The last two weeks have slipped by, and The Blog has been neglected..
We have been to Canberra, the Australian National Capital..
This is me, standing outside Parliament House in the freezing cold and wind.
Mr C had a business meeting, but we added on a few days to explore the city and think about Democracy in Action.
On the plane we saw a certain very well-known Aussie politician....
This cartoon is part of a display at the Museum of Democracy, situated in Old Parliament House, which the Government vacated in 1988 to move to the new modern building above.
The old Senate Chamber, looks small and shabby today...
but we heard all about the new young Queen Elizabeth II opening Parliament there in 1954, wearing her Coronation gown.
On display was this yellow coat worn by our recently retired, first female Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce.
Nearby, we found the National Portrait Gallery.
I liked this portrait of our late, much-loved Operatic star, Dame Joan Sutherland.
The Australian National Gallery was a priority for me, and they have a wonderful collection of international and Australian art.
In the foyer is this installation of 200 Indigenous Australian burial poles, commissioned in 1988 for the Bi-Centennial of European settlement.
It is a very moving piece, very significant in terms of national identity.
It was essential to visit today's Parliament House, and as it was not a sitting day, we could inspect the chamber of the Legislative Assembly, the Lower House.
Of course, I found more art to look at, and loved the portraits of former Prime Ministers:
The Honourable Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister 1972-1975,
and the Right Honourable Sir John Gorton, Prime Minister 1968-1971,
(and the only P.M. I have ever actually met).
I have written before about this portrait of the Queen in her Wattle dress, and enjoyed seeing the original painting from 1954, by Sir William Dargie.
He captured her youth and beauty in quite a delicate way, which is not so evident in reproductions..
This view of Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin, is taken from a hill at the National Arboretum, home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. It was built on land devastated by bushfires a few years ago.
Cones from the Aleppo pine were collected at the site of the ANZAC battle of Gallipoli, after World War 1, and trees planted at the War Memorial in Canberra, and at the Arboretum. They are beautiful trees.
On my last day, I had lunch with an old friend at Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant, another first for me. My salmon with crisp and unusual vegetables was absolutely delicious.
Over the past fortnight, the travel agent and I have re-configured and enlarged our original itinerary for Europe, researched and chosen flights, trains, hotels and transfers, and made the reservations.
I have written several large cheques, swiped the Visa Card a little more than usual, and I think we are done.
Have now booked new tickets for the lovely Giotto Chapel in Padua - bliss...
Now, what else do I need to think about
Versailles, Giverny, Sistine, Duomo, Gondola, Trevi, Bargello...
and so it goes..
Wishing you all a pleasant weekend