Three nights away and I feel a different person. Celebrating my aunt’s 90th birthday was a treat. She is the last of my mother’s sisters. Mary holds herself so straight; always dressing in such a dignified manner, she’s an inspiration. Her health hasn’t always been good, and yet her complaints are kept to herself. I wonder to myself, will I be as stoic?
My aunt’s cousin, Jane, (80, previous winner of the Australian Seniors’ Golf Championship), took us for some wonderful drives. On arrival we had afternoon tea at the House of Anvers, a boutique chocolate factory/ restaurant at Latrobe.
Lunch on the birthday was at La Mar at Turners Beach. Totally delicious fare of fish and chips, cooked just right.
Up behind Devonport there are places called No Where Else and Paradise. Places such as these had their signs removed during the war to confuse the enemy, in case they were invaded. I’m sure with the signs any enemy would have been none the wiser! The Forth Valley is mostly farming, with such vegetables as: beans, broccoli, onions, leeks celery, swedes, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and pumpkin.
B&Bs are scattered, this taken out of the moving car, shows a sign for one of these where there is a famous French chef. They grow their own produce and the food is exquisite.
Tasmania is the only Southern Hemisphere location where poppies are grown for the production of morphine, codeine and thebaine. Victoria has been threatening to start competing in this area, but Tasmanians are hoping to retain their monopoly.
Of course the conversation always wanders down memory lane, and my aunt’s long- term memory is in full swing.
Deloraine was where we met up with my mother’s only brother, Henry, (92) and his wife Anne. Eating out, my aunts, cousin and uncle are recognized wherever we go. Tasmania is such a friendly island with so many links.
Afterwards we went into the rural countryside behind Deloraine. (In the middle of no –where, where the search for the Tasmanian tiger still goes on). Here, there is now a place called 41degrees South where they farm salmon and grow ginseng, producing gourmet products with free tastings. Returning to the Highway we went to a place called the Creamery where they make ices of every description, dairy free! They were like the Italian gelati with a wide range of flavours. There too, of course, someone knew someone, and more discussions ensued in the Tasmanian way.
The rows of poplar trees were all golden and glowed in the sunshine with the blue of the mountain as a backdrop.
We didn’t stop at the cheese factory this time. The whole of Tasmania is catering to tourists and niche industries have struck up all over the island. It is certainly a place I’d recommend for a holiday, no matter what your interests are. Many artists and writers have settled in Tasmania as it retains a fresh and unspoilt feel.