2020: Beginnings and Endings

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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

A day onboard SV Rhona H

view from SV Rhona H, old wooden tall ship in Hobart Tasmania

One of the wonderful boat trips you can take from Hobart is onboard the SV Rhona H. Owned and operated by the not-for-profit organisation Heritage Sailing Tasmania, SV Rhona H is the oldest and smallest of the tall ships that call Hobart home.

Built in 1942 as a fishing boat, first for recreational fishing and then for commercial cray and abalone fishing, the beautiful Huon Pine and Celery Top vessel was converted for sail training and chartering in 1988.

Julie Porter and Charles Burns, the current owners, purchased SV Rhona in 2014, and established the not-for-profit entity that focuses on using the ship for traditional sailing, ocean conservation, and mental health and wellbeing.

It is through ocean conservation that we first encountered Julie and Charles. Like DorkySon, they are big supporters of Sea Shepherd, and we have often noticed SV Rhona H sailing down the Derwent with the Sea Shepherd flag flying proudly from her mast.

Short cruises onboard the ship are a popular choice with visitors to Hobart. There are two- and three-hour trips available, as well as a 90 minute twilight cruise in summer.

However, when we boarded the ship last Sunday morning, it was for a spectacular full day cruise from Hobart all the way down to Bruny Island Quarantine Station. 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