Monday, January 27, 2020


Yesterday was Australia Day.
We celebrate our beautiful country, and give thanks for recent rains in our little corner of Queensland.

While bush fires still burn in the South, we have been fortunate -
storms and showers have come over the past few weeks, and our grass has returned from brown to green.

I have never felt so relieved to see the roadsides flushed with bright green, something not seen for about a year...

The Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect is beginning to re-emerge, as is the view down to the Valley...

A few blooms on the hedge..

Every Australia Day, we have a communal barbeque in our cul-de-sac..
Mr Cardinal tends to the cooking..
That is the Red Cardinal nest in the background.
It is a great night, and a chance to catch up with all the news of the neighbourhood..

I bought this beautiful plate designed by artist Marini Ferlazzo.  A share of the profits goes to support animals affected by the Australian bushfires.  There are wonderful stories emerging of animals helping one another to escape the awful fires.  I think this design says it all, as the Koala enfolds all the other Native Australian birds and animals.

Clara Inkamala, Arrernte people, Australia [1954-]  Emu and chicks 2002. QAGoMA
This painting is currently on display in the Qld Art Gallery.  It shows the native Emu and chicks in the beautiful country around Hermannsburg in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Happy Australia Day!


Thursday, January 16, 2020


Our Peace rose is blooming again...

During the extreme heat, we have been giving extra buckets of grey water to the roses, augmenting the light hosing they receive a few time a week.

It has paid off, and the roses are making a big effort...

Claude Monet, France 1840-1926: Nympheas [Waterlilies] c.1914-17. National Gallery of Australia

A beautiful Monet has come to visit us in Brisbane.
Impressionist painter Claude Monet is one of the most popular painters who ever lived.  Many of you will have travelled to the village of Giverny, north of Paris, where he painted his exquisite, atmospheric and immersive waterlily paintings between 1897 and 1926.  The garden with its distinctive Japanese bridge can be visited to this day.
On loan from the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Nympheas belongs to the later period of his work.  
In the foreground, edging the pond, we see the intense blue, green and yellow of a bed of irises above a grassy verge.  
Beyond that is a wonderful, misty mauve mass of waterlilies, floating in the pond and seemingly in the atmosphere.
The painting is large, 201 cm wide and 181 cm high.
It remained with Monet until his death in 1926, then with his son Michel until 1960 after which it was sold to New York, and then to the Australian National Gallery in 1979.
It will be on exhibition at the Qld Art Gallery for several months.
Don't miss it!

A series of very different, but equally beautiful, waterlilies can also be found in the Gallery.  They are part of an exhibition entitled 'Dyinala, Nganinya', unique sculptural pieces by Indigenous Queensland artist, Shirley Macnamara.

Shirley Macnamara 'Nhugu - Waterlilies' 2019.

Macnamara lives and works on her cattle property in North West Queensland, and uses only materials from her own environment that retain the essence of the bush.  In this case, she uses Spinifex, a native grass, ubiquitous around her home, a tough and resiliant plant which tolerates the hot, dry weather conditions.
She selects fine strands to use, stripping off their dull outer casing to reveal the glowing yellow, gold and red inner colours.  Wearing gloves to protect her hands from the tough fibres, she intertwines, tucks and stitches, and glues the grass into position to create forms.
When Macnamara was born in 1949, she received her customary Dreaming identity.  She was 'signed' for Kudaanh.nyirri, the keeper of waterhole lilies.  She was placed as a custodian of the upper Georgina River lakes and waterholes, in the Mt Isa region of Queensland.

Shirley Macnamara 'Spinifex vessel, coolamon; 1998

Shirley Macnamara 'Guutu (vessel)' 2001: Spinifex, emu feathers.

While we are talking about the Australian bush, here is some recent action in our Red Cardinal personal gum tree last week.
We were woken early by a cacophony of birdsound - lots of birds, shrieking, calling and generally awakening the whole neighbourhood.
After several hours of this nonsense, I started looking carefully (from the safety of our deck) up and down our various trees and plants, and then I spotted it:
That big dark lump is a bush python, rolled up sleeping after a heavy meal.
Can you see the cockatoo on the top left of the picture?
Two of them were trying to scare off the snake by snapping off bits of branches and attempting to throw them at it.
It did not work, they simply littered the ground below.
But isn't nature wonderful?  They made a valiant effort to fight the 'enemy'.
The enemy however ignored the noise, which went on and off all day as new arrivals flew in to shriek their horror.

Mr Cardinal snapped this picture with a Very Strong telescopic camera.
These snakes are nocturnal, and during the night it quietly slipped away.

At least, we think it has gone.....

Thank heavens for good strong security screens.

Have a good week.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Christmas and Epiphany have been and gone, and all the decorations have been packed into their boxes and banished back to the cupboard under the stairs...

One of the pleasures of a quiet January is to do lots of reading.
I enjoyed this book very much:

Do you remember the rescue of the 12 Thai soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand?

Experienced cave divers, Australians Dr Richard Harris, an anaesthetist and Dr Craig Challen, a retired vet, agreed to anaesthetise the boys to enable them to be swum out by British divers, one by one.  Miraculously, all survived.
The two doctors were declared Australians of the Year for 2019.

Somewhere in our basement store-room, I still have my old copy of Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  This was a firm favourite throughout my childhood.

Today I saw the latest (seventh)  film version starring Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watkins among a star-studded cast.
I loved it!

Apparently it divides the masses, and might not appeal to those who have never loved the books.  But I hope it wins lots of awards...

Yes, Awards season has arrived.  We will take a look at the Golden Globes Red Carpet, beginning with Laura Dern, because she was lovable and gorgeous as Marmee in Little Women..

Renee, fabulous in blue.  Loved her star turn as Judy Garland..
She should win an Oscar for that one.

Black and White, always good..

Our Nicole, splendid in red..

Always pick a pink gown...

and our Cate Blanchett.  This one confuses me, but wins an award for bravery and Yellow.

Thank you all for your kind comments and thoughts on my last post.  
The on-going bush fires in Australia are shocking and frightening.
The Government has swung into action, bringing in the Army and Navy to help with evacuations and fire fighting.

Slightly cooler temperatures the last two days are helping to bring some relief in Victoria and New South Wales.
And while it is unpleasantly hot and humid here in Brisbane, we are not having those extreme temperatures which cause the massive fire eruptions.

It will take years for the townships and land to be restored, but people are raising funds and coming up with innovative ideas to help those in need.

Reliable statistics are hard to come by, as things change daily.  A small number of people have tragically lost their lives, and well over a thousand homes have been lost, as well as businesses, wildlife and livestock.  

We are grateful for all the help and kindness shown by the International community.  It is so heart-warming in Australia's time of need.

Keep well.


Wednesday, January 1, 2020


January 1st, 2020
A New Year's Day like none that Australia has ever seen before.
What can one say about the fires beyond comprehension ravaging the South-East of our land, along the coastal areas from Sydney to Victoria?
I am in shock as I watch it unfold on the media, and think of friends who may be in the affected areas.
Please pray for our people, our firefighters, and for the blessed relief of rain in the affected areas.

We must not lose Hope, and for us, Christmas has been a peaceful and blessed time, with the added gift of some rain in Brisbane.
In fact, our temperatures have for a couple of weeks been more normal and the grass has begun to grow back.

Little Aussie was here for a few days of Christmas.  He sure is growing up!

Special photo with Papa
We exchanged gifts supporting various Third World charities.
Aussie has pet chickens, so he was allocated to give chickens to African children.

I received this African basket, an ethical gift sold to support the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation in Ethiopia.

Also from Mr Cardinal, 'The Other Side of the Coin' by the Queen's dresser Angela Kelly.  Lots of anecdotes and details about Her Majesty's wardrobe. 

Mr Cardinal has enjoyed putting together his Millenium Falcon jigsaw...
And we all went to see the last of the Star Wars movies....

This year we got out the old red Wedding china and enjoyed our Christmas Dinner at twilight..

The grandpuppy "HQ" attended, and as ever, opened her own squeaky toy gift...

Here are a few Royal fashions which caught my eye over the Christmas period:

The Queen, pretty in pink on a cold Sandringham morning
Catherine and Charlotte: would kill for that coat and the green accessories - hat, shoes, and daughter...
Anne and Camilla in Royal Purple - so regal...

Wishing all my dear Readers of the Red Cardinal blog, a very Happy and Peaceful year in 2020.  May all your dreams come true.