Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I've been away from home for eight days, at work events and to work from our Sydney office for a couple of days. Right now I'm in Queensland. I wish I could say it had all been this...

... but I admit that was a totally staged shot. I was on the deck chair for as long as it took to take the photo.

Normally I'm only away for a couple of days and don't have time to think much about home, or to be honest, about anything much other than the task at hand. For some odd reason this time I have felt terribly homesick and kind of lonely, despite the many great people I've met and caught up with. Sure, Queensland is nice, and the weather has actually been cooler here than at home in Tasmania over the past few days which reached 35-40 degrees. But it's humid and it's not home. I think I will let out a little cheer when I land in Hobart tonight.

We have met several couples in Tasmania where one partner goes to work in Melbourne or Sydney all week and comes home on the weekend. It must be terribly hard to keep that up.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cloudspotting in Tasmania

David took this lovely sunset photo from our place last month. Many people in our area did the same, as the local paper was full of readers' similar photos the following week. We have seen some amazing cloud formations since we moved to Tasmania. From strange low-lying tufts of cloud clinging to the hillsides to lenticular formations that look like flying saucers, the variety is amazing. Living a fair way up a hill, we're often inside a cloud or looking down on one in the valley. I must get around to reading a book called 'The Cloudspotter's Guide' that was recommended by my manager a few years ago, so I know a bit more about what I'm admiring in the sky.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fitness on the foreshore

Each Monday evening for the past few weeks I huffed and puffed along with more than 20 local women as part of a six-week exercise program, made possible thanks to grant funds obtained by Franklin locals Lorrie and Jane through the Huon Valley Health Services Advisory Committee. We met near the Franklin Bowls Club at 6pm, with any Huon Valley women welcome to join in free of charge. No memberships, no long commitments, just a health assessment and waiver form to fill in - easy. The sessions consisted of interval training and core strengthening for an hour each week in a program devised by fitness instructor Miranda, so it's great exercise in a short amount of time. And it's social too, which means I'm more likely to go. The first week we trained in the very hot afternoon sun along the river. For a couple of weeks we exercised inside the Palais Theatre as rain poured down outside. Unfortunately I'm going to miss the last two sessions as I'll be travelling for work. But quite a few participants expressed an interest in continuing (on a paid basis) so who knows?

Article from Huon Valley News

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love nest

When the new young rooster arrived, first one hen cuddled up to him on top of some bales of hay in the chook shed at night, while the other two remained on their perch as normal. Now, all three hens are shacked up with him high up on a tiny shelf every night. It doesn't look comfortable. Chooks are weird.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Container party

This lovely landmark building is home to Village Antiques of Franklin, with room after room filled with furniture, homewares, collectibles and art from different eras. Built in 1906, it was originally a bank and then a hospital for a few decades from the 1940s. During last year's Focus on Franklin festival, the owners held a reunion of some of the many people who were born there.

Last Friday night, locals were invited to a preview sale of a new container shipment of antiques acquired on a recent UK mission, before it opened to the public on Saturday. Owners Jane and Shane have been burning the midnight oil unpacking and arranging everything in the store. A couple of nights last week we drove past on the way home late from comedy gigs and saw every single light still on. The place is packed to the brim. Over a glass of wine or two, we all wandered (carefully) from room to room admiring pieces on display and adding things to the wishlist. I took home a 1950s/60s magazine holder. We also bought a lovely 1920s oak and glass display cabinet which we will collect next week.

When we popped in the next day, lots of cars were parked out the front and there was a steady stream of people heading in. An older lady bought six glass paperweights and stashed them in fluffy socks she carried in her handbag for the purpose. I am sure many people will find something they love there.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hartz Peak

Finally! Today we went up Hartz Peak (1254m) with a group of friends from our social walking group. It has been on my list of things to do since we moved to Tasmania. The weather wasn't perfect, but the cloud cleared enough to provide glimpses of mountains and tarns and islands. On the way there we stopped at Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn. The sun came out on the way back making the return walk quite hot. I read on a web site this week that Hartz Peak provides the "best view for effort" of all the peaks in southern Tasmania. Not having been up many I can't make that comparison, but the view of the southern ranges is stunning and it's not a difficult walk, just steep in parts and a short section of rock scrambling at the top. I love the rocky landscape and the alpine vegetation in the Hartz Mountains National Park, like the bright green cushion plants (see below). And the views were stunning, out towards the seemingly endless row of rugged peaks in the distance. It has reignited the hiking spark that's been missing lately.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Goat curry

We ate goat curry in Sydney several times quite a few years ago and absolutely loved it. The meat was very tender and had a nice flavour. When I saw some of the goat meat on offer from a Bruny Island producer at the MoMa market recently, I decided to have a go at cooking it myself. I bought a shoulder and simmered the curry for quite a few hours, and the meat just fell apart. It was even better as leftovers for lunch the next day. Delicious, I'll buy it again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wood sculpture returns to Franklin

A couple of weeks ago another installation by Tasmanian artist Marcus Tatton appeared in front of the Church Studio in Franklin. It's not on such a grand scale as the one on display during last year's Focus on Franklin festival, but I really like it and it looks great outside the former church. This beautiful landmark building in Franklin is for sale at the moment as the owners will be returning to Queensland. As well as the gallery and artist-in-residence studio at the front, there is a lovely home tucked away at the back. For an artist or someone with with the right business idea, this would be a great opportunity. I do hope the space continues to benefit the local community, as it has with the current owners, who have hosted music afternoons and numerous exhibitions for all to enjoy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cruising Hobart

Passengers on this ship photographed last weekend from Constitution Dock certainly got lucky with the weather. I hadn't realised that Hobart was such a frequently used port for passenger cruises until I read an article in The Mercury about it last year. Check out the Tasports schedule to see just how many are due between now and March. Late last year I met Christina from Premier Travel Tasmania, a local company offering premium tours to primarily European visitors. When cruise ships come into Hobart or Burnie, her team is kept very busy taking groups of passengers on tours around Tasmania. As well as English speakers, they need to accommodate speakers of different languages arriving from Europe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Targa Wrest Point

The Huon Valley was alive with the roar of rally cars last weekend, as the Targa Wrest Point returned to Tasmania's south this year. The car pictured below was in the procession heading south through Huonville on Saturday morning, after completing the Judbury stage. There were some lovely classic cars amongst the entrant list too. Later that day two cars ended up in the river on the Esperance Coast Road near Police Point, a beautiful stretch of road which I drove down last Thursday on Australia Day. I was quite keen to go and watch a bit of it, but the information for spectators on the website was pretty poor. The family I got our new rooster from on Sunday had the right idea. They were going to take their tinny out on the river to watch the Cygnet stage as it hugs the river on the Cygnet Coast Road.

Tasmania is perfect for rallying. So many windy roads through stunning locations, and the roads are generally in good condition. Before we chose to move to the Huon Valley, we came close to buying a place at Lalla north-east of Launceston, and the Targa Tasmania rally would have gone straight past our front door. I reckon that would have been fun, unless someone came unstuck and ended up in your front paddock I guess.