Cavorting in Canberra

Hey There, Delilah!

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Well, what a pleasant surprise for me to catch up with Clawdeen in our nation’s lovely capital, Canberra. Look! She even got dressed up for it!

It was a little overcast, and Clawdeen arrived in the afternoon, so we didn’t have much time left in the day to do a lot. We decided we would go to Parliament House, which is also known as The Hill, or Capital Hill. The Hill is kind of like your Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It is where our government sits and makes lots of important decisions for our country. Have you been to the Capitol Building yet, Delilah?

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We entered in to Parliament House through a big marble lobby. Clawdeen wanted a picture of her on the stairs, and there was a perfect little groove for her to sit in on the bannister. We then walked into the Grand Hall! Clawdeen thought it was Grand indeed and love the giant artwork that reminded her of some of the bushland she had seen on her travels. I told her it was a gigantic tapestry that someone had taken the time to make by hand. She was very impressed, and told me she’d love to touch it. I told her it was very precious and we aren’t allowed to touch. But I took her upstairs where there was a sample so she could feel what it would be like to touch it.

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Next we went to have a look at the Senate (known as the Red Room, or the Lower House), and House of Representatives (known as the Green Room, or the Upper House).

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We had seen a sign that told us all about the Prime Minister and Clawdeen was excited to point out where he stands while in the big room to say why he wants something to become a law.

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We then walked around a bit more, and Clawdeen was thrilled to see some beautiful aboriginal artwork. What sort of art do you like, Delilah? We saw a really big painting in another room, and Clawdeen thought the colours were magical. Looking through the portrait gallery, Clawdeen liked the pretty lady in the gold dress and crown. I told her that was our Queen when she was younger. “She’s beautiful,” she told me. She also took a fancy to this pretty grandfather clock.

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We went out onto a terrace and Clawdeen wanted to get her picture taken with the Queen. I told her it’s not the real one and she laughed and said, “I know that, silly!”

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We went up to the roof to look out over the city. The first thing Clawdeen saw was the giant flag pole that stretched from one side of the roof to the other. “Wow!” she said. Looking out from the roof we could see all the way over the roof of Old Parliament house, and along the ANZAC Parade to the War Memorial. Looking to our left we could see the “Avenue of the Flags”, the museum, and the huge university buildings. Up on the big hill is Black Mountain Tower, where all the TV and radio signals are sent from. While we were taking photos we had a curious visitor… one of my favourite birds, the magpie.

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We went down to Old Parliament House, and Clawdeen saw a vintage car. “Oh it’s so cool,” she said. Clawdeen then saw this chair with the Aboriginal Flag and just HAD to get her picture on it, even if it was a little bit dirty.

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We then wandered through the rose garden, and Clawdeen liked a few roses that she said were “almost as pretty as my best friend Delilah!” I noticed that it looked like she had a small tear, and she told me, “I miss my best friend!” I reminded her it wouldn’t be long now til she was home again to be with you, Delilah.

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We then drove back home to my house, which is about 145km (90 miles) from Canberra. On the way we saw a kangaroo, and Clawdeen got so excited to see one in the wild. I explained we have to drive very carefully at some times of the day in case they are on the road, so that we keep them safe. We also saw a couple of sites that Clawdeen called “Amazeballs!” (I think she got that from Trudi, hahaha). There was a mailbox that looks like a parcel, and a Christmas Barn. “What’s a Christmas Barn?” asked Clawdeen. I told her it’s a giant shed filled from floor to ceiling just with Christmas decorations, but it was closed at the moment, since it was only open from June til December.

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When we got back to my house, Clawdeen was excited to run into Grumpy Cat and Moo. She just had to have her photo taken with Grumpy, and Moo got in on the action too.

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Clawdeen then met my dog Lilly. She loved that Lilly was a white boxer as she hadn’t seen many white ones. Lilly was a bit hesitant at first, but soon warmed up to Clawdeen’s wolfy ways. Clawdeen even managed to get a kiss in. The cat showed little interest.

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I turned around for a moment and when I turned back Clawdeen had managed to climb up on Lilly’s back. She said it reminded her of Bastian riding the Luck Dragon in The NeverEnding Story, a movie her dad had shown her once. Maybe your mum and dad remember that movie too, Delilah.

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I had to go and get some herbs from the garden for dinner so Clawdeen told me she would come and help me pick them. All of a sudden a lady bug landed on Clawdeens dress and she squealed with delight. “It’s so pretty!” We let him go safely on the plants.

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Clawdeen saw my Sunflower, and remember she had seen another big sunflower previously on her trip. She climbed up like last time, but it kept bobbing in the wind… She said it was like being in a rodeo. There were some pretty purple flowers and she wanted to get her picture next to them as she knows how much you love purple, Delilah. Then she spotted a pumpkin leaf I had trimmed off the plant, and picked it up. “This would make a perfect umbrella if it rained,” she laughed.

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Once inside I showed her the carrots I had pulled from the garden. “Oh no! Keep the dirty ones away!” she giggled. But she was happy to have a look once I cleaned them off. Just before bed we looked through the photos from the day, and Clawdeen loved that I made one of her photos my background picture on my computer.

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The next day we took a drive into town as I needed to go to the shops. I took her for a drive up to the lookout, which is called Nanny Goat Hill.

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Clawdeen liked the nanny goat statue and wanted to sit up on its neck. It was very windy though, and I had to hold on to help her stay up. From the lookout you can see in every direction! In one direction (East) it was an hour out to the sea, in another direction (South) it was an hour to the snowfields, and in yet another direction (North West) it was an hour to the city (Canberra). “Wow”, she said. “You’re so close to everything.” “We sure are,” I laughed. It was quite windy, and Clawdeens hair kept blowing in her face and she was struggling to hold it back. We couldn’t stop laughing, but we headed back to the car and went down town.

We only had a short time left together after that, and Clawdeen gave me a big hug and told me how much she liked seeing where I live, and how much she is enjoying her travels. She also said rather wistfully how much she can’t wait to get home to you, Delilah. I wished her safe journey and she was on her way to her next destination.

It was such a joy having her here. You have a very special friend there, Delilah.

Sending lots of love from Canberra (and Cooma)

Jenny McKnight

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