I am at Gus' in Canberra what a thrill for Sunday ... I am really just passing through but loving it thus far. Got into Canberra in the early afternoon - I am only here for a second en route to Cooma and thence Bega-Tathra-Bermagui, all worky things. Quick drop into the NLA to find out some things I should already have known (and to get a new library card because I lost my last one - where on earth is one supposed to keep these kinds of things, that are just never going to be useful except, like, once a year?)
I could not believe the dreary shell of a young lady i sat next to on the plane, she was reading a Peter Temple but soon fell asleep in her boyfriend's lap, so what do I care about her, well, I was just annoyed that after all that ostentatious uncaringness, when we landed she said to her boyfriend 'there they are!' whoever was dumb enough to pick them up at the airport I suppose and she stuck her skinny arm in front of my face to wave out the window. I wonder if, on arrival, she said to 'them', 'did you see me? I waved!' and I wonder if she was disappointed when they said, 'dub tf!?'
The airport at Canberra is new now and it's really hard to figure out the way the old airport used to be laid out, there are all kinds of twists and turns.
If I am not mistaken Cooma is where Pip Proud learnt to play guitar. He was an apprentice wireless technician in the mid-1960s (around the time I was born I suppose) and someone taught him a few chords. This was what Pip told me late in his life, though he also implied at an earlier time that he had actually learnt to play guitar a lot earlier in life, as a cure for what he suggested was spasticity of some sort. I was never entirely sure what he meant when he said he had been born spastic but he seemed to have no motor coordination problems when I first knew him (then he had a stroke, so that’s a different story obviously) and I have never heard of anyone training themselves out of being ‘spastic’, a word I think is possibly no longer used anyway. There are no plaques in Cooma that I have seen announcing that this was where Pip Proud learnt to play guitar but there should be one. I believe more in plaques these days. I think they are valid if they are used properly. I was in Gowrie in Canberra yesterday afternoon and I was impressed by the fact that the streets were all named after soldiers in I think WWII, not impressed by that particularly, but each street sign had a little information about them (rank and serial number, basically) which was good.
Well, I got into Cooma last night very tired after not sleeping much the previous night. I booked into a hotel where the bathroom – I am not sure if I know how to put this delicately but I’ll try – stunk of shit (though curiously by morning this was no longer the case, I imagine it was something to do with the drains) and I wandered wondering how so many Thai restaurants had thrived here till recently only to then close down. So last night I ate at the Alpine Hotel, in the small but swank dining room, which they positively ruined by playing all the music I have ever hated in my life apart from Meatloaf, presumably just so they could perpetuate the fear in me that they might at a certain point play Meatloaf. There was BULK U2. I wonder why with all their pretensions at the AH they didn’t think playing pop music (crummy or otherwise) spoilt the mood somewhat.
Cooma is quite a pretty town even without the thai restaurants, it has quite a lot of large art deco buildings such as the aforementioned Alpine Hotel which I am presently in sight of as I write this. I am having some fruit sourdough toast in a café/bakery called The Lott, which seems a happy little place, full of people who might well be treechangers. Worn wooden floorboards, rustic benches, hessian covering the facings of the high counter, a huge churn full of cushions – that kind of thing. It’s a cluttered schtick that might just be trying very slightly too hard, but is still fairly decent when it comes down to it.
Road out of Cooma
It was cold and misty this morning and I realized when I unpacked my bag that, when I repacked from a shopping bag (I only do carry on these days) I must have left my jumper out. Yesterday morning in Melbourne it took real intellect to conceive of the possibility of ever needing a jumper again, and I don’t have that plainly.
This morning I drive on to Bega, then Tathra, then Bermagui. Follow my adventures!
Yesterday was a good productive trip to Bermagui where we picked up two boxes of priceless documents I will be scanning furiously tomorrow (I mean today, sorry). It is 4:53 am as I write, I have been awake for a couple of hours as I went to bed following a small bbq with colleagues and students at this jammy 3-bedroom unit I have been put in (don't know why, but do know I was in a very similar situation last time I was here in Tathra) and then I woke up at 3 am convinced there was someone in the unit. I was not particularly scared of this notion but fairly certain of it (I suppose I was still partly asleep or something). After a while I roused myself sufficiently to go downstairs and check the four (!) doors leading into the place to discover two of them were unlocked, so if there had been someone in here I suppose there might have been a reason. For all I know there is a lot of burglary etc here because people are probably fairly lax about leaving doors open. I know I am/was.
So I was now properly woken up so I did all the things I had been intending to do when I woke up, like assess some ethics applications and start digitising tapes, and that meant I could reset the alarm for 7 rather than 6, though now it's perilously close to 7, I should try and sleep some more. 'Night.
The day: I felt pretty ill most of the day but I soldiered on for the greater good. This apartment is really great.
Just been scanning docs for two days, with occasional breaks for small journeys. Not much to say about them, I may put up some pics later when I get home, for instance of what I think is a seniors' village, a burnt out house, etc. Today I am returning circuitously Tathra-Canberra via Bermagui, which adds an hour to my journey but is possibly more interesting as it's a whole new route I have never travelled on. Southern NSW is one more place I would definitely like to see more of.
I have had this low-grade virusy cold thing for the last two days which seems to be in a holding pattern but unwilling to fully grab me, just taunt me, I don't know what that's about. Perhaps it's just some kind of Bega-Tathra-Bermagui thing and I will leave it behind when I go. Maybe I should 'visualise that' concept and 'make it happen'.