Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poor Tree

We have begun to house hunt again. The cozy charm of our little abode has begun to wear thin, with the Canberra winter (chuckle, chuckle) in full swing. As we approach the winter solstice (I know it's weird) daylight wanes and we find ourselves indoors a little more often and the 900 square feet we possess begins to close around us. Perhaps an extra room or two would help to keep the peace.

House hunting in Canberra is depressing, especially if you are in the rental market. Houses come on the market and are snapped up fast by transient government yocals, international visitors and embassy types. The result is too much demand for a limited supply and Realtors that could care less about you because they know the place will get snapped up anyway. Rental properties are way over priced, run down and gloomy. Neighbourhoods are mixed, 2 nice homes followed by a train wreck and the pattern repeats itself all over the city.

The general rule is a bunch of houses that look like remakes of my parents place. The one I was honoured to grow up in about half a century ago. You know the 1960/1970 homes, the ram shackled bungalows with three small bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

It's the one bathroom that I object to the most, mainly from painful experiences from my childhood when my father would retire to the loo after dinner with a crossword in hand. A 6 p.m. entry would routinely turn into a one and half hour sit down and leave my brother, sister and I crippled in pain outside the door. A knock on the door was akin to a death sentence and therefore rarely even attempted. I am not entirely proud to say that many an early evening I snuck out and convened with a poor little maple tree in the gathering twilight. Years later the little tree was hideously disfigured and only I knew the truth, poor thing.

Alas we march on, searching the listings and looking to upgrade. It is a dance that many a new resident to Canberra knows all to well. So we keep looking for that perfect spot - actually we'd settle for functional at this stage. I have now lowered my standards to accommodations with bushy foliage in the backyard...hey kids if it was good enough for me...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Pursuit

I never stop at garage sales. I don't know what got in to me but somehow a cardboard sign on the side of the road next to the Weston Creek Seniors Home sucked me in - how did I ever let my guard down. Given the clientele the sale was littered with tea cozies and coasters, all looked bleak until Malcolm and I spotted Trivial Pursuit, the Genus Edition, and we began to reminisce about the games back in Canada at the Kitchen table... why not. I inquired about the price of the item and I was told to make an offer, after careful deliberation I came up with the figure of $5, which was received with a "Hmmmm...its pretty new". If pretty new means a ripped box, yellow cards and a die that was barely cube shaped, then consider my fiver an insulting offer. I stood firm and 10 minutes later Malcolm and I were driving home giddy over our find.

You can't force a trivial pursuit game so it took a few days (actually a week) to break it out, but tonight was the night. Question #1 - Which Australian Prime Minister....Question #2 - In Cricket....Question #3 - What river in Queensland.... Obviously the Genus edition was redone in Australia for a more Southern Hemisphere feel. Generally a game of TP takes the Rice's about an hour but this time there was no end in site, after 10 consecutive Ned Kelly questions we had just about given up, before we found a Geography question that read "What is the capital of Canada?" I imagine there's an Australian family that got stuck on that one.

By the way I'm, having a garage sale soon and the the first item up for sale is an Australian trivial Pursuit game, only used once...I'll start the bidding at 50 cents.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


People ask me all the time what I miss about home. This week I have no trouble answering, without hesitation it is my old home golf club, Vespra Hills. You see Vespra opens May 1 and of all the places I have played in my life, it is the one closest to my heart. I miss the lush fairways, quick greens and sheer peacefulness. I miss the driving range on a Sunday night, hitting balls with Mackenzie and convincing ourselves that we had finally unlocked the mysteries of the our golf swings (we hadn't). I miss the staff and the food in the clubhouse. I especially miss treating my family and friends to a night out in what seemed to be our own private restaurant. I miss laughing at Russ and with Cinder.

When I think of Vespra Hills a line from the movie Field of Dreams comes to mind, "When a place touches you like this one, the wind never blows so cool again".

I miss the fourth hole on the Sandhills nine, the one Mackenzie rightfully pegged as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It was home to some pretty big numbers over the years, but you didn't mind staying longer because the view was always worth it.

I promise to make it back to play it again and I envision the same cast of characters hanging around the course, enjoying a game and stopping by to say hello to Mackenzie and I perhaps not realizing that we were ever gone at all.

Good memories of the place I taught my little girl the game I love.