Another Country Diary

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5 April '02

Heading out of Sydney early, right in Friday night peak hour, with the sun in our eyes. It was a good day, my meetings went well and I'm looking forward to spending some time with my daughter who's been in Sydney and is staying in Bungendore for a few days.

 While I was in Epping, just outside the 3rdMill office, I photographed these large seed pods (about 6" long) from an attractive tree that no-one knew the name of. I passed an Indian business man with a pod and a briefcase in his hands but he didn't know what it was. He said he liked the tree and was taking it home to plant. He thought it had blossom like a flame tree.

9 April '02
A day that was not my own but I took some pictures for myself anyway. I'm helping an old friend up from Melbourne with the media coverage of the Dalai Lama's visit to Canberra next month.

It was a day spent looking at the locations where His Holiness (as they say) would stay, visit and talk. The last promises to be the most interesting, a Mind Science event at ANU, moderated by the ABC's Robin Williams, with a panel of Australia's top psych and brain science guys. Sorry, tickets are all sold out. (But I do still need camera crew...)

We also visited Parliament house and each time I've gone there, I've taken pictures of corners of the architecture, the courtyards and walkways that you see from the buildings. A curved window delivered the middle fantasy image. 

I usually find the bleak government architecture at ANU depressing, but this time it was broken by warm late afternoon light catching the trees, (top) and that's one of the local Tibetan Buddhist nuns at left, who is helping with the event.
10 April '02
Forget spending 'quality' time with my daughter, most of it has been spent in working on her computer, upgrading it so that she can edit the DV video's she took in the US. There's some lovely stuff with her friends in Tacoma (near Seattle) and at school. The ethnic mix makes it seem so different from here, and her exchange student friends add to this as well. 

There's video of her Thai and Danish girlfriends, gridiron matches, school 'proms' and lots of classroom stuff. She was in New York two weeks before the WTC attack and has stories to tell about how it affected her and her friends. Fearing they were under attack, close to the biggest US naval base and nuclear power stations, they cleaned out the school bomb shelter!

There are some photographs of her US. stay, up on her website. The movie should be ready in a month or two but it looks like a new motherboard or at least an upgrade is going to be required before it happens. It never ends, but they're all children of the technology now, and it's the modern father's job to keep the IT working. I don't mind that much, she's a delight. Smart and funny (but don't tell her). I miss her when she's away even with all the phonecalls and emails. 
12 April '02
It must be heading to winter in spite of the warm autumn days and nights, because the load of firewood has arrived. The only problem with that however, is that it's too hot to chop wood in the sun. I've been splitting a barrow load at a time and then coming back to work on the computer. 

In the early years here, we just stacked the large logs and split them as we needed. Last year I split it all first and it's much better to be able to get a load and have a fire going in minutes. Then, when I'm not home till late, I feel I've been a good provider and the girls don't have to chop.  I forgot about the gloves for the first few loads and my hands are now full of splinters. It's the thumb on the space bar that hurts.

There's an old adage that firewood warms you twice. Once when you chop it, once when you burn it. At the moment I settle for once when I burn it. 

Fred Harden
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