Hang out the flags

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I have a difficult relationship with flags and the past few weeks haven’t helped. From the loutish behaviour of a few English football supporters in Marseille, to the feverish nationalism surrounding the Brexit vote, to the trampling of flags following the exit of the England football team from Euro 2016. Flags have a lot to answer for.

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Comparing value: Phone and internet

Last week’s mini-rant about Australia’s dominant telecommunications company, Telstra, got me thinking. Are they really ‘behind the times fleece merchants’ or am I just looking back to Europe with rose-tinted lenses?

To check if my ire was justified, I decided to compare my experiences – of cost versus quality of service – to see how Telstra stacks up against companies of a similar type in other countries.

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Fast track to the future

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Soon, the slow train to Sydney won’t be the only rail option in Canberra.

Things are getting quite exciting in Gungahlin, Canberra’s newest suburb. For a couple of years now, there has been much talk of a light rail line running from Gungahlin to the city centre in Civic, but soon, work on the line is expected to begin.

It may seem odd to get excited about what ostensibly amounts to the start of several years of roadworks – and there are plenty who oppose the idea of building a tram network in Canberra, as the arguments ahead of October’s local elections confirm — but I have my reasons.

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Things we lost on the journey

We had tears in the CBRbound household the other night. For the past year, Mini-CBRbound has been asking when we can visit Denmark again as a family. He particularly misses his old football team and the team’s trainers, with whom he built up a close camaraderie over four years of junior football.

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Mini-CBRbound at his final tournament with his old football team.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Strangely for a blog all about starting a new life in Canberra, the most popular post continues to be my farewell tribute to Scandinavia: ‘The five best things about living in Denmark’. But no matter. Thank you for visiting, commenting and taking an interest in our adventure down under, and a very happy new year to you from the CBRbound family.

Click here to see the complete report.

The symmetry of leaving

The cover of a book: Living In Australia, Beginner.

Perhaps we are ready for the next book in this series, Living In Australia Intermediate Level?

I’m in Denmark. Exactly a year ago, together with the rest of the CBRbound family, I was preparing to leave an empty house and follow a long-dispatched container of furniture on the long journey south from Copenhagen to Canberra.

We landed in Australia on Hallowe’en and overnighted at a Sydney airport hotel, where a tired and emotional maxi-CBRbound was too shy to say the words ‘trick or treat’ to the check in staff, even though a handful of sweets was on offer to every child who did.

The next morning, we took a final short flight to Canberra, to another empty house and to start a new life. Continue reading

Building Canberra’s future, project by project

There was a bit of a sniffy article published in the Canberra Times this week about the current ACT government’s ambitions for the territory’s future infrastructure.

As far as I can tell, the newspaper got hold of an ACT government ‘wish list’ for all the things they’d like to build in Canberra over the coming years.

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Ice cold in Canberra

Frost covered trees in a snow-covered field.

In our last winter, the weather conditions were very different.

When we first told people we were moving to Canberra, non-Aussies would invariably ask where Canberra was, while Aussies would usually say something like: “What do you want to go there for? It’s freezing.”

But we’d seen the pictures of sunny Australia from afar, and had already gone through our wardrobes ditching thick jumpers and winter coats in anticipation of year-round pool-life in the lucky country.

So, now we are knee-deep in our first Canberra winter, how cold is it?
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Democratic rights

I’m sitting here, watching the UK election results roll in. The BBC keeps thanking me for staying with them through the night, but in truth, it’s not much of a hardship from my Canberra desk with beautiful sunshine streaming through the window.

Although I’ve been gone for ten years now, I still retain an interest in UK politics. However, I don’t vote any more – largely on the ethical ground that it feels unfair to vote for a government that I’d never have to live under.

My interest exposes a strange fact of expatriate life – that, while you retain voting rights in the country you have no intention of returning to, without citizenship, you get no say in the government of the country that takes and spends your taxes.

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