Tuesday, March 31, 2020


How are you all going, in your little corners of the world?

As Australia strengthens the laws limiting our movements,
we Cardinals took time out for a Sunday picnic...

We took absolutely everything we needed:
folding chairs & tiny table, chicken/salad rolls, tiny apple crumble desserts and a nice bottle of sparkling wine..

Vintage tablecloth, souvenir from Singapore inherited from Mr Cardinal's mother

We sat high on the banks of the Brisbane River, watching the pelicans play...

We were able to space ourselves about 20 metres from other people, and nobody, but nobody, touched the available picnic tables, bins, or barbeques.

According to new laws this week, we should not even picnic again.
Social restrictions are that we leave the house only to work, obtain food or medicine, and exercise for brief periods.

I have never experienced online grocery shopping, but last week decided it was time to start.  Our first Woolworths delivery will come this Friday.

However, I forgot lots of items, and new attempts have revealed no available time-slots for another delivery.

I am thinking of getting up soon after midnight to see if the system reveals more times I can access...

While we are spending all our time in our Cardinal nest, I have been playing around with the decor...

using only what can be found around the house, on the theme which our daughter calls the Age of Exotic Exploration ...

The old globe belonged to my father - how different are the countries of the world today.
Decoy duck was found in Canada..

A tiny column was a souvenir from Italy, and little Greek urn a gift from our daughter..

A carved wooden elephant, a gift from our younger son, many years ago.

Palms courtesy of the Red Cardinal jungle of neglect..

Petyarre, Jeannie, c.1950-, Utopia Central Australia 'Bush Medicine' 

As we will have to go out now and then, I am working on making some masks:

The luxury model, in floral linen lined with silk.
Unfortunately I overlooked the fact that the loose weave of linen is not a good idea and offers little protection...

I made two more in  dense woven cotton, lined with the same fabric.
I know these are not at all 100% reliable, but there are no masks to be bought, and some protection is better than none at all.

My Sew-Jo and my Art-Jo have been sadly missing, but today I did push myself into selecting some fabric from the stash to make something...anything...

And began a little painting.  It is part of the struggle to adapt to the 'new normal'.  

Every day is a day closer to the other end.
I am making a point of phoning or texting one or two people daily....

And I am glad Mr Red Cardinal is here with me, working down in his study :)

Happy Hibernation


Thursday, March 26, 2020


Hello Dear Readers,

What a strange fortnight it has been, as we have been enjoying the company of our daughter and two grandsons on their Australian holiday....

weirdly accompanied by the arrival and rise of Covid19 in Australia.

We took them to the Gold Coast for a few days, and the boys loved swimming at the beach at the ocean instead of a lake, Canadian-style..

They loved being on the 15th floor..

and  climbing tropical breadfruit trees...

Back in Brisbane, we made good use of a local wildlife reserve..

See the little joey in her pouch..

They loved the lorikeets at our house, and even better at the zoo where they are accustomed to being fed by humans holding a feeding tray..

There was a visit to their cousin, Little Aussie, who lives in the bush:

Small boys love a waterhole..

Like all little Australians, the Koala Photo!

Here's another peek at mine:

The koala was hurting me with its claws!

And now they are safe home in Ottawa, commencing 14 days of isolation.

Air Canada excelled themselves, with a rapid transit through Vancouver.
There was no warm food or drink on the 14 hour flight from Brisbane, but plenty of pre-packaged muffins, yoghurt, sandwiches etc.
They were home only 21 hours after leaving Brisbane, the quickest trip any of us has done in 20 years of going to and fro.

And now, as I set the house to rights again, we really are in Self Isolation at the Red Cardinal nest.

Others seem so organised, doing their social media, finished their cupboards, working on crafts and sewing.

I am very tired.  The strain of keeping two lively little boys and our dear daughter safe and well caught up in the end.  We went through nearly all our disinfectants and wipes, and cannot buy more.
The essential items are never there when we try to shop.

Like everyone else, we will try to keep our spirits up, and tomorrow it is time to plan some happy activities here at home.

What are you doing?  Please share, I'd love to know.  
Meanwhile, my painting easel beckons...

Please take care, stay home, and be safe.


Sunday, March 15, 2020


Hi there, just a quick update..

Happy times!
Our daughter and her two boys have arrived from Canada.
They have grown so much....
henceforth they will be known as H&M because those are their initials..

24 hours post-snow, they were into the pool...

Thanks to modern app technology, we watched their plane from Vancouver on our phones:

Follow the red plane - shortly after leaving the West coast of Canada, the midnight flight to Australia..

Are we anxious about the Corona virus?
Yes, I have never been so fearful - being in the vulnerable group in age and medical history, and hoping our visitors remain virus-free and safe.
Also that their flight home next week is not cancelled!

However, we are going ahead as planned for a short visit to the Gold Coast.
Armed with wipes, sanitizers, etc etc we hope the salt sea and air keep us well, and we can enjoy this special family time.

St Patrick's Day tomorrow:

Let's have some cheerful green to lighten the mood:

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in Dublin recently.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on her final appearance as a 'working Royal'.

Happy claps all round for the wearing of the green.

I baked some shamrock cookies, but can't seem to upload the pic.

Maybe later....

Chin up everyone, stay calm and keep washing hands.


On my neighbourhood walk

Monday, March 2, 2020


Life is all go here at the Red Cardinal nest....

We have been weeding, pruning, chopping, and tidying the edges - because...

The Canadians are coming!

Here they are on a recent visit to Stanley's Olde Maple Lane Farm for a pancake lunch in the sugar bush (maple syrup plantation).
And where they enjoyed a two-horse open sleigh ride.

So how do you think they will like our heat?
It was 35c here today :)

Don't think we are not prepared.
We bought another set of snake repellents from Bunnings.
There are four of them placed around the garden, emitting a shrill vibrating signal every minute  (and not all at the same time).
Apologies have been made to the neighbours.

Little Aussie is very snake-aware, but the Canadians are not used to our harsh land, and are not so prepared for an encounter..

Mr Red Cardinal has sprung into action, taking several loads of prunings to the dump.  Cleaning out the undergrowth is key.
The recent rains after the prolonged drought has seen rampant growth in everyone's gardens.

Sitting quietly in the early morning, waiting for me to put out the seed for the lorikeets, so they can steal it...

Peace rose has bloomed again - goody..

A misty early morning view - a few months ago it was all dead and horrid.
What a difference.

This year we are celebrating Beethoven's 250th anniversary - and what better way than to see live performances of as many of his nine symphonies as we can manage.

We began with the wonderful Australian Chamber Orchestra (augmented), who performed Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21, Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.36 and Symphony No.3 in E-flat major, Op.55 "Eroica".

What a fabulous night.  The ACO directed by Richard Tognetti is just stunning.

So far I have found and made reservations for Symphonies No. 5, 6 and 9 - and am working on the others.
It may involve a little travel, although sadly not to Vienna, which could fulfill the quota!

I have been having some water-colour painting lessons, after an absence of many years.
Behold my squirrel..

And be good.