Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter in Orange

We realised that we would have a few days off work together, so we took a trip to Orange, a rural NSW town known for its agricultural produce, its farming and gold-mining history, and its cool-climate wines. We spent the long weekend exploring the region.

Him Outdoors in Orange
The home of future Donald Trumps?
Comparing apples with apples in Orange

The highest peak in the region is Mount Canobolas, 1,390m / 4,560ft above sea level. It is an extinct volcano providing fertile soil for grape-growing, and lots of tracks for walking, running and biking.

At the foot of the mountain, Lake Canobolas is a tranquil spot for boating, fishing, swimming or picnicking. it was constructed in 1918 to supply water to Orange, and the pumphouse, which transported the water from the reservoir to the town, has been restored to its original condition.

Lake Canobolas
Him Outdoors up Young Man Canobolas
Borrodell Vineyard
The winery dog at Ross Hill
Federation Arch by Bert Flugelman
Orange Botanic Gardens

We had breakfast at the Beekeepers Inn, where there are antiques, bee-keeping displays and plenty of honey products. The building is a former coaching inn from Cobb & Co. 

There is also a small brewery named 1859, after the year in which the coaching inn was built, and run by Central Ranges Brewing Co.  The pale ale and the summer ale are standard lines, and the honey saison is a rather special limited edition.

We also visited Bathurst, the oldest inland settlement in Australia. It still retains many buildings from its gold-mining days and has lots of heritage sites (although it is mainly  known for motor-racing).

Bathurst Court House
Kings Parade and the Carillon Memorial
Kings Parade
The Japanese Garden honours the links with Ohkuma, Bathurst's sister city.

We finished this day with a visit to Philip Shaw Wines. Not only is their wine excellent, but they have a beautiful location and a cellar/ restaurant in a gorgeous stone building. Also, even though it had been a tremendously busy weekend and the staff were all doubtless exhausted, they remained friendly, informative and attentive. I liked this place.

Philip Shaw Wines

Monday, March 21, 2016

Canberra celebrations

Friends have a party at their place every year for Canberra Day. They provide exceptional curry and convivial company. Sitting around eating, drinking, and chatting with friends is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Champagne punch
Raise your glasses to Canberra
Calamity Sue is trophy hunting
General Philosopher is generally philosophical
And back to biking and running around the suburbs, admiring the trees and the views, of whatever they may be. 

The Murrumbidgee River from Shepherd's Lookout
Higgins Park
Front row seats
Waiting for the main attraction

Monday, March 14, 2016

Enlighten Plus

As I take to the trails round and about, I am rediscovering my love of biking. Coming to a new area is a lot of fun, working out where are the best place to run and cycle. One of my newest favourite rides incorporates the Straight Line Border between the ACT and NSW. It skirts the West Belconnen Pond, on which pelicans nest, and it is so called because...

The Straight-Line Border
West Belconnen Pond
Nesting pelicans

Him Outdoors has joined me on some of these rides, from breakfast and coffee rides, to other, more strenuous excursions.

With Him Outdoors at Little Oink
At Lake Ginninderra

Him Outdoors has also been trying to rope in new converts to his team, draping friends' children in Burnley scarves and flat caps. Forgive them for they know not what they do.

One evening in the week we went to Enlighten. I've written about this before: it's a festival in which images are projected onto the face of some of Canberra's public buildings. Here they are:

Old Parliament House
Spider at Questacon
The National Portrait Gallery
National Library of Australia
National Gallery of Australia

These projections are a big thing in Canberra. Thousands of people flock to see them and they light up the town in more ways than one. However, none of the artists were paid. This is part of the 'artists should work for exposure rather than financial reward' argument. Excuse me, but that is utter crap.

All the other providers to the festival were paid for their work. If you value art, you should reward it as you do everything else in this materialistic capitalist society, and pay for it. If you don't, you will lose it. Artists need to eat and house themselves too. To belittle their contribution in this patronising way is shocking, shameful and unforgivable.