Great North Walk

September 26, 2009

graffiti-lane-cove-bridge.jpgThe Great North Walk is great because it starts in Sydney and not because it links you to Newcastle 200km away. Sorry Novacastrians, cheap shot. We knocked off 10km of it today – from Thornleigh to Lane Cove. Here are all the usual sights and sounds of walking through the Sydney bush, though on this leg the M2 motorway is not too far away so we caught the sound of the occasional Harley running away from the speed cameras. Always alert to something different (apart from adders or red bellied blacks) we were struck today by the high quality graffiti under the Bridge. This is not exactly in the middle of suburbia but I guess someone just could not resist those grey concrete slab canvasses crying out for some work.

Kittyhawk P40 – Australian War Memorial

September 20, 2009

kittyhawk291.jpgThe worst thing that can be said about the AWM if you live in Canberra is that it is used on wet weekends by locals as a place to entertain the kids. Of which I confess to being very guilty, though a five year old son who confused his story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem with Simpson and his donkey one damp Easter provided no end of mirth. It still does. The best thing that can be said about the War Memorial is that it is not a museum first but a memorial to our veterans, living and dead. How they manage to fuse memorial and museum mystifies most and for that reason alone it is always worth a visit. With our thoughts turning to walking the Kokoda Track, on which the Japanese were first fought to a standstill, then pushed back (“Advance to the rear”, not “retreat”) the presentation of the P40 caught my eye, the diorama showing a ground crew working on the aircraft as it might have been at one of the many Papua New Guinea airstrips hastily built in the face of the impending Japanese onslaught. The aviation hall is world class¬† – indeed the whole place is of a remarkably high standard. If you have a spare damp Canberra day up your sleeve get lost in the aviation hall at least. You won’t regret it, even it you are in the company of Canberra parents looking for some cheap daycare.

A Nike Approach to Cerebral Palsy

September 13, 2009

leigh290.jpgI have been meaning to write up Leigh in this blog for some time now. This morning I was reminded why I should do so when he was “interviewed” at church. Apparently he used to have “JDI” at his work desk and “just do it” seems to sum up a large part of Leigh. Remarkably he has travelled to Africa, Europe and the States. And he has probably toured more of this country than most. He told us today how special it was to make it to Ephesus (Turkey). Nothing keeps him down and his droll sense of very dry humour is rarely too far away. It clearly has its roots in country Australia where the most serious things are dealt with as farmers the world over deal with them – with offhanded jocularity. But an even bigger part of Leigh is his heart for other people and the internet is his medium for encouraging others who are mobility bound. You never hear a grumble about his own situation but only compassion for others. The dozens of CP related groups he has set up on Facebook reflect something of that. I am never going to complain about my dodgy knees ever again.

Governor Phillip Track

September 13, 2009

chopper-water-bucket290.jpgSomehow summer snuck into spring and thirty degrees or more baked Sydney today. But for the best part of the afternoon we hardly noticed as we plugged along the Governor Phillip track through cool thermals of fern moist air, to the background tune of water spilling over rocks and sucking along fallen logs. Though all that was thundered out at one point as a chopper hauled in on us to pick up water. It repeated the exercise a few times and once we had made higher ground we could see smoke threatening houses on a far ridge. A 15km walk  Рour initial warm up for a crack at Kokoda in twelve months time!