Saturday, 17 March 2018

Why visit the ACT?

Today is the second last day of the annual Balloon Festival.  As the weather forecast for tomorrow features rather brisk winds we decided today was our last chance.

Because we live about 45 minutes drive from Civic we have a difficult decision if the weather is at all iffy.  The balloons start inflating at 0615 and have all launched by about 0700.  Unfortunately they don't make the decision whether to go or whoa until about 06:14:59.  So if we wait until the decision has been made the balloons will all have gone by the time we get to town.

The winds were calm and there seemed to be no fog so I did try ringing the ACCESS Canberra line at 0610 and after an appalling list of blather about which button to push (that took over a minute) I spoke to someone who said that the decision hadn't been made.  GRRRR! We set off anyway and found it to be drizzling.

Getting to Duntroon, on the edge of Canberra we found that the only road that crosses Canberra was shut with a diversion through the middle of the Department of Defence and ASIO offices.  Go figure: the most sensitive part of the Government and it used as a detour!  GRRR.  The route then took us along Constitution Avenue on which the ACT Government has spent millions of dollars over about 4 years "improving".  Still one lane each way and lots of traffic lights - hopeless.  We got to Civic eventually and parked.

There didn't seem to be a lot of action.  As the members of CFMEU have moved off Constitution Avenue they have started another legacy project - work to be continued by their children and (most likely) grandchildren.  This is building a small walkway on the shore of the Lake.  That has meant this scene ...
 .. has applied for about 8 months.  They reckon the walkway will be open in "early 2018".  IMHO "early 2018 has already gone so they blown that one!

So it was up to Commonwealth Avenue where lanes were closed off in both directions with some lollipop galahs on duty.
 Actually the lollippers weren't too bad.  They told me the reason the lanes were closed was because of VIP access to Skyfire.  Now, the image below was taken at about 0655 this morning.  Skyfire is a fireworks display and noise fest starting at dark this evening - say 2000.  So 2 lanes on  the major North-South link in Canberra is closed for at least 12 hours before the VIPs - whoever the heck they might be - want to park.  GGGGRRRRRRR.

On getting into Commonwealth Park a whole lot of inactivity was not visible.  So on the phone again.  The balloons have been cancelled: it was raining.  Not now it wasn't - see clear blue sky.
Presumably the organisers (malapropism of the year to date) of this event are not technically savvy enough to look at a radar image and see the drizzle would be finished in 10 minutes.  Or possibly the lovely people who run the ACT (the family who own Canberra Airstrip) won't allow the lift off time to vary by 10 minutes.  (Their task is to get people into the airport and not bother what happens once they have, like Elvis,  "left the building".)  GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

So we wandered on and found the stage set up for blasting out crap tenny bopper pap to accompany the fireworks this evening.  The purple sign says "We'll always support the events you love".  Presumably this is directed at the Chief Minister - I certainly don't love Skyfire. 
We then swing uphill to check out the bats.  The moisture in the air certainly allowed their piquancy to be pervasive but their chittering was considerably more melodic than what will be emanting from the stage in about 13 hours time.
 A close up of a couple of bats.
As we drove home we noted that both directions of Parkes Way will be closed from 1 pm.  Do we want to chance our arm going in to the ArtnotApart event at Acton later in the day?  Watch this space for an update.   We did and there were too many pix to add here so go to this post.

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