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Poll shock a big win for accountability


One down, one election to go


Sitting tight in the face of shame


Musical with a meaning


Well written, well read

Building dreams FROM THE


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news / world curry festival

Some like it hot, says curry festival founder Freyla Ferguson reports

NOTHING beats a good, hot curry on a winter’s day, says Deepak-Raj Gupta, Australia India Business Council ACT President and creator of the World Curry Festival. Now in its second year, the World Curry Festival returns to City Walk over the weekend of July 8-10. Last year’s festival attracted 25,000 people to City Walk, despite being postponed a week and losing some of its stallholders due to poor weather. It included a range of cuisines from Indian through to Ethiopian served up in street-style dishes cooked up by local community groups and commercial restaurants and cafes. Gupta says the idea behind the World Curry Festival started in 2010, however only got off the ground last year with the help of In The City Canberra and the ACT Government. He says he saw potential in holding a multicultural event to get people into the city at winter time. “I thought: ‘What to do in winter time?’,” he says. “And nothing beats a good, hot curry on a winter’s day. “My idea was to always have dif-

ferent types of cuisines in a street food style.” He said they were overwhelmed by the response. “We were thinking about 50006000 people would attend – I was completely prepared to take all the blame if we didn’t get the numbers,” he says. This isn’t the first time Gupta has developed big outdoor events having been instrumental in Canberra’s renditions of the Diwali “Festival of Lights” and the Holi Colour Festival. Gupta, who came to Australia 30 years ago, has an extensive background in hospitality. He started off as a waiter, while studying at university, and was soon thrust into the kitchen where he became a curry chef. “It’s how my love for food really grew,” he says. He now considers cooking a hobby and never follows a recipe – his signature dishes are a goat curry and paneer masala. “The key to the perfect curry is add simple spices to it,” Gupta says. “The more simple, the more flavour comes out … you’ve got to try to keep the balance of flavours.” This year’s festival will include about 25 stalls from India, Thailand, Laos and Ethiopia as well as

traditional sweets, beer and curried Gozleme. Gupta says there will also be a fashion parade and stage entertainment including Bollywood dancing. However, he says it’s the chillieating competition, where the winner is named Canberra’s Hottest Citizen and gets free curry the entire festival, that will be the biggest entertainment draw card. He says last year the competitors had already eaten 1kg of chillis by round six before they had to call it a draw. “They were eating it like sweets,” he says. “I am surprised that they can eat chilli like that. “This year we’ve already had people registered for the competition.” He says his mind is always ticking over for the next big idea in outdoor events for Canberra. His next big plan, he says, is for a night market that offers hawkerstyle stalls sometime in spring. The festival will be held alongside Canberra’s Winter Festival, right next to the open-air ice rink, real snow toboggan and giant inflatable slide. The World Curry Festival, Garema Place, Civic, July 8, 5pm-8pm; July 9, 11am-8pm and July 10, 11am-6pm.

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Creator of the World Curry Festival Deepak-Raj Gupta… “The key to the perfect curry is add simple spices to it.” Photo by Andrew Finch

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Since 1993: Volume 22, Number 24

Arts & Entertainment 19-21 Canberra Confidential 12 Cinema 20 Dining 21 Garden 22 Horoscopes 23 Letters 10 News 3-10 Politics 9 Puzzles 23 Socials 11


Dramatic end to colourless campaign Jacqueline de RoseAhern, story Page 6.

“Next to Normal” musical, story Page 19.

CEO: Greg Jones, 0419 418196, greg@citynews.com.au Editor: Ian Meikle, editor@citynews.com.au Journalists: Freyla Ferguson, freyla@citynews.com.au; Kate Meikle, kate@citynews.com.au; Kathryn Vukovljak, kathryn@citynews.com.au Arts editor: Helen Musa, 0400 043764, helen@citynews.com.au Photographer: Andrew Finch Advertising manager: Greg Jones, 0419 418196 Senior advertising account executive: David Cusack, 0435 380656 Advertising account executives: Kathy Leigh, 0400 293991; Liam Jones, 0400 092095 Sydney advertising: Ad Sales Connect, 02 9420 1777 Production manager / graphic design: Janet Ewen Graphic designer: Paulette Leo Proof reader: Glenda Anderson Accounts manager: Bethany Freeman-Chandler accounts@citynews.com.au Distribution: 02 6262 9100, circulation@citynews.com.au

Well written, well read

seven days

Ph 6262 9100 Fax 6262 9111 GPO Box 2448, Canberra 2601

Responsibility for election comment is taken by Ian Meikle, Level 1, 143 London Circuit, Canberra.

PM Malcolm Turnbull’s furious demand that the police investigate Labor’s “deliberate lies” that he was either destroying or privatising Medicare provided a dramatic end to a colourless campaign. It cast a shadow over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s leadership since he not only authorised the blanket advertising but personally continued the attack in the face of Turnbull’s denials. It also gave notice that the wafer-thin Turnbull majority will produce the exact opposite of the “stable” result he sought. Indeed, it was probably the worst possible outcome for the country. Coupled with a big Senate crossbench, it will certainly test Turnbull’s powers of leadership. He lost several of his closest supporters and the Abbott forces will be circling. In the last week the leaders battled to stay on message – Turnbull with his “Jobs and Growth” mantra bolstered by “Coalition stability”, while Shorten sounded increasingly shrill as he accused Turnbull (without the slightest evidence) of planning to privatise Medicare. It was a woeful end to what had been an otherwise civilised and mannerly campaign. But the weakness at its core was Shorten himself who is certainly “foreman material”, but lacks the gravitas and authority required for the top job.

The weakness was Shorten himself who is certainly ‘foreman material’, but lacks the gravitas and authority required for the top job.

TRY as they might, other issues – notably same-sex marriage and the role of the independents – ran interference with their chosen themes. But neither had the impact of Brexit, which played perfectly into the Turnbull message. And while it helped return him to The Lodge, voters will demand that the “real” Malcolm Turnbull finally stands up. THE Brexit vote continued to wreak havoc in Europe and the UK: In BRUSSELS “Nasty Nigel” Farage recalled the way MEPs laughed at him 17 years ago when he spoke of Britain leaving the EU. “You’re not laughing now!” he crowed amid the jeers. In LONDON more than 170 of Labour MPs declared no confidence in their leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Yet under party rules he is also chosen by unions and the broad membership where Corbyn claims to have continued


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support. However, his weakness in the bullring of Westminster was so risible that lame-duck PM David Cameron could cry across the chamber: “For heaven’s sake, man, go!’

Perhaps only Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek has the iron in the velvet glove that could land a knockout punch on her “agile” opponent.

CAMERON’S own Conservatives, quickly jettisoned the shambling Boris Johnson whose overweening ambition had helped bring about the Brexit vote, when his 2IC Michael Gove put his own hand up for the leadership. But instead of rewarding the betrayer, by week’s end they were coalescing around the former Home Secretary Theresa May. THE UK itself was threatening to collapse as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sought to remain in the EU along with 62 per cent of her constituents. And no one knows what will happen in an Ireland divided by English colonisers for four unhappy centuries. BUT the best news of a bewildering week was the continued deflation of “Daffy Donald” Trump’s bid for the US Presidency. Indeed, poor Donald ended it drafting his family members to fill the growing gaps in the speakers’ list at the forthcoming Republican convention. Happily, he has several wives to choose from. robert@robertmacklin.com

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Charlie gets his big start in Hawaii

Fidler upfront

By Kathryn Vukovljak

AN appreciation of travel and the uniqueness of culture inspired local writer Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern to write travel books for children. “I had always wanted to write stories for kids, and the idea of writing about a young boy going on adventures had been with me for a while,” says Jacqueline. “When my daughter Ariana was born prematurely two years ago, she came into the world small but strong and she gave me the courage to pursue my dream.” Jacqueline says she worked on a series of Charlie books while on maternity leave, with the stories centred around a boy who visits different countries with his parents. In her first book, “Charlie’s Adventures in Hawaii”, which will be launched on July 9 at Harry Hartog bookseller in Woden, Charlie goes to Hawaii with his family and discovers clues to uncover the spirit of aloha. “Charlie was named after and inspired by my grandfather, who travelled a lot,” she says.

6  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern... “I think it’s so important for kids to learn about the vibrancy and beauty in different cultures.” Photo by Andrew Finch “He passed away a while ago, but I think he’d be happy to be honoured in the books.” Jacqueline says that Hawaii is one of her favourite places, but that she’s been an avid traveller since moving to Australia from Sri Lanka when she was three. “I think it’s so important for kids to learn about the vibrancy and beauty in different cul-

tures,” she says. “The cuisine, values, language, traditions, iconic sights – it can teach them so much.” Jacqueline says there are six books in the series, but that she plans for it to grow as she travels more. “I travel regularly for work and for fun, and my husband and I both have family that we visit

all over the world,” she says. “It’s a dream come true for this to come to fruition. I sent my stories out to a few publishers and Little Steps got back to me, it was a good fit and it went from there.” Twenty per cent of book sales on the launch day will go to Miracle Babies Foundation, as will 40 per cent of sales of the book from Jacqueline’s website for the following two days. “After spending time in the special care nursery with Ariana, I saw what so many mums go through and it’s amazing to know that Miracle Babies is there when needed. “I’m delighted to be able to help such a worthy foundation.” Jacqueline says her dream is to encourage children to learn more about the world. “I’d love them to journey far and wide in discovering, appreciating and understanding,” she says. “I’m so excited, it’s an amazing experience for me to be able to share Charlie with the world.” “Charlie’s Adventures in Hawaii”, by Jacqueline de RoseAhern, $24.95, from bookstores and via derose-ahernstories.com

RICHARD Fidler will discuss his new book, “Ghost Empire”, his ABC radio program “Conversations” and his time with the Doug Anthony All Stars at a literary dinner at the Great Hall, University House, on July 28. Tickets are $69 (two courses and a glass of wine) and bookings to anu.edu.au/events or 6125 8415.

Lunch with the ‘Dipper’ HAWTHORN Football Club legend and Brownlow Medalist Robert DiPierdomenico, pictured, is the guest speaker at the Eastlake Football Club’s annual business lunch on August 12. “Dipper”, who played 240 games for Hawthorn, played in five premierships and is an AFL Hall of Fame member, will give insights into his life as a player and as a media personality. Tickets are $140 and available from 6228 0999 or via eastlakedemons.com.au by Friday, July 29.

Shelter volunteers THE number of local Safe Shelters, which offer overnight accommodation for homeless men over winter, is to be expanded to three with building work about to start on upgrading the hall at All Saints Anglican Church, Ainslie. Organisers are seeking volunteers, male and female, to help staff the shelters and will run a training course, 7pm-9pm, on July 11 and 12 at St Columba’s Church, Braddon. More information from safeshelteract@gmail.com

Casting for funds THE ACT Fly Fishers Club is organising a Trivia Night and Silent Auction to raise funds for Casting for Recovery at the Canberra Deakin Football Club on Thursday, July 21. Casting for Recovery offers women, who are recovering from breast cancer, a free weekend retreat to enhance their recovery from treatment through learning fly fishing. The funds raised will be used to hold the second retreat in November. Tickets are $20 and bookings via eventbrite.com



Making the most of minimalist living

Rainy June bursts records

By Kathryn Vukovljak

FOR Masa and Michael Ofei, happiness doesn’t come from things these days. The Canberra couple says their priorities are living mindfully, with as little impact as possible to animals or the environment, and two years ago started living a minimalist lifestyle. “Over time we began to see the benefits of being less attracted to things and accumulating possessions, and we started to see success as something different,” says Michael. “It was hard for me at first, because I loved all the little bits and things – I come from an artistic family and grew up surrounded by beautiful items,” Masa says. “As a photographer I had built up a large collection of props, though really they were things I thought were cute and wanted to have! “Once we started to scrutinise it, I felt we could do without so much of what we had. Happiness doesn’t come from things. “We’ll happily spend our money on plant-based food, travel, experiences and ethical products.” Michael says: “We feel more at peace living this way.” “We’re lucky to be living in Canberra, with a roof over our heads – and we want to use the opportunity we have to do something better.” To that end the couple launched an online store, Fairlings, which sells day-to-day products that are fair trade, vegan, eco-friendly and organic. “For us, it was important that we could shop for essentials with a clear conscience, without having to check the ingredients and the ethics of every

Massa and Michael Ofei... “We like to support local as much as possible but also brands that are doing the right thing.” Photo by Andrew Finch company ourselves,” Masa says. “We struggled to find a shop that met our criteria, so we decided to start one.” Fairlings sells one product for each need, such as one shampoo, deodorant, skin cleanser and moisturiser, in order to keep things simple. “We don’t want to encourage consumerism as it can be overwhelming,” says Michael. “There is so much rubbish and toxic chemicals in everyday products, so we decided to focus on the things you use every day. As minimalists we prefer

to invest in practical things that we use constantly.” Masa says that she and Michael have thoroughly tested everything they stock themselves. “I’m very picky about what I use. Finding a good natural deodorant that works took forever, but we love the one we stock,” she says. “We see Fairlings as a shop that will evolve and grow. We like to support local as much as possible but also brands that are doing the right thing.” Visit theminimalistvegan.com.au or fairlings.com.au

THE Bureau of Meteorology reports that Canberra recorded its wettest June on record, largely due to an east coast low that resulted in Canberra Airport’s wettest June day on record. Overnight temperatures were warm during the month, with 15 nights above 5C, the equal second-highest number of warm nights on record. The month’s highlights include: • Wettest June on record for Canberra Airport with 144mm, 18mm higher than the previous record in June, 1956. • Three days recorded at least 20mm, the equal-highest number on record with June 1998. • East coast low produced 65.2mm of rain at Canberra Airport on June 6, the wettest June day on record. • 18 rain days, equal third-highest number on record. • Warmest average minimum temperatures at Canberra Airport since June, 2009. • 15 nights of 5C or higher, equal secondhighest number on record.

Birthday singers THE choir from the Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School in Harrison will be the special guests as the Gungahlin Day VIEW Club celebrates its 17th birthday at the Versatile Restaurant, Gold Creek Village, Nicholls on Wednesday, July 27. The two-course lunch costs $35 and visitors and interested ladies are invited to attend. RSVP to 6166 2874 before noon, Monday, July 25.

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CityNews July 7-13, 2016  7

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Travellers sitting tight in the face of shame Reader DON BACH is grumpy about the way healthy students and public servants won’t give up their seats to infirm bus passengers

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WHAT is it about Canberra that has students and healthy public servants with lanyards around their necks, taking up those seats on buses marked as intended for use by the disabled, pregnant and seniors? And then they bury their heads in their tablets and smartphones so they don’t see that category of passenger get on and, as required, give up their seat. It seems never to occur to anyone that a passenger getting on a bus at a hospital stop may be coming from treatment. There was a public consultation, a pilot and an agreement by Action Buses to roll out a series of reforms, including seats marked as “reserved” to remove the ambiguity. That undertaking has never been actioned and Chief Minister Andrew Barr has been persistent in not answering why not. Some reforms were implemented, the yellow bar on such seats, the different colour fabric to distinguish such seats, the announcements (last) on the loudspeaker at interchanges, but the public is seemingly ignorant of the intent of these seats for a specific-need passenger – and the able bodied will use them on every

occasion as a first resort and expect those on crutches, pregnant and 90-year-olds to go to the back of the bus. Our university vice-chancellors have been asked by members of the public to include bus manners in their orientation material as students are major offenders. School principals have also been asked to include the buscourtesy message in school assemblies with responses that include the advice that schools are not responsible for student behaviour outside the schoolyard. If the priority seating of the disabled, pregnant and elderly is included in bus-driver training then it is unsurprising that drivers do not enforce the intent given the violence they may well be subjected to these days. As a general rule, if a relevant passenger does ask for this seat, there is too frequently a blanket refusal by the occupant to vacate. Shame on Canberran commuters. Grumpy is an occasional column dedicated purely to things that get up your nose. Readers are invited to vent (no more than 300 words, please) at editor@citynews.com.au

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one man’s canberra

One down and one to go

Poll shock a big win for accountability THE leaders of the major parties and a complicit media have been hoisted on their own petard. Presidential-style campaigns across Federal, state and territory jurisdictions continue to deliver minority or narrowly elected governments that invariably have minorities in upper houses. A change is coming. The growing support for the Greens, the rise of the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) and the success of Jacqui Lambie is telling. There is no president in Australia, at least not for the time being. Australians vote for members of the House of Representatives who, in turn, elect a prime minister on the grounds that he or she “has the confidence of the House”. With a high likelihood of a minority government, the opportunity is now available for the Greens’ Adam Bandt, independent Andrew Wilkie, Bob Katter and NXT’s Rebekha Sharkie to illustrate that minority government can be stable government. For stable government these crossbenchers must sort out their own Budget priorities and negotiate financial priorities for the term of the parliament. Once this has been achieved, they should guarantee supply in order to allow executive government to manage the Budget. Every other issue should be dealt with on its merits. These crossbench members of the House of Representatives should have the wisdom to carry out the same sort of negotiations with Senate crossbenchers as they would expect a Prime Minister to deal with themselves. The crossbenchers will rarely vote as a block. They represent quite different constituencies. However, they should all commit to: • guarantee stable government by supporting the Budget and opposing no-confidence motions in the Prime Minister (other than for reprehensible conduct); • insist on fixed electoral terms (my preference is four-year terms); • insist on true transparency of donations to political parties; and • insist on a limit on campaign expenditure in each electorate and in each state or territory. Under the leadership of Richard Di Natale, the Greens have moved from an ideological left party to the centre left and are building a stronger and stronger support base for the next election. This shift has allowed them more room to negotiate, to examine legislation on merit and to become key players rather than just an influential voice of protest. Ironically, the real ideologues of the last few years

The message from this election is that Australians have rejected the idea that a party has a ‘mandate’ to… discard election promises and run a three-year dictatorship.

THE election is dead. Long live the election! Yes. The votes have been cast and counted across the wide brown land, and we’ve all just about recovered from a campaign that was far more exciting than we’re willing to admit*. So, take a breath and get ready for the local show. How to prepare for October 15? The website knowndays.com provides a wealth of material. It’s an American website, but I couldn’t find a similar list for Australia, so it’ll have to do. For starters, when we go to the polls here in Canberra, it will be on National Mushroom Day. Given the oft-quoted line about mushrooms being kept in the dark and fed on something unpalatable, I doubt I need to go further. But feel free to add mushrooms to the menu at your election-day feed. It doesn’t stop there, October 15 is also Hagfish Day. I am not an angler, but trivia is something I do better at and can tell you that a hagfish is the only species of animal with a skull but no spine. I make this observation with no reference to politicians. None at all. It’s also Take Your Parents to Lunch Day (might I suggest mushrooms?). But that sort of takes us away from the political, so how about National Grouch Day? After being forced to endure campaigns for Federal and territory governments in quick succession, I’m not sure who’s supposed to be grouchy, but there should be more than enough grouchiness to go round. On a serious note it is – worldwide – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and as the godfather of a very special little girl who was born after her mother had endured seven miscarriages, I will be taking a moment at some stage of October 15 to mark a special day of remembrance.

When we go to the polls here in Canberra, it will be on National Mushroom Day. Finally (for the purposes of this column, at least), October 15 marks Global Handwashing Day, a worldwide campaign to improve handwashing habits to improve health and prevent the spread of many diseases. This one really is important. Just think about what you’ll come into contact with on election day. It’s not just the polling-station pencils; if you’re thinking that voting electronically will save you, how many times have you read about the number of germs on keyboards? So, if you’re looking to cook at a sausage sizzle – or perhaps create some sort of date-appropriate mushroom thing – on October 15, do so before you vote or wash your hands after voting and before cooking or eating. And hope that those who wind up in the Assembly afterwards don’t use the coincidence of election day and Global Handwashing Day as their way of treating us afterwards. *Your humble correspondent was overseas for three weeks during the campaign. He is certain there must have been some excitement while he was away. Chris Coleman is the drive announcer on 2CC


have been the conservatives within the Coalition. People such as Cory Bernardi and Zed Seselja drive a conservative financial and social agenda at a time when the rich are getting richer and disparities are growing. They represent elements within the Coalition that wanted a new mandate, argue for trickle-down economics and social values of a previous era. These are the same elements who have insisted Malcolm Turnbull hold a divisive plebiscite on marriage equality that they will consider non-binding if the outcome does not suit them. The $50 billion tax break for big business also fits with their thinking. As illustrated by the polling under Tony Abbott’s leadership, and now the Federal election, it is the conservative movement in Australia that has been rejected by the overwhelming majority of Australians. The clearest message from this election is that, once again, Australians have rejected the idea that a political party has a “mandate” to provide strong government, to run roughshod over alternative views, to discard their election promises and to run a three-year dictatorship. Malcolm Turnbull went to a double-dissolution election in order to get a compliant Senate. Australians have said a very clear “no!”. Each piece of legislation that is presented to the Parliament will continue to be reviewed for approval from the Senate. Rather than a major party dominated perspective delivering on the whims of the prime minister, the Senate remains a true house of review. Accountable government is what has been delivered at this election. The term “hung parliament” is as derogatory as the alternative “three-year dictatorship”. Negotiations that take into account the minority voices in Australia is what the electorate has delivered. The question really is whether either of our potential prime ministers is up to the task – or will they look in a mirror and still see a president?

CityNews July 7-13, 2016  9



Promised pies in the real world

Burden on the ratepayers

AS resentment against the political order bubbles and explodes around the world, most notably in Britain where the Brexit vote has left the country almost completely devoid of political leadership at a crucial time, a lot of people are turning their thoughts to the Ultimatum Game. Wikipedia describes it like this: “The first player (the proposer) receives a sum of money and proposes how to divide the sum between the proposer and the other player. “The second player (the responder) chooses to either accept or reject this proposal. If the second player accepts, the money is split according to the proposal. If the second player rejects, neither player receives any money. The game is typically played only once so that reciprocation is not an issue.” Game theory suggests that it is always better for the responder to take a bad deal than to get no deal at all. In the real world there comes a point where the responder says: “If you’re going to make me such a crappy offer you can miss out, too”. In Australian politics the game has a twist in that we the public have a choice of ultimatums. The Liberals offer us a smaller percentage of the pie, but promise to make the pie bigger so that overall we’ll get more pie in the future. Labor promises us a slightly bigger slice of the pie today, with a lingering fear in our

Wages in this country have been stagnant since the Accord years of the Hawke government. So neither party is giving us more pie. minds that there will be less pie tomorrow. The reality is that wages in this country have been stagnant since the Accord years of the Hawke government. So neither party is giving us more pie. At the same time the economy has grown enormously, so someone else is definitely hoeing into our pies. The generally obese nature of this nation’s public billionaires certainly underlines this metaphor. The reality is that most Australians already get a lot more pie than other people around the world, so our masters can probably get away with taking a lot more away from us before we start flipping tables, which is a sobering thought. How desperate do we need to get before we stop playing the game? One can roughly get a sense of this by looking through the lens of the cold war. Just how bad did conditions need to get for people to take a chance on Communism? The answer is that things have to get

exceptionally grim even in countries far more prone to revolution than our own. Starvation wages and crippling intergenerational debt seem to be the flashpoint. The hope here in Australia is that our political classes will, if only out of a sense of their own self-preservation, not take things down to the wire. Maybe they’ll be able to tame the demons of their real constituencies, make the deal a bit sweeter and leave something more on the table for the rest of us. Or maybe the sooner we stop playing the game and start flipping the tables over, the sooner we’ll be offered a better ultimatum. John Griffiths is the online editor of citynews.com.au

IT’S all very well for columnist John Griffiths (“Why are we listening to the wowsers”, CN June 23) to advocate for the right of grown adults to drink all night and for businesses to make a profit from them. But why should Canberra’s ratepayers have to provide several million dollars each

One of our lowest home loan rates ever Standard Variable rate for loans of $500k or more.

Stephen Brown, Forrest

Griffiths is joking, right? IS columnist John Griffiths serious or having a joke with us? If he is serious then he has a problem (“Why are we listening to the wowsers”, CN June 23). He says wearing ugg boots shows a concerning lack of self-respect, yet condones binge drinking because the participants are adults. Because some of us don’t go out on the town drinking until all hours doesn’t mean we don’t see the problems. The drinkers may be adults, but they show a remarkable lack of self-discipline and

a complete lack of concern for their family, friends, and the emergency services and police who have to live with the carnage that often results from their binge drinking. I was told by a surgeon that about 75 per cent of admissions in emergency are due directly or indirectly to binge drinking. John also asks why we are seeking to deny grown adults the right to make their own decisions. Wake up, John, we did that with smokers so why is drinking any different? Vi Evans via email

Refugees a long term gain! IN response to Don Bach’s letter (“Refugee intakes a long-term drain”, CN, June 23), I believe the refugee intake is our long-term gain! We all hope for world stability but this is not the reality of our time. It would be beneficial for Mr Bach to have a look at the Refugee Council of Australia’s Facebook page. I see families in our city with two expensive cars, more than one house, annual holidays and two good incomes. We are not all doing it tough in comparison to Syria or Iran, for example.


year for the police presence necessary to manage the consequent violence and disorder? Is all-night binge drinking really an activity the community should support?

9 9 9 9

I see and know refugees who are great contributors (actually wanting to help our homeless) and, from first-hand experience, helping the disabled. I seriously don’t think Mr Bach has much knowledge of refugees when he exhibits such a lack of understanding about persecution in their country of origin; it is no fun leaving behind your family and friends and fleeing. Margaret Freeman via email

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p.a. comparison rate* 10  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

SERVICE ONE Mutual Limited (SERVICE ONE) ACN 095 848 598 is an agent of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (Bendigo Bank) ACN 068 049 178 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 237879 in the distribution of SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank branded products and services. SERVICE ONE also has arrangements with other third parties as detailed in the Financial Services Guide. SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank branded deposits and loans are deposits and loans of Bendigo Bank. SERVICE ONE Alliance BankTM is a trade mark of Bendigo Bank.

scene / around canberra


At the Canada Day reception, Yarralumla

At the US Independence Day celebrations, Kingston

Peter Lambertucci, Canadian high commissioner Paul Maddison, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Pierre Polar Bear, Lady Cosgrove and Fay Maddison

Tahney Keith and Kristen Flores

Shane Breynard and Jocelyn Plouits

Jane Melanie and Paul Lindwall

Romanian ambassador Nineta Barbulescu and Melissa Tyler

Yolla Raad and Donald Dupasquier

Meaghan Butler and Keely Dreghorn

Claudine Obers, Michelle Hayes and Judy Robertson

Olympia and Eric Yarger

Barbara Forsyth, Diana Lipscombe and Marilyn Fenner

Brad Rogers, David Millar and James Rowe

John Gurber and Rod Kennett

Ken Sneed with Tiffany and Beau Trevor

Catherine Bandle and Eilenn Bryan

Pauline Millar and Virginia Passmore

At the opening of ‘Swarm Trap’, Nishi Gallery

Sarah Barratt and Madeleine Mills

Nastja Zaric and Georgie Whigham

Stacey Chan and Emma Hlubucek

sundayROAST Stay in touch with the names making news on Sundays from 10am as 2CC and “CityNews” present Canberra’s only local weekend news and current affairs program.

Elise Perry, Raphaela Thynne and Phoebe Richards

Jai Tongbor, Sam Dignand and Emma O’Rourke

It’s a revolving panel show that brings to the microphone great “CityNews” commentators and 2CC personalities. Be part of the conversation and call 6255 1206 between 10am and noon.

Liam Lilly, Tom Ravenscroft and Anna Ehmann

Karyn Tisdell and Lisa Bambic

Julie Armstrong and Cathy Elliot-Jones CityNews July 7-13, 2016  11

Canberra Confidential

Know something? / confidential@citynews.com.au

Steve’s on top of the world LOCAL eight-ball champ Steve Woods is one of the Australian team to pocket the World 8ball Pool Championships for the first time in 20 years after three weeks competing in Blackpool, UK. He also earned personal recognition by being selected as a member of the Men’s World Team, which puts him in the top seven players in the world. Proud partner Heidi Moore says Steve grew up playing 8ball and snooker in Canberra, and has been competing in state titles and Australian championships since 1998. “He has been the runner-up Australian Champion multiple times and consistently achieved high rankings, including being ranked in the top two in Australia

for the last six years,” she says. “These results have earned Woods a place on the Australian team 11 times. “Winning the World Championship had been an ongoing dream of the Australian Men’s Team after their coaches, mentors and fathers won the title 20 years ago.” Since then, the competition had been dominated by the English, who were excluded from the final only twice in 20 years. But this year Australia defeated England in a nail-biting 8-7 semi-final before taking the title against Ireland 8-6. Sweeter still, the 33-strong Australian contingent also bagged the Ladies Team World Championships, as well as the Junior Singles and Teams World Championships.

And in his car he had a… CC’s loves clever personalised numberplates and we reckon this one’s a star: EIEIO. Spotted by our Tuggeranong snout, he reckons the owner’s name has to be McDonald!

Mercurial Freddie

Bear-faced cheek “LADY Cosgrove tackled by trouserless polar bear as Governor-General looks on laughing!” Oh, the headlines we’d love to write. Sharp-eyed snapper Andrew Finch spotted this cross-cultural clinch as Sir Peter’s wife was drawn into a (polar) bear hug at the Canadian High Commission’s reception for its recent national day. There was a Mountie there, too, but Finchy didn’t hang about to see what he got up to.

Building to retirement Steve Woods, highlighted, with his triumphant teammates after winning in Blackpool. Photo by Martin Peach Photography, England

FROM a gong to a building, there seems to be no end of salutation for retiring ANU professor, the brilliant and thoroughly pleasant Brian Anderson, pictured.

Last month in the Queen’s Birthday awards, as one of the university’s most distinguished professors, Prof Anderson was promoted to the top honour of Companion in the Order of Australia and, this month, to salute his retirement, the ANU is renaming its hitherto gloomily titled Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering Building to the comparatively sparkling Brian Anderson Building. They’re also throwing in a knees-up to say goodbye on July 22.

HERE’S a different way of seeing tribute acts. Author Peter “Phoebe” Freestone will be at the Harmonie German Club, Narrabundah, on September 8, to kiss-and-tell a little about living with Freddie Mercury, the outrageous lead singer of Queen, who died in 1991. “I was Freddie’s chief cook and bottle washer, waiter, butler, secretary, cleaner and agony aunt,” says Peter. “I travelled the world with him, acted as his bodyguard when needed and in the end, of course, I was one of his nurses.” The pair met in 1979 when Peter was working in wardrobe for London’s Royal Ballet and formed a friendship that saw him become Freddie’s personal assistant, a role he continued in until the singer’s untimely death. Marking what would have been Mercury’s 70th birthday, Peter promises an intimate evening of personal stories, rock anecdotes, rare photos, unheard audio and an audience Q&A covering the 12 years he spent living with and working for the Queen frontman. Tickets to “You’re My Best Friend: An Evening With Peter Freestone” via peterfreestone.com/tour

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12  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

Village Building Company

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‘Voices in the Forest’ is a fantastic, unique family event and Village is very hands-on in bringing it to the community.

Building home dreams from the ground up WHEN Bob Winnel looks back on his career, he says it’s been about helping people realise the dream of home ownership by creating communities and building villages through integrated design and affordable housing. The opera-loving founder of the Village Building Company is stepping down from the managing director’s role after leading the business for 28 years. He will remain as a non-executive director. “Buying a home encourages saving; people can pay off their house, improve their super and have a house that suits their lifestyle, then downsize to a unit in retirement,” he says. “We’re not yet meeting the demand for affordable family houses, and that is something we would like to look at. Small blocks are criticised but it’s better than renting or no house at all.” Bob attributes much of Village Building Company’s success to responding to the community’s needs. “We are a critic of government restrictions on land development – we promote schemes that give people access to housing,” he says. New CEO Travis Doherty says Bob’s legacy of building achievements, with developments in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Wollongong and Coffs Harbour, is tremendous. Travis has stepped up from a year as deputy CEO. “Bob, who is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), was responsible for the company contributing $1m to establish the Village Centre at the National Arboretum and also played a major role in the Master Builders Association in the 1980s and 1990s,” he says. “Bob has also been an Arboretum board member and Village has always been the major sponsor for Canberra’s annual ‘Voices in the Forest’ event.” Opera is a personal passion for Bob, who says that “Voices in the Forest” is important to him as a way to bring international and Australian talent to Canberra, promote artistic events and the natural environment. “Korean soprano Sumi Jo will be back at the next ‘Voices’ event on November 19, which is a major coup,” Bob says. “‘Voices in the Forest’ is a fantastic, unique family event and Village is very hands-on in

bringing it to the community. “Our contribution to the National Arboretum will stand as one of our major community contributions to the city in terms of a place that everyone can visit and enjoy. It shows off the natural attributes and the best points of planning of the city.” Bob says he started the Village Building Company, originally MBA Land, as a co-operative of builders in 1988. The company’s early projects included the development of large sites in Tuggeranong Valley and the Golf Course Estate in Belconnen. Bob says that Village has now completed more than 14,000 dwellings, sites, houses and apartments. “Village’s philosophy is to provide amenities such as parks, playgrounds, wetlands, bicycle tracks and sculptures into its developments, so as to provide a sense of community, and to provide affordable housing to the Canberra community. All while adhering to strong environmental ethics,” he says. With more than 20 years’ experience in executive leadership roles, Travis joined Village in July 2015 after nine years at the National Australia Bank where he held the positions of director, CEO, COO and general manager of various NAB businesses. Travis says he’s honoured to be able to guide the business on its mission to help Canberrans fulfil their dreams of home ownership by giving first home buyers in Canberra value-for-money opportunities. “For me to take over Bob’s legacy is a real thrill,” he says. “I’m passionate about building, construction and development, and I aspire to honour, respect and leverage the company’s rich history, but also add to it the experience I have gathered working in large corporates both in Australia and abroad. “What Village has is people, skills, experience and track record,” says Travis. “We’re doing big things and we get results, and we are driven by providing the Australian dream of home ownership and a secure retirement. “We stand for meeting the needs of the community, shareholders, investors, staff and suppliers. It’s all intrinsically linked.” “We will leverage off all the hard work that Bob, the board and the whole business have delivered in the past, and start to grow and enhance the long-term thinking around getting the right level of diversification in

Bob Winnel, left, and Travis Doherty… “Our contribution to the National Arboretum will stand as one of our major community contributions to the city in terms of a place that everyone can visit and enjoy,” says Bob. our business across the eastern seaboard, the right geographical mix, the right product mix and making sure we’re setting ourselves up very efficiently but also delivering great returns to our shareholders and investors, and equally great experiences for our customers.” Village has also appointed a new chief financial officer, Melanie Andrews, who comes direct from 18 years with CIC Australia and has worked previously on the Googong and Crace property developments. Bob says he will continue on the board after taking time off to travel around Europe with his family. Village Building Company, Argyle Corner, 92 Hoskins Street, Mitchell. Call 6241 6844 or visit villagebuilding.com.au

Bob Winnel, left, and Travis Doherty at Village Horizon at Coombs development.

THANKS CANBERRA Since 1988 it’s been a team effort with our customers, community, partners, suppliers, government and our staff. Thanks for helping us build the Canberra community for 28 years, we look forward to building it for many more to come. villagebuilding.com.au Photographer: Martin Ollman CityNews July 7-13, 2016  13

the experts / winter fitness

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Go on, give your body a little winter lovin’

Whether it’s keeping warm in a fitness class, getting outdoors to try something new or enjoying a skin treatment that requires a bit of hibernation – here’s some advice from Canberra’s experts to help give your body a little bit of love this winter.

Come pumping with Duncan Winter is the right time to try the Swedish-made BungyPump, says ACT representative Duncan Craig, who says it boosts the benefits of walking, activating 90 per cent of your muscles and burning 77 per cent more calories than walking without poles. “The poles’ in-built suspension eliminates hard shocks; this means that elbows and shoulders are not over-exerted and the pressure is relieved on knees and hips giving your body a low-impact exercise.” Duncan will hold “come-and-experience” sessions for BungyPump throughout July. Bookings are essential. Call Duncan on 0404 373157 or visit bungypump.com.au

Turbo-charge your walk with fitness poles BungyPumps (with built in resistance) offer huge advantages over regular walking: they use and tone over 90% of the body’s muscles, increase cardiovascular work by up to 25% and burn up to 77% more calories. They also reduce impact on ankles, knees and hips, promote upright posture and help ease back and neck pain. Come and experience BungyPump exercise pole walking in July: Tue 12th 12:30pm, Thu 14th 12:30pm, Sat 16th 11:00am, Sun 17th 2:00pm. Meet at Lake Burley Griffin at the Patrick White Lawns at the National Library. Introductory sessions are free, bookings essential. Phone Duncan on 0404 373 157 • www.bungypump.com.au

Winter’s the time for skin repair WINTER is the perfect time to visit a Clear Complexions Clinic, says Suzie Hoitink, registered nurse and founder of Clear Complexions. “A lot of our clients come to us in winter because they have accumulated environmental damage over summer,” Suzie says. “Winter is a great time to have big treatments that need you to stay out of the sun.” Clear Complexions was started more than 10 years ago in Canberra and now has five clinics in Canberra and Sydney with another opening soon in Sydney. They offer a range of treatments using medical-grade equipment to treat conditions including acne, scarring, unwanted hair, skin pigmentations, facial capillaries, psoriasis, wrinkles, rosacea, leg veins and large pores. All clinics are staffed by nurses and doctors only and are equipped with the latest in medical-grade technology. Suzie says the Clear Complexions’ hour-long consultation process is what really sets them apart from their peers. “We look at the skin below the surface,” she says. “You have to know what’s happening under the skin to get the best education in the health of your skin. “This helps us work out what we can do now and what we can do in the future to get our clients beautiful, healthy skin.” Visit clearcomplexions.com.au

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Wanted: boot-camp recruits FERNWOOD Fitness is now recruiting for its Military Miss six-week boot camp challenge. Fernwood Fitness has five gyms in Canberra – Belconnen, Canberra City, Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Woden and is run by women for women. Starting on July 25, the Military Miss challenge will be open to everyone – whether they are a member of Fernwood or not. It’s an indoor boot camp that offers one session a week. Each participant will get a fitness test before and after the challenge to see where they have improved. They will also receive a fitness card and goal-setting session to help them stay on track. Participants will also gain access to an online program that offers helpful exercises and recipes. “There is no lock-in contract but if non-members do decide to stay on with Fernwood and sign up to a 12-month contract before the end of the challenge we won’t charge the joining fee of $199. Conditions do apply,” a Fernwood spokeswoman says. “Summer bodies are made in winter,” the spokeswoman says. Visit fernwoodfitness.com.au/australian-capital-territory

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all about charnwood

How Henry’s old homestead FOUNDED in 1973, Charnwood is named after the Forest of Charnwood in Leicestershire, England, and was the name of the homestead for the district’s first landholder, Henry Hall, who obtained a grant of the 3492 acres of land in 1833. The suburb, which is situated in Belconnen, is now a place where more than 3000 people call home.

Warm, welcoming and happy school THE Parish School of St Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic school and seeks to live its faith in response to the needs and challenges of the times, says principal Cameron Johns. “Our faith is important to us and underwrites all For an efficient solution to your technology problem that we do at the school,” he says. The Parish School of St Thomas Aquinas is situCall us today ated in Lhotsky Street, Charnwood and serves the community of West Belconnen, which includes www.ebm.net.au Charnwood, Dunlop, Macgregor, West Macgregor, Shop 6 / 7 Charnwood Place, Flynn, Fraser and Latham. A bus also runs from Charnwood ACT Murrumbateman on a daily basis. Enrolment for the school and Early Learning Centre is 360. FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS “As a parish school we have strong links to our FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… DC0110.indd 1 29/06/2015 1:30 pm parish led by Father Drinkwater, and assisted by FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS Sr Colleen Howe, pastoral assistant,” Cameron FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST says. NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS “We welcome all students. We are a school FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST for all. We include everyone. Underpinning this NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS value is a deep belief in the sanctity of the human FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST person. NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS “We provide a warm, welcoming and happy enFIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST vironment. We celebrate the world. We celebrate NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST… FAST NEWS FIRST…

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people. We learn and grow. “We provide a safe environment for our students. We provide routines and structures. We have clear policies on behaviour management and pastoral care. We are very clear about our expectations of student behaviour and we provide all the support needed to help students meet those expectations.” Visit staquinas.act.edu.au or call 6258 4077 or the Early Learning Centre 6258 5834.

Fear-free help with technology EBM Computers in Charnwood prides itself on its professional and friendly service. The company has serviced the Canberra region for more than 15 years and has a fully-equipped workshop on-site to diagnose and repair the majority of issues with laptops, PCs, tablets and more. EBM Computers also offers specialised advice, repairs, upgrades, refurbishments, on-site support, maintenance and installations as well as virus removal. It also supplies a range of accessories, parts and new and used laptops and desktops. “We have found that being where we are in Charnwood, people come to us initially because it’s close to where they live, but we’re finding more that people are coming from Belconnen and southside because of our reputation,” manager Nathaniel Jones says. Nathaniel says one of his goals is to help people overcome any fears they have of technology. “We don’t want people to come into our store and feel bamboozled,” he says. “We want to educate people and make them feel more comfortable and more aware about computers and technology.” EBM Computers, Shop 6/7 Charnwood Place. Call 6253 2668 or visit ebm.net.au Enquiries: sales@ebm.net.au

Celebrating more than 40 years of education at St Thomas Aquinas Serving the community of West Belconnen including Charnwood, Dunlop, Macgregor, West Macgregor, Flynn, Fraser and Latham, the Parish School of St Thomas Aquinas seeks to live out our faith in response to the needs and challenges of the times. Our faith is important to us and underwrites all that we do. At St Thomas Aquinas we will • Provide a stimulating and safe learning environment • Challenge your child to be his or her best • Cater for your child’s stage of development • Teach values – Christian and caring attitudes • Encourage collaborative learning & cater for different learning styles • Make effective use of Information and Communication Technologies • Teach Spanish Language and Culture • Encourage leadership development • Provide enrichment, through Sport, Music & Dance • Provide the fullest potential for each child - spiritual, intellectual, physical and cultural.

We welcome all students and extend an invitation to you and to your family to join our community via our Early Learning Centre, School or Parish. Enrolment enquiries please call 6258 4077 • St Thomas Aquinas Primary School West Belconnen • 25 Lhotsky St, Charnwood 16  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

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has grown and grown Quality care for littlies

Fitness options for busy people

SET in a professional, yet homely environment, Cooinda Cottage in Charnwood provides high-quality education and care for babies to children aged up to five years. Part of the North Belconnen Community Association, a not-for-profit, community-based organisation, Cooinda Cottage offers 80 places a day across six rooms. “We program for each child individually, based on the Early Years Learning Framework,” says Catherine Lambourne, director of Cooinda Cottage. We provide all food each day, a morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a late snack. We also provide nappies. “As we are part of a not-for-profit, community-based organisation we endeavour to keep fees as low as possible for families in the community and all profits go back in to the service.” Cooinda Cottage has been operating in Charnwood since 1977 and is located in the Charnwood Shopping Complex. “Cooinda is located approximately seven kilometres from Belconnen, and 12 kilometres from the city, which makes it an ideal location for families that work in these areas, or live nearby,” Catherine says. “We have a professional, yet homely environment with a diverse and qualified staff that have a passion for teaching children fundamental skills that will last a lifetime.” Catherine says their outdoor play environments include natural and sustainable elements for children of all ages.

WITH 24-hour access, seven days a week, Anytime Fitness is perfect for people with a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Situated on Cartwright Street, the family-run gym offers state-of-the-art equipment, a personal training service, fully-equipped security system, all within a supportive atmosphere. Owner Tim Kanellopoulos says: “You don’t have to be a gym junkie to feel comfortable here, we have people of all shapes and sizes from ages 16 and upwards.” With affordable memberships, Anytime Fitness offers boxing classes, and circuittraining classes. “When you join, the free, one-hour personal training orientation allows you to talk about what you want to achieve and different diet plans. “If you don’t turn up for a session, our trainer will contact you. We want to make sure people make the most of their membership.” Tim says it’s worth popping in and seeing the gym’s manager Frank, who has seven years’ experience in the industry.

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An ACT Government funded initiative CityNews July 7-13, 2016  17

Bastille Day / July 14

special feature

Diggers to march in Bastille Day parade salute EVERY year in Paris, on the morning of Bastille Day, the Bastille Day Military Parade is held on the Champs-Élysées. The parade first started in 1880. This year Australian and NZ troops have been invited to march in the parade in recognition of their sacrifice in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Bastille Day, the French National Day, is not only a time to commemorate but a time to celebrate all things French. Held on July 14 each year, Bastille Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 – a pivotal event at the beginning of the French Revolution. It also celebrates Fête de la Fédération – on July 14, 1790 – a celebration of the establishment of the constitutional monarchy. The people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a fortress and prison in Paris, during a time of political and economic uncertainty. In the weeks leading up to the Storming of the Bastille, a number of events had taken place. Starting on May 19, 1789, Louis XVI brought together the Estates-General to discuss their concerns, which resulted in the deputies of the Third Estate (representing the common people) deciding to break away and form a National Assembly. By July 9, the assembly was renamed the National Constituent Assembly and started functioning as a legislature and drafting a constitution. The National Guard was formed by the commoners, who wore blue, white and red cockades

“Storming of the Bastille”, by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel. and became the symbol of the revolution. The Storming of the Bastille was a result of the common people’s growing concern that their representatives would be attacked by the royal army or foreign regiments of mercenaries in the king’s service. Against the fort’s defenders, the people were eventually reinforced by the French Guards. The commander of the Bastille, Governor de Launay, eventually opened the gates.

Weeks after the Storming of the Bastille, at a session of the Assemblée Constituante on August 4, feudalism was abolished. Later that month, the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” was proclaimed. In France, Bastille Day is formally called La Fête Nationale (the National Celebration) and more commonly le quatorze Juillet (the fourteenth of July).

Fireworks on the Eiffel Tower during Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.

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sundayROAST Be part of the conversation every Sunday – call 6255 1206 between 10am and noon

18  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

4/07/2016 4:40 pm

arts & entertainment

A smile with every dish

Wendy Johnson

Big ideas for little people By Helen Musa

DANCE, acting and puppetry come together at The Street Theatre in “The Little Prince”, designed for the young but likely to appeal to those much older.

Kaitlin Nihill, left, Grant Pegg, Janelle McMenamin and Will Huang in “Next to Normal”.

Photo by Michael Moore

Musical with a meaning By Helen Musa

PHOENIX Players’ next musical, the Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt play “Next To Normal”, is a show that deals with mental illness. A difficult subject but, in this case, softened by its dry sense of humour, the threedimensional characters, the great rock songs and snazzy eight-piece band directed by Rhys Madigan. All that and the fact it was a multi Tony Award-winner on Broadway and the first musical since “Rent” to win a Pulitzer Prize. Kelda McManus finds it rich with humour and she should know. She’s directing the show for Phoenix Players in an important move for this company as it ventures into musicals with meaning. McManus is quick to explain the need for Phoenix to balance its repertoire, often providing lighter entertainment to get bums on seats. But with the moral support


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of partners such as MI Fellowship, Canberra Standby Support Service and QLine, she believes this is a chance worth taking. The script, she says, “is like a play with music”. There are small slices of dialogue, but the meaning and the dramatic development comes through the songs themselves. “Next To Normal” is about a family – mother, father, daughter and son – an ordinary family one might think at first, until it is revealed gradually that the mother Diana (Janelle McMenamin) suffers from a bipolar condition with delusional episodes. There are twists and turns to the drama that McManus would rather keep as a surprise, but suffice it to say this musical confronts subjects such as psychopharmacological drugs, talk therapy and electroconvulsive therapy, with a comic look at psychotherapy. As Diana’s shrink (Joel Hutchings) lists possible medications, she pipes up: “Valium is my favourite colour”. Some in the audience won’t agree with the playwright’s angle on mental illness,

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but that’s okay with McManus, who argues the show is about redefining “normal” and encouraging conversations in the community about mental health. The lyrics abound in jokes on the flawed idea of normality, as when the two young lovers Natalie (Kaitlin Nihill) and Henry (Daniel Steer) sing “Crazy is Perfect”, or Diana and husband Dan (Grant Pegg) sing, “Who’s Crazy?” and “My Psychopharmacologist and I”. Funny the show may be, there are disturbing moments, too, when the imaginary/ dead son Gabe (Will Huang) moves in on his mother menacingly in the song “I’m Alive” singing: “I’m more than memory, I’m what might be, I’m a mystery.” “We want this play to make an impact,” McManus says. “It’s got humour and it’s got lovely songs, but the basic question it asks is: “What is normal?’” “Next to Normal”, ANU Arts Centre, July 8-23. Bookings to phoenixplayers.com.au or 6253 1454.

The novella of the same name, written by French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is loved for its simple story of an aviator stranded in the desert who, in attempting to repair his plane, hears the little prince tell the story of his life. Saint-Exupéry disappeared in 1944, but the book lives on, translated into 250 languages, and now WA’s Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is bringing an adaptation here in a 50-minute stage show. Children aged 4 to 12 will “ooh and ahh” at designer Jiri Zmitko’s hand-carved puppets of the Little Prince, the Rose, the Fox and the Snake, and at his set, a giant wooden box that the actors unpack as they become the different characters. Puppeteer, dancer and soon-to-be primary school teacher, Jess Lewis, who plays the Prince, is a graduate of WA’s Academy of Performing Arts and no stranger to Canberra, having been taught

by QL2 Dance director Ruth Osborne. “I play the Little Prince and Shane Adamczak plays all of the other nine characters,” Lewis tells “CityNews” by phone from regional Victoria. “He puts on different voices that give each one a different personality, it’s a bit of fun on such a long tour.” Using rod puppets, she says, is “super challenging… I have to keep working on it and taking points from our director Michael Barlow.” She says, some of the story’s ideas may go over the head of very little children. “It’s quite a philosophical story with big ideas in there, but I think we sometimes underestimate how deeply little kids think about things,” she says. In the Q&A they do after the show, kids want to know what happened to the Little Prince at the end… “it kind of implies he died, and the children ask, ‘did he die?’ and ‘where did he go?’” The end is a big surprise and Lewis won’t say what it is – “that always takes people’s breaths away.” “The Little Prince”, The Street Theatre, July 13-16. Bookings to 6247 1223 or thestreet.org.au

Puppeteers Shane Adamczak and Jess Lewis… “We sometimes underestimate how deeply little kids think about things,” says Jess.



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In the caring grip of a gentle giant “The BFG” (PG)

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he’s Robbie Wierdicht, obese, unloved, despised. Kevin Hart plays student Calvin who, at graduation, THIS is the biggie that kids and probably a lot of grown- has walked away with every end-of-year award and is the ups have been waiting for. It’s worth the wait. only person in the building who shows Bob sympathy. I much regretted that my grandchildren were Twenty years later Calvin is an accountant married otherwise committed and unable to join me to watch to his childhood sweetheart. And Bob has located him Steven Spielberg’s film, the second based on Roald on Facebook. Bob’s now svelte, muscly and smart, all Dahl’s novel (the first was an animation in 1989). It will necessary qualifications for a high-level CIA field agent delight every age cohort. whom another part of the CIA, led by Harris (Amy Ryan), The Big Friendly Giant finds Sophie still awake in the is pursuing for reasons so complex that you’ll have to orphanage. For her safety, he collects her up and takes her take me on trust about their existence. to his quaint house in Giantland, where Fleshlumpeater, Yes, the film’s sublimely silly, packed with improbBloodbottler, Maidmasher, Manhugger, Butcherboy, abilities that while simple in their delineation are clever Bonecruncher and Childeater are really, really big childenough in their execution to surprise us. It sends us out eating giants whose name for the BFG is Runt. willing to believe that we’ve seen a smart lampoon, Gentle and kind, Runt collects, stores, catalogues satire, parody, send-up of Hollywood actioners and and delivers pleasant dreams to children. And his many of America’s most cherished cultural institutions. reshaping of English vocabulary is a delight. You’ve gotta admire that. Dahl published “The BFG” in 1982. This is the last At Hoyts, Capitol 6 and Dendy screenplay written by Melissa Mathison. The Queen is a major character in it and Spielberg’s depiction of her is fun, especially a sequence in which “The Wait” (M) and a little extra! her household drinks a brew provided by the BFG and in which the bubbles flow downward. It generates a IN the feature debut of writer/director Piero Messina, powerful green fart from everybody who drinks it, not much happens, but its not happening is a challengincluding the corgis. ing cinematic experience. As Sophie, Ruby Barnhill, 12 this month, performs Jeanne (Lou De Laage) arrives in Sicily expecting impeccably. Spielberg regular Mark Rylance makes the fiancé Giuseppe to join her at the house where his BFG a delight to watch and hear. Penelope Wilton plays divorced mother Anna (Juliette Binoche) lives with a Her Maj with agreeable firmness and compassion. small staff. Anna and Jeanne have not yet met. The film The estimated budget for “The BFG” was $US140 examines the interaction between them. million. Good value, say I. It runs for 117 minutes, which The prelude to Messina’s screenplay tells us might test the endurance of some young viewers. something that Anna knows but doesn’t yet feel able to reveal. Telling us several times how she yearns to make At all cinemas love with Giuseppe, Jeanne is unaware how much Anna knows about her relationship with him. “Central Intelligence” (M) Messina’s explanation of Jeanne’s personality is subtle, guarded, providing limited information to help us to work MUCH American movie and TV sitcom comedy is formuout its complexities. Jeanne spends a day swimming and laic but, when you look behind its surface, not funny. boating with two young backpacker men she has met by So give thanks to Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen chance. Their sexuality may swing either way. for giving director Rawson Marshall Thurber a screenJuliette Binoche is a splendid actress in whom the play that looks formulaic squarely in the eye and says: “Go away. This time, we’re replacing ‘stupid’ with ‘silly’.” camera is justifiably more than a little in love. The film’s The result is a fun escapist actioner that tells us that, slow pace, minimalist dialogue and enigmatic plot combine to invite despite its limited logic, the filmmakers want us to us to consider its clues. laugh a lot. And we do. In a style shift that reveals an unsuspected comic At Palace Electric talent, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) plays Bob Stone whom we first meet at high school graduation when


A smile with every dish We agreed we’d be back. It’s an inviting place and the prices are fabulous. IT’S a boutique grocer and café in Phillip – and it’s worth popping by for breakfast, lunch or just a coffee. The fitout at Wheat & Oats is earthy with lots of rustic woods and palettes nailed to the ceiling as a design element (which has kindly saved them from ending up in landfill). The colour scheme is warm and the sunny outdoor patio out the back is perked up with pots of herbs, freshly picked by kitchen staff, for the café’s honest, wholesome dishes. The boutique-grocer side offers quality products, including by local producers such as Canberra Urban Honey, Black Horse Fine Foods with their wonderful condiments and The Muesli Bar’s great cereals. The shelves weren’t exactly packed out on our visit, but there was a decent and intriguing selection of items such as chia products, gluten-free pasta and organic whole tomatoes. Wheat & Oats has an all-day breakfast menu, which is smart. Although it was lunch, I headed for the My Moroccan breakfast option. It was delish, although one of the two poached eggs was slightly overcooked. The spinach

The Indian-style chicken curry of the day… the serve was generous given that the dish was only $12. Photo by Andrew Finch and sourdough bread were fresh and the heap of grilled chorizo was full of flavour (but not too spicy). Additional texture was provided by an ample serve of nuts and tasty dukkah. It was great value for $15. Also dished up for breakfast is handmade muesli, served with milk and fresh fruit ($9), scrambled veg with pumpkin and cauliflower, scrambled egg, nuts, dukkah and sourdough ($15), and a breakfast salad with poached egg, kale, quinoa, mushroom, avo, pepitas and house dressing ($17). My friend decided on the lunch curry of the day that, on our visit, was Indian style. Again, the serve was generous given that the dish was only $12. The chunks of chicken were, for the most part, juicy and tender (a few a bit dry) and although the curry offered flavour, we agreed it could have been ramped up a couple of notches and would have benefitted from more depth.

Other lunch options include a couple of burgers (only $12), a vegan salad, which sounds as healthy as, packed with kale, cauliflower, avocado, quinoa, mushrooms, nuts and dressing ($16), and a soup of the day, served with sourdough ($10) – a great winter dish. Coffee is locally roasted and baby chinos available for $1.50. We agreed we’d be back. It’s an inviting place and the prices are fabulous. Service with a smile is included with every dish. Wheat & Oats supports the Canberra-based Reach for Nepal Foundation, a registered charity assisting rural Nepalese communities affected by the devastating April, 2015, earthquake, the region’s worst in 80 years. Ten cents from every coffee and drink goes to the Foundation. Wheat & Oats, Unit 2, 22-24 Colbee Court, Phillip. 6282 6828. Closed on Sundays.

arts in the city More in the way of ‘Monologues’ POLITICALLY savvy writers Katie Pollock and Paul Daley have come up with a sequel to their earlier show, “The Hansard Monologues”, in “The Hansard Monologues: Age of Entitlement”. We’ll see it in the Museum of Australian Democracy during the inaugural Canberra writers’ festival in August. With top professional actors, it promises “a 100-minute helicopter ride” through the 44th Parliament of Australia, but can it be as sexy as its predecessor, which included the Julia Gillard famous “Misogyny” speech? GOOD to see Canberra sculptor Michael Le Grand, pictured, and former “CityNews” Artist of the Year exhibiting a swag of new works at Janet Clayton Gallery in Paddington until July 10. THE Childers Group has put together a thorough analysis of the past 12 years of arts grants in the ACT and (surprise, surprise) finds that total grant-funded arts activity has decreased by 10 per cent. Join the group on Facebook for full details. IT’S winter, meaning it’s time for NIDA Open’s performing arts classes to run at Daramalan College, July 11-17, with expert tutors taking classes aimed at pupils from years 3-12. All bookings to open.nida.edu.au/winter

By Helen Musa “COMMUNITY is everything” is an exhibition of photos, video and stories staged by the Canberra Indigenous Rights Amnesty volunteer group to tell stories of indigenous kids in prison and their communities. “Prison is where lots of kids wind up but it’s not a solution,” says young Wiradjuri woman and volunteer with the group, Beth Cooper. At Tuggeranong Arts Centre, July 7-30, launch 6pm on Thursday, July 7, all welcome. WESLEY Music Foundation is hosting the Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge for performances in Wesley Uniting Church on July 10 (Gibbons, Parry and Howells’ works) and July 11 (Purcell, Fauré and Britten), bookings via trybooking.com and at the door. WINNER of the 2014 “People’s Choice” Psychic of the Year Award, “Ghost Whisperer Suzie”, will be in town with a two-hour show in which she will talk, give live readings to members of the audience and perform original songs from her album, “Heart of the Universe”. At the Hellenic Club, Woden, Thursday, July 14, bookings via stickytickets.com.au CityNews July 7-13, 2016  21



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Oh dear, what can the matter be? TWO elderly ladies, dressed in their finery at the Chelsea Flower Show, were having a heated discussion on a plant-name pronunciation.

According to the English “Country Life” magazine, they decided to approach one of Britain’s top breeders of clematis, who had a of Colours Available display at the show. hways u A Range pat and rd rtya Cou ts are welcome u “Is this plant pronounced clemmatis, clem-ayu Architects reques tis or clem-ar-tis?” they asked. The plant breeder stiffened imperceptibly ts are welcome ues and said: “Ladies, it does not matter how you req cts hite Arc u A Supplier of the Year pronounce them, as long as you enjoy them.” to the Public u MB ces Pri e sal ole Wh u So far as I know, Australia and the US are the only two countries that pronounce cyclamen as in bicycle. Whereas Britain, Europe and ished over 50 years possibly the rest of the world follow the botanical Products u Establ te cre Con t Cas Pre Brick Paving u pronunciation guide “Plant Names Simplified” as u Masonry Blocks, cyclamen, sik-la-men. Cyclamen’s name is a contraction of the Greek sidential Re & ial erc e I Comm Quality Servic kyklaminos, from kyklos, a circle, alluding to the u m.a inkpavers.co coiled stem of the seed vessel. All cyclamen ll• 62427033 • www.b 40 Dacre Street Mitche ri 7.30am-4.00pm • Sat 8am-12pm originate in the Mediterranean region, from Opening Hours: Mon-F Spain to Turkey. The winter-flowering Cyclamen persicum being the most popular. They won’t tolerate wet feet, so keep the UK2444-V9.indd 1 24/08/2015 3:46 pm saucer dry or fill the saucer with pebbles and sit the pot on top of the pebbles. When flowering has finished don’t throw them The Allan Key provides small cash grants to people with a out. Place the plant’s pot on its side in a dry spot, even in the garage. When new shoots appear in disability to enable them to pursue their sporting or recreational late autumn, stand the pots upright and start a interests. Examples of the types of grants we support include watering and feeding regime. Alternatively, after to buy sporting equipment or pay for swimming lessons. flowering, plant out in the garden in a shady spot Our next round of grants opens on Wednesday 1st June and under deciduous trees, for example. will close on 15th July 2016. For ground cover, consider planting the ivyleafed Cyclamen hederifolium (syn. C. neapolitaWe are calling for application for grants up to a maximum of num) with masses of small, pink flowers offset by $1,000. The application form is available from our website: the green marbled effect of the leaves.


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The ivy-leafed ground cover Cyclamen hederifolium… masses of small, pink flowers offset by the green marbled effect of the leaves.


I ALWAYS say that anyone can have a spring garden, but the secret is to have an equally floriferous garden in summer and autumn. Bearded iris are always unpredictable and can flounce into flower unexpectedly in late winter, although the main flowering time is mid-spring. I will not even attempt to mention any specific varieties, but with coloured labels it is easy to work out a colour scheme. Gladioli are back in vogue. Rather than planting the corms all in one go, plant a few each week. This will result in flowers over a long period. Lilliums are a florist’s favourite, as they can be picked when in bud and brought into the home, quietly opening over a week or more. If you are planting agapanthus

The best cool climate orchid. Large plants with many spikes which will flower for months and months. Dendrobium tubes available now.

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22  CityNews July 7-13, 2016

IF establishing a new garden on a slope, it’s good to avoid creating frost pockets. Cold air flows to the lowest point, so avoid blocking a slope with a fence or a dense hedge. Allow spaces for frost to drain or roll away.

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plant wilting. A high-potassium, liquid plant food, such as for tomatoes, can be applied in winter months.

• Plant winter-flowering Clematis cirrhosa, especially “Wisley Cream” and Clematis neapoliCITRUS isn’t frost hardy and while large, tanum. established lemons, for example, will generally • Unless dividing perennials, delay cutting back tolerate our frosts, smaller or newly planted citrus dead foliage until spring as this can protect new need some protection. shoots emerging. This also applies to frostIf in containers, move to a frost-free spot such damaged shrubs. as in a carport. Alternatively, for trees in the • It is a perfect time to plant hellebores, available ground put in four tomato stakes and make a now in wonderful new colours. surround of hessian or 90 per cent shade cloth. • Cut back oak-leafed hydrangeas, Hydrangea quercifolia, to 30-40cm. They will grow back up 1:44 pmIt’s recommended to remove the cover on top during the day. to two metres in the following season. During cold weather, water less frequently, • And why is it rainwater tanks are always full when they’re not needed? keeping plants drier, but not to the point of the

Lots of healthy green two year old rose bushes


Cyclamen, the perfect indoor plant for winter.

For early spring colour plant iris rhizomes now.

try to find the sterile varieties. The ordinary agapanthus produces an enormous quantity of seeds, which spread easily into bushland and are starting to cause environmental problems. In some areas they are classified as a weed, such as in the Blue Mountains National Park. Local garden centres will have summer flowering bulbs in stock for planting now.

puzzles page Joanne Madeline Moore

General knowledge crossword No. 555

Your week in the stars – July 11-17, 2016

ARIES (Mar 21 – Apr 20)

With Mercury and Venus vamping into your entertainment zone, it’s the perfect time to attend a book reading, music concert, theatrical event or art exhibition – plus party like a pro. But restless Rams will feel particularly contrary on the weekend, so resist the urge to blurt out something totally inappropriate (especially at home). And when others ask you to do things, you’re likely to turn around and do the exact opposite. Hopefully you won’t upset too many people in the process!

Rebecca Carter

Active Travel Braddon

TAURUS (Apr 21 – May 20)

India is a land of magic, spice, colour and tradition. For years it has fascinated people and drawn travellers from all corners of the globe. For me, when the opportunity arose to travel to India I was both nervous and excited; I was anxious about what this country would offer me and what I would discover.

Venus and Mercury are both visiting your home zone, so you’ll enjoy playing Domestic Diva or DIY King. It’s also a wonderful week to be extra diplomatic with a family member, as you discover you’ve got more in common than you previously thought. Travel plans or education matters look very unsettled on Saturday though, when the Sun and Uranus throw unexpected disruptions your way. The more stubborn and inflexible you are, the more difficult the weekend will be.

GEMINI (May 21 – June 21)

You’re keen to express your ideas and enjoy plenty of stimulating conversations with a wide range of interesting people, as Mercury and Venus move into your communication zone. You’re also in the mood for fashion, flirting, romantic candlelit dinners and creative partnerships. But – if you post online comments in a crazy rush – then a social media mix-up is likely. So pace yourself and be careful you don’t write (or say) the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time.

CANCER (June 22 – July 22)

Beware the urge to splurge! Venus shifts into your money zone (from Tuesday until August 6) which can mean a welcome boost to cash flow. But it also increases your tendency to indulge in a ‘comfort shopping’ spree. Mercury encourages you to become more financially literate. Personal or professional disruptions are likely on the weekend. And, if you find yourself on the receiving end of some hurtful comments (in person or online) then resist the urge to retaliate.

LEO (July 23 – Aug 22)

This week you’ll feel your Lion’s roar returning! With mischievous Mercury and vivacious Venus sashaying into your sign, you’ll be at your lively best as you charm the cynics, dazzle the doubters, and flirt up a storm. The stars favour being passionate and proactive but if you rush communication, then you could end up in hot water. The weekend looks like it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride though, as you rebel against any restrictions that are placed on you.

VIRGO (Aug 23 – Sept 22)

Uranus revs up your over-sensitive nervous system on Monday, so do all you can to wind down; worry less; and relax more – your ‘to-do list’ will still be there later on. Your mantra for the rest of the week is: “I want to be alone” (famously declared by Virgo movie star Greta Garbo) as you withdraw from the busyness around you, tap into your intuition, and receive guidance and inspiration from within. Plus pay attention to the messages and rich symbolism in your dreams.


1 What is another term for lively intelligence? 8 Name a San Francisco Bay island, the site of a former prison. 9 Which marine gastropod mollusc is found adhering to rocks? 10 To convey from one place to another is to do what? 11 To be mentally deranged, is to be what? 12 Which term describes that which is the smallest in a litter? 13 Name a popular telephone greeting. 16 To burn superficially, is to do what? 19 What is an involuntary, natural impulse? 21 Name a more familiar term for an indigene. 22 Who was the first WA governor (1832-39), Sir James ...? 23 What is mohair also known as? 24 To be making effective for an additional period, is to be doing what? 25 What is another term for a way out?

2 What is a particular branch of knowledge known as? 3 Who was the Italian painter and architect (1483-1520), considered to be one of the greatest painters of the High Renaissance? 4 What is a torn piece of ragged clothing? 5 What are lodestones? 6 Which NSW city is on the Clarence River? 7 Name the blue mineral, known as a hydrous copper carbonate. 13 What do we call the official printed reports of proceedings of parliament? 14 Which word also describes wounds, or their like? 15 Which term might well describe the Kelly gang? 17 What is a whole number, as distinguished from a fraction? 18 When one rules by right of authority, one does what? 20 To secure for employment, is to do what?

LIBRA (Sept 23 – Oct 23)

Are you capitalising on your Libran creativity? The stars encourage you to join a group that will help develop your creative talent – whether it’s art, writing, dance, photography or music. Don’t expect relationships to run like clockwork, there will be some sort of confusion at home or work. If you respond quickly (and diplomatically) then things will soon be back on an even keel. There is a tendency to overspend on the weekend, when your wish list dwarfs your current bank balance.

Solution next week


Sudoku hard No. 177

The thing that surprised me most about my time in Southern India was how lush the land was and how well the people lived. All of my preconceptions about India were not at all how it was, it was so surprising and I cannot wait to go back!

SCORPIO (Oct 24 – Nov 21)

Socialising with colleagues helps improve workplace relations and, if you’re looking for employment, put the word out amongst your friends. Just because things aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Slow and steady wins the race at the moment – especially when it comes to money matters. But your carefully planned weekend will be turned upside down, when Uranus upsets the apple cart and throws some messy surprises into the mix.

Top Tip: Northern India is much busier than the south so why not consider a river cruise in the north to visit famous cities like Kolkata, Agra, Varanasi and Delhi before travelling south for a relaxed finish to your journey.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Jupiter broadens work place options. And your ambitious aspirations have a very good chance of manifesting, but you must be proactive and selective. So your motto for the moment is from birthday great, actor Harrison Ford: “To me, success is choice and opportunity.” On the weekend you could become unsettled about a situation involving a child, teenager, friend or lover. So avoid making long-term decisions until you can view the situation from a more objective perspective.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

Don’t limit yourself this week Capricorn! The planets encourage you to explore. The wider your circle of family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and international connections, the more influence you will have in the big wide world outside your door. Being confident and proactive are the keys. Loved ones won’t behave in predictable ways on the weekend though, so don’t even try to anticipate what they will do next. All you can do is stay centred and be open to change.

The team at Active Travel are passionate about the Indian subcontinent, so speak with us today about how we can help you to experience your own amazing Indian adventure.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Solution next week

Solutions from last edition

Copyright Joanne Madeline Moore 2016 Daily astrology updates at twitter.com/JoMadelineMoore

Crossword No. 554

PISCES (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Mercury and Venus encourage you to add comfort, conversation and beauty to your daily routine. Delicious food, fresh flowers and stimulating company are a good place to start. On the weekend, the Sun and Uranus stir up your spontaneous spending gene. Which is OK – as long as you have the cash flow to fund a shopping spree. If you don’t, then you’ll have to entertain yourself some other way. Finances and friends are a particularly messy mix, so strive to keep the two separate.

Sudoku medium No.177

Many Aquarians will feel on edge this week, as your ruler Uranus stirs up your unpredictable side. Don’t let your restlessness lead you off in a totally unsuitable direction though. You’re hungry for change, but avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You’re especially likely to be a loose cannon on the weekend, when the Sun and Uranus rev up your rebellious streak. If you have to be controversial and contrary, then make sure it’s over something that’s important!

My journey entailed a two-week itinerary of the south, starting in the state of Kerala, a state made famous for the houseboats on the backwaters, but, as I quickly learnt, there was so much more to see. I landed in Cochin, a city on the Arabian Sea, which has been attracting traders and explorers for centuries, all of whom have left their mark on the city to make it incredibly diverse. I then continued further to visit Periyar National Park in search for wild tigers and elephants. Whilst I didn’t find any, I did get to visit a tea and spice plantation. I attended a festival in Madurai, which with the backdrop of the Meenakshi Amman Temple, was nothing short of intense! There was music, animals, fire breathers and sword swallowers. It was so exhilarating to witness but even now I am not sure what was being celebrated, I just think, well, it was India!

To speak to an experienced travel planner please call

02 6249 6122

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