Visiting Canberra

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It’s amazing how quickly you start to tense up, as I did last night (and this morning, and this afternoon), when I got a couple of those “I’m sick and can’t make it” phone calls.

That was the case last night, in particular, as I had just spent the afternoon out of mobile phone range relaxing by a creek not far from Canberra.

“What’s the water like”, my friend Pat, asked me. “Cold”, I told him. “And what’s it’s like under your feet”, he continued, having never experienced what it was like to swim in an inland river.

It was then I remembered the first time I’d swum in an inland river while living at Bourke in Western NSW. I remembered jumping off the rope into the Darling River and discovering mud. Thick mud on the river bed. For a boy who had been raised on the NSW North Coast, it was initially an odd sensation.

And then moving to South Australia – while I don’t ever remember swimming in the Murray – I remembered the sensation of swimming in Lake Bonney at Barmera. Once again, it was mud.

But then, moving to Wagga Wagga, I remembered how wonderful it was to swim in the Murrumbidgee, with its fast flowing water and sand beneath my feet. Yes, sand. It was a great experience and totally relaxing.

I went down to Canberra this weekend for the annual Bush Dance at the Yarralumla Woolshed. I had a great experience last year, and so when Pat offered the invitation I said yes instantly. It wasn’t as busy, though, this year, due to the inclement weather and another, competing activity on the Canberra foreshore.

But unlike last year, we managed a trip into town to Cube Nightclub. We also enjoyed a terrific meal at the Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant which, apparently is one of the must do restaurants in Canberra. All over the wall there were signed notes from significant politicians of both sides of politics. The food was excellent.

Actually, just about everywhere we went politics were in the air, as we listened in to a number of conversations. As we dined on Sunday breakfast at Tilleys, we listened in to a number of conversations with people discussing how the new Labor Government would act on range of issues. “Is that Therese over there?”, one of my friends asked, as a woman who bore a resemblance to Kevin Rudd’s wife came into the cafe. Unfortunately it wasn’t, as I was keen to see if she looked as much like Bette Midler in real life as she did on election night. My strongest memory, however, of Tilley’s was how long it took for our meals to arrive. Grrr…

Aside from that, it was a really great weekend catching up with a couple of mates which I really enjoyed. Arriving back tonight I feel totally relaxed (despite the work-related phone calls), and feel I can face the world again. It’s amazing what a weekend away can do.

Thanks to Pat for being an excellent host.

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