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A sign of the place

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As our Adventure Year in Darwin draws to a close, here are some signs of the place.

Looking for the hospital? Ride through the bush, past the nudist beach, and it's 500 metres on your right.





If you're feeling lost, the hospital foyer's not a bad place to start. It has a huge map of the Top End's indigenous communities and recognition that the hospital is built on Larrakia land.



The doors to the hospital are fitted with cyclone locks:


And if you work at the hospital, you'll need to stop by the TB/Leprosy clinic for your annual Ancient Communicable Diseases check.  Happily, I'm in the clear!



After a long day on the wards, remember to sober up before entering the hospital swimming pool.


Outside of the swimming pool, you'd better stay Croc Wise. And Stinger Wise. And Sea Snake Wise. 

Lucky Bat's a great place for a coffee, but don't park in Des Fong's car park you buggers. 


Going on a road trip? You could pick up a $2000 motor bike from a Lady Owner…

Music 2017

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1. Harry Belafonte
I have long tormented Jason with the Harry Belafonte song 'Did you hear about Jerry?' but this year we got into some other Belafonte classics like 'Jump in the Line', The Banana Boat song and 'Jump Down, Turn Around'.  
When she winds up her bottom she goes like a rocket!
2. The Meat Puppets II
In August we travelled to Melbourne to help mum move out of her house and into her fancy new retirement apartment.  Of course, this required a Kafkaesque bureaucratic marathon of conveyancing, bank transactions and change of address paper work.  Happily Tash and Leith lent me their big boat of a station wagon to run the errands in, complete with the CD 'Meat Puppets II'.  What a gem! 
Lost on the freeway again...nobody knows which way it's going to bend....
3.  Lorde- Melodrama
I really really love Lorde's new album.  We listened to it endlessly as the dry deflated into the swampy build-up.  We went to her Melbourne show at the Sidney Mye…

A very boxy Boxing Day

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We stayed up in Darwin for Christmas...and what a lovely time we had!  I made some fancy table decorations with some tree branches stolen from the Casuarina foreshore...



On Saturday we had some friends over for our traditional Christmas Die Hard viewing, this time accompanied by Green Ant Gin.


N found the leftover cheese on Christmas day and got straight into it


Today we went on a family bike ride to Lee Point, through the mangroves and then along the bush track.  It was so green!





The ride was great, but when we arrived at Lee Point beach the humidity was about 95%.  N had an understandable meltdown when we wouldn't let her go in the ocean (stinger season).

N got a scooter for Christmas...she's getting better already!


And Jason got a new hat, which came in a special hat box that I made into a boat.  By the time we painted it I was ready to apply for my new job on Play School:





Peak Darwin

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We may have reached Peak Darwin.

Last night we went out to the Darwin Festival park with Jason's friends the Notorious D.o.D. (Dads of Darwin)


Nora and her little buddies danced and we drank beer and ate curry in the lovely cool evening.  Travis and Elise took their little one into the the Lighthouse for a gig.  After a while I decided that we should join them, and because Darwin, of course there were tickets left.  I'm so pleased we went.  Felix Riebl was playing and it was just a beautiful happy gig.  Nora listened quietly, she seemed tired but happy. Here's us earlier in the night:




This morning after breakfast Nora grabbed her helmet and dragged it through the house saying 'Bike! bike!!' We took her subtle hint and went for a ride to Lee Point.  It's a beautiful bush trail, shady and cool.  I am terrible at mountain biking and the fact that I was on a flat-bar road bike with quite hard tyres wasn't helping.  But it was fun, I half skidded down the hills …

Reading

My bookclub has finally disbanded after 10 years.  Felicity moved to WA, I moved to Darwin and Camille moved to Germany. So many happy Sunday afternoons!

I've joined the Darwin City Libraries, and we take Nora to story time each week.  It's shambolic, toddlers tripping over each other, occasionally listening to part of the book.  Nora loves it though she spends most of her time pulling books off the shelves.

I just updated my reading list, here are my favourites in the past 12 months:

1. The Museum of Modern Love- Heather Rose
I was so pleased that this book won the Stella Prize, because I just adored it.  A novel based around Marina Abramovic's installation/performance 'The Artist is Present.'  It explores ideas of stillness, meditation and enduring in a really beautiful way.  I read the final chapters over a bowl of pho in a tiny Vietnamese place on Smith street.

2. The Handmaid's Tale- Margaret Atwood
I finally read this after seeing images of women wearing …

Commuting

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Whenever I am asked if I am enjoying working in Darwin, I reply, "My bike ride to work is amazing!"

And it really is.



The journey only takes about 10 minutes.  After riding to the end of my street, I turn down a gravel track through the bush to the hospital.  As Jason says, "You're practically mountain-biking!"  Huge trees tower over the path to the left, and fronds of native grass brush against my legs.  There are two wooden bridges crossing the creek.

I travel east in the early morning and west in the evening, so I'm always heading towards the rising or setting sun.



One Friday afternoon during the wet season I road home through a thunderstorm.  It was a truly impressive storm.  The lightening was so bright it hurt my eyes.  I'd decided to take the bush track home because I thought I'd be more likely to be struck by lightening along the main road.  But I hadn't really thought it through.  One of bridges was in flood and I pedalled frantically …

Get happy

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I'm in the dying days of my maternity leave and I can already feel myself being swept up in work again.

Before I had Nora, everybody wanted to tell me how *hard* it would be.  But I think working as an emergency doctor is unusually good preparation for caring for a baby.  It's unpredictable, thankless and there's no end in sight.  
Of course there are good bits too. So I want to buck the trend and write about these. You can just fill in the blanks about all the boring bits like changing nappies and shush-patting and breast pumps. 
1.  No-plastic fantastic I developed an obsession with buying groceries sans packaging.  Handily, there's a Friends of the Earth co-op at the end of my street that sells all sort of things by weight.  I just take my own containers up there and buy oats, rice, tea, dishwashing liquid, flour, spices....It is extremely satisfying.  Admittedly I got some dirty looks when I took my shopping bag full of disposable nappies in, but at least I'm …