Wednesday, 19 May 2004

"Happenings" Number 11 - 2004

Canberra Crawl

Nothing of much excitement has been happening around here of late, but that’s all about to change as we start to crank up preparations for our 2004 cruise. It’s getting closer every day to ‘sail-away time’ once again, but the boat’s had little use or attention since our return last November, so we’re a long way from being ready for our next offshore episode.

Plans are to depart Brisbane in July and sail to New Caledonia, then on up through the several islands that comprise Vanuatu, as we discover this highly rated destination, before returning home late November. It’s quite a long way to travel for the relatively short period of 4 months, but we don’t want to miss a season in the Pacific by getting bogged down on Karra through the never ending list of demands consistent with setting up home and grounds here.

Audrey has just commenced (a month ago) another temporary job in suburban Brisbane, which runs through until June 30; this will no doubt benefit both our coffers and preparation time, as we delay our departure this season to help celebrate Audrey’s mothers 80th birthday in July.

We’ve just had a 12 day holiday sojourn driving to Sydney, Bowral and Canberra to try out our newly acquired, rebuilt and R/H converted 1986 Pontiac ‘Fiero’ sports car, and we had a very enjoyable time visiting both friends and relations along the way, whilst discovering the new car.
I’m not surprised a ‘Fiero’ was used as the starting vehicle at the famous ‘Indianapolis 500’ for a couple of years – they are America’s only mid-engined sports car, and go like a rocket! We did over 165 K/hr on two occasions to ‘try it out’, and it just stuck to the road beautifully! Seems that someone is suffering from a bit of late middle-age crisis behaviour.

Sydney certainly is to us a very interesting place to visit, but to our dismay, Taronga Park Zoo was a disappointment with several exhibits closed, as several extensive refurbishment projects are under way. Many of the animals were unable to be seen, but no doubt it will be a very worthwhile experience following completion in a couple of years’ time.

Bowral (and adjacent areas) arguably comprise one of NSW’s elite rural districts, not to overlook this town as the birthplace of Sir Donald Bradman, and our stay with Audrey’s aunt there proved to be just as auspicious, as we discovered both the scenic beauty and historical significance of this early settled area; and some of the local aristocracy as well, at a lovely welcoming cocktail party hosted by Aunt June. A lot of ‘old pastoral money’, and ‘retired prominent Sydneysiders’ make their homes on acreage in this toffy district. It’s almost as pretty as New Zealand.

Canberra (an aboriginal name for meeting place) is a wonderfully interesting place to visit, and we had no trouble packing our few days here full of memories. The Australian War Memorial Museum is universally acknowledged as being the most complete and all encompassing, combined warfare exhibit in the world. The recently opened extensive extension featuring WW2 fighter aircraft and bombers further expands its appeal, and the museum’s multitude of displays which seek to honour war, not glorify it - cover every conflict in Australia’s warfare history, from the Sudan and Boer Wars to our involvement in Iraq today. It is certainly very well done.

Another morning we sat in the gallery of The High Court of Australia with its five Presiding Justices during a working trial, and also enjoyed a boisterous and noisy afternoon in the House of Representatives during a Question Time session. We took tours of both the New and Old Parliament Houses, and Audrey took Bruce’s photo sitting in the Prime Minister’s Chair in the PM’s old office. Powerful stuff, eh!!

ENVY is now at Manly Boat Harbour where she’ll remain until departure as Bruce prepares her for our off shore cruising this season. Regards from us both.