Scruffy the Australian Magpie

Scruffy the Magpie Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th July 2018 Australian Animals Australians Birds Winter Nature

I’m so enormously angry with FIFA, the world’s media, and Russia at the moment, so instead, let me introduce you to Scruffy.

Scruffy was a giant, dominant magpie when he still had his grey baby feathers. Now he’s grown he’s utterly enormous – and has excellent balance, resting on one of his legs while he waits for lunch!  (This was yesterday afternoon. He’s staring at other birds – patrolling!)

These birds are wild, but about ten are sort of also my pets. They hang out on the back deck with me every day (and a few occasionally sneak into the house and cause huge, dirty problems – ugh!). Some have names they respond to.

Mr Scruff is the dominant bird in the area, even though he’s not the biggest (but he’s by far the biggest Australian magpie I’ve ever seen). If you don’t know: some male Australian magpies are extremely aggressive in the spring, and put people in the hospital (those strong beaks…). The secret is to befriend them – with food! I now personally know three generations of the local magpies, and it’s changed everything.

It’ll be spring soon, and he’ll bring his next generation of babies to us.

See? Socialising with birds. This is anger management!

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A Reminder

Sonya's Stuff

Over the days of the World Cup Semi-Finals, please remember that nobody should be enjoying soccer on Russian soil while the country is actively invading Ukraine, killing thousands of their neighbours, committing war crimes in Syria, assassinating political dissidents, torturing teenagers to death, committing ethnic cleansing in Crimea, shooting down airliners, illegally occupying parts of Georgia, illegally occupying parts of Moldova, committing war crimes in Ukraine, persecuting Catholics and Muslims and Jews, and actively trying to destroy Western democracies.


Ukrainian artist Andriy Yermolenko has created an alternative series of posters for the FIFA World Cup in Russia which is set to start on 14 June

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Blue Sky in Canberra #2

It’s a gorgeous winter afternoon in Canberra for the start of the week.

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th July 2018 Garden Nature Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree

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Blue Sky in Canberra #1

It’s a gorgeous winter afternoon in Canberra for the start of the week.

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th July 2018 Garden Nature Eucalyptus Tree Gum TreeIMG_6781

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Cartier: The Exhibition

Cartier The Exhibition National Gallery of Australia Canberra

Just a little bit too much?!

Australia’s National Gallery, which is here in Canberra, has had some pretty amazing “blockbusters” recently (however I’m worried about the new director coming in soon).

The last big one I went to see was the Versailles exhibition, where So Much stuff from the Palace of Versailles, and so many historically significant pieces, were brought out from France for a few months.

Now, we have the Cartier exhibition – which is ending in a few days. We went to see it on Saturday.

And – wow. For starters I can’t believe that there was no security of any sort when there were billions of dollars of diamonds and other precious jewels on display.

They weren’t just any diamonds either; these were pieces from Britain’s royal collection, things the Queen wears, tiaras from royal weddings (e.g. the one Kate Middleton wore for hers), and crowns worn by Queen Victoria’s daughters. And these were pieces from Hollywood: jewels that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly etc. There was even a clock belonging to a US President.

These heiresses were seriously rich!

It was also fascinating to see how much money was coming from Gilded Age New York. So many obscenely enormous sets of jewels belonged to the American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy – just like in shows like Downton Abbey, and in all those books I read.

There were also other things, like costumes from the Ballet Russes (the NGA bought most of the world-famous company’s costumes many years ago, before anybody else thought to), and pieces belonging to Victorian/Edwardian opera star Dame Nellie Melba.

I was told that two hours wasn’t long enough to see everything, and I thought that was ridiculous: after all how many diamonds could there possibly be?

It turns out two hours was nowhere near long enough.

DIamond Tiara Cartier The Exhibition National Gallery of Australia Canberra

I’ve seen crown jewel collections in a number of countries in Europe. I’ve been whisked past a handful of crowns at the Tower of London on a travellator a few times. Nothing I’ve seen anywhere else is close to what is on display in Canberra at the moment.

This is how close we got to things – even with a weekend crowd. This is Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara:

I’m really hoping the new director realises what an amazing gallery we have here. His “vision” for the gallery’s future sounds, frankly, like garbage. I want more Versailles and Cartier and Impressionists exhibitions, please. Not “homegrown modern art”!

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End of the Day in Canberra

End of the Day Winter Sun Sunset Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 4th July 2018 Nature

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04/07/2018 · 6:01 pm

Winter in Canberra

Big skies in Canberra as we drove past Parliament House on the weekend.

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