Friday, September 9, 2016

An evening with a whisky legend


Bill Lark is known as the father of Tasmania's whisky industry. He tells a good yarn too. Last month the Public Relations Institute of Australia hosted an evening with Bill where he told us the stories behind the Lark Distillery and its single-malt whisky that (along with Bill) is now well known in whisky circles worldwide. He's a good storyteller, one of the keys to the success of his brand.

I am not a big whisky drinker but I do enjoy a taste. Whether you drink whisky or not, Lark's cellar door in Hobart is a great spot to enjoy a drink or simply to soak up the atmosphere. On arrival we were served a gin and tonic with Lark's Forty Spotted Gin with a strip of pink grapefruit and a few Tasmanian pepperberries. Then it was on to the serious stuff. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Cask Strength single malt. At 58 percent ABV I expected it to blow my head off, but it was smooth and delicious. As was the slightly sweet Slainte whisky liqueur developed by Lynn Lark. Tasmania will make a whisky drinker out of me yet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bonfire

After a dry spell at the end of winter, before the weather heats up and the fire permit season starts, it's time to burn the pile of cuttings, fallen branches, weeds and unusable wood. A bonfire! Ah the joy of standing around the warmth of a fire outdoors on a cool evening. It brings the neighbours out of the woodwork too.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Return of the pardalote


Yesterday, the first daffodil popped open in the front paddock. Everywhere we walk there's the whirring of tiny wings in our ears, as flocks of fairy wrens tumble through the bushes and peck insects around our windows. Blossoms and buds are bursting on the fruit trees with the quince, the apricot and the peach leading the way. The rhubarb has emerged from winter dormancy. And most exciting, the pardalotes who nested in clay banks at our place last year have returned, lending flashes of yellow to the trees around the house. Welcome to spring!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Footy first timers

Many people in Tasmania are big AFL supporters. Us... well, let's just say we aren't exactly the biggest sports nuts on the planet. We like watching the World Cup football and some of the Euro Cup when it's on. Formula One Grand Prix. A bit of the Olympics. David likes the tennis, as long as the sound is turned off so you don't hear all the grunts and sighs. That's about it really. No cricket. No footy. But when your good friends (and massive Sydney Swans fans) decide to visit Tassie for an AFL round played at Blundstone Arena AND organise awesome tickets, well... you just have to go! They even brought spare Swans scarves for us to wear. We had a great day out with lots of laughs. And luckily the Swans won. But don't worry. Despite how much I enjoyed my pie and chips and the quarter time entertainment, I haven't turned. I reckon it might be a while before our next game.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The cat who got the cream

Happy 20th birthday to Lilly the cat! Yes, you read that right. Twenty years old. Happy birthday, Lil.


This morning she enjoyed a special birthday treat of whipped cream. It sure seems a long time since we adopted her from the vet in Sydney as a scrawny tortoiseshell-and-white kitten with a few gut problems. Then she developed gut problems of a different kind, stealing food from all our neighbours and ending up at 8-plus kilos with a large swinging tummy. We had to do a letter box drop with her photo on saying "Do Not Feed This Cat".

Now, our poor old girl is very frail but she's still eating and drinking well. She needs regular combing and claw trimming but otherwise has simple requirements. Earlier this week, I spotted her trundling out from her home in the garage and across the driveway where she sat in the sun for a while. It mightn't be much, but it's not her time to go quite yet.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mount Wellington: vistas for visitors

It was peak tourist time at the summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington yesterday when I went up with our three visitors from Britain to check out the view. As we drove up, cars heading down featured the traditional small snowman or pile of snow on the bonnet. The car park was almost full, with bus and car loads of people from around the world. One woman lay on her back in a small patch of snow making snow angels while her friend took photos. The kids were having a blast. One of my visitors inhaled deeply, amazed at just how fresh the air is. The cloud cleared long enough for us to grab a few nice photos. We'd spent the morning strolling around Salamanca Market, with a couple of coffee stops on the way, while the mountain lurked in the background with a little snow still visible on top. Going up Mount Wellington again has got me excited about exploring more of the tracks up there soon.

P.S. Hello uncle John!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wine and dogs do mix

At Wobbly Boot Vineyard they do, anyway!

What a lovely idea: invite dog owners to bring their furry four-legged friends and walk/play/romp through the vines, glass of beautiful Tassie Pinot noir in hand, to raise money for local animal welfare organisations. On Sunday we took the girls for a drive to the other side of Hobart to do just that. It was a terrific day out. One fenced in vineyard was designated for "big dogs" and another for "little dogs". Everyone played nicely together and enjoyed the sunny winter's day. There was hot soup available and some people brought a picnic or some sausages to barbecue. All with beautiful views of the Coal River Valley as a backdrop. A photographer was there to capture all the happy pups. It was good to see the media coverage of the event too.

This was the second 'Wine and Woofs' and the owners of the vineyard now say it will be a quarterly event. This time the entry fee went to Small Paws Animal Rescue, an organisation that our local Huon Valley Dog Walking Association has also supported in the past. Sign up to Wobbly Boot's Facebook page to find out when the next one is on.