Canberra Day 88

24th Feb 2017 – Firstly, my apologies for taking forever to get this post done! It’s almost irrelevant now, but I said I would do it, so…I am, on principle, IF that stands for anything by now. Some major procrastination has been going on around my writing and also the fact that I have to choose 1 photo out of 1000 photos, and out of 3 big events for this day.  But let’s just get this out and done.

[Thursday 8th December, 2016]

Day 88!! Can you believe that we’re this close to 90?? It has come around so fast and I can’t believe we’ll be leaving Canberra soon! I’m actually going to feel some pain leaving this place: I’ve gotten quite attached to this city and its attractions and its people and its design and so many little things. I almost feel like I could live here, if it wasn’t for the winter weather, and the summer weather a bit. It’s been a wonderful 3 months in my life, but it’s time to think about going home and keeping up the momentum that I’ve built up here. Meanwhile my poor husband is having nowhere near as much fun! He’s working very long days starting at 8am and going til 8 or 9pm! It’s not sustainable and he can’t keep it up for much longer, but they will not extend the deadline even though its nigh on impossible to meet!! So I’m free as a bird from dawn to dusk this week, although I’m not loving the dusk aspect, and he’s eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at work! Its not good. Speaking conservatively.

First of all, and something that I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time, is the graduation parade of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). Since the Remembrance Day parade at the War Memorial I’ve been looking for any occasion to hear that band again! The Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon are incredible!! Unfortunately there aren’t that many opportunities, and even less that fall in our time here. I’d love to hear the Australian Rugby Choir again too, but since that isn’t going to happen I’ve pre-ordered their CD coming out for Christmas. So I’ve had this date marked in my calendar for a while. Turns out I had the academy and the Royal Military College confused, and I could have gone to both and heard the band twice, but I thought it was one and the same. So instead of the backdrop of the ceremony being the paved parade ground and historic buildings of Duntroon, it was the parade oval of the academy. Never mind, I’m here and sitting in a great seat and ready to go. Turns out if you dress up, wear some heels, wait til 5 minutes before starting time and walk straight to an empty seat at the front, everyone accepts it! Pick up a program from the seat, get out my fan and camera, and don’t start any conversations; well, that’s right in my wheelhouse! Except I’m in the sun and it is BURNING my feet! Move back a row and closer towards the big leafy tree; still not good. Move back another row; people are staring. Sit down and don’t move! I’m in the shade body wise now, much better, but now the tree is hanging down a bit and obscuring my vision, and my feet are still burning! Tough, the ceremony is starting. And here comes the Australia’s Federation Guard onto the parade ground to perform the precise foot manouveurs of the graduation ceremony as a united marching force of Army, Navy and Air Force! Very impressive! Then the wonderful band, then the graduates, then the Governor General in the government Bentley, the inspection of the guard, and so on until the throwing of the caps. And in that 2 hour or so ceremony (more of the so) only 6 (and I use the word only sarcastically) of the graduates and Federation Guard standing still in the blazing sun had to carted off the grounds. And I mean carted. 3 service people actually fainted to the ground, the other three started staggering and wobbling around, and I swear one guy came THIS CLOSE to impaling himself on his ceremonial sword! Hopefully it’s not that sharp! Each one had to be frog marched off, and its weird but all of the people in charge of the escorting off of their fellow people were short; like they could fit under the patient’s armpits! Is that intentional? I’m so glad I went, it was really interesting and certainly not something you get the chance to do everyday. Home to bed for a short nap after all that exertion!

Then after a nap and lunch I went to the weekly Thursday only behind the scenes tour at the National Library. If you ever get a chance to do this, its a brilliant option; it is incredible back there! Full sized newspapers from the 1900s onwards bound into enormous books, audio and microfilm files of newspapers filling dark passage after dim passage of small drawers, a 2015 robot trundling books and audio and bits and pieces all over place on command announcing itself around every corner, and so much more! Truly fascinating. So much going on that you could never imagine. And all in a bombproof cellar under the main library! Definitely go if you get the chance.

Then another main event of the day, and also something that I’ve been waiting for: this time the fascinating Circus 1903 that has no animals and is located in the Canberra Theatre, not in a tent. It’s after hours, which I’ve been avoiding so I’m home when hubby is home, but he’s not going to be home tonight til late due to work so out I go! This is a circus based on circuses in 1903 as it suggests, so its a very interesting set with fabulous old fashioned costumes, a super tall New Yorker announcer and such a variety of circus acts. And an enormous puppet elephant, with a baby elephant! And when I say puppet, you have no idea! They were incredibly lifelike and very cleverly controlled, so impressive. All of the acts were very professional: balancing on boards sitting on progressive layers of rollers, cycling and skipping rope on the high wire, acrobatics in a dangling ring, proper knife throwing that had my heart beating fast, bicycle tricks, human throwing and juggling on the floor and from heights, regular juggling, and more. A fabulous night out!! The end!

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Canberra Day 87

[Wednesday 7th December, 2016]

I was still a bit sluggish today but anyway, things to do, people to see, so off we go. I’ve been to the Canberra Glassworks before and really enjoyed it: the exhibition of spring flowers and themes timed with Floriade, the working glass blowers, the shop, and really the whole experience. But I’ve seen a new exhibition advertised, In Depth by Joanna Bone and Shaun Micallef so I wanted to check that out. I could have ridden my bike around to that side of the lake but I didn’t. Just not the day for it for me. And the exhibition was stunning, it really was. The prices will also stun you! But when you consider the hours of work and attention to detail and craftsmanship put into each item, you can sort of see where they’re going with the prices; it’s just not very practical for the average Joe decorating a house. I mean I’d love a Christmas tree covered in $30 baubles, but it would only take one child to destroy the whole shebang, and take out hundreds of dollars worth of decorations! Not really worth it, but it would look fantastic!

So I went around the exhibition and it is truly amazing; I have no idea HOW they get the glass into the colours and patterns and shapes and imitations that they do! And its not just a couple of items, its a huge collection of different pieces all tying together for a fabulous show. I asked and found out that the artists themselves were actually working today in the studio!! How exciting! So I went up the elevator to the mezzanine floor that looks out over the kilns and hot workshop to see the artists, and what do you know? I’d already watched them for ages when I was hear last time! So that was pretty cool. Then I walked out through the cold workshop and YAY, today it was being used! So I met another artist, Amy Schlief from the South Coast who is a painter and glass engraver. For her current project she was using old bed linen to paint her design then overlaying it with a recycled window and frame, and engraving the design into the glass with a diamond tip grinder. Boy is that noisy!! So far she’d done 2 solid days of grinding, and I don’t know how she hadn’t gone batty!! Its such a screech and really gets inside your ears! Finally I checked out the shop and bought myself a gorgeous paperweight with a rock pool inside it, ate myself a burger at the popular Brodburger restaurant attached to the Glassworks (the actual burger being highly undercooked) and moved on to the next thing.

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Its very difficult to try to convey the 3D nature of this beautiful glass work, but this is a rock pool inside a domed paperweight; you can almost see the seaweed moving with the waves

Now its time for the weekly Wednesday Carillon concert. I’ve been once, but I’m going again just to see what other songs they play. I never knew that they actually composed specifically for the carillon. In fact I never knew that there was such a thing as a carillon, let alone more than one! But they always manage to work in a couple of rock or pop songs which is fun to hear coming out as chimes and bells.

Now for a little drive out of town to check out the Air disaster memorial and have a walk in the Piallago redwoods; things I’ve been meaning to do since the start. But it turns out that when I got out there that I really didn’t want to walk. It was getting kind of warm and I just didn’t want to get all sweaty so I drove as far as I could at each place, and then turned around. But I ticked them off my list anyway because the chances of me getting out there again and actually doing the walks isn’t that great. Maybe when we go and visit another time.

Then some groceries on the way home, a bit of housework, and the weekly medicine box packing. And that’s a fair bit packed in so I’m happy with the day! Time for a nap.

Canberra Day 86

[Tuesday 6th December, 2016]

A disappointingly slow and unfilled day for a day in the last 2 weeks of Canberra! But some days are just like that and you just have to run with it. It was a rainy day all day and since hubby only has to ride 2km and wears his regular clothes to work, I had to drive him to and from work today. I don’t mean that I “have to” in a bad way, I’m more than happy to have a reason to get up, and to get up early and saving his clothes from getting splattered is as good a reason as any.

Since I was already out of the house I stayed out to avoid going straight back to bed! The early morning fuzz takes a while to burn off so it’s best to keep busy until same clarity emerges. So I had breakfast in Lonsdale Street, a street of excellent eateries literally 3 blocks up the road from our apartment which is very reminiscent of the Melbourne dining scene. We’ve had several really great experiences there, and this morning continued that without a doubt. I chose Elk and Pea and the decor alone was to die for, birds and street art inside and an eclectic mix of bits and pieces. And service!! Service is so hard to come by these days! People just grunt at you or ignore you or frown, etc. It’s lovely to find someone who smiles, says good morning, genuinely asks how you are going, explains the menu, gives you the specials and options, takes your drink order and comes back to take your food order in a timely manner. You may or may not know that I’m a Trip Advisor reviewer, somewhat passive aggressively, so I try to give every good restaurant the credit they deserve…and so on. Sometimes the food doesn’t even come into it. But in this case it did, because it was delicious! It was a variation on baked eggs except with corn chips, guacamole, sour cream, chorizo and the usual salsa. Yum!!

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One of the elk at Elk and Pea

Then some shopping on Lonsdale Street at the uber flashy op shop, literally better brands than I have in my wardrobe! The window dressing and display in the store could be in many upper level clothes stores. And a browse around the excellent baby shop. I love a good baby shop with unique brands and interesting options; there aren’t that many around.

Also today I had a job offer! Quite out of the blue, but still flattering. It was from a pharmacist in America that I’ve connected with through Facebook, who currently works with a cosmetics company and it was an opportunity to be the first representative in Australia. It’s not quite my cup of tea, but if any of you readers are interested I believe they are still looking for someone; let me know.

A few minor bits and pieces of jobs involving texts, phone calls, house stuff, letters blah blah and then we ate out for dinner at Hopscotch. Yes twice in one day but its our last little while so we’ll treat ourselves. Besides it was a beautiful evening to sit outside and eat a nice pub meal: parma and chips! Delicious! One more day done.

Canberra Day 85

Well, this ’90 days of Canberra’ blog has really gotten away from me! Can you believe this was more than a month ago? Where has the time gone? I still feel like my feet have barely touched the ground since coming back to Melbourne! Three days at home, 4 days at Drouin, 4 days at home, 3 days at Phillip Island, 1 day at Geelong and Portarlington, 1 day at Williamstown, 3 days at home, 2 days at Ballarat and Buninyong, and now I’ve been home since Monday and its Thursday. There was also a day at Mt Evelyn somewhere. It’s been a blast! But its hard to settle in at home when you are here and there and everywhere! Now that hubby has gone back to work this week, I’ll try to get my feet on the ground and fully unpack my stuff and get into some kind of rhythm of cooking, cleaning, washing, bike riding, bird watching…actually not that different from Canberra, except a bit more housework!

So, did you even remember that I hadn’t finished the 90 days of Canberra? It’s been going around in my mind but I’ve spent so much of the summer packing and unpacking and travelling somewhere new that my mind hasn’t settled enough to write. Hopefully I’m in a good writing mood now and I’ll try to knock off some of this blog.

I debated with myself whether to even finish the Canberra days blog as the time drew out, but I said I would do it, so I will do it. Forgive me if I lack on the details of the day; it’s been a while! We are going to have more than 90 days of Canberra by about a week, but we’re almost there. The last two weeks in Canberra were a bit of a cram as I tried to squeeze in everything that was still outstanding. I didn’t quite make it, but I really tried! I have a short list of things to check out next time we go; yep, we’re definitely going back at some point!

[Monday 5th December, 2016]

A very important person in our lives passed away early this morning after a short illness so that flavoured the day and the week. It had come fairly quickly but as she was elderly and had a lot of pain we couldn’t wish her back as she was. But she will be greatly missed and her legacy will be sure to live on in the family’s hearts.

My day went on however with the National Library of Australia’s exhibition ‘The Sell’ and a free guided tour. This is a brilliant display of all things advertising across 200 years in Australia. It truly was marvellous to see the progression through time from the early days of advertising when the front page of the newspaper was not current events, but was entirely ads in British currency. Then colour and pictures came in, then women became the enticement to buy as sexy objects in ads, then women became the principal buyers for the household as opposed to men so there was an entirely different flavour. Then the importance of buying Australian developed and finally we come into the modern day. This is one of the most interesting and informative exhibitions I’ve ever seen and I went back a couple of times before I left Canberra.

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Then I went to the Royal Australian Mint for an afternoon tour. I’ve been wanting to go for a while, but kept missing the tour time by going to other things. But today I made it, and I’m so glad I did the tour; as always! So many little interesting titbits get shared, and it really makes the experience more interesting. A terrific collection of old coins showing the history of money in Australia, some information on the latest coins and notes in Australian currency, and a look at where its all made, robots and all.

Then some Thai and tenpin bowling with our lovely brother and sister-in-law to really top off a lovely day! A tinge of sadness across it all but also thankfulness for having known a wonderful lady. And appreciation again of this opportunity to experience all that Canberra has to offer, footloose and fancy free.