Sunday, June 28, 2020


We had some welcome rain today -
 the flowers will be happy but it was quite a bleak Sunday for us...

Ai Weiwei (China 1957-) Boomerang 2006 

This week I visited the Queensland Art Gallery, where I have worked as a guide for the last ten years.  Of course, it has been in lock down for months and it was wonderful to see it open a few days ago.

Joyous and imposing, this oversized, intensely lit, waterfall-style chandelier is suspended over the Water Mall.
It is an example of internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei's playful strategy of working across cultural contexts.  

For China's increasingly affluent middle class, bigger is better.
There are approximately 267,000 crystal drops on 5,085 strands.  The artwork is 10 metres high and at the widest point 8.6 metres wide.
There are 802 LED lights.
A spectacular monument to consumerism, it is shaped into the motif of a Boomerang, an object associated with exotic conceptions of Australia.

'Boomerang' was the centrepiece in the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 2006-07, and Ai Weiwei gifted the work to the gallery's collection.
I loved it then, and I love it now on its reappearance - especially in a time of tension and difficulty in our community.

I felt very safe walking around the Gallery.
There is ticketed (free) entry, so numbers can be controlled.
A system of one directional visiting is designed to reduce clusters of people meeting up in small doorways or spaces.  Within a room, however, you can walk back and forth between art works as you wish.  Social distancing is mandatory, which I find very reassuring.

I do not know yet when guided tours will recommence.

Our snow peas are having flowers!

Life is quiet and we have been exercising and walking a lot.  
Once again, we spent Saturday walking pathways beside the Brisbane River in the morning sunshine.

I liked these bird feeders, something you don't usually see in a public park.
Perhaps the neighbours put them there...

Pansies are beginning to bloom..

A few more thoughts on the pandemic:
All my life I have attended church on Sundays, except during serious ill health, and for most of those years I have participated in church music.
From the age of about 12 I was playing an old pump organ to accompany the school choir, and in later life spent several decades playing a contemporary electronic piano in church.  As well as this I have sung in church choirs my entire life.  

Therefore the imposed sanctions on meeting for church services has been quite a shock to my system!  I have been watching online services but it is hardly the same.  The sense of community and making music is very strong for some of us, and many choristers are feeling saddened to be unable to sing - whether in church or anywhere else.

Apparently when we sing, we expel far more tiny droplets than when we speak, and right now, singing near others is dangerous.

Churches here are reopening in the next few weeks, with ticketed entry and social distancing.  For this I am grateful.  Despite our State now being 22 days without a new Covid19 case, I feel better if I can keep my distance.  

More is being learned about this virus all the time.  It seems so long ago, but back in March it was all about hand-washing - important, but not the whole story.
I am watching with alarm as the state of Victoria is suffering a new wave of infections, stats going higher every day.  It can happen anywhere.

I hope everyone is keeping safe, wherever you are...

With love from the Red Cardinal


Sunday, June 21, 2020


Happy Sunday from the Red Cardinal...

and also the new Blogger, which I hope to master before Old Blogger disappears at the end of June.  Thank you to all the alert fellow bloggers who provided a warning that change was afoot.  Being something of a Luddite, I tend to ignore anything technical until absolutely forced to confront it...

Here at the Red Cardinal nest, cooler weather promotes some pretty flowers, and the roses are all doing nicely.
We have spent the lock-down months working on some neglected areas of our garden, refreshing with new plants and ideas.
Our first venture into growing a few vegetables, albeit in pots, has provided us with a few delicious lettuce - and we await some action from the tomato plants which appear to be flourishing.  
(The less said about the fly infestation on the capsicum plants the better).

There have been more expeditions to go walking by the Bay.

The Port of Brisbane seen across the water from Woody Point

I liked this piece of public art, featuring newspaper pictures from the past.
Remember making paper boats just like this?

Mr Red Cardinal surveys the sea from Scott's Point, 
where he went camping as a boy.

Lots of pretty sunrises lately...

Last weekend we went walking beside an upstream park on the Brisbane River.
There were swans...

With art work to match:

Queensland has done very well in containing the Covid19 virus -
strict border controls, and probably our open spaces and mild climate come into this.  Everyone has played their part to the best of their ability.

To date, there have been 1,066 confirmed cases and 6 deaths in Queensland, and currently 3 active cases.

The Art Gallery where I work as a guide opens this week, and I am looking forward to seeing new exhibitions and eventually getting back to working there.
Everything will be different - timed and ticketed entry, advance bookings, small tour groups socially distanced, hand sanitizing facilities, and so on.

These methods are being engaged already in cafes (maximum 20 persons), churches (advance reservations, limited numbers, socially distancing, and no singing) and gyms.  Mr Cardinal and I have just returned to our personal gyms and are impressed with the care and attention to detail in order to prevent contamination between clients and staff.

How is your city planning these matters?
I'd love to hear what other places are doing...

The Royal family have of course been isolating too...
Happy 99th Birthday to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

Looking very dapper with Her Majesty by his side at Windsor Castle...

They are amazing for a couple in their nineties...

I loved this very recent picture of the Queen exercising on her pony at Windsor...

It must be the secret of a long and healthy life....

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has returned to work and her first excursion was to a Garden Centre.  I think we can all cheer for that...

She told the staff about the gardening efforts of her children during her recent times in isolation at Amner Hall, their country home.  They are growing vegetables from seeds, and been very excited to see them grow.
I know just how they feel :)

Our personal jungle during a recent storm...

Well I seem to have gotten through putting together a post using the new Blogger format.  Now it remains to be seen if I can publish it successfully.

Meantime, here's a cute photo just released of the Cambridge children, having a perfectly lovely Summer day with their Dad:

Stay well and stay safe