Ainslie is one of Canberra’s oldest suburbs. An eccentric pattern of streets includes crescents and circuits enclosing pockets of parkland. These parks look smaller now but I recall as a kid there was space to kick the footy or play cricket – even if a boundary hit to the kerb might clatter against the side of the milko’s van. Walking around the same streets today, the Cockatoos take flight ahead of me to wheel around the sky. Ainslie has its own thriving shops including bars, restaurants and laneways with some of the best murals and street art. Compared to the stressed out pace of the CBD and malls, people in Ainslie are more likely to sit around for a while or share a little of their life story – everyone is a book. In the adjoining suburb of Dickson, the shopping centre has a leafy plaza where buskers have their favourite spots and market stalls pop-up near the public library on Saturday mornings. As with many inner city areas, rapid progress is changing the streetscape in Ainslie. However for me, its original character keeps shining through each time I return to the place where I grew up.