Forty: my second favourite F word

I turn forty later this month, and since the start of the year I’ve been turning thoughts about that over in my head, trying to come up with a funny, perceptive blog post about what it means to hit this milestone age.

But I’ve failed.

Perhaps that’s because my creativity is fairly dormant just now. I’ve been spending a lot more time on writing for work than I have for on writing for pleasure, and while I trust that my voice will come back eventually, it doesn’t currently feel like I have any great insights to share.

Or perhaps it’s because I quite genuinely don’t have any big feelings about turning forty. It doesn’t fill me with horror about ageing; but nor does it fill me with enthusiasm and excitement about reinventing myself over the next decade. I’m already enormously lucky to be living in a place that makes me happy, with people who make me happy, doing a job that makes me happy – I don’t have much need for a dramatic life change.

So, other than my GP using it as a reason to refer me for a veritable smorgasbord of tests and screenings over the coming months, I’m not sure that forty is going to be much different to any other birthday. Continue reading

Wings, wine and wildlife: Par Avion’s Maria Island Experience

An aerial view of a beach, ocean and forest on the Freycinet Peninsula

Each summer, we try to leave one really special activity right until the end of the holidays. A final hurrah before we all fully sink ourselves back into work and school.

Last year, it was the Par Avion Southwest Wilderness Experience, which DorkySon wrote about so well on his Hobart Aviation Fan blog. This year we treated ourselves to another Par Avion flight: this time up to Maria Island on Tasmania’s East Coast. Continue reading

New year, new year: so good we’re starting it twice.

A pastel coloured image showing the date 2023

I’ve read so many social media posts from UK friends this month commenting on what a hard time they’re having starting the new year. Rather than leaving them refreshed, revitalised, and ready for 2023, the Christmas break has left them wanting to snuggle back under the duvet until spring. 

On this side of the world, we are having the opposite problem. It’s not the cold and the dark that’s making it a challenge to feel enthusiastic about work. It’s the delights and distractions of summer. The combination of sunshine and school holidays – which last until the second week of February – is not the most productive environment for two work-from-homers. 

Just before Christmas, I turned on my out-of-office, noting that I’d be back at my desk from January 16th onwards. That’s the longest official break I’ve ever given myself as a freelancer. But when that Monday rolled around, it still didn’t feel like it had been enough. I was still enjoying daily naps on the sofa with the dog. Still taking walks, reading books, and decluttering cupboards… and not feeling even a little bit of drive to start responding to client emails.  Continue reading

Off the island

An Air New Zealand wing tip with blue sky behind

It was our first trip out of Tasmania in more than two and a half years, and I reckon it’s fair to say we were all a little rusty. 

DorkySon was now so tall, and so out of practice at air travel, that the simple act of standing up from his seat caused him to bang his head on the buttons above and accidentally call the flight crew. DorkyDad gave an Auckland taxi driver the tip of a lifetime when he glanced over and read the frequency of the radio station we were listening to rather than the metered fare. And I packed a comprehensive first aid kit that contained absolutely everything except the one thing we actually needed. 

However, as international travel goes, it couldn’t really have been more convenient. A direct flight from Hobart to Auckland. One night in Auckland. A quick flight down to Wellington for five nights there. One more night in Auckland on the return leg, and then back across the Tasman for home. Short flights and a time difference of only two hours meant that for once, jet lag wasn’t an issue. 

We were there to see dear friends – a couple who have known DorkyDad since his high school and college days. We saw one of them six years ago – on our chaotic trip to South Carolina that coincided with Hurricane Matthew. But it had been nine years since we had seen the other – when DorkySon was just four. They live in the US, but were over visiting family in Windy Welly, and it made sense for us to hop over at the same time. A New Zealand trip is so much quicker, easier and more affordable than that long, long flight to the East Coast.  Continue reading

The gall of it!

Remember when this blog used to be about fun stuff? Travel. Photography. Parenting a toddler. The occasional political rant. 

Yeah, me too. Recently it seems to have turned into a catalogue of our various medical ailments instead. And we’re stuck on the letter C. Cancer, covid, canine total hip replacement…

The latest addition to the list is cholecystectomy. That’s the fancy and unpronounceable word that means having your gallbladder removed. I was relieved when even the nurses stumbled over it, and after eavesdropping on their chatter I learned that they abbreviate it to LapChol – or laparoscopic cholecystectomy. 

I also learned that they don’t think it should be done as day surgery, because even done as keyhole it can feel pretty rough afterwards. And I learned what they think of some of the surgeons. And I learned about the covid outbreak on the floor below. But those are all other stories, not for today.   Continue reading