next day Hank had to go to work and Lesleigh had classes. We decided to walk up Main
Street to the Capitol and whatever else there was to be seen. Lesleigh gave us an
umbrella to protect us from the rain and .escorted us up to the Capitol and pointed
out the "Buy & Sell" shop before she left.
                                         First things first we sat ourselves down
at the counter of the drugstore on the corner and had something to eat. These
drugstores are fascinating places, a little bit of everything and not much of anything
and that applies to food also. A little old lady sat next to us and asked us how
she should paint her trolly. I didn't exactly know what she meant by trolly and after
having talked with her a bit I was not willing to ask. She also asked us what we
thought about umbrellas and growing trees before we extracted ourselves. Talking
to strangers can sometimes be interesting, sometimes dull and sometimes embarrassing,
especially when the stranger is tending towards senility.
                                                      Valma drooled over the
rings at the "Buy & Sell" while I inspected the other stuff in the shop, most of it
was old and battered though there were a couple of nice old mechanical adding
machines which made rhythmic clunking sounds when I operated them. Valma was having
a hard time selecting which of the many rings she would like to buy but finally
settled on one which suited her. By that time she and the couple of people behind
the counter had held quite a conversation (to which I
added the occasional comment from behind the adding
machines) and everybody seemed to be quite excited at
having a couple of people from far off Australia in
their shop. We spent a couple of hours entertaining the
locals with our funny accents and our strange ways.
the stairs we found their furniture department and came
across some cardboard furniture, something which I'd
never suspected existed and which I'd never wish to see
again thanks all the same. If you own some don't tell me
about it for I shall look down my nose at you.
                                             The amazing
thing about Main Street was the lack of similarity with
State Street, the latter has the feeling of being a shopping
centre of a college town but Main Street is definitely the
place where one sees the state capitol. One couldn't fail
to, the Capitol building looms over everything and I could
imagine some elected representative of the people ducking
across the road to the corner drug store for a quick bite
to eat during some particularly boring proceedings. (In
our travels we saw four capitol buildings, in Washington;
Providence, Madison and St Paul. To my untutored eye they
all looked the same, the details may have been different but
there was always that big dome mounted over the top of it all.) From our spot in the
drugstore, from the door of the "Buy &Sell" and from just about everywhere in the
centre of Main Street the Capitol Building dominated the skyline.
                                                             Lesleigh had said
that she thought there were guided tours through the building so we went through the
small park which surrounds it and wandered around inside, oggling the massive neo-
classic architecture and trying to find the place where we could find out about
things like tours. We found the enquiries counter but there was no one there.
Later we went back but we entered through another door which had the times of the
tours listed on it in large print. We were five minutes late but there was a woman
with a bunch of people Following her looking around the inside of the dome so we
joined them.
           We were shown the Supreme Court, the Senate and the Lower House. The
tour was instructive but the mass of facts and figures the guide spouted went in one
ear and out the other. It was just after an election so nobody was doing anything
so all we saw were lots of empty benches,just as well perhaps.because I'd once sat
through a couple of hours of the Lower House of New South Wales in session and that
was enough to last me for many more years yet. Impressive, in a perverse sort of