Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tasmanian slideshow: 19 photos from last week, not really in order

 We went back to north west Tasmania, to see our daughter again. We had a wonderful time, saw a few more places and fell more in love with the place. So clean, such beautiful air, rolling countryside!
I would love to spend about three weeks driving around the whole island.....maybe next year......

 The first night we stayed at the Mantra Charles in Launceston. It was a really good hotel, beautiful Art Deco ex-hospital - very comfortable. J had an identical inter-connecting room.
 We had burgers at Burgers got soul in the same street, a short walk away, passing lovely old houses as we went.
 Next day we drove to S and her partner's house. She had Spring decorations out!
 We quickly drove over to the Wynyard Sunday foreshore market, which has wonderful stalls to pick through: here are photos of a couple of stalls. ( I bought an old CWA cookbook and a rose tin and some blackberry jam). Wanted to buy many, many more things.......

 At Burnie we stayed at a hotel on the beach, near the port. A few times a day a freight train shunted past between the road and beach! It was pretty exciting.
 We drove to the Vale of Belvoir and Cradle Mountain. It snowed and was freezing; we weren't dressed warmly enough so we took the shuttle bus up to the Lake but next time we'll do some walks.
It was so beautiful, it was haunting. Ancient and empty and mysterious. Terrible photos because of the cold, whipping wind and snow!

 Despite the grey skies here, in Burnie it was mostly sunny. The wind was not warm, though!
 J at the pub in Launceston, watching a bit of football. I had some Tasmanian stout (Rabbit???) which was delicious.
 Gothic building seen out of the Launceston hotel window.
 We went to Penguin, a little seaside town. Very Seachange.
 I was surprised by how hilly Launceston was, also how beautiful the buildings were, many of them very old. What a lovely place.
 Of course we went to the Art Gallery. Beautiful Colonial pictures worth seeing if you are art fiends.

We have fallen in love with Tasmania and would happily go back tomorrow!

Friday, September 18, 2015

In which I read Louis de Bernieres and do loads of gardening

Last weekend saw us gardening up a storm in the beautiful weather that lasted for just a few days. I started by myself on Friday and B and I continued on together for quite a large part of the weekend. I simply could not bear to be inside after the long cold winter - which seems to be back, by the way, but we did have lovely days here for a little while.

 Anyway, there was weeding, pruning, trimming and pulling out a few failures or moving them to try a better position. I pulled out a Euryops yellow daisy that looked dirty and diseased; a canna lily that hadn't flowered in 3 years and dug up a few stringy non flowering old bulbs. There are two small weedy plumbagos to find a new spot for, this is a job for today if I can be bothered.
 I was itching to spend the rest of a voucher work had given me when I left, $50 remaining on a Bunnings voucher. I'd spent the other $50 buying a mirror and fixings for the upstairs bathroom and then on Sunday I bought a beautiful sasanqua camellia ("Plantation Pink") and a lime tree. I didn't think we could fit another tree in but we always manage it somehow, somewhere!

Here are a few back garden photos. The warm days, then the rain  made all the new growth pop out. I love that fresh light green everywhere.

Nearly all these photos are of the bottom level of the back garden. There are fruit trees, maples, lots of clivias, agapanthus and tough plants like red hot pokers, sedums, a purple convolvulus and a few other things that hardly ever get watered. It's shady and cool and a nice area to lie on a banana lounge on a hot day. God, I love my garden, I must stop boring on about it.

In other news I read a really wonderful and sad book The dust that falls from dreams, by Louis de Bernieres. It's about three neighbouring families in England, with four girls and seven boys between them - and five of the boys got off to the trenches or air force in France during World War One. Of course there is tragedy, as well as romance, humour and a fascinating portrait of upper middle class life at the time. The descriptions of the boys' lives in the trenches are absolutely horrific and harrowing but also necessary and important. I loved so many of the characters, including the army chaplain who loses his faith but remains in the church; the reluctant spiritualist who is inundated with desperate relatives wanting to talk to their dead sons and brothers, and the girls' Scottish father who makes and loses his money yearly but is incredibly kind and loving. I really adored this book and thoroughly recommend it.

Yesterday my friend J booked tickets at the Wheeler Centre for us to go and listen to a lunchtime talk by film maker Paul Cox and musician Paulie Stewart, who were talking about their liver transplants, and about the feature film Cox made based on his experience. It is called Forces of Destiny and features David Wenham. I found the session moving, funny and inspirational and lots of of the things they said resonated with me. They are both natural storytellers and spoke so honestly and from the heart - it was really marvellous. We had lunch beforehand at mr tulk the cafe tucked into the library on the ground floor. It really felt like something out of an E.M. Forster novel: taking the train into "town" to listen to a lecture at a library and have lunch. I suppose we should have had a cup of tea afterwards at a tearoom somewhere, but instead I just rattled home on the train and had little afternoon nap.