Wednesday, December 30, 2020



Christmas was a simple but joyous occasion at the Red Cardinal house, after our sudden change of plan.
Sadly, the pandemic is continuing to spread in Sydney...

We celebrated with the tiny twins and their parents...

and also with a new grand-puppy who has arrived at the home of our younger son in Brisbane:

Of course, I watched the Queen's Christmas message, a rather solemn one -  
the United Kingdom has seen great loss and sadness this year, and our thoughts are with you all.

Her Majesty looked very chic in purple crepe, set off by the stunning Queen Mother's Shell brooch.

I also like to follow the Royal Christmas cards, and my pick this year is the one chosen by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their adorable little family (I admit a soft spot for a family of three, just like mine, two boys and one girl).

We went out to the post-Christmas sales today, and finally bought a new cook-top and a new dishwasher.

Both our existing ones are literally on their last legs...

Now to await the delivery man...

And the installation man...

And the man who will safely remove the unsafe old stove...

And the man who will put in new benchtops to accommodate the new, modern, differently sized cooktop...

And the Electrician who will then connect the new stove...

Which should bring us up to Easter....

In the meantime, I am reading a gift book, 'Mary's Last Dance'.

Mary McKendry, wife of Li Cunxin, known as Mao's Last Dancer in book and film.

Former stars of the Houston Ballet, they are now based in Brisbane where Li is Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet.

Their first child, Sophie, was born profoundly deaf, and received a Cochlear Implant as a toddler.  The book follows Mary's career as an Australian ballerina, dancing in London and Houston and her early retirement to help her daughter.  She is now Ballet Mistress at the Queensland Ballet.

It is a beautifully written and inspirational book.
Perfect for Summer reading.

Take care wherever you are in this holiday season.
Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. 

Thank you all for your support and beautiful comments throughout the year.
I value your friendship more than I can say, and especially so during the past weird and challenging year of 2020.

Here is a little shot of my Canadian grandsons, which should help we Australians to feel a bit cooler in the current high humidity.

My daughter tells me they are already rolling out the Covid19 vaccine in their area...
It will start in Australia in a month or two.

Let us hope a vaccine brings us some safety, peace of mind, and the beginnings of a return to normality in the coming year.



Wednesday, December 23, 2020



It is early morning on Christmas Eve, and peace reigns in the Red Cardinal nest.

At the end of the most turbulent year in memory, we are still well, and we are here.

Due to the sudden outbreak of Covid19 in Sydney, we had to cancel our Christmas visit as borders closed between States.

I have been sewing little Christmas rompers for the twins...

And now, magically they are here in Queensland with us!
They caught the last plane north just before the borders closed, and after the busiest 24 hours of all our lives, arrived for a Christmas visit.

In no time we bought an extra bassinet, baby supplies and equipment, and were ready (sort of...)

Our home is in happy turmoil, as we all help with the beautiful twins, and try to do a bit of Christmas preparation.  

The boys are now over three months old, and have the most adorable smiles.

We had a little gathering here where the great-aunts and uncles could visit.
They were suitably smitten...

Heatwaves continue to come and go and I walk when I can...

Tonight, our church choir has re-assembled for Christmas, and we will celebrate in song, the ancient story of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ..

Wishing above all Good Health and Happiness to all readers of the Red Cardinal Blog.  May your Christmas be beautiful and special, and your New Year full of Hope and Joy.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2020



We did it!

Reader, we flew to Sydney to meet the twins.....

and it was Wonderful!

These long-awaited, dear little boys have stolen our hearts -

They are 12 weeks old, and doing fine after a very premature birth.

After many months of isolation, our State of Queensland opened the border to New South Wales and we were able to fly home without going into quarantine (14 days in a hotel at our own expense).

Australia has done very well in the pandemic, helped by being an island nation, and the restrictions on international travel, together with closed borders between states.  Our State has gone for several months with no new community transmissions, but has re-opened very cautiously, with gradual increases in community gatherings and continued social distancing.

We were so excited when the Government announced the open borders, and made our plane reservations to Sydney immediately.

We had four beautiful days with the twins and their delighted parents, and were the first family members to be able to meet them.

Big brother, Little Aussie, is now visiting them and finally met his twin siblings.

I was surprised how fantastic it felt to fly again - I suddenly felt 'normal' - as if the past ten months has just lifted away.

It has been about 14 months since I had been on a plane, the longest time for many, many years...

We have kept to ourselves and been safe.

About a month ago, we ventured up to the mountains to a B&B at Beechmont, a pretty rural hinterland town about an hour from Brisbane.

It was fresh and green from some recent rain, and we loved our little suite.

In the early morning, a hare could be seen outside on the grass: see in the above photo.

There were birds to feed...

and dramatic cloud formations..

If we have learnt anything from this strange year 2020, it is to appreciate and treasure our environment, our families, our friends, our health and home - we never know when they will become threatened...

The Christmas tree has been up for a while - this year I celebrated with blue for the twins, and a pair of twin elves, just because..

In other good news, restrictions have been eased on choral singing, and my church choir has resumed - with 1 metre spacing between us..

It was beautiful to be able to sing again, tuning our voices to one another as choristers do....

We have enjoyed several small gatherings at our house around the Christmas tree..

including the Sewing Sisters, who brought Secret Santa gifts...

I received the tiniest scissors I have ever seen - aren't they the cutest?

They came with the sweet little pin cushion, made by my dear friend D.

They are both just over 1 inch long - perfect for travelling...

All being well, we will travel again soon, and enjoy Christmas in Sydney with the twins...

Be well and take care