What I learned this week

30 days of yoga is going well. I’m now 14 days into the challenge and I haven’t missed a day so far. I’ve had to incorporate my back exercises into my practice, because whatever I did to my back has either stirred up my old injury or resulted in a new one, and it keeps flaring up again.

I’m being Very Careful, especially with the back bends, and I haven’t been game to try any twists. My normal class starts up again this week so I’m looking forward to seeing if it will be easier to get back into it after almost three weeks away than it was last time when I didn’t do anything during the holidays.

Now onto what I learned this week.

1. In my drawing lessons, I’ve been learning about two-point perspective. This was fun. Lots of straight lines here!

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2. I read the book The Road to Lower Crackpot by Brian Inder, the Laird of Lower Crackpot. It’s a fascinating read. In the book, Mr Inder says,

“The name Crackpot comes from a real village in Swaledale, Yorkshire. It means ‘a low place where crows gather’. I added ‘Lower’ because we are in the southern hemisphere’.

 

This interested me because my mother’s family emblem is the crow. I asked her if any of her ancestors came from Swaledale, but she doesn’t believe that they did.

3. If you see something in a shop you want, buy it when you see it. It might not be there when you go back to get it.

In the same vein, take photos when you have the chance, because you might not go back that way again. We went to Freycinet National Park on the weekend. I took lots of photos.

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Week in Review: 19-25 January 2014

Monday was the last day of our holiday. We took a short walk through the forest at the back of the hotel before we left.

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

Rainforest walk near the hotel

The rest of the day we spent driving home and feeling a bit frustrated that we were stuck in the car on the day with the best weather of the whole trip!

Not to worry, we’d had a great time, and we got views like this on the way to Mole Creek, where we stopped for coffee.

View on the way home

View on the way home

I had a lovely day with Juniordwarf on Tuesday. Did I mention he’s now into the movie Coraline, and he likes to act it out? I was Coraline and he was Mother. I don’t know any of the lines, so it went like this:

He (or a teddy) says a line.

He says: ‘you say [whatever the line is]’

I say [whatever the line is].

He tells me what action to do.

Repeat for the entire movie.

I went back to work on Wednesday for a break.

I also found a strawberry in my strawberry patch. (‘Patch’ might be an exaggeration.) I got to it before the birds did. One strawberry. I’m an amazing gardener.

Gardening success!

Gardening success!

On Friday we went to Two Metre Tall Farm Bar for dinner. It was fun – there was a big group of fruit pickers there, and we were entertained by some French musicians from the group Chalouche. Somehow Juniordwarf ended up in the middle of the people who were dancing. He had a fantastic time.

Farm Bar

Farm Bar

My daily step goal (in preparation for the Care Walk in her Shoes challenge) is 13,000 on the way to 20,000. I achieved this on only 3 days this week, but my total step count over the week was 96,731. That means on average, I did about 13,800 steps each day, so over the week I met the goal.

I didn’t do less than 10,000 on any day, which I’ve decided will be my absolute minimum for any one day. So I think I can call this week a success.

I put a pedometer on Juniordwarf one day to see how much activity he actually does. He bounces around a lot, so I imagined that even if he doesn’t do any actual exercise, he would still be getting in a lot of movement.

I was right.

By the time he’d gone to bed, he’d done 10,814 steps just by being himself. At the same time I’d done 11,458 steps, which included an hour walk in the morning.

Pedometer experiment

Pedometer experiment

This says to me that I probably need to increase my activity level during the day. Something to think about.

Trip Day 3 (Part 2): Dove Lake

So we made it to Dove Lake, along with every other tourist in the park and, even though it was windy, we decided we’d attempt the Dove Lake Circuit.

Juniordwarf near Dove Lake

Juniordwarf near Dove Lake

It’s recommended that you do the circuit clockwise. Unlike other walks we’ve done recently, we saw this sign so decided to do it as recommended. I’m not really sure why they recommend this, but that’s the way we went.

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake from the car park

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake from the car park

Off we go!

Off we go!

The first stop on the way round is called Glacier Rock, to the east.

Apparently it is evidence of glacier action in the region during the last Ice Age. It’s a big rock above Dove Lake that you can step up and out onto to get a nice view of Cradle Mountain. If you dare.

Glacier Rock - if you dare

Glacier Rock – if you dare

It’s not a pleasant place to be in gusty winds and I was terrified. I went as far onto the rock as I dared (not very far), took my photo and sat down because I was terrified of being blown off. I wasn’t prepared to die for a better angle. (Did I mention I’m not good with heights?) Then I gradually edged my way off the rock and left it to the people who were less worried and stayed on there for ages taking selfies.

From the top of Glacier Rock

From the top of Glacier Rock

We were glad to be off it (I can’t speak for the others. I was mighty relieved to be off it) and back on the walking track. Even though it was windy, we were protected from that for most of the walk, so it wasn’t as unpleasant as it seemed like it might have been. It was a lovely walk.

The outward leg of the walk was mostly boardwalk. It wasn’t a particularly challenging walk, so Juniordwarf had no trouble on the walk, and we saw kids even younger than him out there too.

Me and Juniordwarf

Me and Juniordwarf

I loved watching our view of Cradle Mountain change as we approached it. It dipped in and out of cloud, and as we got closer some of its features became more obvious.

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain

As we were walking we saw some white streaks on the rocks on the mountain on the other side of the lake. I thought they might be waterfalls, but they were too far away to be sure. As we got closer we started to hear the water and could see it moving, so I knew I’d been right. From a distance they could have just been streaky white rocks!

Waterfalls or white rock streaks?

Waterfalls or white rock streaks?

Correct. Waterfall.

Correct. Waterfall.

Rounding the top end of the lake you get as close as you’re going to get to Cradle Mountain on this particular track. It looks quite different from this angle.

Nearing Cradle Mountain

Nearing Cradle Mountain

Looking back at Dove Lake

Looking back at Dove Lake

Looking back at the board walk

Looking back at the board walk

At the top of the circuit

At the top of the circuit

Stunning rock formations

Stunning rock formations

A different perspective of Cradle Mountain

A different perspective of Cradle Mountain

The return track is less consistent than the outgoing track and is a bit more hilly. A lot of the track is gravel, and because of the amount of water on the ground, Slabs remarked that it felt a bit like walking in a creek bed. It was a bit tricky to negotiate in places.

We passed through the beautiful Ballroom Forest, which is a cool-temperate rainforest with predominantly Myrtle Beech trees.

Ballroom Forest

Ballroom Forest

We could see Horrible Glacier Rock over on the other side of the lake.

Glacier Rock from a distance

Glacier Rock from a distance

Glacier Rock

Glacier Rock

The views from this side of Dove Lake are possibly the most commonly photographed.

Photobombing bird

Photobombing bird

Towards the end of the track you get to the Boat Shed, which was built in 1940. It’s no longer used, but it’s a particularly popular photo spot. In fact it’s compulsory to take a photo of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake with the Boat Shed in the foreground. They check your camera on the way out, and if you haven’t taken a photo of that scene, you have to go back and do it*.

Boat House and obscured mountain

Boat House and obscured mountain

And that was the end of the walk. We arrived back in the car park, signed off our walk (you’re supposed to register every walk you do before you go) and waited for the bus to take us back to the Visitor Centre. We worked out that the whole circuit had taken about 2 hours 15 minutes, which we thought was good going with a little person who hasn’t done a lot of this type of walking.

We enjoyed a well-deserved refreshment at the bar before dinner, and Juniordwarf played (and won) his first 8-Ball game.

And with that, our holiday was over. We headed back home the next day, which (of course) was the most beautiful warm and sunny day.

*Might not actually be true.

Trip Day 3 (Part 1): Cradle Mountain

This morning the weather looked better, but that was just an illusion, and by the time we’d had breakfast, it was looking pretty ordinary.

Juniordwarf was thrilled with the all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast. He said to Slabs, ‘you didn’t tell me about this!’ and Slabs had replied that he’d wanted to surprise him (when he’d actually forgotten and hadn’t thought too much of it – just goes to show how things that we don’t think are a big deal are huge and exciting to little people, who have much less life experience. It was great to see how excited he was over breakfast).

It was bitterly windy, and the rain came and went (mostly went, which was a relief, unlike yesterday), and we weren’t sure whether to attempt a big walk first or some of the smaller ones. We decided to do the smaller walks first and hope the weather improved after lunch.

Our first stop was the Interpretation Centre again, where we did the Enchanted Walk, which is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

The walk is described as ‘[taking] you through buttongrass moorland before entering cool temperate rainforest along the edges of Pencil Pine Creek.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

‘Along the track are three interpretive tunnels that kids and kids at heart will find fun to crawl through!’ (Juniordwarf did. We found it a bit difficult.) There were wombat burrows on the walk, but I hadn’t read that bit of the description and didn’t look out for them, and it was too late in the morning for the wombats to be about anyway.

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

Enchanted Walk

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

At the end of this walk, we saw a sign pointing to the King Billy Circuit, so we decided to do that walk as well. This was another short walk through some forests that included old specimens of King Billy Pine.

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

King Billy Circuit

Coming out of the King Billy Circuit

Coming out of the King Billy Circuit

The King Billy pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) is thought to derive its common name from the Tasmanian Aborigine William Lanney, who was referred to as ‘King Billy’. The tree reaches a height of 40 metres and may reach ages in excess of 1200 years. It’s only found in highland rainforest regions above 600 m.

After that we went back to the Visitor Centre and decided it was time to ditch the car and take the shuttle bus further into the park. We picked up some sandwiches from the café and hopped onto the bus. We got off at the third stop, Ronny Creek, so we could do the Weindorfers Forest Walk. To get there, we had to get to Waldheim Chalet, which meant we started off on the Overland Track before turning right and heading up the hill to find the chalet.

Start of the Overland Track

Start of the Overland Track

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The view from the top of the hill

 

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The view from the top of the hill

The original chalet was built in 1912 by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer. Gustav was one of the people responsible for having the Cradle Mountain area protected as a reserve and sanctuary (now National Park). The chalet has been rebuilt and it now tells the story of Kate and Gustav and their work in the area.

Waldheim Chalet

Waldheim Chalet

The forest walk runs just behind the chalet and took about 20 minutes. We saw lots more King Billy Pines, and some fagus.

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Then it was decision time. Juniordwarf didn’t want to do a 2 hour walk around Dove Lake. We did.

We debated it while we were having lunch in the day hut, and convinced Juniordwarf that we didn’t come all this way to sit around in the hotel, and that the whole point of coming here was to go walking. We were only staying in the hotel, we said in true parent style, because we couldn’t drive to Cradle Mountain, do all the walks we wanted to and drive home the same day. An incidental benefit, if you like. He couldn’t argue with that. (Parents: 1, Child: 0.)

The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet

The Day Hut near Waldheim Chalet

Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.

Bird hanging around in vain for some lunch.

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Beautiful view of the whole valley

Beautiful view of the whole valley

We made our way back down the road to the bus stop, and watched a group of walkers getting last minute instructions before setting off on the Overland Track. I’m not sure that I’d ever be able to do that walk, but I think it would be a pretty amazing walk to do.

We caught the next bus through to Dove Lake (they run every 10 minutes or so) and began the 6 km circuit of the lake.

Holiday Day 2 (Part 2): Cradle Mountain

If you know anything about Tasmania, you’ll probably have heard of Cradle Mountain.  It’s one of our most well-known landmarks and is a hugely popular area for visitors.

I’d not been there since I was in high school (so you know, about 12 years ago), when our family spent a weekend there. We stayed at what was then the Pencil Pine Lodge, now Cradle Mountain Lodge. I couldn’t remember much about it apart from some old pictures of Lil Sis and I looking at some wallabies.

This was our destination for the rest of the trip. We stayed at the Cradle Mountain Hotel, which is located outside the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

When we arrived mid-afternoon, it was raining and very windy, so we weren’t really enthusiastic about heading out to do anything. Originally we’d thought we’d do two or three shorter walks in the afternoon, and then aim for one or more of the longer walks the next day. (There are heaps of walks in the National Park, ranging from 10-20 minute walks that almost anyone could do, to the longer overnight walks, including the famous Overland Track, a 6 day hike from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.)

But the weather wasn’t exactly favourable (I’m not a fan of wind or regular downpours) and we were tired, so we drove the couple of kilometres down the road to the Visitor Centre to see what they recommended.

There are several ways to access the park. You can drive your car in, but access is limited and controlled by a boom gate, so there can be a wait if you want to do that. There is no access for campers and caravans.

You can drive to the Interpretation Centre, which is just after the park boundary. There are several short walks that leave from there, as well as the Cradle Valley Boardwalk that goes from the Interpretation Centre to Dove Lake, about 8 km. It’s also the Ranger Station and has a lot of information about the park.

Rather than drive your own car, you can catch a shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to one of four stops within the park. This is the recommended way to access the park, because of the narrow winding road and the associated safety and insurance issues. It’s not a road either of us really wanted to drive on, so we decided the shuttle bus was going to be the best option for the next day.

After speaking to the staff at the Visitor Centre, we decided to drive down to the Interpretation Centre, have a look around and do one of the shortest, easiest walks in the park, the Pencil Pine Falls walk. It’s a 10-minute (500 metre), accessible circuit through a pencil pine rainforest, past the Pencil Pine Falls.

Pencil Pines Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pines (Athrotaxis cupressoides), are trees that grow sub-alpine areas above 800 metres, and can live for longer than 1200 years.

10 minutes was quite doable for us. We got a bit wet, the camera got a bit wet, but we saw an amazing waterfall and it was a lovely little walk as an introduction to the park.

Pencil Pines Falls

Pencil Pine Falls

Pencil Pines Falls

Pencil Pine Falls

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit

Pencil Pine Circuit and mood-enhancing rain drops on the lens

We decided to leave the rest of the walks for the next day, when the weather was predicted to be better, so we went back to the hotel and spotted some wildlife outside.

20150117-123 Echidna at our hotel

We had dinner at the Grey Gum restaurant at the hotel. The food was fantastic. (The poor old iPhone 4 doesn’t do a great job of food photos.)

Pork Belly entree

Pork Belly entree

Duck main that Juniordwarf chose

Duck main that Juniordwarf chose

Steak main

Steak main

We were all looking forward to the next day.

Holiday Day 2 (Part 1): Tasmazia

This morning we had breakfast in Sheffield before having a last look at the murals and heading for Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot, about 15 minutes away in the wonderfully named Promised Land.

On the way I insisted we stop to take photos of Mt Roland.

Mt Roland from the lookout at Sheffield

Mt Roland from the lookout at Sheffield

It’s a stunning mountain that I just love looking at. I really want to climb to the summit one day. I can remember staying near there, at Gowrie Park, as a child, and I remember climbing the mountain, but I can’t remember if we went to the top. It’s 1233 metres and the walk to the top is 4-6 hours return, so it’s quite possible that we did.

I wasn't sure which shot I liked better so I included one with the fence and one without

I wasn’t sure which shot I liked better so I included one with the fence and one without

With the fence

With the fence

Unfortunately it wasn’t a great day for photos, so I didn’t have a lot of luck, but I loved watching it change as the light changed, the clouds move and we drove along the road.

The road at one of our photo stops

The road at one of our photo stops

Close up of Mt Roland

Close up of Mt Roland

Finally it was time to say goodbye to the mountain and go to the place Juniordwarf had been excited about for the whole week. Slabs and I had been to Tasmazia years ago and loved it, so we were happy to have the chance to go back.

The Manifesto

The Manifesto

Pretending to post a letter at the Lower Crackpot Post Office

Pretending to post a letter at the Lower Crackpot Post Office

There’s 8 mazes in the complex, including the Great Maze, the replica Hampton Court Maze, the Hexagonal Maze and the Confusion Maze. The Great Maze contains a couple of other mazes: the Irish Maze, which we found, and the Cage Maze, which we didn’t.

The Great Maze

The Great Maze

The house that isn't there

The house that isn’t there

We did, however, find the 3 Bears’ Cottage in the centre, which is the goal of the maze.

3 Bears Cottage

3 Bears Cottage

We also found Cubby Town (including the Spook House), the Balance Maze and the Crackpot Correction Centre.

Cubby Town

Cubby Town

20150117-039 Cubby Town

20150117-034 Cubby Town

20150117-040 Bodgie Bros House

Bodgie Bros Builders

20150117-044 Spook House

Spook House: No cry baby people allowed

20150117-048 Balancing Maze

Balance Maze

20150117-045 Pot of gold

Once we’d found our way out of the Great Maze, we were in the wonderfully cracked world of the Village of Lower Crackpot. It’s a 1/5 scale model village, which even has its own state Government Department of Blah and Obfuscation.

The Village of Lower Crackpot

The Village of Lower Crackpot

20150117-051 Lower Crackpot

20150117-052 Lower Crackpot

20150117-053 Lower Crackpot

20150117-054 Lower Crackpot

20150117-055 Lower Crackpot

20150117-056 Lower Crackpot

Oops!

20150117-059 Lower Crackpot

20150117-065 Lower Crackpot

20150117-066 Lower Crackpot

Do I work here?

The residential area is called Upper Lower Crackpot and this has all the houses, the fairy princess castle and the Yellow Brick Road Maze.

20150117-060 Yellow Brick Maze

Neither Slabs nor Juniordwarf had any luck in unsheathing the Great Sword of Crackpot.

20150117-067 The Great Sword of Crackpot

20150117-068 The Great Sword of Crackpot

20150117-069 The Great Sword of Crackpot

We negotiated the Confusion Maze, the Hampton Court Maze and the Hexagon Maze. The Hampton Court Maze took us a long time, but we made it in the end.

Hampton Court Maze and Mt Roland - so I knew we weren't really going to get lost.

Hampton Court Maze and Mt Roland – so I knew we weren’t really going to get lost.

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Lower Crackpot on the left, Confusion Maze in the middle and Embassy Gardens on the right

The complex also has a very clever section called the Embassy Gardens, which wasn’t there when Slabs and I visited last time.

20150117-084 Embassy Gardens

Embassy Garden

It has embassy buildings from over 40 countries and even an intergalactic embassy.

Embassy of Great Britain

Embassy of Great Britain

Embassy of Iceland

Embassy of Iceland

Embassy of Scotland

Embassy of Scotland

Part of the Intergalactic Embassy

Part of the Intergalactic Embassy

Topiary with eyes! I like to call it "Other Topiary" (guess which movie Juniordwarf has been watching recently)

Topiary with eyes! I like to call it “Other Topiary” (guess which movie Juniordwarf has been watching recently)

There’s also a whistleblowers monument and a memorial to boat people lost at sea, so it’s also a place to reflect and contemplate.

Memorial for boat people

Memorial for boat people

We had lunch at the Pancake Parlour, Juniordwarf posted a postcard for real, and then we hit the road for our final destination: Cradle Mountain.

20150117-094 Lower Crackpot Post Office

On the way we passed this scene:

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Beautiful!

Holiday Day 1: Sheffield

It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to go away in the middle of January for a few days. Last year we went to Bruny Island, and this year we decided to take a trip to the north of the state. Our destination on the first day was Sheffield, the “Town of Murals”.

But we had a couple of essential stops on the way.

We had lunch at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe. It was cold and a bit windy, and the restaurant was packed, so we said we’d sit outside on the deck. It was way better than inside. It was quiet outside, and Juniordwarf could run around and play in the playhouse. After lunch we got some raspberries to take away.

Mmmmm  . . . Raspberries

Mmmmm . . . Raspberries

Our next stop was Seven Sheds Brewery in Railton, which was great. We tasted their ales and, because they didn’t have the Black Inca available in bottles to take away, I insisted that I have a glass while we were there so we could plan what we were going to do next, and which beers we should buy.

Attempted arty shot of Black Inca ale and hops. I'm not giving up my day job.

Attempted arty shot of Black Inca ale and hops. I’m not giving up my day job.

Our trip planning session at Seven Sheds

Our trip planning session at Seven Sheds

Seven Sheds Brewery

Seven Sheds Brewery

Trip planning is very important.

We left with a small stash.

Railton is dubbed the Town of Topiary, with a trail of topiaries through the town, including the Cradle Mountain National Paddock, which has a farming scene of Railton. This includes the name RAILTON and this sheep gate, which Juniordwarf wanted to climb on. I would have taken more photos but it had started to rain and my camera was getting wet.

Sheep gate

Sheep gate

Railton

Railton

We went to the Fibre Optic Magic store, which was (as the name suggests) full of fibre optic gizmos and gadgets. It was a nice stopover in a town that has one of the widest main streets I’ve ever crossed.

Fibre Optic Magic, Railton

Fibre Optic Magic, Railton

Then it was time to head to our final destination for the day, Sheffield. Sheffield is the Town of Murals, an idea that was first formed in 1985, when the town sought to turn around a state of economic decline. They looked at an idea that had worked in Canada facing a similar downturn, and developed the idea of ‘an outdoor gallery of heroic proportions, depicting the pioneering history of the district and its people’.

There are now over 60 murals in the town that depict the history of the early European settlers in the area. The Mural Park, behind the visitors centre, is especially interesting, as these murals are replaced very year as part of Mural Fest. Muralfest runs from Easter Sunday to the following Saturday, where the 9 finalists paint their murals using a poem that has been selected as the theme for that year’s festival. In 2014 the poem was “Island Life” by Rees Campbell.

Outside Sheffield Visitors Centre

Outside Sheffield Visitors Centre

Mural Park, Sheffield

Mural Park, Sheffield

The winning mural from 2014 - Then and Now: A Celebration

The winning mural from 2014 – Then and Now: A Celebration by Fereleth Lee, Jacqueline LeCava and Tom Powlay

I was particularly drawn to the one of Abel Tasman arriving in Adventure Bay on Bruny Island – where we were staying this time last year.

"We're Still Discovering Tasmania"

“We’re Still Discovering Tasmania” by Keith & Loretta Sommer

We spent some time exploring the town and the murals.

20150116-25 Mural Sheffield 20150116-26 Mural Sheffield 20150116-27 Mural Sheffield 20150116-29 Mural Sheffield

ANZAC & World War I Commemoration

ANZAC & World War I Commemoration

Sheffield Skate Park

Sheffield Skate Park

20150116-35 Mural Sheffield

Slaters Country Store

Slaters Country Store

20150116-37 Mural Sheffield 20150116-38 Mural Sheffield 20150116-39 Mural Sheffield 20150116-40 Mural Sheffield 20150116-42 Mural SheffieldDinner was at T’s Chinese Restaurant in Sheffield. The Zhao family runs the restaurant, and the majority of the meat comes from the lamb, pigs and beef grown on their farm. There was a great story on the family in The Mercury last year.

We’d heard of the restaurant through Two Metre Tall, who had got some of their pigs from the farm. We loved the idea of a restaurant growing its own meat, so we had to check it out. It was worth the trip. The food was divine and we had a lovely night.

T's Chinese Restaurant

T’s Chinese Restaurant

One thing I really liked was that they brought each dish out individually, not all the dishes together like most Chinese restaurants do. This way we could really appreciate each dish before trying the next one. A serve of steamed dumplings and two main dishes with rice was plenty for the three of us (and one of us is a growing boy and eats a lot).

After dinner I cracked open a bottle of Pooley 2010 Pinot Grigio that I’d had in my wine cellar* for years. It was absolutely divine. Really thick and syrupy, but not sweet.

20150116-43 Pooley Pinot Grigio IGDespite the weather, it was a great start to our weekend away.

*not actually a cellar. More like a wine rack.