Canberra Day Forty Six

Wednesday 26th October, 2016 – the uber late edition!

Well folks, this is going to be the last regular blog for a while. I’ve kept going writing about my journey in Canberra throughout weekends away and visits out of Canberra that somehow related to our stay in Canberra, but now we’re headed to New Zealand for 10 days on a trip planned well before we knew about Canberra. And I’m not at all sure how much internet I’ll have as we travel. If I can, I’ll absolutely let you know what we’re up to, otherwise I’ll pick up where I’m leaving off with Canberra days when we get back. The only dilemma: should I keep numbering the days as they pass, or pause until we get back? Still undecided…any ideas?

Aaaahhhh wifi! I’ve been dying to finish this blog today the 27th but the airport wifi signal was appallingly weak, my phone wouldn’t let me use the Maccas good wifi because it decided it wasn’t safe and I couldn’t override it, and neither plane had wifi! Yes I’m here safe and sound in New Zealand but that’s tomorrow’s news.

I’ve been meaning to get the car serviced for a while. Like a month. It’s overdue in kilometres, and by date. Of course I put it off until the very last minute when hubby realised that we need it tonight to drive to Sydney to catch a plane overseas! Luckily yesterday I found a place that would fit me in today so I had an early-for-me-right-now start before 8am to drop the car off at 8am. At the same time I needed to hit the bike shop for disk brake spacers that hubby needed for deconstructing his bike into a proper bike bag piece of luggage to take with us. So check and check, 2 jobs down before 8.30am! Kicking goals. Now I have to walk home! It’s not far but you know, it’s walking. Not always my first love. I walk home along Lonsdale Street, the hip eating out venue with lots of nice restuarants then through the beautiful lines of trees in Haig Park, over the hill and home. This park has cement paths around it and through it but everywhere there are tracks cut through the grass into the dirt going wherever! Do that many people not want to walk by the squares? 

Now onto packing day for our New Zealand trip.

I won a 5 (read 3) day cycling tour for 2 people from the tour group that ran the 7 (read 5) day tour that I did with Wheel Women earlier this year in April. Why the edit? I’m just a teensy bit more than tired of the arrangements being misrepresented by the individual from the tour company that I’ve been dealing with since I found out that I’d won this tour. 5 days? Okay technically yes, but dinner on the night before the tour hardly makes one day and ditto for breakfast on the day after the last day of tour. I’m calling it 3 days. Grrr. I’ve had not a little annoyance and anxiety with this person today, and since June!! From 1) not booking us the new direct flights to New Zealand from Canberra because we won the tour and weren’t actually paying for it and they were expensive, oh and the T&C’s back them up, to 2) having to pay for our Napier to Christchurch transfer on the way home because we aren’t paying for the tour and had changed the New Zealand exit point from Auckland (even though they would have paid it if we went back to Auckland!), and 3) most annoyingly, after saying they would book the flights in June, July and August, they finally booked them 12 days before we flew out! So much for forward planning for our planned catch ups with friends!

I hadn’t intended on it, but yet another reminder from him that we weren’t paying for the tour and therefore should settle with grace for whatever he saw fit to organise for us and be grateful saw me start the process of “feedback” a little earlier than intended! Then I got “what if” anxiety: did I say too much, did I say it too soon, would there be repercussions, but seriously he was out of line but was I too? Have I really “misunderstood” as often as he is suggesting? A giant lump in my throat all day because of this that I couldn’t get rid of! Onto the packing, do something to soothe your anxiety by ticking of your list. 3 sets of bike clothes, helmet, bike shoes, casual clothes, smart clothes for eating out, etc etc. All packed in half of my suitcase ready for hubby to put in his stuff. I still had a few things left over to pack but I figured I’d wait for him. Then I decided to do a cull. Out go the sneakers, I’ll wear my bike shoes on the tour then when we meet up afterwards with friends in Christchurch I’ll wear my casual shoes. One down. Don’t need my tripod, I never use it at home so doubt I’ll use it on holidays. Etc. Out went anything I couldn’t absolutely justify; trimming the fat. Turned out hubby only needed a tiny bit of my suitcase, but that’s okay, room for souvenirs!

So up before 8am, jobs ticked off, anxiety, packing, that bloke!! I knew he could be disorganised but we are now amazed that his business survives! I felt exhausted so looked at my phone; only 12pm! Bad luck, back to bed. I’m waiting on a call from the society of hospital pharmacists on a continuing professional development (CPD) deadline issue, and they ended up waking me up after an hour, but that was about right. A phone call to say I needed to head down to Canberra Centre to pick up hubby’s contact lenses. I was meant to ride down, but when we went to ride down the street to get tea last night, my front wheel had a flat even though it had just been in the car! Not wanting to change it in a hurry, I stuck it in the apartment and meant to change it this morning but you know! I bought a new spare tube though; does that count for something? So Uber it is! By this stage the tour operator stress is behind me; now I’m fretting about getting my CPD record printed and posted before we head away. I know, so old-fashioned! Hubby reminded me that I can print screen it into paint and save it as a Word document then email it! In the middle of a stress event, changing your thinking process is difficult. You have been going around and around in circles, and have more or less worn a path into the grass; you’re kind of rutted into the path. Stepping up out of it isn’t easy, so every time is a victory! I managed to squash the no I couldn’t possibly and say I’d think about it, and a while later I accepted it as the new approach. Aaahhh anxiety! A wander around the mall near Canberra showed some of the dirtier seedier side of Canberra city; don’t think I’ll be back around there. Needed another nap later on to recover from all that.

Picked up the car and paid 4 times the usual service amount! Got my CPD sorted largely by hubby doing it! Got the bike bag, suitcases, hand luggage in the car and bike on the roof and drove off into the most gorgeously vivid strongly colored bright pink and deep orange sunset that I can ever remember seeing! Our snaps just don’t compare! And off we drive to Sydney!

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Canberra Day Forty Four

Monday 24th October, 2016

Not exactly a Canberra day but…

What a lovely day! A truly delightful day. Beautiful weather and excellent company. Today I hung out with a good friend of mine and her charming little 3 year old man; Mr Independent. I drove down to Wagga Wagga last night to stay a couple of nights with them. We’ve been trying to organise it from Melbourne for AGES but it hasn’t happened. Moving to Canberra actually made it easier cos its closer than Melbourne so FINALLY we’re having our hangout! A sleep in for me this morning, aahh! Then a quick brekky and off down the green highway to the lovely town of Junee in New South Wales for a unique experience visiting the licorice and chocolate factory. If you are ever in the area, this is absolutely a must visit and I’m so glad I got to see it. You can see the rotating machine that coats organic licorice made from scratch on site with Belgian chocolate, the chocolate polishing bubble machine that buffs up the chocolate pieces once the THIRTY to FORTY layers off chocolate have been applied creating a matt effect, the licorice pipes and cooling system, and you can actually make rocky road or an enormous chocolate freckle. Plus a brilliant gift shop, great cafe, a great little video tour and a rustic setting…shall I go on? Oh, and vertical bowling with a ball make entirely from licorice!! Such fun. Plus chatting all the way there and back, like old friends can. What a lovely time we had!

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How adorable! Mr 3 pretty excited to be making his own giant freckle!!

And that was only the day time. Another friend of theirs had a birthday today: I know, how many birthdays can there be? So my friend worked through the afternoon while I sat and chatted (I know my specialties, plus I dunno how to work the Thermomix) and cooked us up an enormous feast! Even the 10 of us couldn’t finish it off, with a huge main course, dessert, birthday cake and fruit platter plus drinks laid on. A lovely evening making new friends and catching up with old ones. Then to bed on a full stomach ready for a huge sleep.