As expected, there has been no shortage of debate over this column's audacious attempts to uncover the best of our south coast.
Best ocean pool
While most correspondents agreed wholeheartedly with this column's crowning of Bermagui's Blue Pool as the best on the south coast ("Bermagui's magical pool", March 7, canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/in-search-of-the-south-coasts-best-ocean-pool-20150306-13ttn0.html), Peter White, of Wallaga Lake, is concerned that Bermagui's other ocean pool was overlooked.
"While it doesn't have the dramatic cliff base appeal of the Blue Pool, wedged up against the southern break wall of Bermagui Harbour, the 160-metre-long Bruce Steer Pool is still a great ocean pool," Peter says. "It's meshed off to keep larger fish and debris out and even has a sandy beach area." However, Peter's description comes with a caveat for anyone contemplating a dip in the pool without donning goggles or a snorkel and mask. "It's used by serious swimmers, not beach bodies."
Meanwhile, Wendy Joy, of Mollymook, explains that the much-loved Bogey Hole at her local beach wasn't always a magnet for families with blow-up air mattresses and other beach toys. "It was originally used as a fish trap by the Aboriginal people of the area, and then its shape was changed by silica mining in the early 1900s." She agrees with this column's assertion that it isn't a genuine ocean pool, but rather a very small sandy beach enclosed by rocks. Nonetheless, "it's very popular with families with children and a great place to get them interested in snorkelling," she says.
Kirsten Vine, of Appin, misses the original Ulladulla ocean pool, where she learnt to swim in the early to mid-1970s. "You can still see the remains of it" near the current purpose-built pool, which sits above the high-tide mark and, as a result, is mostly devoid of any sea life. "Although the old pool was often full of seaweed and sand after storms, all the marine life, including the shells and starfish," made it so much better to swim in, she says.
Further south in Eden, while Rachel Darke, of Kingston, shares this column's disappointment that the town's Aslings' Beach ocean pool is no longer maintained and is "now mostly full of sand", she does, however, report that on a recent visit "it had a channel in it, where the water was deeper and kids were jumping off a rock . . . and some big waves crashing into it, which was quite fun".
Best fish and chips
As expected, there has been no shortage of correspondence over this column's recent audacious attempt to uncover the best fish and chips on the south coast.
While many readers, including Alan Hume, of Greenway, and Anna Pellew, of Duffy, wholeheartedly agree with this column's controversial findings that the best fish and chips between Wollongong and the Victorian border are to be found at the Pickled Octopus Cafe at Tuross Head (January 24, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/australia-day-best-fish-and-chips-on-south-coast-nsw-20150123-12t42z.html), a number of fish-and-chip connoisseurs were miffed that their favourite takeaway didn't even make the shortlist.
"I hope you get a chance to cast your net a bit further in the future," pleas Ian Penhaligon, who was "shattered to see a well-deserved top entry not sampled or acknowledged". Ian, who worked for six years as a senior quality controller at Sealord New Zealand, as well as in hospitality and catering, awards his top fish-and-chip gong to "the superb Kiah Seafood at Moruya next to the Air Raid Tavern".
There was also considerable support for this column's second place-getter, the modest-looking Fish Shop on the side of the busy Princes Highway at Burrill Lake. "Nice, fresh fish and yummo chips," writes Sue Chadwick, of Cook. "I tried the real prawn cutlets as well, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed a pineapple fritter."
Postscript: Despite the summery weather spilling over into autumn, I can categorically rule out that this column will embark on any further best of the south coast series until next summer, even for pineapple fritters.
While on an early-morning stroll around the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Robyn Lawrence, of Queanbeyan, recently stumbled upon this wooden creature staring back at her, which must be one of the most striking examples of simulacra to have graced these pages. I'm not sure whether it more closely resembles a piglet's face or a cartoon-style dog, but it's clear what Robyn thinks – she's nicknamed it "Happy Puppy". Has anyone else noticed it?
Tarago worm farmer Cid Riley and his wife, Heather, won so many prizes at last weekend's Tarago and District Show that they struggled to cram all their award-winning produce in one photo. The dynamic duo were awarded Best in Show for their impressive array of vegetables, including 11 first-place ribbons, two seconds and five thirds. With the show season in our region drawing to a close, I wonder whether this is a 2015 record. They even won a novelty award for a freak parsnip.
Delivering the paper
This column's recent expose on the novel way retired 2CA announcer George Barlin regularly guided a de Havilland Dragon eight-seater aircraft into Canberra airport in the 1930s ("Hidden Fyshwick", November 22, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/hooked-on-fyshwicks-history-20141121-11o7c3.html) rekindled childhood memories for Bill Arnold, who was living in Barraba in north-west NSW in the early 1950s.
"Back then, the afternoon newspapers, The Mirror and The Sun, were published in Sydney," recalls Bill. "The pilot of a de Havilland Dragon Rapides aircraft would collect the papers off an afternoon Sydney-Tamworth flight and promptly deliver them to a number of centres, including Barraba and Inverell.
"In Barraba, the pilot would land in the middle of the showground, toss the bundles of papers out the window, flatten the throttles, and became airborne again, all without coming to a stop.
"There would probably be a book of rules preventing this now," Bill muses.
To think many of us now get our afternoon news with the tap of a mouse or the swipe of a screen.
This column continues to receive correspondence about Gordon Kothoff, the inner-south character, who in the 1960s cheekily directed traffic from his bicycle at Canberra's busiest intersections, while waiting for traffic police officers to arrive on duty ("Of snakes and Speed", November 15, 2014).
Gordon Fyfe, who used to play football for Manuka, recalls that "Speed would often turn up to help at footy training at Griffith Oval, Captain Cook Crescent. Unfortunately, his assistance was not always appreciated by the coaches, and he was often told to leave in a fairly blunt manner. He obviously had a big heart."
Jean Wilson reports that she often saw Speed riding about Manuka when she was a student at Narrabundah High School and subsequently while dating her late husband, Lindsay.
"Lindsay had many stories about the people of Manuka and he always had a wave and hello for Speed, who had been around Manuka for most of Lindsay's childhood," Jean says. "Speed was probably in his 40s in the late 1960s, although he looked weather-beaten, no-doubt from riding around on his pushbike everywhere in all sorts of weather."
WHERE IN CANBERRA?
Clue: A long way from Kokoda
Degree of difficulty: Easy-medium
Last week: Congratulations to June McKenzie, of Fisher, who correctly identified last week's photo (inset) taken by Chris Blunt as the controversial statue of former politician Al Grassby (1926-2005) in the foyer of the North Building, Civic Square. The building houses the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, where Canberrans of different backgrounds can meet, celebrate and share their cultures, and gain assistance with settling into the ACT.
June beat a number of readers to the prize, including Trish Hagan, of Chapman, who recalls that the minister for immigration in the Whitlam government was nicknamed "the father of Australian multiculturalism".
The photo brought back fond memories for several readers, including Vriti Mehra, who took a selfie with Grassby's statue while attending her citizenship ceremony. However, she was trumped by Victor Marillanca, who sent in a photo of Grassby appearing on Victor's program on radio 2XX.
How to enter: Email your guess along with your name and address to email@example.com. The first email sent after 10am today with the correct answer wins a double pass to Dendy cinemas.