On my last visit to Canberra I took a day out to drive to Mittagong to visit my Grandma. She lives in a very spick and span house on the outskirts of the town.  The great boon of the day was driving with my sister the two hours to get there, it was so nice to just be able to chat with her for a couple of hours.

It was also awesome to pop into the Sturt Gallery where my friend, Haeli, has a residency where she is sculpting some giant beasties. I love her artwork. This woman! Somehow she manages to undertake huge artworks whilst having the most chilled out of babies as her constant companion. I am in awe. That was a skill I was never quite able to muster, being perhaps more highly strung…? I don’t know. It is hard to examine oneself. All I know is that this mum does it well and all I can do is admire it from afar.

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This past weekend we have indulged in good friendships.

I was made newly conscious of the great goodness in our lives that is our friends. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to be surrounded by such interesting and enjoyable people (and that’s not to say that you, out there, are less lucky, but I am just counting my blessings).

There are many actors in this play, all fulfilling their own unique roles and I am appreciating them each more fully as I get to know the characters behind the faces (admittedly, I take a while before I feel I really know someone).

These people and I have shared our lives, from college to group housing, going through the dating wars, getting married and now having babies all together. Some new faces enrich us, people who just slot, effortlessly, in, who we love with ease and the love goes around and around.

The children get added to this little crowd and we love each others children just as we love each other, learning more about their unique personalities as well.

Who knows what the guys do between ribbing eachother, hiking up mountains, playing in bands, savouring tobacco, making art, being computer geniuses, philosophising and all the other things that these amazing men get into. Us girls spend a lot of time encouraging eachother to be good women, grow gardens, cook great food, love our husbands (if we have them), love our children, pursue our dreams, input into our communities…they are all such good women with good hearts.

When this wheel of love is working well then no one need be needy for anything. We only need to think about loving others and the love comes back. Hopefully we can slot others, naturally, into this circle and keep on going.

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This living between parents/in-law has its perks. One being that I am freely able to go to Henry’s gigs, leaving the kids to snooze under my mums capable care! I’ve said to Henry that I find it much easier to support him being in a band if I can go and watch him and be a part of it – however small, and it’s true (selfish or not…), when I see him and ‘the boys’ up there playing those songs I’ve heard hundreds of times by now (and still not sick of them), loving what they are doing in that moment, lending their energy and enthusiasm to the people watching in that moment of time, I see very clearly why he loves it so much and then it is easy to keep on supporting his musicianship on this level.

I always love watching them and it’s even better when these girls come too…

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Drawing Together

Being a sick mummy, with sick kiddies I got out of mum’s house for a lie down on the oval.

Canberra week0009 Canberra week0010A fruit picnic, organised by Sophia,Canberra week0011

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Was followed by some drawing.Canberra week0013

Here is moi, complete with 10 finger and 10 toes…and a belly button. She made sure to get my ‘straight’ hair right, and there are rain drops over my head.Canberra week0014 Canberra week0015

Here is Gunny with his characteristically wild hair.Canberra week0016

And an accidental selfie which I am including because not many photos of me make it onto the blog – that’s called being a mum for you.


Another week in Canberra

I really do love Canberra. My children are the third generation to be born in this place and the fourth to call this place their home, and there is something special about that, isn’t there.

Canberra is a place where I can take a short drive and see the place where my grandfather spent his first few years in Australia with fellow immigrants (Blue Range), the suburb of my grandparent’s first home (Uriarra) and the crossing which my grandfather built and had named after him (Padovan’s crossing).  In terms of our Australian history my family is much more connected to this branch, the Italian side, it’s history is more tangible, more present to us.

Somehow, for some reason, it’s important to know the where, what, who and how of one’s ancestors.  It’s important to know that my Great-Grandfather was an Officer, my Great Uncle a good friend of the great Finnish General, Mannerheim. To know there were reasons for their emigration from Finland. To know that, originally, they were Swedes and took on a Finnish name, subsequently running steamboats in a certain area in Finland.

This history is important for an understanding of what makes us who we are.

In turn, it is also important to understand the history of this country so that we can move into the future with greater understanding of what makes ‘us’, collectively, as we are.

With this aim at the back of our minds Julie, Keren & I took our children to the Aboriginal Art Gallery on Lady Denman Drive by the lake. It was also a bit of fun.

Greg, the artist, was a stand out. He engaged with all of the children, guiding them and involving them quite naturally and having everyone doing something within moments: The kids dot painting, the adults coating a canvas in one colour, himself drying canvas with a hair dryer and then, drop everything – Time to Dance! Greg pulled out the didgeridoo and expertly wove sounds together using this simple yet so complex instrument.

Then, without any fuss the children were pulled in and shown how to do the ‘Kangaroo dance’, there was not a chance for them to pull away, shy or embarrassed, Greg executed the moment expertly.

After hand printing our canvases they were left there to dry and for him to paint the animals of our choice over the top. We are all anticipating the completion of these personalised artworks, as, from all evidence, his work is quite beautiful in that unique Aboriginal style he expertly utilises.

We were able to book this date in very easily, casually hooking it up in conversation, with payment agreed upon then, there being no advertised cost.

For a personal art class you really couldn’t get better than this.

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For a very long time I’ve been wanting to make the easy and stunning drive down to Tidbinbilla in Australia’s Capital Territory.  Not just Tidbinbilla, but the entire surrounding landscape is one of my favourites.  Nearby Corin Forest is the stomping ground of the new-ish festival of Corinbank, and when it is not hosting said festival it is a popular family picnicking spot with a cafe, flying fox, toboggan ride and water slide with kangaroos and the odd bit of wildlife moseying about.

Namadgi is a hop, skip and a jump away as well. The harsh beauty of Namadgi guts me every time and I can barely speak when I see it. It is a striking contrast to the groomed and tame city of Canberra. All I can do is absorb.  There is a haunting loneliness to Namadgi.  The ancestors of the original Australians seem to hang here, at least I feel it and it’s not very scientific or logical, is it, but who can really judge?

As my dad says in all his wisdom: ‘we know nothing.’

Anyway. Tidbinbilla: Finally we jumped into the car and had an all too short visit to this great ‘animal park’ as we were calling it. After a bit of traipsing around we were rewarded with many an animal sighting. After the Emus and Kangaroos at the park, the elegant Brolgas were our first find, stalking about on their long, crane like legs – in fact they are Cranes, Australia’s only one. After reading Olga the Brolga by Rod Clement I am a fan of this bird. Next up were many birds: Magpie Geese, Australian White Ibis, Water Hens, two very large Pelicans who were sunning themselves on rocks in the middle of the lake, a Red-Belly Black Snake, many lizards and a water dragon and most exciting were two – two! sightings of the shy and very elusive Platypus (whose name has no confirmed plural), the very first real live platypus I have every seen.Tidbinbilla0001 Tidbinbilla0002 Tidbinbilla0003 Tidbinbilla0004 Tidbinbilla0005  Tidbinbilla0007 Tidbinbilla0008 Tidbinbilla0009 Tidbinbilla0010  Tidbinbilla0012