Friday, January 28, 2011

Venerdi in Venice: In the Pink

ink & watercolour illustration, 8.75" x 7" [22.5 x 18cm] ORDER PRINTS HERE
It's been a while since our last visit to Venice.  And when I started gazing at my inspiration folders, the sight of all that water was too much too soon, given the recent floods.  So I compromised and chose this lovely scene with just a hint of water lapping at the bottom of it.  {Merci, Danielle, for the beautiful inspiration!} The crumbling pink facade has my mind drifting somewhat nostalgically to sweetheart lollies.  I believe someone tall, dark and handsome {possibly named Hugh ~ such a nice name} is upstairs waiting for us, with a 2 feet tall glass apothecary jar full of them.  Who dibbs Kiss Me?  And on that note...

Happy Venerdi in Venice to you!

Thank you also to Danielle for giving me this Sunshine Award.  I'm chuffed!   As you give me so much sunshine with your comments and/or blogs, I'd like to bestow it on all of you.  If you haven't yet visited the sites of your fellow commenters here, now would be a lovely time to drop in on them.  Talent, inspiration and wit in leaps and bounds. You're all grand.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Francophile Friday: Meet You at Le Mouffetard

ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]
What's that?  It's the weekend already?  As the sun loiters around the horizon this Friday afternoon, these empty chairs are singing a siren song.  Let's rest our tootsies, clink glasses and graze on a slice of life at this little cafe overlooking rue Mouffetard in Paris.  {Thanks and bisous for the inspiration, chère Virginia!}  These are tables for two, but here in our fairytale, this seating arrangement will stretch to accommodate us all, like black elasticised pants at a smorgasbord ~ cough ~ I mean, like an Yves Saint Laurent caftan at a buffet.  And on that note...

Happy Francophile Friday to you!

PS:  In the recent Brisbane floods, the RSPCA animal shelter at Fairfield went under & was severely damaged. They are exempt from disaster relief offered to charities assisting human needs. Please click here to donate towards their vitally important rebuilding process.  And for donations to help human kind, please click here.  Thank you for any help you can give ~ every dollar is gratefully appreciated!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feathered Friday: 29 Chooks and the Kindness of Strangers


I can't thank you enough for your caring thoughts and concern for all of those in our region.  In the face of such devastation here, not just in Brisbane but in the whole of south-east Queensland, there are so many tales of miracles and grace.  And spirit that will never lie down.  We're seeing the typical Aussie sense of humour, perhaps slightly dented but far from gone, in such wry touches as a page taped to a light pole in the nearby town of Ipswich, with the felt-penned message, "LOST: 3 Goldfish.  Last seen Tuesday afternoon."  

Heavy hearts can do with some light.  So today I wanted to share with you one of the flood stories with a happy ending ~ the story of some beloved chooks whose lives in no small part depended on the kindness of strangers. 

My mum's hubby's farm ~ his life's work ~ went under on Wednesday morning.  And as the floodwaters rapidly swallowed up hydroponic and working sheds and rose towards their henhouse, 29 chooks {mostly redheads with remarkably fluffy bottoms} were growing increasingly agitated.  Nowhere near as agitated as their "mum and dad".  All hands were on deck as netting was fashioned around the open sides of a stable on higher ground to arrange emergency lodgings, hastily secured with old bricks and fallen branches.  We discovered some way into proceedings that a nice young man helping out was not an in-law whose name we'd embarrassingly forgotten, but a stranger who lived up the road and around the corner who'd heard of the rising waters and came down to lend a hand.   {Needless to say, Ken been fast-tracked onto the Christmas Card list.}  

But the scary question in the midst of all this was HOW to transport a large number of hens with very ruffled feathers when they were virtually trapped by a lake of floodwater.  Behold ~ more kind strangers with a dinghy proved you don't need a white horse and armour to save maidens in peril.  With several boat trips and a motley collection of taped up cardboard boxes and makeshift crates, twenty-nine clucky young ladies were safely stowed and ferried to their sanctuary.  After inspecting each other and doing a head count, arrangements were deemed to be acceptable, and there was much relief and happy dancing {by the humans.  The chooks were too busy squabbling over meat scraps.}  Thirty-six hours and a disturbing volume of chicken poo later, complaints to the management over lack of prime real estate on the tractor and sub-standard nesting boxes were coming thick and fast.  But thankfully by then, the floodwaters subsided, the henhouse was cleaned down, and the ladies are happily nesting back in Fowl Manor.  They may never understand how much they depended on the kindness of strangers.  But for this kindness, their mum and dad are eternally grateful. And on that note ...

Happy Fine Feathered Friday to you!

Update 17th January: The RSPCA refuge at Fairfield went under water, by over 2 metres in places, and has been severely damaged.  Thankfully, all animals were safely evacuated in time.   But the shelter has had to completely cease operations until clean-up and recovery can be completed.   They are exempt from disaster relief offered to other charities assisting human needs. Please click here to donate towards their vitally important rebuilding process. Thank you.

If you would like to donate to the Flood Appeal for human kind, you can do so here.  Thank you, and bless you. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fanciful Friday: It's Just Not Cricket

ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]
Hello!  It's lovely to be back.  So wonderful to see you again.  Please, pull up a Louis chair ... {I've been re-decorating...}

I used to think cricket was an odd curiosity involving the curation of grass as a spectator sport. And occasionally, typically when one left the room to put on the kettle, a player would cheekily hit a ball or catch a ball as a mild distraction from the grass-watching task at hand.  But in recent years, I've grown to love this gentlemanly pursuit and its familiar noise on the telly as I potter around at home.  It sounds of summer to me. And with the rotten weather we've had for the past couple of months, anything reminiscent of summer is a good thing.   

But woe is me, our fine Aussie cricket team has dropped off the perch lately.  And the Pommie cricket team resoundly completed its Ashes series win today, creating an irksome tea stain on Australia's proud sporting history.  I have to admit, the English side did a beyond-sterling job, and if not for some half-baked semblance of a detox over the holidays, I would drink a Long Island Iced Tea in its honour. {Granted, this rocket fuel rarely contains tea and bears no relationship to Australia or England, but it's a compelling amnesiac for embarrassing international incidents.}

Knowing the cricket selectors will make some changes, I've come up with my own Dream Team {shown here at the Sydney Cricket Ground, formerly-known-as-Illustrious}.  And the simple solution I propose is that we double the number of players, then play ourselves.  A guaranteed win every time.  {My talents really are wasted...tell me about it.}  My nominated team could make it a little harder to maintain the condition of the grass, but what is life without challenges.  And on that note...

Happy Fanciful Friday to you!


PS: Thank you for your many concerned emails and comments.  I'm relieved to say that {touch wood!} my immediate family and I are somewhat soggy, but gratefully unaffected by the massive flooding in our state, greater than the areas of France & Germany combined.  If you would like to make a donation to help those poor folks in these disaster areas, you can do so here.  Merci, grazie, thank you.