  Melt butter and syrup in saucepan until combined.  Mix bicarb with boiling water and add to butter/syrup.  This will froth up very quickly so use a medium size saucepan.
Immediately while frothing add to dry ingredients and mix together.
Place teaspoons of mixture on greased tray or on baking paper, allowing space for the biscuits to spread.  I cook at 160C for 15 minutes, but I have a hot oven.  Yours might take longer, or need a slightly higher heat.
Cook until golden brown but not burnt!
They are quite soft when cooked, but harden a little as they cool.

Did you make Anzac biscuits today?
Tell me your preferred recipe/method..

We stayed home this was Family time.
My younger sister had a birthday and we gathered a few of the clan for a celebration at the Red Cardinal nest...

When your birthday falls at Easter, you get an Easter Birthday cake from your big sister...

as well as Hot Cross Buns...

Easter Sunday saw us singing and celebrating in church, followed by brunch with our younger son and his wife.

They really know how to set out a beautiful spread...
So healthy, we felt no guilt re our chocolate Easter eggs...

Her Majesty stepped out wearing her Australian Wattle Brooch - to my delight, and it loos perfect with yellow.
Long-time readers might remember I acquired a replica of this brooch when we toured Buckingham Palace in 2016.

I rarely get a chance to wear it, but I do love having it...

Reminds me of when I was a little girl who was captivated by the arrival of the young Queen to our shores, and by the idea of the wattle brooch presented by the Australian people.

And Happy 93rd birthday to Her Majesty this week.

She was a little fashion plate even 90 years ago, aged about three!

It was also lovely to see Catherine of Cambridge on Easter Sunday in this lovely chic hat and coat first worn at Easter in Australia a few years ago.

In other family news, Little Aussie now has pet chickens..
I think his smile says it all....

A bit from left field, but a great Easter present..

The owl is working very well, and the cockatoos have not been near the herb garden which is now flourishing ...
Sadly, it has also frightened off the lorikeets whose feeder is about 4-5 metres away.
They have not been here for days.

I need to move the herbs and owl a bit further off, and perhaps find extra rations of lorikeet treats...

Have a great week


Thursday, April 18, 2019


Musee de Cluny, Paris
To all the Readers of the Red Cardinal blog, wishing you a happy and holy Easter, 2019.

Love to all, and thank you for your comments and support over the years.  My blog is now in its eighth year.
 I have valued your friendship, and loved and enjoyed meeting some of you on our overseas trips.

Opportunities for another blog meeting or two may come later in 2019.

Let the adventure continue...


Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Hello Dear Readers..

Recently I had the most enjoyable experience of singing with my Ladies Choir in a local Cathedral:

I am behind the camera in this shot in the opposite choir stalls

The choir stalls are exquisitely carved, and I felt very privileged to sing in such a space, and feel our voices soaring up into those gorgeous Gothic arches.. 

We have visited many cathedrals around the world, and all of them have a special aura, a place away from the outside world, a place of mysticism and quiet contemplation, conjured up by great architects over the centuries.

No doubt like many of you, I have been looking at my own pictures of the very special Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, devastated by fire this week.

So sad to see the lovely statues hoisted by crane from the smoking ruin, and thankfully conveyed down the road to the Louvre for safekeeping and restoration..

Each time we have visited Paris, we have attended Mass here...

We are told the magnificent rose window and the organ have been saved, thankfully...

Google picture
I feel so shocked, and sad for the people of Paris, as they watch this very special historic cathedral devastated by fire.  
Restoration will take time, but one day it will rise again.

We are enjoying the cooler Autumn mornings, and mild days.
The garden is responding, and flowers beginning to bloom.

The Red Cardinal nest has had the exterior professionally cleaned:
windows, screens, paths, and all external woodwork and walls.

After five hours watching the team, I felt great..

I hope the house felt similarly freshened for Easter...


Monday, April 1, 2019


Hello there

At last!  We have some cooler, Autumnal weather...
The temps have been down to 13c in the morning, and stay under 30c maximum. 

I can't begin to describe how much joy this brings to my mind and soul, after the Hottest Summer Ever Known, in South East Queensland...

The garden is rejoicing, and in a few days I have managed to coax some flowers into bloom...

Two or three days of rain and storms is enough to bring the green to the land and grass to our brown and beaten lawns..

I have the herb pot in business again, and have bought this little owl to guard things...

from these cheeky chaps.  Just look what they did:

They are not interested in food, just playtime and destruction..

The lorikeets, of course, are the Good Guys, and never attack the plants..

Our spirits revived by the turn in the weather, we Cardinals flew off to The Theatre..

This is the Greek inspired set for a new play, Hydra, by Sue Smith...

It is the story of two of my literary heros, Australian writers George Johnston and Charmian Clift, who left post-war Australia for London, and then the islands of the Aegean where they bought a house and established something of an artistic, bohemian colony.  

George Johnston is well-known to generations of Australian students as the author of the semi-autobiographical My Brother Jack, often described as the Great Australian Novel.

This book was co-written with Clift, during the years on Hydra.
Here are the real-life Johnston and Clift banging away on their typewriters while sampling the local produce..

I always loved Charmian Clift's writing, particularly a newspaper column she wrote after their return to Australian in the 1960s.

Over the past two weeks I re-read her books Mermaid Singing and Peel me a Lotus, in preparation for seeing the play.

Clift shopping on Hydra with son Martin
I was so thrilled when it opened with her words, beautiful evocative descriptions of the sea and the elements in their Hydra paradise.

Anna McGahan as Clift brought her back to life beautifully.

In other news, Happy Milestone Birthday to my cousin J.
This cake, made by her daughter, was as delicious as it is beautiful.

What a lovely afternoon we had.

Her garden is fantastic, full of beautiful orchids and ferns..

Have a beautiful week


Meantwhile, over in Canada, the Easter Bunny was seen checking on our grandsons...