Eight Days in Hawaii

Hawaii - The Aloha State - licence plate

Hawaii is one of those places that even as a child I harboured dreams of visiting one day. I didn’t know much more about it than I’d read in my school encyclopedia – I’m not even sure that I realised it’s a US state, or that it consists of many islands, not just one – but I imagined it as a place where the sun was always shining, the beaches were lined with palm trees, and every drink came with a cocktail umbrella.

When a wedding invite landed in our mailbox last year – destination Kaua’i – we could not have been more thrilled. Kaua’i is Hawaii’s fourth largest island. It’s also the oldest and the most northern, and is often called the Garden Island because it’s so green. The striking landscapes have led to dozens of movies being filmed on the island, including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong and South Pacific.

Because we spend so many of our holidays visiting family and friends, it’s rare for us to travel somewhere new. But even DorkyDad had never been to the Aloha State: it was one of just two US states (the other being Alaska) that he’d never had reason to visit. We’ve spent the last six months feeling very excited about this trip. Continue reading

2020: Beginnings and Endings

debby-hudson-FnlZzLe6vSE-unsplash

It took its time coming this year, but summer is finally, officially here.

There have been beach walks and paddles in the river, there have been windows flung open to let in the breeze, and there have been gin and tonics in the garden. What a relief. When we reached mid-December and still had our cosy jackets hanging in the hallway we began to think it might never happen.

There was the usual rush to the end of the school term – excursions, teacher gifts, final assemblies and the like. But it only took a week or two of summer holidays before things started to feel like they were calming down: DorkySon’s voice has returned to a reasonable volume, rather than the shouty level he always comes home from school with; his backpack has been emptied of detritus, ready to be repurposed as a travel bag when we head to a family wedding later this month; and all the old uniforms have been swapped for new, pushed to the back of the wardrobe and replaced for now by board shorts and rashies. Continue reading

Late Spring in Tasmania

Spring blossom in Tasmania

Last weekend was Hobart Show Day, which as every Tasmanian will tell you means that it should now be safe to plant your tomatoes outside without fear of frost.

Should being the operative word. Spring weather is notoriously unpredictable and this year has been no exception. Last week there was snow falling at Cradle Mountain. Yesterday, a combination of high temperatures and strong winds led to several bush fires flaring up around the state. By mid-afternoon, Hobart was shrouded in a thick blanket of smoke.

It feels awfully early for that. Continue reading

A Winter Whinge

I’ve been in a rut this week.

After the thrilling burst of productivity that always follows the school holidays – a fantastic two weeks when I took great joy each day in ticking off every item on my task list – things seem to have ground to a halt.

It could be the weather. Lord, this winter feels like it’s never going to end. I wrote a post in early June about how charmed I was by the snow on kunanyi. Eight weeks on, the novelty has worn off.

The season isn’t lasting any longer than normal – not really – but the cold this year has been intense, relentless. It hasn’t been the beautiful crisp cold accompanied by bright sunshine that tempts you out of the house. It’s been mean, damp cold that creeps right into your bone marrow and makes it hard to crawl out of bed in the mornings. Continue reading

Winter comes to nipaluna

a forest path during autumn in Hobart Tasmania

We’ve just had the first weekend of winter here, and it was a lovely one. Lunch at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed on Saturday, followed by a few hours picking up leaves in the garden. It was still warm enough in the late afternoon that I sat outside with a book and a cuppa to watch as the sun went down.

Sunday was a bit less lovely – heavy rain and a chill in the air – so we didn’t venture very far. The fire was lit by lunchtime, and DorkySon snuggled down into his beanbag while DorkyDad pottered around the kitchen making a big pot of chilli.

Me and winter are not natural friends. Thirty years in Scotland provided enough cold days to last a lifetime, so it’s always very grudgingly that I pack away the sandals and summer dresses. But Tassie does know how to do a winter well. Puff jackets and Ugg boots are now in regular use, the woollen blankets are back on the bed, and even I can’t help but feel charmed by the sight of snow on kunanyi. Continue reading