Snow in Tasmania is common in the highlands, but not everywhere. I know you Canadians will laugh, but we get such joy from seeing snow which doesn’t happen often. These photos were taken at my cousin Harry’s farm, ‘Cheverton,’ at Deloraine.
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.
Having just returned from Tasmania and enjoyed three beautifully sunny days, I thought I’d share some of the murals we saw in Sheffield. As I wasn’t driving I didn’t like to ask for more stops, so some of the murals are out of focus, catching them on the way passed. This small town is situated at the foot of Mt. Roland and is very much a country town. There is a wonderful general store, and if Christopher had been with me, we would have spent a lot of time browsing there.
Murals abound, some naive and others more professional, but all done with much love.I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of the pride this delightful country town has in its murals.
Daily post: Tourist Trap: What’s your dream tourist destination, either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you? Thanks for the great idea mehakzaid.
Holidays are not on our agenda at present. My memories of holidays past suffice. Flinders Island we returned to twice because it was so idyllic.
Flinders Island is off the North Eastern coast of Tasmania. The population is small, mostly fishermen and farmers. There are contrasting geographical features with the mountains towering above farmlands but all surrounded by little coves and beaches. On the Eastern side the waves pound in and on the Western side the tea trees and eucalypts shade deserted beaches with flat orange rocks and clean sand full of tiny shells. The clear turquoise waters invite one to swim.
Our first holiday we were there to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. Four of our five children came to join us for three nights. The eldest was overseas. We had rented a cottage in Whitemark, which two of the children shared with us. The other two stayed at the one hotel nearby, where we ate each night. We hired two old cars while the children were with us. We stayed on longer. Locking up was not necessary, as honesty is just part of the culture.
One of the tourist attractions is the Killiecrankie diamond that can be found, or bought. Of course, we went up to the north of the island to try our luck. The stones look just like clear stones, but when cut are a colourless topaz, which is a hard stone, and therefore called the Killiecrankie diamond, that is unique to the area.
The children swam and climbed the mountain. Our favourite place to swim and have BBQs was Trousers Point, but when the kids left we spent many hours going from one deserted spot to another. We always made sure we had a beach to ourselves. Each day we would visit the bakery and buy fresh rolls and what ever was needed for our picnic lunches. Christopher and I painted on the beach.
Stories in the evening at the pub were told, such as: when a new policeman came to the island, he set up a breathalyzer for those leaving the hotel on his first Friday night. The next day he went to get into his car and there on the seat sat a live tiger snake. He soon learnt to fit in, and drink with the locals and not bother them. It was either that or leave the island.
Cape Barren geese, or Mutton birds as they are known locally, inhabit the islands around this area. The Aborigines traditionally harvested them and smoke them for eating for the mainland of Tasmania. These birds fly all the way to Canada once a year for their annual pilgrimage. They are beautiful large birds.
So if you are feeling like a restful holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, this is the perfect spot. The cottage where we stayed has all modern conveniences, though tank water is treated with consideration. Games and books are provided, as luggage is restricted to 15 Kg. on the small 8-seater plane that leaves from Victoria or Tasmania. A television is provided, though being away from everything, it is not really necessary.
Note: an apology for the size of Christopher’s paintings, that I took off the internet.
Blogging has brought about a strange coincidence. Yesterday, fellow blogger, MTMcGuire, mtmcguire.co.uk/x
firstname.lastname@example.org commented from the UK after my post about returning to Devonport, Tasmania. He knew someone from Devonport in his writer’s group. I suggested it might well be a relative of mine, as everyone knows how inbred Tasmanians are.
MTM wrote back last night with the name of his friend. I couldn’t believe it. Rosemary grew up living next door to our family. Well, their lane way was, and the house was over the back fence. I have written about Rosemary’s family in ‘Enduring Threads’, though, I do have to go through it before I can print it here. Chris suggests a few name changes.
MTM, thank you for linking more threads. Life is a complex business and it’s wonderful when a thread can be teased out and joined again with the past.
Here is one story as I promised you, from Tasmania, where my naughty youngest brother met up with me (with his patient wife). My version won’t be as funny as hearing his laconic voice telling the story; but picture Angus, my seafaring brother, fashionably unshaven with beard going grey and a face that lights up with a large mischievous grin.
Angus uses a taxi service to take him from the ship to home and back, so he gets to know the taxi drivers, who also like to tell a good yarn:
Four prostitutes on their night off needed a taxi home.
‘Drop me off here,’ says Fifi.
‘Drop me here,’ says Amber,
‘Drop me here, Shelley will pay, we take it in turns,’ says Crystal.
Finally Shelley gives directions as to her stop. When she arrives, she opens the door and rushes out of the cab with out paying. She’s struggling to run, as her skin-tight dress is impeding her progress. In her haste she falls.
The taxi driver says, ‘that’ll take the bark off ‘er.’ He backs the taxi back to catch her up. All he sees is her ripping the dress off which reveals her completely naked. ‘There she is, you could see what she’d had for breakfast!’ She’s off like a shot, disappearing leaving me empty handed. ‘All I’m left with is an indelible image of those ripe cherries tattooed on her boobs.’
My father built our gramophone and the blackwood piece of furniture that surrounded it. The fine speakers were large and positioned high up in an alcove, above cupboards, either side of the fireplace. Father adored loud music, Beethoven particularly. He encouraged my brothers and me to sit listening to Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ and tell him what we visualised. Those memories are fragrant. ‘Peter and the Wolf’ with the musical accompaniment filled many a winter’s day. We were lucky to have someone who could share his deep love of music.
When alone with the music my favourites were Chopin’s ‘Les Sylphides’ ballet and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’; where I’d swan around dancing my heart out, not being allowed dancing lessons at that age.
The fireplace took the place of a television. Living in Tasmania, the fire was lit for a good part of the year. The house itself was built by my grandfather for his bride back in 1914; given to my parents as a wedding present in 1942.
Christopher, my now husband, introduced me to the word ‘pop music’ when I was about ten. It wasn’t until I went to boarding school at eleven that I began to listen to pop music. There was just one wireless in the common room and everyone enjoyed top of the pops. In the evenings at school before prep, (homework), one of the really talented girls used to play pop tunes for us to dance to. I hated being away at school, but I do remember the music with much nostalgia.
Later when my eldest brother was at university and I was at Art School, we’d go to concerts together, classical and popular. One memorable night, Segovia, a famous classical guitarist, gave thirteen encores!
Christopher has a photographic memory when it comes to music. He has a fantastic collection and continues to educate me. The thump, thump of the popular music doesn’t interest us anymore. It is rather soporific when the neighbours have their occasional parties, like a soft heart beat, now I’m getting deaf.