Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Festivals and Parks

Another weekend; another festival - this time the Canberra Food and Wine Festival. It was pouring outside as we indulged in some tasty delights. We had ash brie, chocolate-covered coffee beans, Ding the Recipe harissa, frugli gelato of coconut and salted caramel, Tar 10 chipotle chilli mayonnaise, and a gourmet kransky cheese kransky with cheese and onions. Here's some food:


Happy Alley!
The bloke at Short Sheep Winery (who was from Luton) explained how they use a special breed of short sheep to trim the grass in the vineyard. He instantly guessed that Him Outdoors was from Burnley and was happy to talk about wine and football - what else is there? We liked the Shiraz and the Shiraz Rose best.

Short Sheep wines
We also tried the wines at Mount Alexander (their pinot noir was similar to those of Central Otago), Andrew Peace wines (the Tempranillo; Shiraz Malbec; a Tall Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon which was very tasty and jammy; and a Vintage Port), and Shaw Vineyard Estate (their ricato was not as sweet as moscato; and the sparkling cuvee made with only semillon grapes was very nice and clean). 

As well as the wine, there was Tusker malt, African beer, mango beer and mango cider from Matso's Brewery, D'cider 50% made from Batlow Pink Lady apples, and Sun Shack cider made with feijoa and elderflower. One of our favourites was the Gallagher sparkling Duet, which is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The chap from Gallagher Wines
A handy way to carry the can(s)
There was an outfit there who dealt in bones and muscles; their purpose was to train muscles that you don't usually use. They tested fitness, balance and co-ordination and printed them out on a graph. Him Outdoors signed up for a session and was told that, although he was very fit, he had the equivalent balance of an eighty year old. This is what his graph looks like:

 After all this talk of food and drink, it seemed only natural to go to the Wig and Pen for a curry and a pint.

Dinner at the Wig and Pen
Explaining British socio-geopolitics with the aid of beer mats
A few days later, a run at Urambi Hills shows how hot and dry it all is.

But a welcome rain-shower made Glebe Park look fresh and green. The grabite and pavers state The Glebe (2002) is made from a single block of granite, segmented to represent the subdivision of the original glebe allotment of 119 acres. 

The house shape of each block refers to European settlement of the area. The carved cross on the first signifies this place's historical ties to the church; the highly polished face of the second encourages reflection and contemplation; the spiraling surface of the third represents time - past, present. future.

The Glebe (2002) by Hew Chee Fong and L. M. Noonan

Egle, Queen of the Serpents by Ieva Pocius (a gift from the Australian Lithuanian Community to mark Australia's Bicentennial Celebrations)
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi by Ram Sutar presides over the park. It was given as a gift from the government and people of India to Australia in 2002. Gandhi's guidelines for life are set forth on the plinth below his feet.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi by Ram Sutar

Sunday, February 16, 2014

House & Gardens

Some fairly random pictures this month - mainly because Scarey Sis has given me an i-phone and I can take photos when out on my runs. This dry stone wall is a rare example of a nineteenth century (built between 1867 and 1875) demarcation between the huge Lanyon and Yarralumla properties in the ACT.
Tuggeranong Dry Stone Wall
Paddy's River postbox
I've been doing some needle-craft (stitching a design for a cushion to be precise) and using several different versions of almost similar colours: poppy; maroon; raspberry; redcurrant; red.

Five shades of red
Chargrilled baby octopus salad from Fyshwick Markets
I found this redback spider in the compost bin. She was busy laying eggs, so I bravely threw a mouldy apple at her and ran away.

Meanwhile, there are nicer things in the garden - such as these peaches ripening on the tree.

Another run in scorching summer temperatures from Kambah Pool to Red Rocks Gorge.

And then we had champagne on Valentine's Day - as you do.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Albury (population approx 45,000) in New South Wales is separated from its twin city Wodonga in Victoria by the Murray River. Together the combined city of Albury-Wodonga has a population of about 80,000 and is a major regional city. 

Located 287 miles from Sydney and 203 miles from Melbourne it was recommended as the favoured site for the country's capital in the 1903 Royal Commission on Sites for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth report. In the face of strong local opposition, however, only one member of Parliament voted for Albury-Wodonga, which led to Canberra eventually being selected as the preferred site for the capital.

Him Outdoors had some work to do there so I went along to stay in a motel and to see the 'sights'. The Albury LibraryMuseum has some interesting exhibitions, including one about famous local residents, such as Lauren Jackson (basketball player), Margaret Court (tennis player), Eagle Boys Pizza, Richard Roxburgh (actor), and some AFL players of whom I've never heard.

Town mural

Albury train station
It was outrageously hot (in the low forties) and the surrounding forest fires filled the air with dense smoke.

Harold Mair footbridge

Albury LibraryMuseum - this building has won multiple national awards for architecture
Statue of St Francis of Assisi outside St Matthew's Anglican church
Colonial Mutual Life (CML) office block and clock tower
T&G Mutual Life Insurance building
Old Courthouse

The mighty Murray River
The Botanic Gardens are apparently worth a look, but they were closed because it was so hot that fruit bats were falling out of the trees. So I bought a book instead: The Letters of Noel Coward, no less.

We had a fantastic meal here at the Green Zebra

St Patrick's Catholic Church is a beautiful heritage building (1872), made from local bricks and stone with pitch pine in the trusses and Welsh slate on the roof. The purple sandstone used in the window and door dressing was discovered at Tabletop just before the church was built, and the 42 stained glass windows were made by Australia's first stained glass artist, John Falconer.

St Patrick's Catholic Church