Sunday, 12 August 2018

Canberra without a Great Camera

Have you noticed that things have a tendency of happening in quick successions of three? This was certainly the case at our place just before we left to visit our capital city. First the dishwasher flooded the kitchen floor and could not be repaired. What a mess! Then, the water filter sprang a leak as well.  More mess! And then, to add insult to injury, my mobile phone could not be charged no matter how many different charging cords or outlets we plugged it into. We opted to send my phone in for repair rather than buying a new one but this meant its camera went with it. Less landfill! I was given a replacement phone to use but the camera was not fantastic and so I've ended up with more blurry photos than usual. Here are some of the better ones:

New Parliament House
(On the one day when there was no wind to lift & flutter the flag.)

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy
(Established in 1972.)

Old Parliament House
(Now a political museum.)

Canberra's iconic Lake Burley Griffin.
(Kings Avenue Bridge.)

The lake is such a prominent feature of the city.
(View from atop Mt. Ainslie.)

(55 bronze bells play the most beautiful music.)

 Telstra Tower

 A single deciduous tree.

Many Winter-bare trees.

Australian War Memorial 
(The dome of the Hall of Memory.)

 Inside the Australian War Memorial.
(The Roll of Honour extends the length of each side, under the arches.)

A colourful entrance at the National Museum of Australia.

National Library of Australia.
(My kind of heaven!)

 Fountains outside the National Library.

Suspended ball outside the National Gallery of Australia.

Flags of the Commonwealth flutter in the wind.

Australian flag flying atop Parliament House at sunset.
(View from our apartment.)

While the photos turned out to be a tad disappointing, our trip to Canberra was not. It was very easy to navigate and travel around this planned city, to stroll around the shores of its lake, to glimpse the sky through the bare branches of so many deciduous trees and to visit cultural centres which tell of our collective story and experience. It seemed to us, that wherever we were in the capital, a view opened up towards the towering spire of the new Parliament House with the Australian flag fluttering robustly in the cold Winter wind.


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Off to the Capital

From the unseasonably balmy days of our subtropical city, we are heading off to the Winter cold of our nation's capital, Canberra.  Next week's minimum temperatures there are forecast to hover around zero and the mercury is not expected to climb much higher than ten degrees so a beanie and other Winter woollies are essential!   

A warm beanie is a must!

Although it will be very chilly indeed, I am looking forward to visiting my capital city for the first time. Canberra is a one of the world's rare planned cities with its design decided in a competition held back in 1911. Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin won that competition and Canberra has evolved from their original blueprint.  

There seems to be some debate over the origins for the name of our capital. According to  Dr. David Headon, in this article in Australian Geographic, 'Canberra' came from a merging of two words over time:  Nganbra, a name meaning 'meeting place' that the indigenous Ngunnawal people used for the area, and the European word, Canberry, which can be found in documents and maps from the 1820s and 1830s.  Such a blend seems quite fitting given that Canberra is the place where our nation's parliament meets and is supposed to work for and in the best interests of all Australians.  Whether our parliament achieves that  is a whole other debate! 

While visits to places such as Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial will give us insights into our nation's history, and offer some indoor warmth from the cold, we are also keen to explore some of the outdoors. Located inland, with the Brindabella Ranges to its west and Mount Ainslie in the north east, Canberra is often referred to as "the bush capital".  We are keen to discover some of that natural beauty, both in the suburbs and further out. Of course, we will spend time too on the shores of Canberra's man-made centrepiece, Lake Burley Griffin.  A lake was the central feature of Burley Griffin's winning capital city design and, some 50years later, after the damming of Molonglo River, it became a reality named after him. 

While exploring my capital city, I will be away from this space for a week or so.  I will share some photos with you when I get back here and have defrosted!

Have a happy week!

Monday, 30 July 2018

First Succulent Pot

For a  long while, I had resisted the appeal of growing succulents ... until I saw the amazing  amazing array of succulent pots that Joolz has at her place. Then I just had to grow a succulent pot of my own. 

My first succulent pot.

My first succulent pot cost me next to nothing to get growing. My neighbour kindly gave me a few succulent leaves to propagate from one of her plants and I re-used a little blue glazed pot I already had. I simply filled it with a bit of potting mix, that I added just a bit of sand to, and then pushed the succulent leaves down into that mix.  A bit of water and a sunny spot on the verandah and tiny "pups" grew.  After the pups sprang up, I found some little rocks to fill in around them and added an old lizard ornament. That poor lizard is missing one leg but you'd never know now!  

I  💚 my first succulent pot and am keen to grow a few more out on my verandah. It's quite the addictive thing! I'd like to find and reuse some unusual containers, maybe even an old teapot. Here are some ideas I've found:

(Scroll down past the succulent garden tutorial.)

Seeing as teapots are scarce around here (we are not tea drinkers) I think I will rummage around and find that old colander my son used to play with in his paddle pool. About time it was given new life as a succulent pot!

Do you grow succulents? What do you grow them in?


p.s. I think little succulent gardens would make lovely gifts too. 😊