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

Winter Number Four

Willie Smith's Apple Shed enamel cups

We are coming towards the end of our fourth Tasmanian winter.

I don’t want to tempt the weather gods. Perhaps just by writing this I’ll prompt a flurry of sea level snowfall, but so far it has been the easiest winter we’ve spent here. Chilly, for sure, but mostly dry with bright blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

We have learned from experience and accepted the limits of this old brick house to keep out the cold. We’ve stopped being mean with the firewood, and instead light the stove almost every day. Before he goes to bed each night, DorkySon has taken to placing his cheek on the wall upstairs where the chimney warms it. He smiles at me.

Good old fire,” he says. Continue reading

DARK MOFO and the Winter Solstice

DARK MOFO Hobart 2014

What a lovely little weekend that was.

It was the winter solstice here on Saturday. The shortest day of the year was a sunny one, filled from dusk until dawn with light and brightness.

DorkyDad and I went out to the Winter Feast on Saturday night – a loud and lively celebration of local food. It was the only DARK MOFO event we went to together. DorkyDad had been to listen to poetry and music at the Odeon Theatre last week, and DorkySon and I spent a merry afternoon with our mops at Yin Xiuzhen’s ice sculpture, but Saturday night was special.

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Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter

autumn in Tasmania

Tomorrow – the first day of June – is the official start of winter in Tasmania. I like the way the seasons are marked so precisely into three month chunks here.

Autumn has been glorious. The sunsets over the last few weeks have taken our breath away, and the daylight hours have had a real crispness to them. Most of the rain has come at night. On the few overcast days we’ve had, the river has looked all the lovelier, infused with a glittering silver light. The mist here, when it swirls like magic down the Derwent, is called Bridgewater Jerry. It creeps through the pillars of the Tasman Bridge, stealing it from sight for an hour or two, but it’s nothing like Edinburgh where the haar descends for days and chills you right down to the marrow.

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