The cost of living

We had a bit of a shock last week when we received our first winter gas bill. In the past 12 weeks, it has cost us nearly $2,200 (or £1,100) to heat our house. A few days later, the electricity bill arrived, adding a further $500 to the damage.

A quick phone call to our energy supplier, ActewAGL, revealed that, for the same period last year, this house was billed $2,400. For the year before, also $2,200. A bit of checking with friends and neighbours showed us that nobody was surprised at this, and that high energy bills are something of the norm, certainly in Canberra, and perhaps across Australia. Continue reading

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Political science

The flag and mast above Parliament house, seen from below.

The flag above Parliament House changes direction less often than Aussie politics.

There’s a wonderful old Randy Newman song called ‘Political Science’, which was brilliantly covered by a favourite band of mine, Everything But The Girl. Its opening line goes: “No one likes us, I don’t know why/ We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try…”

These words, and the song’s title, buzzed around my head this week as the landscape of Australia’s politics shifted following Malcolm Turnbull’s successful ousting of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a Liberal Party leadership challenge.

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Placing the accent on life down under

A few weeks ago, Miley Cyrus affected an Australian accent for a TV prank which was more Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins than Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.

Normally, the doings of Miley and her type wouldn’t register on my radar, but I’ve developed a keen ear for accents of late, particularly since I started detecting the early signs of an Aussie accent in nine year old Mini-CBRbound. Continue reading

Raiders for life

It started with a phone call from the Canberra Raiders’ Fan Engagement office.

“The final home game of the season is Members’ Appreciation Day, and we’ve selected 40 members who have attended every home game this season to form a guard of honour as the team runs out onto the pitch. Would you like to be one of them?”

Junior rugby players line the way from the players' tunnel to the GIO Stadium pitch.

Excited match-day mascots wait for the Canberra Raiders to take to the pitch. The cheerleaders proved distracting to one little fan.

I would, but I hesitated, because I knew someone who’d like to do it even more.

“Absolutely,” I said, “but would it be possible for my son to do it instead?”

Continue reading