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29 April 2012 / leggypeggy

10 dogs, 8 people, 5k—mission accomplished

The entourage

Earlier this month, Automattic announced its second-ever Worldwide WP 5k event, in which their employees from around the globe will walk/run five kilometres on the same day.

That day just happens to be today, Sunday, 29 April, and they invited WordPress users to come along too.

The deal is to do the five kilometres—any way you like—and blog about it.

Poor John and I do 5k walks several times a week, so I figured I’d have to increase the degree of difficulty a bit to make it special.

Graham and John (not Poor) with the two Belgians. Arty is a Belgian barge dog and big Louie is a Belgian bouvier.

Aggie, whose picture graces this blog’s banner, whispered in my ear and suggested a dog walk with all his friends.

How could I refuse a request from one who lives beyond the Rainbow Bridge?

Chiyo, our remaining mutt, was delighted. So I got on the horn and consulted with the minders of Louie, Bailey, Scout, Poppy, Arty, Zara, Maggie, Tash and Merlin. Yep, they were all keen to come too.

I checked with Elisabeth to see if Eduardo was interested. He’s a no-nonsense kind of cat, but Elisabeth was pretty sure it would end in tears, probably for one of the dogs.

We didn’t even have to think about where to walk. Lake Burley Griffin is the centrepiece of Canberra, Australia’s national capital. This manmade lake was created in the mid-1960s by damming the Molonglo River.

Aspen Island and the National Carillon—a present from the British government to Australia on the 50th anniversary of Canberra’s creation. Kings Avenue Bridge is on the right. The Carillon has 55 bells that chime the quarter hours and play a tune on the hours. There are regular concerts, and we can hear the Carillon from our house.

The then Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, was committed to having the lake and instrumental in making sure it happened.

The lake is about 28 kilometres around but the circuit around the middle, and between the Kings Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue Bridges, is exactly five kilometres, and a very popular place for walkers, joggers, cyclists and more.

Great day for a 5k walk. Regatta Point Tourist Centre in the background

So eight ‘parents’ and 10 dogs gathered at Blundell’s Cottage, which is near the Carillon. After each pooch got a bit of Smacko, we set off westward along the RG Menzies Walk.

As an aside, every deceased past prime minister has a suburb in Canberra named after him—every one but Menzies because he insisted he did not want one. No suburb, no street, no park.

But he never mentioned a walkway, so some clever-clogs thought of naming the path along the north shore of the lake the RG Menzies Walk, to highlight Menzies’ own commitment to seeing the lake become reality. The story goes that during the planning stages of the lake and when Menzies was overseas, someone cut funding for the project. Menzies had a fit when he found out and reinstated the money.

Our entourage drew a lot of wide-eyed stares and comments, and Merlin’s high-pitched yapping turned plenty of heads—we should have had a ‘no we’re not torturing him’ sign. He has a special collar that dispenses a shot of citronella when he barks but, guess what. No battery!

Half of the International Flag Display on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. There are about 95 flags, from the countries with diplomatic representation in Australia. The display was launched in 1999. Questacon, the Science and Technology Centre, is in the background.

Obviously with all the people and other dogs to greet, cyclists and Segwayers to avoid, scents and bums to sniff, poops to clean up and pee-mails to leave, we were all strung out for most of the walk.

We did, however, manage to gather by the statue of RG Menzies himself, out for a stroll but without a pooch. So we looped Maggie’s lead over his hand and got a group shot of the mayhem. I’m missing because I’m the photographer.

Some of us did a short side trip into the Sculpture Garden at the Australian National Gallery

All in all, the outing was a complete success. It was a glorious autumn day—a light breeze, about 18°C and beautifully sunny—and a whole lot better than blustery Wednesday when we did the same walk.

Nobody bit or was bitten. Nobody chased the swans. Poppy, who is ancient and diabetic, made it all the way. Merlin stopped barking. Louie, Bailey, Tash and Maggie drank water out of a plastic bag. Chiyo resisted lunging at all the other dogs we encountered. So everyone earned another round of Smackos. Plus John (not Poor) found $1 on the ground and I found an unopened water bottle.

Hope everyone enjoys the scenes of our walk and the lake. If you aren’t Australian, did you know our swans are black?

So thank you Automattic for instigating such a worthwhile outing. Same time, next year?

P.S. For anyone who is hungry after all this exercise, check out what’s cooking on page 32.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Your loving daughter, Petroushka / Apr 29 2012 5:51 pm

    Those dogs are such a great bunch, really love the post and all the pics!


    • leggypeggy / Apr 29 2012 6:01 pm

      They really were all so good. It was such a lot of fun. Pity you had to play soccer.


  2. Sy S. / May 4 2012 8:52 am


    May 3rd, 4th in Aussie Land. Where arte thou? Hard to keep up on your whereabouts… Now that you made it to Perth.. what next. Do you have to drive all the way back to eastern Australia? BTW, Perth looks like a modern city and an interesting place to visit some day.

    I had a chance to go to your “Whats Cooking P32” blog. I did not register so don’t see anywhere to write/comment about your cooking. However, I made your Fish Caldine (Ghana) dish this afternoon and it was interesting… good wholesome, fast and easy dish to make. And since I like curries it hit the spot. I had a bowl this afternoon and now in the evening a second bowl! Yummy. If you ever get a chance to post this recipe on Food dot com… please add my photo.

    Metro NYC



  1. Another heartbreaking loss | Where to next?

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