Canberra Day 90

[Saturday 10th December]

Well here we are at Day Ninety! Can you believe it?? The original mission was to get to this place and we got there. Don’t worry though, we’re not quite finished…I promised to go to the last Canberra day if it was after Day 90. And that isn’t quite here, but don’t worry, not long to go.

This is our last weekend in Canberra. Well actually we’re spending today on the road and tomorrow in Melbourne so I guess last weekend was our last weekend. Too bad we didn’t know at the time; that’s how life goes I guess.

So we’re leaving for Melbourne this morning, driving through the day instead of the night for a change. It’s a nice change. Starting out a 7.5 hour drive after 5pm doesn’t make for good math. So this is the view we had all day today…not too shabby! And that’s all she wrote.

20161210_133750

Canberra Day Thirty Eight

[Tuesday 18th October]

Beautiful day again, ah spring! Blue skies, warm temperatures (well, by the time I got up anyway!) but that jolly wind is still persisting. It’s what I remember most from spring when I was growing up, wind, but man it does get old blowing your hair into your eyes and drying your eyes out. Especially when I’m thinking of going for a ride; it really does make me rethink. Today I had planned to do something that hubby has been keen for me to do for a while: ride from home. I’m a big lover of the safe ride: fully prepared, drive to the start of the ride which is on a lovely paved/concrete trail, ride the trail, pack up and drive home. Riding from home on unknown roads or pedestrian pavements makes me a bit nervous. I’m sure I have the skills, but its the unknown and I was getting palpitations about heading out today. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, but I was always with my Wheel Women group and they had the way mapped out. Because it was a shortish ride, I had decided to wear regular clothes, skirt and top; I wasn’t sure how I would go with that as I’m used to riding in proper cycling clothes. My destination was Parliament House; wasn’t sure if full Lycra would go down!! Although after sitting in on Question Time in the House of Reps on the whole gun shenanigans, a monkey suit would have fitted in well, let alone Lycra! I sat in for an hour and heard the same question rephrased (or not!) asked by Bill Shorten of either Malcolm Turnbull or the Defense Minister at least 5 times! Apparently they continued in that vein for 5 hours!! It got a bit tedious, but it was fascinating to see the process live with the staff running around getting water and running messages, and lots of shouting and disrespect of each other. 5 Labor ministers got tossed out in that first hour after each one was warned once, and they’d started a long process of trying to forcibly prevent each other from speaking, ringing the bells, counting votes, seconding motions, wow, no wonder nothing ever gets done!

I would have liked to sit in on the committee about costing, but wasn’t there at the right time. So I checked out the view from the roof, the magna carta that’s currently on display, the new $5 note display, Queen Victoria’s desk which she gave as a momento to Australia, the impressive Great Hall with that gorgeous enormous tapestry and the entry hall; marble much? Quite an amazing visit really. I might go back and watch the Senate when its sitting, and check out the committee sittings, and I missed the free 45 minute tour by that much because I got distracted by all the Noisy Friarbirds outside! I’d seen one briefly in Victorian bush ever, one in the bush at Goorooyarroo reserve the other day that I got quite excited about, and now a conservative guess at 11 right outside Parliament house!! But if I never get back I’m happy with that visit. If only I could be as happy about the school yard that was the House of Reps!! “I said you did, so you did, no return”. “No, thats final, can’t hear you, lah lah lah lah!”. “I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?”.Argh! Glad to get back on my bike and head home even though it was blowing a gale; I’m really glad that I got that bracket for my phone, follow that GPS! Even so I took what I thought was an alternative way and ended up quite a way off! The roads just aren’t parallel like I expect; they are all at angles to each other!

img_0958-2

The enormous detailed tapestry in the Great Hall based on a painting by the famous artist Arthur Boyd, so thick and I have no idea how they made it!

So a day out, and 12 bonus kilometres in my legs. I’ve been caught a bit behind by taking such a break off my bike. Next week (yes next week!) we head to New Zealand for our bike tour. The stages are 20km (with a bonus 20km option), 35km and 50km! Gotta get some more kms in my legs before that!! It’s all flat but that’s even more reason that I don’t want to be flagging. And I want it to be fun for hubby, given that the low distances, trail style and wine and dine type of itinerary aren’t really up his ally. But it’s just going to be a fun time regardless we’ve agreed. And hey, its free! So what better to do after a day out and a bike ride? Nap. Then wake up to cooked dinner by hubby, absolutely delicious! A successful day.

 

 

 

Canberra Day Thirty Six

[Sunday 16th October, 2016]

Since we’ve moved closer to the city we have a shorter drive to our morning fellowship but the drive is just as beautiful! And today is a beautiful day. Finally, people are saying, finally its spring! Lovely blue skies, warm sun, breezes; aahhh! And for more than one day at a time. A lovely group of people on a lovely day; life is pretty good.

And then lunch. Well we aren’t organised for it so eating out it is, such a shame. I mentioned Piallago to hubby a while back and he brought it up for today. Perfect. It consists of one short little road that goes off the highway into a little country nook and to my count has 7 plant nurseries, 1 moonlight limo bus, Piallago Estate and ballooning. I’d only been there during the week when it was dead quiet on the road and only a couple of cars in each nursery car park. The weekend was something else! Cars parked in every possible place that a car would park and then some! Far out! I guess that’s what you get when you combine nurseries, the weekend and a beautiful day! Anyway despite the majority of people having booked in advance, obviously knowing more than we did, we got a perfect little table mostly in the shade, out of the wind and with a great view. Luck of the walk-in customer! A great little lunch, enjoying time in the weather, chatting; spot on! Nip home for an hour’s nap, off to the mission meeting, then back to one of our new friend’s places for dinner. A lovely couple and their Miss 4 and Mister Nearly 3. We had such a fun time with the kids and with their parents. A great dinner and a lovely night. A nice lovely little day.

20161016_122408

Canberra Day Thirty Four

[Friday 14th October 2016]

Today was a great day! Not every moment, but wouldn’t that be asking a bit much in ordinary situations? But the not-so-great moments got turned around to become something good so all in all I’m stoked. I really enjoyed myself today! It started with a plan of what to do for the day. The last couple of days have been less than productive, which I don’t enjoy, and after all its day 34; time is cracking along! More than a month already, can you believe it? On days where I wake up and don’t have a plan for the day, they tend to be the days that I roll over and go back to sleep, because why not, and drift aimlessly through to early afternoon before making up my mind about what to do then having to rush about to do it, or missing the chance. So I decided Thursday night that before I went to bed I was making a plan, and when morning came I was sticking to it. The plan that Chester and I came up with was to wake up, get dressed in my cycling gear and ride my bike down to one of the streets in our new suburb that has a lot of eateries. I would go to Eighty Twenty café that hubby recommended and have breakfast, then check out the bike path that runs along Sullivan’s Creek, somewhere that I’d seen and wanted to check out, and that hubby has ridden part of, I think. And I did! Add in the bonus of remembering to call at the bike shop and get a bracket so I can attach my mobile phone to my handlebars for GPS on the go. Minus not actually navigating my way successfully to Sullivan’s Creek after my phone went flat and rendered my new bracket moot!! I haven’t really got my directions at this new place, and all the through roads around here have bends in them! What a crazy situation! So you just think you’ve gotten your bearings and the road take a 45 degree bend! Now where are you? But in the process I was in sensory heaven soaking up the lush green budding and leafy trees forming avenues over the roads, and the beautiful flowering gardens in all colours with some trees still blossoming, and well-kept front areas of houses in our neighbourhood, and probably the bordering suburbs as well; not really sure where I went! Eventually I hit Anzac Avenue which was somewhere well in the wrong direction from where I was meant to be, then my phone died, so I had a lovely meandering time trying to figure out how to get home! It was actually just so nice to dawdle around checking out the gardens and lawns, and taking detours wherever I wanted. Luckily I’d picked up some names of street nearby to ours already…remembering this is day 3 living in this new place!

I got home and felt like I could go for more so I did another street and luckily came around the block back again. All up about 9km but just a good amount to get going again. I haven’t ridden for a couple of weeks with rain, then wind, then pervasive disinterest! So it was good to feel like I can still do it, and still get that nice little spike of feel good from rolling around the suburbs on my bike. Plus the weather just turned any outdoor activity into sheer bliss! 20 degrees, chill breeze, blue skies making for great biking. That ride set me up for the rest of the day. Everything else good that happened after felt like it happened because of the ride.

I mentioned breakfast was at Eighty Twenty in Braddon on Lonsdale Street. Quite lovely, but I found the menu a bit challenging; not your standard egg and bacon! More your quinoa, nuts, almond milk, home baked granola type place, but in the end I did have their smashed avocado on toast with 2 eggs and 3 bits of asparagus on top and peas and feta around the plate. It was delicious actually, I’d have it again for sure. Just to show you can have eat-out breakfast without bacon! Sitting in the sun with my bike next to me did fill me with some feelings of accomplishment. Here I’d planned this thing that I’d been putting off really for the last week or two, and I was doing it! I can follow through. I’m not a wash out, a failure, useless. I can do it, and the proof is that I did do it! So nothing to stop me next time, hey? Except carrying my bike down the stairs from our level one apartment; that’s not an easy feat! I guess practice makes perfect.

20161014_112440

SO what else to do on a sunshiny day but tackle something I’ve been wanting to do: check out the Mount Ainslie lookout. I went once before you might remember but it was in a cloud and you couldn’t see a single thing! Today you could see forever or to the beautiful blue hills that border Canberra. Blue skies, sunshine, and the view is spectacular! Always worth the short drive up. I went planning on getting view photos only, but thought I’d walk along a short track back from the lookout itself, heard a bird and it was an hour and a half later when I looked up! Only two rows of trees, one on either side of me, one tree deep, but I got some spectacular birds! Great photos and extended views of a bird I’ve only seen once and got one muffled shot of that first time, a lifer in a Little Eagle soaring above (that was exciting, never forget to look up!), and other interesting birds being very conducive to photos! And I didn’t even have to try, they were all just there, going about their business. The best way to watch birds!

Went home for a nap, but was too excited to look at the photos from the morning. That was a task well worth doing because I found there were 2 different species of bird that I’d photographed but hadn’t realized what they were! Two more for the morning’s list! I knew they were something different but they were too far away; luckily my camera brings them closer J

It was all too exciting, so after a couple of hours I headed back to find the actual trail. Not the Kokoda trail near the lookout; that’s for mountain goats! So I headed down the hill looking for a trail. Not the old tip trail, it’s too rough and large gravel and steep; I’d do an ankle! Not the next one down; its appears to go into the shooting range from the back! So it turns out that the trail I did way back last year when we were here for our hosts wedding was the best one, and the one I should be doing. They need to make a brochure like they have for Black Mountain; it would save a lot of precious birding time, wandering all around everywhere. The first half of the walk was in the wrong direction really, but because there weren’t many/any birds other than the pesky Noisy Miners (!) I kept up a bit of pace and did a pretty nice 2km walk before (re) finding the best spot. So I had my eyes open to other things: rabbits, kangaroos, a cute echidna! And everlasting daisies, tons of them! They are all just about to open the buds; I’ve made a date to go back next week and check it out.

Two successes of my later birding walk were walking alone in the bush (although I have been building a tolerance to this with lots of walks lately, this one was a bit more removed from carparks and passersby) and walking alone in the bush at dusk approaching dark. My recent anxiety flare up has brought these closer to the front of my mind again which is a pest! I’d squashed them down nicely for quite a while. I’ve always been terrified of the monsters in the dark. We had an outside toilet as kids and whatever age I was I’d still wake one of my parents to go with me. But it didn’t stop me having to bite the bullet of the adrenaline rush that was running from the back door to the toilet door in the direct and utterly exposed lie of fire of those who waited at 2am on the other side of the green mesh wall to gun me down for some unapparent reason!! I was always terrified of gun men, and kidnappers, and rapists. I still am to a degree, but I’m more rational in questioning the reason: a) why anyone would want to shoot me, b) why they would wait in the cold all night right there near the toilet in case I needed to go to the toilet, c) how they would know the layout of our house and toilet, d) why they would shoot a child with a shot gun (the only gun I knew, and so assumed they had) and so on. If you start thinking like this it does all start to crumble, but you have to make that conscious switch to think like that, which is indeed the challenge. Anyhow, you’ll be pleased to hear that no thugs or bandits were crouched behind tree stumps in an enormous area populated by a whole 2 walkers waiting to loot us and so on. I returned to my car, by this time practically in the dark, unharmed, and with only a little adrenaline coursing through my veins. And so concluded my happy day! Exercise, the beautiful outdoors, challenging myself to eat outside my comfort zone, finding my way around new suburbs unaided, beauty and birds to be photographed; how lucky am I? A low key dinner and sitting on the couch to end a wonderful day.

Canberra Day Eleven

When it rains in Canberra, it rains!

None of these Melbourne showers, and squalls, and sun showers with rainbows, and breaks of nice weather then another shower, from clouds to blue skies and back again. Just steady solid rain from well before I woke up, until 4pm; just constant, consistent rain requiring wipers on continuous cycle. Rivers have overflowed, lakes are breaking their banks, creeks are rapids; there must be a lot of water coming from upstream, and the ground around here is already sodden from before today’s rain so water is running off not soaking in. No threatening flooding that I know of, but you can see it all around. Good day to hibernate, right?

20160921_144620

Yerrabi Pond well above its usual borders by the look of the swamped young trees and surrounded bigger trees

So I had a sleep in, then another one, spent some fun time looking through my Floriade photos at the gorgeous flowers, got my spare tyre replaced after hitting a curb and getting a sidewall puncture on Monday…and that’s about all! Had a bit of a drive into some housing estates on the way back home checking out the flooded Yerrabi Pond that is up the trunk of several small trees around the usual edges. Didn’t get any photos that really represent how flooded it is…it’s hard to get the context. And what do you know? It’s nap time! That day went quickly! Well it wasn’t quite over: I made tea cos it was way overdue to be my turn since we started our 4 person rotation last week, enjoyed our weekly gospel meeting and met up with wonderful old friends. Then ended the day with hubby, some overdue alone time since our lovely hosts are away on holidays and we have the run of the house.

Canberra Day Two

12th September, 2016

Whatever else happened today, the photo of the day HAD to be of the weather! A fresh morning of 7 degrees with blue skies and gorgeous sunshine. The temperature climbing gradually to 17 degrees! Ahhh! I just loved being outside today, warm air stroking the skin then a cooler breeze then the cool and warm air mixing but never joining. If you were warm you could move to the shade and the breeze would be enough to soothe you; if you were cool you could step into the sunshine and be warmed up – my perfect kind of day!

The day started with tagging along to hubby’s work at 8.30am so that I could take the car for the day. I pulled out into traffic from his office and saw a sign for the information centre so I headed there for yes, more brochures. I do love brochures! I’m going to be the most cultured and knowledgeable Canberran there is! The info centre is on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin which was looking stunning in the sunlight. I heard the sound of a creaking door as I left the centre which can only be from a Gang Gang Cockatoo, so I tracked it to a pine tree and got a photo right there at the info centre! Definitely a highlight – we don’t often get them close around Melbourne. I could see where they’re setting up the flower festival right there as well, gorgeous beds of tulips! I’m looking forward to checking that out once its open.

I should mention that I was trying to find my way around without using a map or GPS. I do that; I don’t know why. It’s silly, you can’t intuitively find your way. I did okay for some of it but there may have been a couple of laps around the city having missed my turn! Ultimately I resorted to GPS!

I do love the days when I get up early. I feel so much more productive, and even if I spend a couple of hours on one thing, I turn round and still have hours to go. So at 11am, the day was still wide open. I wanted to get my bird watching off to a start so I headed to Black Mountain which is where the Telstra Tower is and went on a 2 hour walking loop. The signs being not all they should be, that turned into a 3.5 hour hike steeply up and down the mountain! I was pretty exhausted by the end, not to mention blisters on my heels and arches and chafed thighs. It’s amazing to me that I wouldn’t have considered that the path would be steep, the name of the place being Black Mountain. Another of my classic disconnects.

img_3263

 

So here’s my photo for Day Two. A perfect combination of the day: blue skies, sunshine, beautiful bush and birds, a stunning Crimson Rosella.

I’ve decided to put whatever photos don’t make the cut for photo of the day onto a new website that I’ve just been setting up these last couple of weeks. Bear with me while I do so, it’s very much a work in progress but you can see my other photos from today (and yesterday, forgot to say so) at my site. Click on Black Mountain Views or Black Mountain Birds to check out today’s photos.