Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Summer dogs

On this last day of summer, I thought I'd share a few photos of our beautiful girls and what they got up to over summer. Just because... well, they are beautiful. And so was summer.

A long awaited return to Kingston Dog Beach
Swim, roll in sand, repeat
Making friends on Australia Day in Franklin
Cooling off in the Huon River
Hanging out in the evening sun
Waiting to be handed a snow pea through the fence
Coffee break with lap dog
This is known as dog sandwich. Best cuddle ever.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Royal Coastal Walk

Almost seven years on from our big move south, there are only a few things I still miss about Sydney. Our old Japanese style yoga class with Damien Lovelock at Manly Warringah Leagues Club. Our afternoon walks up to the dog park in Narraweena where the dogs played while owners chatted. And most of all, weekly trek training with Wild Women on Top. It's not that I don't go hiking here in Tassie, but on a walk last Sunday I remembered why Wild Women is different. It's all in the attitude. You get fitness, support, friendship and constant inspiration to set new hiking goals. Great tips from the coaches along the way. Everyone looks out for each other. And the walks are punctuated with special moments, like the treats that everyone brings to share, or swimming in a waterhole in your undies.

Last Sunday ten ladies plus coaches walked about 30km in Sydney's Royal National Park, along the Royal Coastal Walk from Otford at the southern end of the park to Bundeena, along stunning beaches and over spectacular headlands. Many people complete it in two days, camping along the way, but we did it in one.Thankfully the temperatures had dropped from the 40+ degrees of the previous weekend. Now that I'm used to walking in cooler climes, I'm not sure I'd cope on such a hot day.

I felt ashamed that most of the women I walked with had done more hiking in Tasmania than I have, and inspired to set new hiking goals. Amazingly, I could still walk just fine in heels at work the next day! Thank you coach Jo and team, it was a fabulous day out.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lunch stop at Peppermint Bay

One of our favourite lunch spots to take visitors from interstate or overseas is Peppermint Bay. We go for a drive to Cygnet for coffee or a look at the shops, perhaps stop at Pagan Cider or Hartzview Vineyard then head over the hills to pretty Woodbridge and Peppermint Bay. In nice weather, you can sit outside at the wooden bench tables under shade sails, looking out across the lawns and the bay towards Bruny Island, watching the ferry cross. The menu has something to suit any appetite. When we visited a few weeks ago, I had a very tasty trout pie, David had a pork burger and our visitor had flatbread with a white bean dip. They serve a nice range of local ciders, wines and soft drinks. Or if you are visiting Hobart, you can go there on a cruise, which must be nice way to arrive too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In memory of

Someone once gave me a small, smooth stone with an inspirational word carved on it and it sat under a large red callistemon bush in our garden in Sydney for years. In fact it may still be there. It sounds silly now, but I liked the permanency of it, the thought that someone might one day dig up that stone and wonder about it. So after our old cat Lilly died a few weeks ago, I ordered a carved river stone from Talking Stones to place where she was buried, and another to remember Patsy, the beautiful tabby we brought with us to Tasmania but who got out and disappeared six months later. This morning we placed them down and shed a few more tears.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trouble brewing

It hasn't been a great season for cherry growers in Tasmania. Rain over summer meant much of the fruit split and the crop was smaller than normal. We were offered 40 kilos of split or otherwise damaged cherries, which are now happily fermenting in three large plastic tubs. It smells incredible. After removing the stalks and the mouldy ones, I guess there was about 30 kilos. Kirschwasser, anyone?

Monday, February 13, 2017

More Wellington walks

The weather at our place wasn't looking great yesterday morning, but I needed to fit another good walk in before I go on a 28km hike near Sydney next Sunday. So I headed for The Springs car park halfway up kunanyi / Mount Wellington, the meeting place for a scheduled Hobart Walking Club walk. It turned out to be just me and the walk leader. We had a lovely walk. Up the Pinnacle Track to the Organ Pipes Track to The Chalet, then down Hunters Track to Junction Cabin and back to the Springs. The forecast wind and rain (mostly) held off and we were rewarded with dramatic views. Chatting all the way, we were done in 3.5 hours including stops for morning tea and lunch. Perfect.


Almost seven years after moving to Tasmania, I'm still trying things I never knew of in Sydney. A friend was visiting last week and we stopped at the Green Shed in Grove to pick up some cherries. She grabbed a bag of greengage plums too. I've had locally made greengage jam before (delicious) and just assumed that the fruit would be a bit sour or tart and not that great to eat uncooked. Wrong! These little gems are delicious. Yesterday, a friend emailed to say her neighbours are on holiday and their greengage tree is overloaded with fruit... would I like some? Oh yes please. Some to eat fresh and some for crumble cake. Think I'll have to plant a greengage tree.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wooden Boat Festival 2017

The organisers of this year's Australian Wooden Boat Festival (held every two years in Hobart) must be happy. It was absolutely packed when we visited this morning. The super-mega-enormous cruise liner in port at Hobart must have just offloaded its entire passenger load onto the docks. So. Many. People. We had a quick look at some beautiful boats, large and small, but couldn't cope with the crush and made a rapid escape. Next weekend, it's Franklin's turn, when the St. Ayles Skiff Regatta returns to the Huon. Come and join in the fun.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Country lifestyle inspiration

I've been a subscriber to Country Style magazine for quite some years. It was what I dreamed over when we still lived in Sydney and I was desperate to get out. Finally we moved to our own piece of paradise in Tasmania, and I kept reading. I love the stories about rural people and the beautiful pictures of their homes and farms. But the magazine holders containing more than eight years' issues I'd kept were starting to take up room that I could use for something else. So over Christmas, I read through all of them and cut out a few recipes to try and a few home design ideas, bundled them all up and gave them away. A week or so later, the new issue arrived and the collection begins again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

RIP Lilly cat

Dear old Lil reached the grand age of 20 years and six months. She had one of the oldest cat microchips in the country. Today we said goodbye to her, the last of the two cats we brought with us to Tasmania almost seven years ago.

Lilly had been very frail with poor eyesight and hearing for a few years and we were kind of amazed she kept going as long as she did. She needed combing every day and her eyes wiped regularly as she was not grooming herself properly. We even gave her a bath a couple of times. But still I felt it was not time to put her down. She was not sick. Over summer she was happy basking in the sun for hours. She was still eating well, drinking and using the litter tray - until this week.

Things went downhill on the weekend and on Monday we made the appointment to go to the vet with her on Wednesday. In some ways I wanted to take her sooner. By Tuesday there wasn't much of her left - so frail, no spirit left in her at all. A far cry from years ago in Sydney when she weighed 8+ kilos from stealing and begging food from the neighbours! She was such a funny cat in her day. She had this weird habit of hugging walls, then leaping up the wall and pushing off to get our attention.

I am sad but I am happy that we got in some long cuddles at the end and she purred and (I hope) knew she was loved. RIP Lil.