Intellectual companionship is true joy

“Home is where the heart is, and the true measure of Canberra – like everywhere, I guess – can be found in its people and the things they value most,” says ‘The Gadfly’ columnist. ROBERT MACLIN.

There are times – like now – when life is so wonderful, so special, that we just have to share it with our little part of the world.

Robert Maclin.

This part I’m talking about is, of course, Australia and specifically that southern corner of NSW which includes the national gem we call Canberra.

You can keep your mighty metropolises, Canberra is the “four seasons” of human settlement not least because it actually has the quartet in an annual chart. And despite the polluting belches of overcrowded industrial calamities, we can breathe Canberra’s clean air all year round.

If winter winds chill the blood, or summer westerlies swell the mercury, the Mediterranean zephyrs of Tuross or the mountain airs of the snowy highlands are each only a short morning’s drive away. But if work requires you to be in the capital, then Canberra in January or July is a pure delight.

The former, nicely named for Janus, the two-faced Roman god who could see both ways, is basically empty of Canberrans splashing around in the South Pacific.

So we latecomers are transported back to the 1970s, when daily rush hours were all 10 minutes in the morning and arvo. And nowadays, the evaporative cooler fills the home unit with delightful breezes. While July, courtesy of the great Caesar, spends time snuggling up with crackling fires and electric blankets and football on TV.

But it’s also when Tuross beckons and this little asshole pays back his investment with savings on gas bills and reunions with the friends of this village community.

It’s getting more and more interesting as new retirees and home-based workers add sparkle and weight to the community conversation. We even enjoy the journey there, through the booming Bungendore and the irresistible stop at Braidwood’s Pie Shop or Nelligen’s Cafe for its unmistakable flathead tails and crispy golden fries.

If at any time we choose the mountains or the hinterland, an assortment of delights awaits us in the charm of Adelong and Tumut, the history and friendliness of Gundagai and the eerie and ghostly surroundings of Batlow, the capital of the apple of NSW with its vast white sheets. pamper the maturing orbs. To the west is the gold rush and bushranger country of Lambing Flat, Eugowra and crooked old Canowindra.

But home is where the heart is, and the true measure of Canberra – like everywhere, I suppose – can be found in its people and the things they value most.

Ah yes, there are the great national treasures which are the Museum, the Gallery, the ANU and the Arboretum. And for visitors, the Parliament and the War Memorial.

But for us inhabitants, intellectual company is the real joy; and this was delightfully revealed most recently in a local poll which revealed the following:

  • Are you going to get your flu shot this year? 92% answered “Yes”.
  • Did you go to church at Easter? 80%, “No”.
  • Do you care that Anthony Albanese stumbled on the unemployment rate? 77% “No”.

Indeed, the very fact that we are free to vote in a war-torn world is a cause for wonder and joy. It really warms up the shells.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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