Monday, August 10, 2015

A bird's eye view

Our neighbours are fantastic property photographers and run the Tasmanian franchise of Open2View, a nationwide real estate photography and marketing network. Shortly after we moved here, they acquired a telescopic pole on a trailer that they would tow to client properties to take elevated shots of the property. Now, technology has moved on and it's all about drones. The photos they can take are amazing. During last week's snow, our neighbours drove past our home just as the sun came out and flew the drone to take some photos for us. How nice is that! I just love the photos.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The logistical challenges of snow

Our minds last week were preoccupied with snow logistics. How to reverse out of the garage without sliding sideways down the driveway, for example. Or if we got out and down the road, how would we get back? Would Vinces Saddle (the highest point of the highway between Hobart and the Huon Valley) be closed or have black ice? Maybe we could walk down the hill and get a lift or catch the bus? Who gets to take the 4WD?

I am certain that the people I mentioned this to thought we were pathetic mainlanders* or just making it up. It last snowed a few days ago and down in the valley life has returned to normal. It has been sunny and warm(er). But up here, very little of the snow has melted. Instead, overnight frosts and sub-zero temperatures have turned it into hard, slippery blocks of ice.

So this afternoon I drove the two-wheel drive car back from Hobart in the glorious winter sunshine. As I came over the last hill, there was our place, still completely white! I stopped the car in the driveway and David made a couple of attempts to get the car in the garage for me, but the ice was too slippery. We parked the car and started to unload the shopping, when the car started moving! It slid backwards down the driveway to its current resting place in front of the water tank. There it will have to stay until the ice melts.

I think our caution and conservatism on snowy roads is a good thing. As I ventured into Hobart on Wednesday afternoon, only a few hundred metres down our road we encountered a woman in a two-wheel drive Camry who had slid backwards into a ditch and was unable to get out. What was she thinking? And to all those people whinging about the road to Mt Wellington being closed at Fern Tree - get out and walk if you'd like to see snow. It will be safer for you and your family.

* A term used by Tasmanians to refer to Australians who live on the 'north island' :-)

Hobart morning walks

I needed to be in Hobart early on Thursday and Friday this week, and as I wasn't confident I would be able to get there with the snow and ice on the roads, I stayed in town for two nights. One thing I do like about city living is the early morning walk or run. At dawn, before the influx of office workers. The main difference between walking or running in the city and where I live is pavement. It's harder on the legs, but it makes weather irrelevant. There's no snow, mud, darkness or frost to deter me from getting up to go outside.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The big snow

Our friend Ursi from Switzerland arrived on Saturday afternoon to stay for a couple of days, and today we have about 20cm of snow, the most we have seen since we moved to Tasmania. Even Hobart and Kingston Beach have had a good dusting today. The ABC TV news bulletin is saying the snow is down to the lowest levels since 2005. It might not make the news in Switzerland, but it does here. Ursi was supposed to fly back to Sydney this afternoon, but some of the roads between here and Hobart are closed. So we moved the flight and instead we're spending the day playing with the dogs in the lovely, powdery white stuff and thawing out by the fire. It will be a cosy evening ahead, with chicken, potato and saffron soup and perhaps a glass of red or two.