Limping Home

So I’m tap-tap-tapping this out from the iPad in the passenger seat of the Prickmobile which, true to form for a public holiday, blew out a Pirelli in spectacular fashion somewhere between Kingston and the War Memorial and is now spinning a temporary donut in the right front well at a pokey 80ks an hour. Other than that, though, it’s been a lovely Queen’s Birthday long weekend in the ACT. Longer posts to come, but a few things struck me over the past few days:

* Three-plus years of Labor have been good to Canberra; the number of new developments since I used to half-live there in 2007 is really stunning. We had breakfast at a corner cafe and shop in Acton which felt more like Alexandria: All organic eggs benny, lycra-clad lawyers, and, in the wine section, top drops like Henscke Hill of Grace, going for a lazy $650 a bottle (!).

* Though I’ve spent more time in Canberra than is probably healthy over the years, until now I’d never done the tourist stuff: The War Memorial and National Gallery are absolutely top spots (get in to see the Von Guerard exhibit if you can); the Portrait Gallery is fun but much of it is “Clapping to the Classics” for the visual arts set. Old Parliament is fascinating, especially in the pokiness of the accomodation, and Questacon was more a playground than a scientific undertaking. Nick made the very good observation that there was far, far more propaganda about climate change at Old Parliament House than at Questacon.

* Canberra remains very hit or miss food-wise, but we had some good meals (more about which soon), and there are some places we’d like to hit next time we’re down sans Little Pricks. Nonetheless, despite its increasing pretensions, the old cow-town spirit still comes out. At one joint (Bittersweet Cafe, if you must know) in Kingston yesterday morning, they advertised a smoked salmon bagel but refused to serve it to me as it was not yet 11:30, and “that’s when we start serving our bagel sandwiches”. Honestly, what’s the point? The whole thing threatened to get very Five Easy Pieces.

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