First up, as you might expect, is my official seventh birthday photograph, which was taken on the top of Mount Stromlo. Very difficult to keep one's hairdo in place in the strong winds up there but the Pack Leader said, with a wink, that I still looked fairly passable.

After descending Mount Stromlo and coming home, I spent a few quiet moments next to my Mum's grave, on which we always kept fresh and planted flowers at that time, pending a more permanent installation.

Yep. Better just accept this: there will always be swimming pictures. You've seen a lot before, you'll see a lot in the future, and you'll see a couple now. No apologies. I mean I'm a Golden Retriever, for Pete's sake. I'd spend my entire life in the water if the Pack Leader would let me, and I'd only get out for meals and treats. And pats.

Tell you what: I'll soften the blow by including a couple of shots of me in the front Garden, up to my ears in agapanthus plants in early December.

Little Tia, the dog owned by Steve (my Pack Leader's son) and Jacqui in Melbourne, flew up to Canberra to spend Christmas with me. If memory serves, she had completed 10 rides in an airliner by the time she returned to Melbourne. I tell you, there's not another dog in Australia with more frequent flyer points than Tia. I think flying is all a bit of a bore for her these days.

Here she is at my place with Stephen on Christmas day.

And here she is with my big (human) sister Sam.

And here we are all together, waiting for the party to start - the vivacious Tia, the estimable Saybo, and my good self acting as hostess, canine division. I tell you, nothing strikes fear into the hearts of our humans more than when we three are together, hatching plots. The humans seem to know instinctively that they can never outsmart us, and that, of course, is the source of their trepidation.

Just to show you I'm not as primeval-looking as I appear to be in the shot above, which the Pack Leader rather cruelly took of me down by the lake in January, I also submit a shot of me at Mountbatten Park taken during the same month.

Alas, things came to a grinding halt for me for a while in February, the problem being that I developed some significant discomfort in my right front paw. Aware that I was in some distress, my Pack Leader raced me to the vet, thinking that I had picked up a grass seed or similar. Well, it wasn't a grass seed, and it wasn't in any way visible, but the vet was convinced that there was something in there somewhere. So there was nothing for it but for me to be sent off to dreamland while the vet went exploring. Eventually he found the offending object, which turned out to be a small thorn, and which had obviously migrated a fair distance from its original point of entry.

A few stitches later and I was on my way home, paw all bandaged up and feeling a little sore. But then came the bad news: I had to wear one of those silly conical things on my head for days and days. An instrument of torture those things are. I mean, have you ever tried to walk through a doorway with one of those things on? I tell you, I had to have about four goes at it every single time before the Pack Leader came to my assistance and pointed my noggin in the optimum direction. Sheesh.

One of my favourite walks in Canberra early on a Sunday morning is over at ANZAC Parade, which is lined with memorials of a miltary nature. It's there that we can respectfully remember, as we walk along, those who have made the supreme sacrifice for Oz. It starts with the Australian War Memorial, which is at the top of the parade.

The Australian War Memorial

Royal Australian Navy

Rats of Tobruk (North Africa, World War II)

Australian Light Horse (Egypt, Palestine, Syria, World War I)



ANZAC Parade ends down near the northern shore of Lake Burley-Griffin, which is where I like to take a breather before heading on home. And man, does that water look tempting?