Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

We have been having colder than usual weather here in Metung and that got me thinking about a trip I made to Canberra the first year we moved to Metung.  It was beautiful weather when I left but this is what greeted me on the road into Bombala.road to Bombala OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANormally on a trip from Metung to Canberra you would only see the snow on the mountains in the distance but this trip the snow found its way a bit further down the mountains.

It is winter now and we have just returned from a trip to Canberra but we didn’t encounter any snow this time.  The weather was beautiful in Canberra and even though I no longer live there I love visiting the place as I think it is a beautiful city even on the gloomiest of mornings.



Trips and trees and time

Last week we decided that we would take a trip up to Canberra, just because we could and it had been quite some time since we had seen our younger daughter.

We had a lovely weekend and returned home yesterday.  I missed out on blogging yesterday and today we had a power cut from 9.00 until 3.00pm so I didn’t get around to blogging today either so I have missed my Tuesday Travels post this week.

While we were in Canberra we had the chance to visit the newly opened arboretum.


An arboretum is meant to have trees I know but this part is the amphitheatre which will be used for outdoor entertainment in the future.

The National Arboretum was created after the devastating fires that took place ten years ago in Canberra.  Where the arboretum has been situated used to be a pine forest and it was completely destroyed in the fires.

The National Arboretum Canberra features 100 forests of rare and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. It is a significant recreational and educational resource for visitors and plays an important role in the protection of world-wide tree diversity and the generation of new knowledge on tree growth and survival, biodiversity and water management.

view from village centre

 From the village centre there is a good view over the city centre and this view will look completely different when the trees have grown.
towards the city
The trees have been planted over the previous four years so they are still very small but not quite so small as these beautiful bonsai specimens on display in the village centre of the arboretum.
The external shape of the structure of the village centre reminded me of the sails of the Opera House in Sydney.
interior village centre
Part of the arboretum is the Cork Plantation which was planted from acorns imported by Walter Burley Griffin in 1917.  The first trees were planted in 1920.
cork plantation
Some wag had put a champagne cork into a crevice on one of the trees, perhaps so they could show that corks do grow on trees!
The trees look strange when the bark has been removed.
cork tree
Another aspect of the arboretum is the placement of sculpture throughout.  This is just one example:
To finish I thought it would be appropriate to let you see 100 things people like about Canberra.  It is a wonderful city. You can click on the picture to get a clearer view.
things we like about Canberra

Canberra again. . . this time with Bison Australia.

This time when we were in Canberra we stayed in a hotel, we usually stay at our daughter’s but there was a big birthday party happening there!

The hotel we stayed at was known as Olims and the Hotel Ainslie when we lived in Canberra, it is now the Mercure. It is one of Canberra’s oldest hotels and was used to house politicians and public servants in days gone by. This is the view from our apartment balcony.

Again we saw many changes from when we had previously visited.

While we were in Canberra we took the opportunity to visit the Bison Australia ceramic workshop in Pialligo. Bison stoneware ceramics are beautifully handcrafted pieces and have been photographed in numerous magazines and sold around the world. You can purchase firsts, seconds or samples from the workshop. I love their products and we intended to buy some tea bowls as a house warming present for our daughter. Bison is in the throws of creating a new range at the moment which is due to debut in four days time. I am looking forward to seeing it. The Melbourne store is closed at the moment and undergoing refurbishment in readiness for the new range.

The workshop was closed when we arrived so we went to the Tulips Cafe for breakfast and returned to Bison later.

While we were at the Cafe we saw this beautiful peacock leisurely strolling around the building of Territory Tanks.

You need to visit Canberra. You never know what you will find!

Old Bus Depot Markets at Kingston

I have just returned from Canberra as we were attending a 40th birthday party.  Great night!  Fabulous food. It was Jack Daniels themed.

While we were in Canberra we visited the Old Bus Depot Market in Kingston.

The market is literally in the old bus depot.  All Canberra’s buses used to be housed and maintained here.  The market began in 1994 when two enterprising women started the market off.  You can read all about it on the link I provided.  When we lived in Canberra we used to visit the market regularly and it was great to be able to get the chance to visit again.  The market is held every Sunday.

Right next to the market is the Canberra Glassworks. This used to be the Powerhouse that provided the power for Canberra in its initial years.

The powerhouse has been restored and now houses glassmaking facilities where workshops are also held.

The area around the market has seen huge development since we left four years ago and the development is continuing.

In the market we found many of our favourite stalls and many new ones.

There were beautiful flowers, including these lovely ‘white’ waratahs.

The nutman was there, he travels from Bateman’s Bay to sell the nuts.  We bought delicious Vienna Almonds and some savoury Tamari Almonds.

There was a stall selling leather bags made from recycled leather. The bags are constructed using leather from used coats, jackets and bags.  The leather is conditioned and then sewn into new bags which are versatile. You can find out about them at Vintagecreation.com.au

The front flap of the bag can be changed giving a totally new look to your bag.

This stall holder travels all the way from the Blue Mountains to run her stall on Sundays.

While we were there we also had some lunch as there is a great variety of food stalls. Here are just a few.

If you are ever in Canberra, this market is well worth a visit as there is a huge variety of products for sale.

Cold Light, another in my A-Z Book Challenge.

I have just finished what I would call a tome, 719 pages.  The letter M in my A-Z Book Challenge. It is a book that I have thoroughly enjoyed as the majority of the novel was set in my old home town, Canberra.

This book is the third in the Edith Trilogy.  Strangely I didn’t read the first book I have only read the second, The Dark Palace, and this, Cold Light, the third.  I read The Dark Palace in 2008 because it was a winner of the Miles Franklin Award  in 2001 and I was working my way through previous Miles Franklin winners.

Cold Light was published in 2011 and I heard a review on the ABC Radio National Bookshow last year.  You can download the podcast here.  The review had me hooked and I ordered a copy on the internet.  I have put off reading the book until now as it was such a ‘large’ book.

I have not been disappointed by delaying my reading.  I have lapped up the story as I am familiar with so many of the settings in the novel.  It is a book that will resonate with Canberra residents or those who have lived or worked, particularly in the public service, in Canberra at some time in their life.

Edith, the protagonist, is bypassed by the political classes in Canberra because she is a woman, this week in Australian politics has been on the very subject of the treatment of women, particularly in politics.  The more things change the more they stay the same!

I found many quotes that I wanted to share with those who know Canberra but here are just a few:

“she knew. . . .he was dissatisfied . . .with the city, capital, outpost – whatever Canberra was. City emergent.” [p. 70]

. . .” ‘It’s an important city doing important things in the national interest.’

She agreed, but said, ‘What I like about it – for all its importance and its scheming – is that it still has a bush soul.  Living here, we can all still see the bush from which we come.’ “[p 559]

“Everyone would be in a permanent conversation about the Canberra dream, including those who did not live in Canberra.  Canberra was the only city in Australia that was everyone’s business.  Already, everyone had an opinion about it.  Through argument, everyone would help make it.” [p561]

This is a wonderful book on the life of a woman in the Australian political scene and the building of Canberra as the nation’s capital.

There are some great reviews of the book here.

Canberra bashing as tired as New Zealand sheep jokes

I lived and worked in Canberra for about thirty five years.  I met my husband there, married there and raised a family there.  It is a beautiful city and one I am immensely proud of. When we were newly married I can remember having to defend my home town to my mother-in-law! She was a bit of a Canberra basher, because of her political views I think.

This article is well worth the read.

Canberra bashing as tired as New Zealand sheep jokes.