Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Our backyard"

Our new backyard in Campbell includes a section of Canberra's Centenary Trail, a 145 kilometre self-guided, walking/cycling  trail that "showcases Canberra's iconic sites and hidden treasures" . The Campbell part of the trail starts at the rear of the War Memorial. It's a 4.5klm loop walk, through the bush to the top of Mt Ainslie (and back).
The first point of interest for me on the walk is this very quiet place of remembrance for Aboriginal people who served with the Australian forces. The flowers are very fresh as ANZAC Day was only a few days ago. This little bush shrine is a very telling reminder of how little and how late is our country's recognition of Aboriginal people's contribution.
I like this quiet space of contemplation - so close to the grandiosity of our Australian War Memorial.
The walk up the mountain (it's a good climb) gives me lots of excuses to stop frequently and admire the gum trees.

The view from the top of Mt Ainslie is one we've admired many times before - but it's much more fun now it is part of "our backyard".
And we can even see our apartment from here too! Can you?
This view of Black Mt Tower always reminds us of Seoul Tower now, thanks to our visit there last September for Joelly and Kay's wedding (this view just has more gum trees and blue sky).
After our walk we wanted to visit Saint Germain (again) to check on progress - but were intrigued to see the crowds around the nearby (Australian) Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade. 

Through careful listening we were able to determine it was a large contingent of Sth Vietnamese Army veterans and their families/friends, (mostly from Sydney, we think) commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the fall of Saigon (on 30 April 1975)... an amazing and sobering sight ....... making us realise we are going to be much more aware of our military history living so close to these solemn spaces.

But back to Saint Germain: all the construction fences are down now so we're able to walk freely all around the building!
 And we even have a sign to our apartment now!
Once again, we strike it lucky and score an invitation to our apartment (ask no questions please!!). And the biggest change since our last view is seeing that the timber floor is laid - and we love it!
 A view from the main kitchen into the side "scullery" room......
We seem to have scored 2 Miele ovens - and one of them is a steam oven - this is an upgrade on the original specs we were given as far as we can work out (all good).
The workmen are all extremely proud of the building and appear to love showing it off - they constantly refer to how detailed it is (thus taking a long time to finish off!!!!).
I was very proudly shown how you can see the green dome of the War Memorial in our view to Mt Ainslie from the winter garden. Can you see it? (pity it is green, like everything else)

 Still some finishing off to do in the ensuite.......
Such an exciting visit - and once again we are delighted with what we see and no "issues" evident as yet! 

By the time time we're done the Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade is deserted again, the crowds have dispersed - leaving space and time to think about this tragic era of our recent history that we know so much about!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stop motion

Over the past school term Abi has acquired a lot of new skills, but the one that really amazes us is her new found ability on the monkey bars..........

 .. she swings right to the end - around 3m across!

 .. swinging on one arm - while smiling - easy!
 ... having your hands shredded through hours of practice - easy!

 What a star (like her big sister)!
Good Friday was a quiet one for us... a lake walk in perfect (warm) Autumn weather, and another look at our apartment block in Campbell - now looking very close to being finished (yay).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

In Sydney again

Our last few days in Sydney have seen plenty of highs and a few lows......  but this blog focusses on the positives....   and there were indeed, plenty of those.

On the way up last Wednesday we stopped off at the Goulburn Regional Gallery and were blown away by Claire's work in her current exhibition Presence: Two Visions of a Landscape. The pic below may not be the biggest or best work in her exhibition - but I thought it looked really good beside Maxie in her perfectly coordinated outfit.
Last Thursday was a huge day for everyone (especially Maxie and Rod) but we debriefed over a fabulous lunch at Matt Moran's Chiswick at the Gallery and a few hours enjoying the Gallery (and some shoe shopping later for Maxie and me).

Friday we walked from Coogee to Bondi on one of Sydney's stunning, superlatively beautiful days, then lunch at our fave Sabbaba in Hall Street - a gorgeous day! 
Judy and Jurgen joined us in Coogee on Friday night in time for our trek to the buzzy Pool Cafe at Maroubra Beach for Saturday brunch.

I had to include this close up pic of Rob's "fully loaded breakfast burger". Just as well it's an 8 klm round trip, walking to the Pool Cafe!!
We were able to celebrate our dear friend Fiona's big zero birthday on Saturday night. We started with drinks at the spectacular rooftop bar at the Hyatt Regency, overlooking Darling Harbour. The pic below shows us just settling in at the Zephyr Bar before we worked out the complicated system for ordering a drink (it was a bit too cool for school!).

 Rob and Jurgen - looking more relaxed after the drinks were ordered!..
The pic below is of Charlotte and me admiring the sunset while talking through some of the work challenges we've shared (although she's been much braver than me!).
 James organised the most fabulous sunset in honour of Fiona's birthday.......

 .... which finished with a spectacular firework's display - as you do!
We enjoyed dinner together at Chat Thai in Campbell Street. The food is always wonderful at Amy Chanta's Chat Thai and there were queues of people waiting their turn for a table when we arrived (at the appointed hour). The city was absolutely pumping on Saturday night - a spectacle of lights, sights and sounds.

We all enjoyed a slow start this morning and a post party catch up for brunch at Barzura's at Coogee Beach. The beach looked PERFECT this morning - all sparkle and dazzle, and gently rolling surf.
We had the whole day to enjoy together today: a long lazy brunch, beach time then a beer at the Coogee Bay Hotel. Luck for us Charlotte, Fiona and James did not have to return to Melbourne until late afternoon (and they weren't looking forward to flying back through the storm fronts over SE Australia).
Happy Birthday Fiona! Thanks for sharing a perfect celebration with us. Can't wait for the next one!