Settling

A collage of three photos showing Hobart trees in Autumn.

The last ten days have probably been some of the most ‘normal’ since Tasmania’s COVID19 lockdown began. It feels like we are truly settling into our new routines, and there are far fewer of the ‘fight’ days that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

The last weekend of April was lovely. The Saturday was my birthday, and we abandoned our usual amble along the beach in favour of a walk into the city. We made our way through Battery Point, admiring the autumn colours and keeping an eye out for teddy bears in windows, before wandering slowly along the waterfront. Part of Castray Esplanade has been closed off to be used as a drive-through testing centre, and we saw one car go through as we passed. We kept our fingers crossed that whoever it was would get good news the following day. Continue reading

Rhythms

A view of the River Derwent taken from Blinking Billy Point in Hobart, Tasmania

How’s everyone going out there? You doing okay?

Here in Hobart, we have just reached the end of Week Three at home. There are days when it feels like we have really hit our stride and settled into this new rhythm… and then there are those other days, where every minute feels like a fight.

In one of his recent posts on the MONA blog, David Walsh wrote: “I was happy to stay at home, until I had no choice but to stay at home.”

This resonates so much.

In truth, our lockdown life doesn’t look hugely different to how we normally live. DorkyDad and I both work from home all year round. DorkySon would be on his Easter holidays just now anyway. None of us are big socialisers. But the removal of choice has been an adjustment, as has the unending monotony of the days. It leaves a lot of time for overthinking.

We remain deeply grateful for all our privileges – indoor space, outdoor space, a full pantry and, of course, our health – but even with those advantages and an awareness of how lucky we are, we’ve been unable to escape the constant feeling of impending doom, the sense that the world is collectively holding its breath and waiting for the indefinable moment when things will start to turn. Continue reading

DorkySon Turns 11

a young boy seen from behind walking through some trees near Nutgrove Beach in Hobart

Last year when I started scribbling down notes for DorkySon’s birthday blog post, I thought it would be the trickiest one I would ever have to write. We had just spent a week in Auckland for his 10th birthday, and I was struggling to work out how I could fit in all the chat about our trip with my usual reflections on the year that had just ended. There was just too much to say.

Ha.

How I wish that the hardest thing about this year’s blog post was how to fit birthday cake, a business class upgrade, and a busy weekend in another city into 1200 words.

Instead, I’m wondering how to write about turning 11 in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

* Continue reading

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 trip from Hobart onboard wooden ship SV Rhona H

The 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 H 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