My Summer: Charlotte Harper

Charlotte Harper 23 September 2019

Broulee Island. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Pick up some holiday ideas as members of the RiotACT team share their thoughts on getting the most out of the summer. Today, editor Charlotte Harper heeds the call of a book on the beach …

This summer I’m most looking forward to … switching off from email, social media and work; being in the moment with my husband and children; reading a cracking novel on the beach and floating through the waves.

I’m least looking forward to … the inevitable sunburn, buzzing mosquitos and annoying flies.

The best swimming pool in Canberra is … Manuka Pool, of course! It’s perhaps the place outside of home that makes me happiest of all these days, with its mix of green space, facilities for the kids, art deco architecture, proximity to our home of cricket and AFL and cooling waters. The nostalgia factor is huge for me, too, given I’ve been swimming there all my life.

My favourite freshwater swimming hole is … Ginninderra Falls. There is nothing like standing with the waterfall pounding onto your back. Let’s hope it opens to the public again soon.

The best beach on the NSW coast is … a toss-up between Hyams Beach, South Broulee beach and North Bondi for me. The perfect summer would include time at all three. Oh, and pretty Redleaf Pool, if Sydney Harbour beaches count.

Aside from swimming and lounging on the sand/by the pool, when I’m on summer holidays I like to … read books, do jigsaw puzzles, colour in, write long lists of ideas for creative projects, walk, run or cycle along the beach, drink tea on the verandah, gaze at the clouds.

My favourite summer drink is … hmmm, it used to be Pimms with lemonade, ginger ale, orange, mint and cucumber, but in my post-drinking life, I’d have to vote for Bundaberg soft drinks: pineapple and coconut, traditional lemonade, burgundee creaming soda or ginger beer. I’ve just managed to get my hands on a carton of Bundaberg’s limited edition Christmas spiced ginger beer to replace my Christmas Pimms fix.

My ice-cream of choice is … Peters Watermelon and Pineapple Frosty Fruits (only available in an 8-pack from the supermarket).

The salads I like to eat in summer are … a simple salad with lettuce, avocado, tomato, olive oil and balsamic for every day, and an insalata caprese or risoni and lentil salad for special occasions (Diana Lampe’s recipes for these will be on the RiotACT soon if they’re not already up).

The al fresco dining spots I’ll be hanging out in this summer are … The Bodalla Dairy Shed, the River at Moruya, Bodhi in Sydney, The Hamlet in Braddon, Snapper by the Lake (Yacht Club, Yarralumla), Locale at Deakin and Abell’s Kopi Tiam in Manuka.

The sports I’m looking forward to playing this summer are … tennis, golf and hockey (indoor and twilight). Indoor hockey can be a bit like bikram yoga in February, which is why I have a water bottle the size of a backpack.

The sport I’m looking forward to watching this summer is … the SCG cricket Test at the ground, the Australian Open tennis on the TV.

When it’s too hot to be outside I’ll be … at Palace Electric or the Dendy catching a film, or at one of our national cultural institutions taking in an exhibition (A History of the World in 100 Objects at the National Museum; Versailles: Treasures from the Palace at the National Gallery; The Popular Pet Show at the Portrait Gallery; The Sell: Australian Advertising 1790s To 1990s at the National Library; the National Archives’ Iconic Australian Houses).

The must-attend summer events are … the sandcastle competition at Broulee on New Year’s Eve; the National Multicultural Festival (February 17-19); the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Prom Concert (February 18); and Ben and Jerry’s Outdoor Cinema (12 January-26 February). If you’re heading to the big smoke, the St George Openair Cinema overlooking Sydney Harbour is a must.

The best outings for children this summer are … the National Museum of Australia’s Australia Day Festival: A World of History and Culture followed by Australia Day in the Park on January 26; the Play Zone at the National Gallery (every day); Questacon (every day); and the aforementioned Manuka Pool.

The summer flicks I’m planning to see are … French romantic comedy Up for Love; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Oscar favourite and musical La La Land; war drama Allied; Red Dog prequel Red Dog: True Blue; US drama Jackie; Nicole Kidman in Lion; and, with the kids, Trolls, Moana and Sing.

On my holiday reading pile this year are … The Ice Cream Makers; A Spy’s Guide to Thinking; Rushing Woman’s Syndrome; I Murdered My Library; Their Brilliant Careers; What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend; A Little Life; Stella Miles Franklin: A Biography. I’m also reading the Narnia series to the children this summer in between learning the Mr Men series by heart from rereading them so often.

Enjoy your holiday, Canberra, and a huge thank you to those of you who are working through to keep the community running.

If you’d like to share your responses to our My Summer cues, please log on and upload your own version for publication in coming weeks.

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