Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Around and About

 We recently spent a warm Spring Sunday visiting Elderflower Farm, a boutique flower farm and florist about an hour's drive to the Scenic Rim area.

While we were a few weeks late for the best of the Spring blooms, we did enjoy the long beds of dainty annuals: poppies, stocks, sweetpea, and many others.

There is a shop, where I bought a bouquet to take home:

Rustic style, and full of garden related gift items, many pertaining to bees...

and a cafe where we enjoyed a delicious carrot cake...

Later, we drove to the nearby township of Kalbar, where we found this unique and picturesque country church..

In other news, I am back working as a tour guide at GoMA in Brisbane.

This is the final week of the fascinating exhibition 'Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles'.  

Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese performance and installation artist.  She is internationally known for her transformative, large-scale installations constructed from millions of fine threads, forming complex webs that spill from wall to floor and ceiling.  They express the intangible: memories, dreams, anxiety and silence..

Mr Red Cardinal made an appearance...

The myriad of threads in the large gallery space are stunning - 
it is like a journey to an alien world...

This exhibition closes on October 3.

Enjoy the season


Friday, September 23, 2022

Springtime Garden surprises


Spring has brought many visitors to the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect:

Here is Bob, surveying 'his' domain, while enjoying our red Bottle-brush tree,

and keeping an eye on this unusual visitor, a Little Corella.

While commonly seen in our area, they rarely visit our bird feeders.

A sub-species of white cockatoo, they are mostly white, with a blue eye-ring and a pale rose-pink patch between the eye and bill.  This makes their eyes look huge, and slightly menacing.

A few days ago, we had another new arrival...

A young Bush stone-curlew has been visiting a bushy corner of our garden.

I have heard their cries at night from the bush for years, but never seen them here among the houses.

A ground-dwelling, mainly nocturnal bird, Bush stone-curlews tend to stand very quietly during the day with their large eyes half-closed, unless they are disturbed.

They are mainly known for their ghostly, eerie, wailing at night.  To the unfamiliar, it sounds like a distressed baby or a crime in the neighbourhood!  

These days I find it can be quite soothing when going to sleep..

I wonder how long it will stay...

The list goes on...

A few weeks ago, despite all our usual precautions and careful closing of screen doors, I was stunned to encounter one of these in our walk-in wardrobe:

Google image. I was too shocked to take my own photo.

Yes, a blue-tongue lizard, about 18 inches long, on its way to the bathroom for a drink.  It scuttled back under our hanging clothes.  I screamed for help. 

Mr. Red Cardinal came to the rescue and took it back outside to the garden.

It must have come into the garage when the door was open for a longer than usual period, and at some time the door between the garage and house has also been left open.  We had been out, so the place was quiet.  The blue-tongue lizards move quite slowly, and it had a long walk down the hall, and around a few corners, to where I encountered it.

They are not dangerous, but the concern is that if it got in, so could a snake.

Attention to closed doors is now a priority in this house...

Apparently we have not had enough excitement, because today I went out the back door, and encountered a loud buzzing sound, and hundred of bees swarming around a corner of the house.  They were going into weep holes in the bricks.

Another Google image - it was difficult to get a picture and not get a bee sting!

It is Friday, and after a quick phone call, just on dusk Mr.  Bee and his trusty helper arrived.  We hid like the cowards we are, inside, behind closed windows, while they dissuaded the bees with whatever magic they possess.
The fee: $700.00.

Oh dear.

In an odd coincidence, just last week we bought a couple of these rustic Bee wall hooks, inspired mainly by the cute way our twin grandsons call all bugs and insects 'Bees'.

I hope you have a great weekend.

We are just hoping for a little less excitement and a bit of sunshine.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Farewell, Your Majesty

A rare double rainbow appeared over London on the evening before Queen Elizabeth 11's Funeral.  It was a fitting beginning to a day of beautiful pageantry and symbolism, as the world bid farewell to our revered Queen.

Like many around the world, the Red Cardinals have watched the Funeral on television, admiring the style and precision, the many touching and personal details, and the fabulous music and marching of the servicemen on parade.

Some things which caught my eye:


The symbols of Monarchy, the Orb, the Sceptre, and the Crown, mounted on the coffin while it was carried through the streets and on to Windsor.
Stunning, bejewelled pieces, which normally are housed in the Tower of London, they glittered in the sunshine.

Seen here at the Queen's coronation, they now await the new King, Charles 111.

Front row: King Charles 111, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward

The stamina and endurance of the new King and his three siblings, two of whom are in their 70s.  They have done a lot of marching in the past 10 days, and must be absolutely exhausted.  What devotion they show.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte

The children of the new Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, aged 9 and 7.  It was a long day for children, and they were beautifully behaved, and appropriately dressed to farewell their Great-Grandmother, and to both observe and be part of the history which will be their lives.

The wreath on Her Majesty's coffin, freshly picked from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Highgrove.

The pretty colours of gold, pink, burgundy and white echo the Queen's fondness for bright and cheerful colour in her working wardrobe, and which suited her to perfection.

They included:
Rosemary for remembrance, Myrtle cut from a plant grown from a sprig in Her Majesty's wedding bouquet, English oak, symbol of the strength of love, roses, pelargoniums, hydrangea, dahlias and more, set in a nest of English moss and oak branches, without the use of florist foam.

And the music:

Crimond: The Lord is my Shepherd, a favourite hymn of the Queen, and which in a lifetime of choral singing I have loved to sing on many occasions.  
It was sung at the wedding of Her Majesty and Prince Philip in 1947.

Farewell, Your Majesty.
May you Rest in Peace.

Photo of the Queen at Balmoral, 1971, released by the Palace today



Tuesday, September 13, 2022



Recently we had a short getaway in far North Queensland...

by the beach near Cairns...

Leaving behind the mid-Winter cold of Brisbane, we flew much closer to the Equator, and into Summery warmth for a few days.

This was a very special occasion:  Our daughter and her family had flown in from Canada to spend a whole month with us.

We had not seen each other for over two years...

I loved walking along the esplanade, and occasionally ventured on to the sand...

It is necessary to be wary, because:

Fortunately, a short drive away there were safe, patrolled beaches for swimming.  And swim our grandsons certainly did, in the sea and in a pool at our beach house.
And when we came back to Brisbane, they were in our pool frequently, ignoring the Winter weather.  

Canadians are tough people!

Our French-speaking grandsons are big boys now, the older nearly a teen.
They really enjoyed their Australian adventure...

Back at the Red Cardinal nest, our visitors enjoyed the birdlife of our garden.  Our daughter named this cockatoo 'Bob', because he bobs his head up and down.  
Bob is not my favourite bird.  He and I are constantly at war, because he wants to decapitate my flowers, and throw things around on our deck.
Just for fun.
Given a quiet day, sometimes he completely destroys a few pot-plants.

Bob is not afraid of the tin kookaburra from K Mart, which frightens off all the other birds.  Bob likes to toss it onto the floor with a great clatter.
Naughty Bob....

Due to the antics of Bob and his mates, we do not see the lorikeets as frequently these days. However, we did have a gorgeous red King Parrot the other day:

My daughter brought me this brooch from Canada, a replica of the Queen's Canadian maple leaf pin.

It even came with a photo:

It will be a treasured piece, and I have worn it several times this week.

With bad luck, I came down with another bout of RSV flu while our visitors were here, and missed quite a few family excursions.  That's life!

As Spring slowly arrives, the Red Cardinal garden is pushing up a few blooms.
Our compulsory daffodil or two have managed to defeat the neglect and have arrived.

Spring will hopefully bring me better health, and I am back walking again.

There are some mini horses in our neighbourhood...

and this beautiful white horse which watches us walk past with a careful eye...

Our creek, always a running stream..

The Iris patch is thriving this Spring.

They are such a joy every September.
And so is our King Orchid (Dendrobium) grown from a cutting from my late father's beautiful plant:

This year there at 15 beautiful fronds of tiny creamy white orchid blooms..


Are you watching the historical images coming through from the UK?
To watch the passing of a monarch and the installation of the next is both sad and fascinating.  

Enjoy the change of season.