Canberra Day 71

[Monday 21st November, 2016] A hot dry day, warm morning

It may seem surprising but so far I still haven’t visited the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). I think that’s because I’ve had the Melbourne gardens in my head and have been thinking of all of the walking that’s involved there, so the thought of doing all that walking here has made me hesitant to jump in. The same reason why it took me so long to get to the zoo! But of course that’s silly on a couple of levels.

1) I’ve never done the whole Melbourne gardens in one session. I’ve done one section one day then come again another day and done another section and so on. I’ve done a free guided walking tour that did an inner circle of the gardens, ¬†and a bird watching walk that did one half of the gardens, but never have I attempted to do it all at once. So why would I try here? I have time, I can come back as many times as it takes if I want to do it all. And after all, I might not WANT to do it all. And that’s okay. I don’t have to do everything. I might just want to taste to compare to Melbourne, and that’s enough. Apart from myself there’s no one saying that I SHOULD do it all; it’s an optional thing to do. But I’ve got myself strung out on the SHOULDs and MUSTs until I’m a bit more barmy than usual. I CAN’T go home without doing EVERYthing, MUST get everything finished!! It’s ridiculous but it’s hard to change. So I’m driving myself like a task master. Trying to wind that back but our deadline has been confirmed and now that we’re on a schedule, it’s hard to relax.

2) I’ve been doing so much walking while we’ve been here in Canberra, much more than I’d been doing in Melbourne, and a lot of it on hills. My stamina has definitely improved! My cardio fitness has improved. I puff a little less, I get up hills a little quicker and in general I’m fitter than I was at any point when I was at the Melbourne gardens. So why wouldn’t I be able to get around ANBG? That’s a question I don’t think to ask often; why wouldn’t I be able? I mean apart from dripping with sweat as soon as I got out of the car, and the blisters in old comfy shoes from feet swelling, and the irritable bowel syndrome which is giving me cramps to cripple a boxer today and leaving me feeble with not much resistance to going back home and back to bed. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I??

Located at the foot of Black Mountain, recognisable from anywhere in Canberra for the Telstra tower sticking up well into the sky from the top of the mountain, the gardens are set on the lower slopes. I believe its actually called Mount Annan but Black Mountain is all I’ve heard. It’s a fully native garden, which was staggering to me; I didn’t realise that so many of the plants I’ve seen around were natives! I didn’t realise that they ran a tour, but I’d missed it anyway. So I started out bravely because I wanted to be able to say I’d done something for the day slightly more than I wanted to go back home! In fact I had already been back home. Twice. It really is a miracle that I made it to the gardens at all! First I forgot my shorts. I was about to turn into the carpark when I remembered, and it’s just not worth it without them, especially in the heat with sweating. So I went back. While I was there I remembered to take a hat which I thought was a good effort; spontaneous remembering! But I forgot my drink bottle so around the block again! Some days I do make my days overly tedious compared to what they could be! I just struggle with my memory. But I finally got there, and was well inside when I remembered that I’d forgotten my drink bottle in the car! No turning back now! Luckily Canberra is very good at putting bubblers in lots of places and I could use the drink stations inside the gardens. I spent two hours wondering around the rainforest exhibit. It’s meant to take 18 minutes so obviously my pace was a little off! Actually I was creeping! Mainly because it was shady in there, also because it was cooler in there and the day was heating up by this stage. And I was stopping for birds all the way along. Plus I was just feeling seedy and sore so I crept along and around the fabulous boardwalks, up and down stairs, stopping to survive a cramp or ten, hoping that my bowels would hold it together til I got back to the cafe: they did, they never haven’t, but they’ve given me a few tense crampy moments! Cursing myself for eating apricot delight and jam. I really need to stick to my food plan. That was it for what I could manage; no more for today. Off to bed! It’s easier to ride out cramps and bad days while you’re sleeping! Two hours later and I woke up much better.

And since it was still only 4.30pm I headed down to Canberra Centre. I’ve been meaning to get a camera bag, should have gotten one when I bought the camera. We thought it might fit in the old bag but no. Hubby has been worried about how I’m carting my camera around so I thought I better get one. I’m trying hard to look after my camera carefully but my inate clumsiness, which has gotten worse on meds, means my possessions just don’t last in pristine condition very long! So off to JB wifi. I’ve never shopped there until I bought my laptop recently but the service there was really good so now its my store. I hate shopping around! I hate specs and details and particulars! I didn’t always. I used to love all this stuff, comparing what had what, making lists of comparisons, reading the brochures for specs, finding out all about everything so I could choose what absolutely best for me. But now? Attention span gone!! Okay well maybe its not so bad, just feels like it some days. Anyway, I took my camera and accessories and tested out a bunch of bags until I found one that suited me. One of the criteria is that it has to fit my “other stuff” in the bag once I have my camera out wherever I am. You know, drink bottle, sunscreen, mobile phone, car keys, sweat rag, etc. I tried out a bunch and bought one, and so far its pretty awesome.

And then hubby came home, we had tea, and it was a beautiful evening so we finally got around to doing the drive around all of the embassies in the lovely warm evening air with the windows down soaking up the sunset and the incredible buildings of some of the 92 embassies, high commissions, treasuries that makes their home in Canberra. This is totally worth doing! Some countries go all out in their native style and design incredible buildings. Some, ie. America, are works of art for the sheer amount of security staff, cars, technology, fences, barbed wire, and I could go on! Some are modest, some take up a whole block. Fascinating to see each and every one of them. And since the evening still wasn’t over? We headed up Mount Ainslie to the lookout to check out the rest of the sunset and the gorgeous dusk light over Canberra city as the lights came on. Also highly recommended!


One of the many beautiful views from Mount Ainslie at dusk