Sunday 1 April 2012

Sunday in Canberra

Sunday was a free day as I had arranged to inspect my property on the Monday.
I had breakfast at Tilley's Devine Cafe. Tilleys is one of my favourite spots in Canberra. A Cafe cum restaurant cum bar cum entertainment venue. On weekends its breakfast is legendary and it gets very crowded. I was there early before the crowds, in part due to the change of clocks from Daylight Saving and in part due to being an early riser.
The inside of Tilleys features timber lined booths and large timber tables, smaller tables cater for singles and couples. It always has Jazz music playing and has an almost "clubby" atmosphere of old world charm. The serving staff are always neatly turned out in white blouses and black skirts and almost entirely female. The history of Tilley's is that it was formerly owned and run by a lesbian lady, it was almost exclusively women only, men had to be accompanied by a woman, and it was a safe haven for females. It had a reputation of being a lesbian hangout, but modern political correctness has removed the barriers to men and the gays have moved elsewhere.
I ordered mushrooms on toast and my meal when it arrived consisted of four large field mushrooms on a bed of toast. I like mushrooms but even for me this was overkill. To be honest the mushrooms were not well prepared as they were very under seasoned. A disappointment but the atmosphere made up for it.
I moved on from there, after a coffee and read of the paper, and made my way to the National Gallery of Australia via my hotel to pick up a camera which I never actually used.
The current major exhibition featured Renaissance artists including Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini and Titian plus a few others. I paid my dues and entered but was, to be honest, rather under whelmed. I recognise the importance to art history of these artists and their paintings. I can see the skill and I marvelled at the colours, obviously some have been restored to be so vibrant, but the preponderance of ecclesiastical themes leaves me rather cold.
I moved on from the exhibition but returned later to see if my view had changed. It had not.
Around the rest of the gallery was a temporary display section devoted to Western Australian artists. Good on you guys, I did not see much to capture my eye.
I wandered by chance into what I call the Australian Section. This area features Australian artists since white settlement. Elsewhere there are significant sections of Indigenous art also. I was mightily impressed with the display. Huge compliments to the Curator of this section who has made it into a voyage of discovery. Many of the well know artists such as McCubbin, Nolan, Streeter and Roberts interspersed with lesser known. I have seen many of these paintings before but the way that they were arranged brought a wonderful fresh approach and it was a delight to walk from one gallery space to the next or around corners to see a new surprise.
The Bludger was very impressed with the display.
Moving on I headed to the Old Bus Depot Markets. I was beginning to think about lunch and the food hall there was a possibility. The Markets seemed quiet, but feature a food section and I sampled some awesome cheeses and marinated olives. Nothing caught my eye as a lunch option however and I drifted on.
The area adjacent to the market is undergoing a massive redevelopment and I had a look around a show apartment. It felt small and cramped, lacking cupboard space. It had a nice view of the lake and selling for far too much money. Although I must say it is larger than that which I currently live in. Moving on I went to Kingston in search of some lunch. In fact more than lunch, by now, I had a hankering for some nice Oysters. I ended up at Artespresso and washed down a mixed dozen of natural and Kilpatrick oysters with a couple of glasses of Indian Pacific Sauvignon Blanc. An Adelaide hills winery which I had never heard of, and have already forgotten. Not unpleasant but not worth remembering the name. I have in the past had some great meals at Artespresso and it was a pleasant dining experience today. Oysters freshly shucked and separated from the shell so that they slid easily down the throat.
By now I had made arrangements for the afternoon and evening and with a bit of time to kill I entered the nearby Belgian Beer Cafe and treated myself to a large glass of Leffe Brune. An awesome beer at an awesome price. Maybe flying to Belgium would be a cheaper option next time however.
After that I returned the car to the hotel and made my way on foot to the Wig and Pen the selected venue for catching up with some friends. While I wasn't planning on a session it seemed prudent to get the car out of the equation. That turned out to be a good bit of foresight.
The Wig and Pen is a lovely old English style pub. It features an on-site microbrewery and some lovely hand crafted beers. Unfortunately it is housed in a building which a developer believes should be turned into a concrete and glass monstrosity, thus maximising their profits and decreasing the aesthetics of the centre of Canberra. We call that progress.
I was early for the catch up and it had the right atmosphere to sit nursing a beer and read a book. Which I did.
The catch up went well with some good friends. The evening was somewhat marred by a run in with another patron in the toilets. He entered shortly after me and left as I was washing my hands. He did not wash his hands. So I reminded him to do so. This unleashed a torrent of abuse.
During this tirade I was amazed to learn that urine was sterile and therefore one did not need to wash hands. I also learnt that my parents were unmarried when they conceived me, although how he knew that I did not know. I was also called a name that indicated I used manual stimulation techniques on myself. The rest just washed over me.
All up it was quite entertaining and I continued to push his button out of perversity. I shortly grew tired of it and then turned my back on him, ignored him and sat back down with my companions. He continued to justify his unsavoury habits until he ran out of steam and eventually moved off.
The Bludger staggered out of the pub at an unknown time, had some Chinese and ended up back at the hotel.

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