Sunday, August 27, 2023




As the daytime temperatures begin to soar in August (still officially Winter), the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect is beginning to struggle.
There has been very little rain this year, and while the plants are dormant in Winter, surges of temperatures up to 29-30C are stressing the plants.

We have a sprinkler system, but water is expensive and we are careful with its usage.  

Spring favourites are still appearing, like our lovely Iris.
But there are clearly far fewer blooms this year.

This little orchid which I gave Mr Red Cardinal for Father's Day a couple of years ago, is doing very well indeed, thank you.  It is tied to a shady tree and seems to manage by itself, somehow.

Sadly, our beautiful King Orchid has produced only four fronds this year, after a stunning twelve in 2022.  It has to be the dry weather.

A second brave daffodil has appeared.  Well done little flower.

Lately I have been busy having Diagnostic Imaging for my left knee, spine and right hip, after months of nagging pain, coming and going.
An ultrasound of the hip shows gross tendinopathy, which has been the cause of discomfort.  Ex-rays, and a CT scan were also done.  I have been using a warm wheat bag for months for flare-ups.  Nothing unusual for my age was found in the knee, which continues to make trouble when descending stairs.  My next referral is to a physiotherapist for exercise physiology.  

I have copies of the reports, which, due to my complete lack of scientific knowledge, are very long and daunting.  The word 'degenerative' appears quite a few times, but the doctor seems unconcerned.

One of the joys of old age is trying to take care of one's health...

While trying to keep up with husband, children, grandchildren, community interests, and everything else!

We have a busy week coming up.  The twins are turning three; their father has a birthday the same day.  Our first grandchild, 'Little Aussie' is about to turn 14, and next weekend we have Father's Day.

Time flies, and I rather like browsing the toy shops....

Have a lovely week


Friday, August 18, 2023



August in Brisbane has traditionally been cold, very cold, with biting Westerly winds..

our equivalent of February in the Northern hemisphere, actually...

Times have changed, they have, and we have seen days of Spring weather, warm sunshine, a few showers of rain, and yesterday the first thunderclap of the Summer Storm Season.

I am rather hoping for the return of Winter, just a little bit more, as a nine month Summer is simply Too Much!

My favourite Shoe Store closed for week to re-decorate,

and this is what I found...

All bright in orange and pink, to introduce the coming Summer stock.

It seemed wrong not to bring something home with me....

It has been a while since I showed something from the Qld. Art Gallery Collection:

Mary Norrie, Aus. 1917-2005  'Focal point' c.1971

Two 'vintage' pieces are currently on show.  An influential exponent of hard-edge and colour field abstraction in Brisbane, artist Mary Norrie uses colour and shape beautifully, to create a sense of balance and harmony.  The two paintings glow with their jewel-bright colour and are indeed a focal point in the Australian gallery right now.

Mary Norrie, Aus. Qld. 1917-2005 'Red square with stripes' 1971

'Red square with stripes' won first prize in the 1972 Brookfield Show, judged by Roy Churcher, a leading artist and teacher in the 1960s.

He was my first art teacher when I was a teen.

These works seem to me so evocative of the mid-century avant-garde, but now I find a nostalgic quality, a reminder of far-away times over 50 years ago when I was young and adventurous.

And I still love those bright pink/red tones....

Have a bright weekend


Monday, August 14, 2023



It was wonderful to go to the Queensland Ballet Academy Gala...

I bought tickets immediately on hearing the recent announcement of the imminent retirement of Artistic Director, Li Cunxin, AO, due to serious health concerns.

Regular readers of the blog might remember previous discussions about Li's amazing career. Chosen from a country classroom in Mao's China, he was taken to train as a ballet dancer, not seeing his family for many years.  Subsequently, as a rising star, the young Li was chosen to go on exchange to the Houston Ballet in the USA, and eventually chose to live in the West.  His story was told in the remarkable autobiography 'Mao's Last Dancer' (2003) and the film of the same name (2009).  If you have not seen it, it is a wonderful story of courage, love, and Ballet.

Li married a Queensland dancer who he met in Houston, Mary McKendry, whose own remarkable story is told in her book 'Mary's Last Dance'.  Both books are a great read.

After international careers, they settled in Brisbane when Li was appointed to the Queensland Ballet in 2013.  Mary became Ballet Mistress.

Google image - now

Google image - then

Google image - Tchaikovsky Suite

The Gala, featuring dozens of Academy students destined for a career in Ballet, began and ended with Tchaikovsky.

Academy Define (Grand Parade).  

The Finale was indeed Grand.  I counted 128 dancers on the very large stage at the Academy.

I decided to wear this happy dress, made during the pandemic.  
And the moral of this photo is:  Never look into the afternoon sun at the Ballet matinee....

Apologies to the lovely Readers who commented on my last post, and who were overlooked in the replies.  I got myself into a Blog Muddle. Again.  However, things have been rectified and I have left a little conversation there for everyone.  We're all in this together...

Solitary daffodil is still going and sends its regards..

Go dancing, or whatever lifts your spirits...


Monday, August 7, 2023



Never worry about the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect..
It survived our long absence, and really did not appear to care at all....

The Annual General Daffodil has appeared.
It would be nice if we got a second one this year, but you can't be too particular...

Lavender is coming into flower ..

and the day after we returned, we went to the Garden Centre for some potted colour..

carefully inserting these mad little fluttering Canadian geese I brought home:

The naughty cockatoos hate them, which is a win for us..

The friendly kookaburras just laugh about it all....

While I recovered from my virus, we went for a country drive to see the Elderflower Farm

The orange vine was magnificent - I forget its name, although my mother had one at her house...

Sweet Peas never fail to charm..

I always loved Poppies...

and brought home a large bunch, including buds.  They lasted over a week..

We visited our daughter's local Garden Centre while we were in Ottawa.

Loved the birdhouses!

Introducing Decoy Duck, our new pet...

I found him at a yard sale in Canada, for the princely sum of $5...

Carefully packed him in bubble wrap and lots of clothing, and brought him back to Australia.  We do not see them here.  Duck hunting, while something my father did when young, is not such a big thing here but apparently is popular in Canada, the land of thousands of lakes...

The day after we came home, the tiny twins came over to help launch him into the swimming pool.

And there he is, delighting me every day with his stoic floating about, and startling the neighbours and occasional visitors.
'There's a duck in your pool', I hear...

Sure is....