Uluru and the Best of Intentions

Uluru

On contemplating the climb/no climb situation; taking the Mala Walk; opting for driving instead of walking around Uluru, and dinner under the stars at Tali Wiru.


In preparing for this trip to Uluru, I’d checked the weather and was chagrined to find most of the days we’d be here the temperature would be well over 30°C. Today (Friday) and Saturday were slated to be 37°C – not the best temperature when you want to walk 10 km in the open sun.

Despite waking at 7, much earlier than we’d anticipated, we didn’t hit the road until 9am. The concierge recommended we join the Mala Walk, which is guided by a ranger, that started at 10am. That gave us time to stop at the cultural centre first (great building with strong thematic interpretation, however, overloaded with text and poorly attended) and then get to Mala Car Park to wait for the guide. The heat was already getting up there.

Because of the 36°C+ weather, the route to climb Uluru was closed and so only people who’d gone up there earlier were given access down. Glen and I were both surprised at the numbers tramping down the side of Uluru considering the prominent messages about climbing it being a mark of disrespect to the Anangu people who consider Uluru a sacred site.

The numbers of people doing the climb have dropped to about 20% of visitors, and a guide said that the reason the climb is still open is because it’s believed, by certain tourist bodies, that if it were closed there wouldn’t be anything else for tourists to do.

Now, no doubt getting up there, climbing the rock and seeing the valleys, the pools, the difference, would be something worth seeing, but, in my opinion, not at the expense of disrespecting another culture, especially one that’s suffered so much as the Anangu (and other Aboriginal people). I also struggle to understand how people can quite easily, it seems, disregard a heartfelt entreaty not to climb it, purely for their own self-satisfaction.

Getting Around Uluru

Uluru

We followed the tour guide for an hour-long guided walk along the Mara track, which took us to significant Anangu sites (including rock art) and ended down Kantju Gorge where there was a waterhole. We heard various stories relating to the Anangu mythology and how they lived off the land.

Once the tour finished, we hummed and haahed about continuing our walk around the rest of Uluru which would take at least three hours and cover 10 km. The heat rose and fell as we went from no shade to shade, and so did our willingness to undertake such a trek. In the end, with the heat beating down on us, we opted to drive around Uluru instead and justified it any number of ways. And now that we’ve done it, I don’t regret it at all.

We got back to the car and went clockwise around Uluru, stopping on the side of the road at various opportunities to take our photos (though not of sacred sites where we were told not to). There is something truly magical about the place, and I loved the variability of the surface of the rock. We imagined faces, or the flood of water during the wet season, or that Uluru was itself dropped from a great height and sinking into the earth because of the way the lines ran.

We stopped at Kuniya Walk and went along the track to another waterhole, stopping at caves where there was more rock art, and then took a break at the waterhole. Hundreds of tiny birds that peeped flew around us. They were so small that even when tens and tens of them landed on a branch, it barely moved. They were also so small that it was easy to overlook them until they launched into their air and the sound of their wings beating furiously amplified in the enclosed space.

There were also a bunch of berries around (and a helpful sign that said which of a few were edible or poisonous). I didn’t eat any, as much as I wanted to. Glen was concerned I might poison myself so for his sake, I didn’t.

Our trip around Uluru took a fraction of the time and saved us from dying of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Once back in town we stopped for lunch, bought a few things and returned to the hotel for a bit of a relax before the night’s dining experience.

Tali Wiru

When I booked the holiday and accompanying experiences, I booked us in for Sounds of Silence, an outdoor dining experience with tables of ten. Last night, Glen read the description of it and realised that we were going to be repeating what we’d done the night before except without the Field of Lights. As good as the experience was, we didn’t need to do it again.

When we talked to the staff at the counter in the morning, they seemed uncertain about us getting a refund because it was less than 24 hours away but “while they checked” they upsold us on doing Tali Wiru. Tali Wiru is another outdoor dining experience, but limited to 20 people and an a la carte menu.

We caught the big car thing at 6pm, a vehicle so big it reminded us of the polar bear trucks in Churchill. We drove for about twenty minutes through the outback to a remote location (past the industrial area for the resort) where we stopped and got a nice view of the helicopter that another couple had arrived via. Glen and I instantly had FOMO (fear of missing out) that we hadn’t arrived in such style. I spoke to them later and heard how wonderful the experience had been. Ahhhh next time.

We walked up the hill to a fire pit where one of the staff was playing the didgeridoo. We were served champagne and then a series of canapés consisting of scallops (with ants), kangaroo and another that I can’t remember. All delicious. The chef then came out with an arranged platter of difference bush tucker which she explained and then offered us to sample.

I ate one of the ants which tasted salty, sweet and sour all at the same time. I also had a bush tomato which tasted like beef jerky. Most of the ingredients came from rainforest in Queensland so I felt a bit cheated that they weren’t local ingredients but instead under the broader umbrella of ‘indigenous’ ingredients. Still, they were delicious.

We struck up a conversation with the helicopter couple who’d come from Sydney but it was broken when we were shown to our seats. There were only 18 of us, all in couples, and all with our own tables. We were still able to chat with people as and when we felt like it. I also had a good view of Uluru in one direction and Kata Tjuta in the other until the sun went down.

Different from the dinner the night before, we were given a la carte choices, of which I had pressed wallaby as an entree, toothfish for a main and then a lychee and bush-fruit-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of dessert. All came with matched wines so it was a merry night.

We had a star talk again tonight, though this was longer and went into Aboriginal astronomy as well which was interesting. We also saw six of the zodiac constellations. After dinner we sat around the fire with hot chocolate (and cognac for those who wanted it) and heard a bit about the local Indigenous people and how they hunted. Made me realise we only scratched the surface on this ancient culture and its practices.

While around the campfire we chatted to an American couple who have been living in Australia for six years. They’d driven from Melbourne with their three children (two of which are four years old). They’d stayed in Coober Pedy and Port Augusta and one of the children had caught pneumonia. They were very happy to have a night out without the children.

After dinner, we climbed aboard the monster truck again and were driven back to our hotel. So ended another day out in Central Australia.

Queenstown and Arrowtown

We flew from Auckland to Queenstown at midday on Tuesday, taking what must be one of the most beautiful flights in the world. We passed over the fiordlands as we came down to land; instantly the place reminded me of a combination of Newfoundland and Banff. Honestly, if the flight hadn’t been so sure, I’d have thought we’d detoured to Canada.

After landing, we collected our car (a green one this time but not a mini) and drove to our AirBnB: a converted shipping container perched on top of a hill with an enviable view of the mountains and the lake. Could we just stay here forever?

We’d bought some food at the shops in town on our way through so we had lunch, chilled out a bit and then, before we really knew it, it was an acceptable time to go for dinner. We headed back into town to a fish and chip van situated near the fancy restaurants and the lake.

We bumped into a couple of radiologists from back home and then sat watching the sky get dark and warded off three very determined ducks who were after our fish and chips. They didn’t succeed. After dinner we scurried home to our box and read our books.

Arrowtown

Wednesday was the start of the conference and Glen dutifully went off to attend a workshop. Meanwhile I went exploring and decided I’d do the good thing and go for a short hike. I went to Arrowtown, an old gold mining settlement that has been turned into a quaint tourist attraction. It’s also a good spot to go for some walks.

I picked the Sawpit Gully walk, a 2–3 hour walk up hills, through forests and along rivers and a pipeline. I figured that I’d be at the shorter end of the timescale but after setting off and stopping for a rest pretty soon in, I worried I’d be pushing the three hours. Not to mention my knee (the one that fractured) was feeling tender. Nevertheless, I persevered.

I was rewarded with wild strawberries (very much at the end of the season) and wild blackberries. Glen hates it when I eat random berries growing in the wild but a) these weren’t random and b) he wasn’t there. It’s not like I ate anything else.

A couple of birds showed interested in me at one point so perhaps I was near their nest, and then one of them followed me for a little way and came quite close. They certainly didn’t seem afraid of my presence.

In addition to the berries and the birds, there were also lots of funky fungi (which I definitely did not eat), which reminded me a lot of the national park we went to in Quebec, La Mauricie, and all its fungi.

I ascended the hill and then marched across highlands and descended into valleys with little rivers. For much of the first hour of my trip I was alone except for one woman who came jogging up behind me and then disappeared. Jogging! While there I was dying! The isolation was wonderful but I could also understand how people get agoraphobic. The hills were open and expansive and I felt very exposed, but I still enjoyed myself.

It wasn’t until the descent that I started seeing people who’d taken the track counter-clockwise. I think they would have the harder route. Time marched along with me until eventually I came to the start of the track again (there were moments I was afraid I’d taken the wrong turn and would have to endure even more exercise and fresh air). I was pleased to find that despite the stops I’d taken along the way, the walk took me exactly two hours.

Once back at the beginning I walked into the Arrowtown settlement and had a look around. I didn’t find anywhere I wanted to stop for lunch so thought I’d try one of the wineries I’d passed on the way in. Unfortunately, the sat-nav took me another way and I bypassed them completely. I had to settle for chicken salad when I got home, which was probably for the best.

Onsen Hot Pools

Despite having a whole afternoon free to go explore more of what Queenstown had to offer, I was perfectly content to stare out the glass door of our accommodation for a while and then get some work done.

I sat outside on the balcony to begin with but soon my fingers froze so I retreated inside to the warmth. I managed to edit another chapter of my book and get a few other things done before it was time to pick Glen up at 5:30.

Later that evening we went to Onsen Hot Pools, a destination recommended to us by the woman at the Air New Zealand check-in at Auckland Airport. We booked a late-night lantern-lit hour-long experience, starting at 9 pm. The water was hot and the jets were of reasonable strength which was perfect for my sore legs. (I’m really not a cardio kind of guy.)

Less perfect was the argument we had about ten minutes into our time there. Still, the open air with its frosty breeze and the warm water were pleasant, if not exactly romantic. Unfortunately, it was also a cloudy night so we couldn’t see the stars or the moon. Oh well, we’re still lucky.

Spring, glorious spring

It’s a beautiful Saturday in Toronto. The sun is absolutely beaming down. Once we finally got out of bed, which was still much earlier than necessary for a Saturday, I didn’t think we could waste the day completely by staying inside. Glen went to the gym for a bit while I did a few things at home, but when he returned we headed down to Loblaws to get groceries.

I know. Grocery shopping on a Saturday. Not exactly exciting. Still, we were outside. The garden beds around Toronto are bursting with colour at the moment. The daffodils couldn’t be any bigger. They seem to be straining to increase the size of their trumpets, easily outshining the tulips.

Loblaws wasn’t too busy, which was a relief. I had a list of things we needed. We didn’t need much. I’m making a chicken salad for tonight’s pot luck at Ur and Israel’s and trying to use up as many of the vegetables I’ve already got in the fridge. If we’d stuck to the list, we would have gotten out of there with minimal stuff. I hadn’t factored in a hungry Glen.

“A whole watermelon! I must get one!’

“Will you eat this bag of mandarins?”

“I want mushrooms! Not the mushrooms you bought. These mushrooms!”

“Can you make chicken pie for lunch?”

I said no to the last one but then he said he’d make it so I told him the two ingredients we didn’t already have in the basket (cream and zucchinis). I said it wasn’t good for him. He scoffed and bought it anyway.

We gave the cashier something to laugh about, too. Glen had unpacked most of the trolley, ordering things in the way he wanted them but didn’t complete the task. So I loaded the conveyor up with the remaining items, one of which was this watermelon (which came to an outrageous $12). As he packed the bags and our old granny shopping trolley, I said he should wait to put the watermelon at the bottom. Then apparently it was my fault that the watermelon hadn’t been put through as one of the earlier items.

The cashier laughed and agreed with Glen, then went on to say how rude some customers were who expected her to reach down the end of the conveyor to get the heavy items when they were the ones to put them there in that order in the first place. Let it be known I don’t expect any cashier to move anything. What is this? The 50s? Anyway, she had a good laugh. So did we.

We wandered back up to the condo, stopping in at Bec and Al’s so I could borrow something…sweet chilli sauce…which I didn’t actually leave with. We chatted for a while as it had been probably two weeks since we’d seen them last. I’m sad to think that we’ve only got two months left and that this ease with which we see people will vanish once back in Perth. Al then came upstairs for a coffee and returned the curtains they’d borrowed from us. Unfortunately the tension rod was too short for their windows.

Once home, Glen made pie while I worked on promotional stuff for my new book which comes out later this month. I haven’t had much of a chance to do a lot over the past few weeks, and this week was a short week. After returning from Orlando, Wednesday and Thursday were spent doing work for the zoo and another client, but once that was all done, I found I could spend Friday just working on my stuff.

I managed to get some things done but there’s always much more that needs doing, so this afternoon was spent on Facebook advertising, some extra writing, and sending requests to reviewers. I’ve still got to edit an article I’ve written and come up with some blog posts. Time is running out (especially when we’re away so much in the coming eight weeks).

I then went to the gym in the condo, working on my legs. I hate doing legs. It’s always so exhausting. Returning to the apartment, I worked some more, then had a lie down with Glen. I’ll have to start preparing the salad soon. I keep looking out at the sunshine and wondering what else I could be doing. I never feel like this about sunshine back home.

And just to round off, last night we went for a walk because I wanted to do something and Glen needed to get something from the hospital. We wandered down through Queens Park and were rewarded with seeing two cherry blossom trees in bloom in front of the parliament building. They were beautiful, and would only look more so in full sunlight.

After the hospital, we wandered back through the village, getting a couple of bubble teas and enjoying our evening constitutional. Life is good.

Toronto Sightseeing

Glen had Monday off so we decided to get out of the house and check out a bit of Toronto. Our first stop was the Allan Gardens Conservatory, which is just down the road from our place. I’ve been there about three times before, but Glen hadn’t yet had the chance to go. We jumped on our Bixie Bikes and headed down Jarvis. We hadn’t gotten very far before a policeman standing on the corner waved me down. I froze. What had I done wrong? Turns out he only wanted to know about the Bixie Bikes and how much they cost. Nice chap.

The conservatory is full of colour at the moment, which is in stark contrast to the drabness of the park outside. Inside were lots of hydrangeas, tulips and snap dragons. There were also quite a few Red-eared Sliders (turtles) in the little waterway, many more than I’d seen before. The Jade Vine was in bloom again. The flowers of this plant are such an odd blue-green colour that they don’t look real. We also saw a couple of Hoya, both much smaller than the one we’ve got back in Australia. We felt proud (even though we don’t know how it survived as long as it did under our care).

From the conservatory, we cycled across to the Royal Ontario Museum to check out the Douglas Coupland art exhibition. It’s so handy having a membership because a) we beat the queues waiting to buy tickets and b) we can just pop in for a short visit and leave again. There were some interesting pieces including one of various internet-related sayings covering a wall. Interestingly it was being photographed quite a lot.

We wanted to go to the “fancy” restaurant in the museum but couldn’t find it. When I asked, the guide said it had closed down. The signage needs updating. So we decided to cycle down to the Toronto Legislature to go for lunch there and finally do a tour of the building. Unfortunately, it’s all closed because of it being Easter Monday (it’s not really a recognised holiday here but some places are shut). We’ll just have to go another day.

Instead we went for lunch at Kinto Ramen on Baldwin St. The food was nice, not too expensive. The homemade lemonade was delicious. From here we went to Church St so Glen could get a haircut, and then we went home.

It was nice to spend time with each other outside of the house. I don’t think we fought once!

Cycling in San Francisco on a Saturday

Quite unbeknownst to us when we booked this trip to San Francisco, our friend Anna, one of last year’s radiology fellows from Toronto, was going to be in town at the same time as us. We’d only found this out about a week before – much to our joy. She arrived early Friday from Sydney and was leaving on Sunday afternoon so we had some time to meet up and explore. We’d organised to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and arranged to meet near there at midday. This gave us the morning to do a bit of sightseeing.

We had breakfast at the hostel, which supplies carbs and fruit for free, and then went down the road to hire bikes from Blazing Saddles. We were fitted with good bikes, helmets and locks, given some maps, and off we went.

We didn’t get very far at first. Glen’s hands were cold so he wanted to go back to the hotel to get gloves (which we did…and he got my gym gloves too), and then his footpedals had no grip (he’d already bashed his leg on the frame from it slipping off). We returned to the shop, replaced his bike, and then went off. We had three hours ahead of us.

We hadn’t gone far down Market St towards Golden Gate Park when we passed a restaurant that had been recommended to Glen for breakfast. So we stopped and had midmorning breakfast, having some eggs and some hot drinks. Even though it was only roughly 9am I was already feeling a bit tired, and worried that I’d be too exhausted to make it to the Golden Gate Bridge, let alone across it. But we persevered.

Glen navigated up and down some streets…and hilly ones at that. I knew San Francisco had a lot of hills but honestly, does it have to have so many? We had to walk our bikes a couple of times because the incline was so steep (and our fitness so poor). We eventually found the start of Golden Gate Park, by which point the sky, which had been overcast, cleared and it was set to be a beautiful day.

Golden Gate Park

We made a stop at the Conservatory of Flowers and went inside to check out their many orchids and pitcher plants. I’ve never seen quite so many pitcher plants before. Some looked downright monstrous with barbs and furry bits. It was a great display and a nice interlude. We jumped back on our bikes then and cycled through the rest of the very large park, past the museums and the bison, before getting to the Dutch windmill and then – surprise – the ocean.

A dip was tempting, even though it doesn’t look like the nicest beach, but by that stage we had to hustle it to meet Anna. The time had shifted to 1am, which suited us, especially as everything was so much bigger than it looked on the map.

We cycled (uphill again) along the coast road, around Lincoln Park and then through another park and off-road track (having to carry the bikes up stairs at one point), then finally, blessedly, there was a long downhill section we took at breakneck speed. Then it was under a bridge, up another hill, down another before reaching our meeting place at a shop called Sports Basement.

Glen and I went in, hoping there’d be some place to eat. There were big letters around the top of the walls that said ‘Dairy’, ‘Bakery’ and ‘Frozen’, but a quick search revealed that these must have been remnants from when the building was something else. Instead we found new gym gloves and a ‘nutrition’ section that sold Cliff Bars and Gatorade.

Anna and her cousin’s family were running late so that gave us time to recharge (though not long enough to have a nap). By that stage, we’d been cycling for about four hours and were starting to feel it. I haven’t done that much cardio in a long time, or spend that long on a bike for ages either. Thankfully, there were some soft chairs for us to sit on.

Anna arrived at 1:30pm and it was such a strange feeling to see her. It just felt weird to see this person who was meant to be in Australia but was now in San Francisco with us, completely by chance. Such a wonderful surprise. We met her cousin, Kate, and her family, husband Scott and kids Nick and Eliza. Everyone was ready with their bikes so after a bit of a chat we set off for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cycling the Bridge

There was one hill to the bridge path that we had to take, but that wasn’t too bad. Being such a beautiful Saturday there were plenty of people out making the most of it. We cycled across the bridge, which was a nervewracking experience. The paths on either side of the bridge serve pedestrians going one way and bikes the other, so that means there’s two-way bike traffic on a path that’s not all that wide. It’s even skinnier when people (including us) stop to take photos. Then there’s the traffic that’s zooming by very loudly and the whole experience can’t help but raise your blood pressure. It’s an amazing bridge though.

We reached the other end without incident (thank god), though Anna was nearly taken out by a pro cyclists. We then took the path around to Sausalito, which was a really nice cycle ride. One of the things we noticed here, and in the park, were the very tall Eucalypts growing around the place. Glen and I had smelled the gum trees, which instantly made us think of home. Of course, here the trees are a pest and grow extremely well.

Sausalito is a little bayside town popular with tourists and locals. It feels like a little holiday location, sort of like Dunsborough or Margaret River back home during Easter. There were people everywhere and trying to find food was a bit of a challenge because there were a lot of queues. We eventually settled on a burger place that served the kind of burgers you’d make for yourself at home. My grilled chicken burger was very nice.

We sat on the grass, eating our food and swapping stories. We then began to get organised for the ferry ride back to San Francisco. Our bike hire place had already given Glen and I tickets (if we hadn’t used them, we wouldn’t have been charged for them) but the others still had to get tickets. There were a lot of people eager to catch the ferry. We couldn’t get on one ferry because it was just leaving once we were ready, so we got in line for the next. Glen and I stuffed things up by going to the loo and then joining the queue about ten people behind the others.

When it came time to board, they very kindly waited back for us until we got to the front of the queue…and then they stopped letting bikes board. At least we were all together and were guaranteed a place on the next ferry that was due to leave in about 45 minutes. We watched the crabs on the rocks and chatted while waiting.

The ferry came and we boarded. We then had a drink upstairs during the crossing. The ferry we boarded was due to land at pier 31, which was much more convenient for Glen and I, but less so for the others. When we landed, Scott cycled to Sports Basement to collect the car, while the rest of us stayed and had tacos and margaritas at the Mexican place right on the pier. The tacos were really good, and of course it meant we had more time to catch up with Anna.

Scott made it back to us probably around 8:30pm or so. Eliza had fallen asleep at the table, poor love. We said our goodbyes and went separate ways. Glen and I cycled back to the bike hire place, which was a little worrying as we didn’t have any lights on our bikes and it was dark by then. We made it there safely, however, and returned the bikes and walked back to our hostel.

Being a Saturday night in San Francisco, how could we not go out? Well, pretty easily, once we got over the guilt. I was wiped out after 11 hours on a bike. Glen found a couple of places to go but we figured that as it was just the two of us, there wasn’t really much point in heading out. A club is a club, after all. If we’d been with friends, we would have sucked it up and gone out, but as it was just us, we committed the social sin of staying in and went to bed. Despite this, it had been a good, jam-packed day in San Francisco and I had enjoyed seeing a little bit of this city.

Flowers, contacts and dinner with the fellows

Despite having a terrible night’s sleep, we got up early and went to the gym. Shoulder day today. Bec was there. It’s always nice to have a friend in the gym. Getting up so early meant that the morning seemed to go for a long time. Glen went off to work and I started writing, clocking in a couple of thousands words before I went to my chiropractor appointment.

The clinic is near the Allan Gardens Conservatory and as I haven’t been in there since the dead of winter I thought I’d check it out again. The contrast between outside and inside wasn’t as stark this time but there were some beautiful floral displays. A few actually made me gasp. There was this one tree with these aquamarine flowers. I’ve never seen a colour like it on a flower before. Stunning. So beautiful in fact that another visitor also mentioned it.

After my quick visit, which was refreshing for the soul, I went to collect my new contact lenses. I finally found a brand that doesn’t feel like I’m wearing sandpaper on my eyes. So comfortable that I forget I’m wearing them and then go to adjust my glasses, only to find I’m not wearing them. So I’ve got a box for each eye, six in a pack, and I’m set for our trip to Austria. I’m wearing them now and pretty happy with the way they feel (though they’re not exactly cheap and definitely cost more than glasses).

I wrote some more words for my manuscript this afternoon, pleased with where I’m getting (though impatient to have the thing done). If I can, hopefully I’ll have the whole 80,000–90,000 words (or near enough) written by the end of the first week of July, which is when I’m off to the UK. That will give me two weeks to let it ruminate and settle before launching into an aggressive edit. July is pretty much a write off so looks like August and September will be very busy with getting this done.

Tonight was Fellows Dinner night, one of the last with this group of lovely people as all but Minnie are leaving in a couple of weeks. I met them at Mount Sinai Hospital at six and we went to a restaurant called Bocca on Baldwin St. Reasonable food, lots of doctor talk. A couple of hours later we went on our way. Only a few more weeks before Anna and Vaughan go. Very sad about that.

And finally, a friend posted this link on Facebook of 32 Pictures That Will Change The Way You See The World saying be prepared to have a bit of a cry. I was sceptical but clicked on it anyway. Well, she was right. Some of them were very touching and did bring tears to my eyes. I’m a softy at heart for sure. Anyway, click on the link and feel good about yourself.

Hidden gem: Allan Gardens Conservatory

After I’d been to an appointment today, I took a very short detour to check out the Allan Gardens Conservatory. It’s so close to where we live that I’m a bit ashamed I hadn’t checked it out sooner. I stumbled across it while looking over the list of available garden wedding ceremony venues operated by the City of Toronto.

On the corner of Jarvis and Carlton Streets, Allan Gardens Conservatory is over 100 years old and is made up of a number of interconnected greenhouses, the main one being the historic Palm House. The whole thing reminds me of the greenhouses at Kew Gardens in England – only much smaller.

Around the greenhouses is a large park with an off-lead dog area. The park is covered in snow at the moment but once you step inside, you enter a warm and colourful world that is so welcome in winter.

Inside there are giant palms, a spring flower display (with daffodils and tulips), orchids, a whole cacti display (which is just strange to see with the snow outside the windows), and lots and lots of greenery and colour. I felt better for just having gone inside.

Unfortunately, the space available for wedding ceremonies is small and wouldn’t suit our purposes, but it’s a beautiful place to visit nonetheless.

In other news…

We have a table and four chairs. I helped our friend, Pauline, pack up her apartment on Wednesday. She was giving away things, one of which was the table and chair set, and I realised we needed one. Now that it’s here I don’t know how we did without it. Feels like our apartment is complete. And I warned Glen that it’s not to be used to dump his clothes on.

I’m working on the edits for my book as they came through this week. I’m nearly done with the first pass and am making good progress. There are some nice comments from my editor and not too many changes required, so it’s not bad. I can’t do more than about five hours of editing though. My brain gets too tired and I miss things.

We skipped our final ice skating lesson last night. It was a make-up lesson for one that was cancelled in January. We’ve been skating down the Rideau Canal and we’ve already got our medals, so we weren’t too upset about not going. All we have to do is make the effort to go skating, though I haven’t had any lately.

Glen’s research poster has been accepted for a radiology conference in Salzburg, Austria, in June so we’re now looking into travel plans for that. Very exciting as we’ve never been to Austria. And it should be beautiful in the summer.

We’re also tearing through the second season of House of Cards. It’s so good!

And that’s the news.