Thursday, January 18, 2018

Legendary funnyman in the valley

In two weeks, Australian comedy legend Rod Quantock OAM is the headline act at Funnies@Frank's, the regular comedy room run by resident valley funnyman a.k.a. my husband David here in Franklin. Among many other achievements in a comedy career stretching back to 1968, Rod co-conceived and starred in ‘Australia, You’re Standing In It’, ABC TV’s first Melbourne comedy production and the door-opener for all that followed.You really must grab your tickets quick for this one... especially if you love a bit of political humour. Thursday 1 February at Frank's Cider Bar & Cafe, see here for details.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A day at the fest, 2018

The Cygnet yarn bombers have excelled themselves. Everything from garbage bins to trees was decked out in colourful wool at the 2018 Cygnet Folk Festival over the weekend and looked fabulous. Check out this beautiful chair:

This year we bought a day pass just for the Sunday of the festival and spent a long and full day there. We started off with a yoga class in the Cygnet Town Hall. That's where the wholesome stuff stopped. Let's just say my diet for the wasn't healthy, but it was delicious! Coffee with an Eccles cake and a spinach ricotta pastry from The Lotus Eaters for breakfast, a sourdough doughnut from Yeastie Beastie, an organic choc mint ice-cream, a Taiwanese steamed pork bun (from Geeveston), Willie Smith's cider, a currywurst sausage from Silver Hill... oh boy. I'm back on the wagon today. Still have a couple of Christmas kilos to lose.

As usual, the variety of acts at the festival was terrific. We enjoyed indigenous songwriting legend Joe Geia and his band (our choir in Franklin sings one of his most famous songs, called Yil Lull), The Band Who Knew Too Much from Melbourne (singer and accordion player Dave Evans right) and Canadian balladeer Scott Cook and the Second Chances. In St Mark's church, we heard the distinctive sounds of a collaboration between ARIA award winning traditional Greek band the haBiBis and Jewish Sephardic music from the Balkans by Saray Illuminado and later, the harmonies of Queensland duo, Noel Gardner and Alex Bridge. We dropped in on a Scottish tea dance in the town hall accompanied by harp players Van Diemen's Angels and wrapped up the day with Hobart's Bootleg Gin Sluggers in the scout hall in Burton's reserve. All in all a top day out. The organisers and volunteers really did a terrific job.

Friday, January 5, 2018

First home-grown cherries

Yesterday I gobbled up the first handful of delicious, freshly picked cherries from one of our two small trees planted a few years back. We've had a couple appear on them before, but either they didn't ripen or were eaten by someone else before they did. This year, there are several more small bunches almost ready to eat, nicely protected by the netting installed over the orchard for chook protection. Plus loads of blueberries on just two small bushes, some plums and one lousy apricot. Next to ripen will be several varieties of apples and pears. Despite general neglect, it's fantastic to be getting tasty fruit from our own little trees.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The legend of "the Turkish"

Ever since we moved to Franklin almost eight years ago, people who have lived here longer than us have told us about "the Turkish". In almost reverent tones. I don't know what the restaurant was called, but people have mentioned great steaks, delicious Turkish food, lovely bread, Friday night dinners, BYO bottles of red, tables full, good prices, had to book, casual meals... anyway, it had closed by the time we arrived. The building was leased, sold, re-opened very briefly as a cafe, repainted (maybe twice), closed again. There have been rumours, renovations, windows covered up, new kitchen equipment delivered, more rumours... frankly I have no idea what of the above is true and what isn't and we'd long since given up on it ever being reopened as an eatery. And now this! The window coverings have been removed, there are new tables and benches inside, and a  cryptic message on the window. So we are placing bets on a possible opening in March... or maybe 2019... something. Sometime.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Here's to a brilliant 2018

Not keen on crowds, we opted for a very low key, hassle-free new year's eve. We started with early evening drinks and snacks with our visitors from NSW and assorted Franklin folk at the Landcare walk on the banks of the Huon. The wind mostly held off so we could enjoy a chat, a champagne and a laugh with this beautiful backdrop. Then home for a curry, a beer and fireworks on the telly. Happy new year to you and yours! May 2018 be fabulous.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bruny Island from the water

It's been on the list of "things to do when friends or family visit" for years, but this year David gave me a Bruny Island Cruise for my birthday. Awesome gift! One of the multi award-winning Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, this one takes you around the towering dolerite cliffs of southern Bruny Island.

We were collected by bus at Kettering just near the ferry terminal, and taken across on the Mirambeena to Bruny Island. Our guide (we were soon to discover they are all masters of the truly dreadful 'dad joke') told stories of the island and its characters past and present on the 45 minute drive south. On the way to Adventure Bay we stopped at The Neck to climb the stairs to the lookout and that fantastic view of the isthmus and South Bruny.

Once we'd checked in at Bruny Island Cruises HQ in Adventure Bay, there was time for a muffin and a coffee before walking to the wharf to board one of the famous yellow boats. There were people from all around the world in our group - Minnesota, Belgium, China, Malaysia - and we all donned huge red capes the covered me from head to toe to keep out water and wind.

We cruised past beautiful headlands, rugged cliffs and caves, including the magical Breathing Rock that appears to suck air and water in before blowing it out in spectacular fashion. Some cray fishermen checking their cray pots kindly entertained the boatload of tourists by holding up a fresh cray along with a young Port Jackson shark that was released back into the water.

Next came a thrilling spin around The Monument, a 30-odd metre high dolerite stack, before heading to the southern tip on the island where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean. The swell made for some interesting rises and falls on the boat and the odd exciting drenching by sea spray and rain!

We saw male Australian fur seals basking on The Friars, a group of islands at the southern tip of Bruny Island, then a group of New Zealand fur seals, before the high-speed, wet and windy ride back to Adventure Bay for our pre-ordered lunch and a hot chocolate. On the way back to the ferry, our guide stopped the bus at Get Shucked oysters where I picked up a dozen for Christmas Day, then at the Black Devil Cherries shed near the ferry terminal where I bought a kilo of these huge, juicy beauties. Such a brilliant day out, highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The traditional Christmas Eve cruise on the Huon

For the third year in a row, we spent Christmas Eve with lovely friends on The Nancy, a 100 year old motor launch now owned and run by Franklin's Living Boat Trust. We cruised through the Egg Island Canal and around the top of the islands before heading back down the Huon River towards Franklin. It's great to see the other side of properties we normally see driving past on the highway. The weather was very 'Tasmanian' - a bit of sun, a bit of rain - but it didn't matter one bit. Our skipper Martin definitely got a bit damp at the helm, while the rest of us were able to retreat under cover with snacks and a beverage. Plus, we were rewarded with a stunning rainbow, the pot of gold somewhere at the bottom of the river between Franklin and Huonville. Merry Christmas to you and yours!