Week in review: 16-22 February 2015

This week’s goals:

  • 17,000 steps per day – 6/7 days. Weekly total 137,518 (daily average 19,645)
  • [Private Goal] – 0/7 days
  • Go to bed before midnight (baby steps!) – 5/7 days – 3 of which were 11.55, but it all counts!

This week was a quiet week. Still settling back into school routines and trying to get to grips with new arrangements. Library day is different, PE day is different, music day is different – all good fun to try and remember. I’m trying to put my own morning habits and routines into back place as well as trying to get Juniordwarf to do things like get his stuff out the night before instead of racing round in the morning looking for it.

We’ll get there in the end. Probably the end of term, when it will all fall to pieces again at holiday time.

We spent the weekend at Bacchus Marsh with family to celebrate a significant birthday. It’s not a place I ever would have thought to visit otherwise, but it turned out to be a delightful town, with some lovely old buildings and very friendly people.

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

It was a very hot weekend, but we had a great time with Slabs’ family and I think his parents must have been thrilled to have all their kids in one place, as it doesn’t happen very often.

Slabs and I took the opportunity of having 6 babysitters to get away for a couple of hours and have lunch at the Bacchus Hill winery.  I mean seriously, what else would you do at somewhere called Bacchus?

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

Wine!

Wine time back at home!

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

We enjoyed the wine and the food a lot, and Slabs appreciated being somewhere with a bigger range of reds than most Tasmanian wineries produce. Unfortunately, not having any checked baggage with us, taking some home wasn’t an option, so we’ll just have to go back next time we visit the area.

Impresario Theatre

Impresario Theatre

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Lerderderg Library

Lerderderg Library

Werribee River

Werribee River

It was 36 degrees or something equally horrific when we got home, and the house was like a hot box. Sleep proved to be very difficult on Sunday night.

Next week’s goals:

  • 19,000 steps per day.
  • [Private Goal]
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm.
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week in review – 1-4 January 2015

I haven’t done a blog post for a while. I completely forgot about 12 of 12 for December, and I don’t think 2 of 12 would have been very interesting.

At least it would have been a mercifully short post.

When I first started the blog in 2011, it was part of my 365 project, where my aim was to publish a photo and a post to explain the photo every day. I still don’t know how I managed to do this every day for a year.

I don’t think I could do that again, but I do want to blog more regularly. I think my travel blog last year  my trip and getting sick afterwards threw me out a bit and I never really recovered my momentum. I’ve forgotten 12 of 12 twice since I got back. I’m 4 months behind on sorting through last year’s photos for Project Life and I still haven’t even looked at my photos from my trip, let alone printed any.

But time marches on, and there are new photos and new stories to tell.

I’ve tried to stop taking photos to give myself time to catch up, but there are always the little things that catch my eye or that I think will make me smile when I look back on them. So I keep taking photos. The key is making a note somewhere about why I took the photo, which is something of a hit and miss process at the moment. If I can’t remember I have to ask Juniordwarf what’s going on in the photo (as they’re invariably photos of him), and half the time, 2 or 3 months later, he can’t remember either.

After I finished my 365 project, I’d thought I’d do a weekly post about what was going on, but I think that only lasted a week. If the daily blogging did nothing else, it forced me to keep records!

So I’m going to give the weekly thing another shot, if for no other reason than keeping my toe in the blogging water.

Here’s January week 1:

20150102 TasteI went back to work on 2 January. Conveniently, the Taste of Tasmania was still on and I accidentally went there in my lunch break.

20150103 BBQ 2 editWe went to a BBQ on Saturday. Juniordwarf and I sought shelter under the trees from the 37 degree heat.

20150103 Norfick Bag's Day Out IGMy “Norfick” bag by samedog that I got for Xmas had its first day out at the BBQ.

20150104 Salty Sea Stout is all mine 2 IGWe went to Two Metre Tall on Sunday and their new, glorious, oh my goodnesss I can’t stop drinking this Salty Sea Stout was available in bottles so I had to get some to take home.

Bruny Island – day 1 (part 2)

My criteria for a campsite are quite simple. I like my comforts. Specifically, I like to stay somewhere with an “amenities block”.

I have done roughing it camping (aka Proper Camping) in the distant past, so to distinguish that from what we normally do, I shall refer to our weekend as a “tenting” weekend rather than a camping weekend.

The public campsites on Bruny are, as far as I can tell from the Parks & Wildlife website, Proper Campsites. For people who do Proper Camping.

We stayed at the Captain Cook Caravan Park, near Adventure Bay, which is on South Bruny.

Adventure Bay was named after the ship “The Adventure”, which was the ship of Captain Tobias Furneaux, who first landed there in 1773.  Captain James Cook also landed there, in January 1777, and reportedly collected grass, water and wood. The area has several monuments and plaques commemorating the landings of various ships’ Captains from years past.

The caravan park has a mix of cabins, van sites and tent areas. Some privately owned sites, some basic cabins, some on-site vans, some new villa units and lots of families with kids. It has a huge “campers kitchen” with stoves, a sink, and basic appliances, plus kitchen tables and even a TV. There’s a barbeque area and, most importantly, an amenities block.

There are no designated tent sites if you want an unpowered site, so you can just set your tents up anywhere within the tenting areas.  The day we arrived there was heaps of room, so we didn’t have to set up anywhere awkwardly close to anyone else. And we were comfortably close to the amenities block. (You can see this is important to me can’t you?)

ImageOnce we’d set up the tents (which I’ve become an expert at due to weekends tenting with Juniordwarf in the back yard last summer), we went for a drive to the Mavista Nature Walk. It’s a fairly easy 45 minutes return walk through some pretty rainforest. It’s similar to the rainforests at Mount Field.

ImageImageImageImageImage

And there were funghi (reminds self to take tripod on next rainforest walk to avoid this kind of result).

ImageAfter we did that walk, we went for a drive through some of the wet Eucalypt forest along Coolangatta Road. Wet Eucalpyt is the predominant forest here, with tall Eucalypts and a dense understorey of small trees shrubs and ferns – there are patches of temperate rainforest growing in the more sheltered areas. (Thank you to the sign at the Mavista Picnic Area for this information.)

We found one of the lookouts along Coolangatta Road, which gave us a decent view of The Neck that joins North and South Bruny, looking towards the Northern end of Adventure Bay.

ImageDinner tonight was at the Hotel Bruny near Alonnah.  It seems like a very popular place, and was very busy.

Apparently they are famous for their chicken parmy. So I went for the salmon. As you do. It was very good.

ImageWe weren’t there quite late enough to see the spectacular sunsets over Sunset Bay, but there was some very nice light to take some photos by as the sun began to set.

ImageI used an app called Autostitch for this photo.

ImageImageThis looks a lot darker than the sky actually was.

We got back to the campsite just before it got too dark. I’m not a fan of driving at night at the best of times, and even less so on roads I don’t know.

After it got dark, I wandered over the road to try and get a picture of the rising moon between the trees, over the water. Phone cameras are not ideal for this purpose but, sans tripod, mine did a better job than my camera did.

ImageI’d like to say I slept very well on such a beautiful night, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

Never mind. It was nice to be away and outside.

bushy park show

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This weekend we went to the Bushy Park Show. It’s one of the smaller shows on the Tasmanian Agricultural Show Council’s show calendar each year, and also one of the oldest, having started out as a garden show in 1865.
Bushy Park, if you aren’t familiar, is a major hop growing region in Tasmania. It’s the last hop growing area remaining in the Derwent Valley.
The showground is bordered by hop fields and the beautiful Styx River.

We go to the show most years, but this year Juniordwarf wasn’t so keen. “Do we have to go?” he asked. 
When we told him there would be this,
This looked like something from Dr Who rather than a clown
this,

and this,

  
he reluctantly agreed to come with us.
He did some other things as well, like the haunted house

He came out at the end and said “what were the scary bits?”

and the old favourite, the Lions Club Chocolate Wheel.

 
We saw things like utes,

sheepdog trials

and wood cutting.


We had a good time, although the heat got to us all, so we didn’t stay long. It was a far cry from the same day two years ago when it was cold, raining and miserable. 

camping

Last week Slabs, Juniordwarf and I went camping at Mt Field National Park.

We really love going there, and it’s been the subject of several previous posts (examples here and  here). It’s wonderful to be so close to such a beautiful place, so peaceful and so far removed from the rest of our lives.

I’ve already told the story of how Zoe went swimming on our walk to Russell Falls. Here are some photos to tell the rest of the story.

Slabs and Junordwarf did some fishing
Lake Fenton, where we had hoped to see a glorious sunset, but it wasn’t to be

The amazing colours of these trees almost made up for the lack of a sunset

They were beautiful trees
Pandani on the Urquhart Track near Lake Dobson
Eagle Tarn
Mt Field from Maydena

Russell Falls
A grateful Juniordwarf and Zoe after the great rescue
Juniordwarf is getting the hang of using the camera
Tyenna River, right where we camped
Tall trees at dusk. They really are massive!

We had only intended to stay for two days, so we weren’t too put out when we were told on the Thursday night we would have to leave by 9 am the next morning as they were closing the park due to the forecast high temperatures (forecast 39 degrees, it actually reached 41 in Hobart) and strong winds, combined with the fact that there was a bushfire relatively nearby.

It seemed impossible to imagine, in the cool and still of the evening, that such conditions could eventuate. But eventuate they did, and not long after we got home, the sun came out, the clouds disappeared and Tasmania sweltered and burned.

Late on Friday afternoon, the sky around town looked like this

from the fire that had prompted the precautionary closure of the park. It was nowhere near us, but it was still a fearsome sight. In the following days we heard of heartbreaking losses from communities around the state, especially around the Tasman Peninsula.

Today it is a lot cooler, even though the rest of Australia had its turn for record temperatures, but the fires are still burning and everyone is hoping for some relief very soon.

P365 – Day 351 – the unchristmas tree

I don’t go much into the ‘traditional’ aspects of the festive season. I don’t celebrate a religious Christmas, and I prefer to call the season Xmas.
I think Xmas is a good term, because you can use the ‘X’ to represent whatever you want it to*. 
For me, it’s the end of the year, summer is here and I have enforced leave from work. It’s a good time to spend with family and friends, exchange presents if we like, eat lots of food, and relax a bit.
I see it as very much a summer festival.
I’m not a fan of the winter-like appearance and feel of most traditional ‘Christmas’ decorations, which are entirely appropriate for a Northern Hemisphere winter celebration, but for me seem totally out of place in summer. They are for the winter solstice festivities, which we don’t widely celebrate in this country (I wish we did!).
I wrote a bit about how many elements of our traditional Christmas celebrations have come to us from pre-Christian Winter Solstice festivities, and from other cultures and traditions, back in June.  I find it interesting to find out how different societies have celebrated and commemorated the event through history.
I also find the Summer Solstice traditions interesting and would like to find ways to weave some of them into my summer celebrations. (Probably not the one involving naked dancing around a bonfire at midnight.)
The Summer Solstice occurs on the 22 December. Some people refer to it as Midsummer, while others suggest the Solstice actually marks the beginning of summer. (This is an interesting article, although it refers to the Northern summer solstice, which occurs in June. I assume the science is the same, but just reversed for the Southern Hemisphere.)
I’m leaning towards the ‘beginning of summer’ camp, because the weather we’ve been having so far hasn’t exactly felt summer-like, and our hottest days seem to happen in late January and February, rather than in December.
But I suppose it really doesn’t matter. It’s summer time. It’s time to celebrate.
In past years I’ve put up a rather sad looking baby Xmas tree and embellished it reluctantly with a few Xmas decorations. (Well, there was that one year I decorated it with logos cut out of beer cans . . .)
This year I decided to put my money where my mouth is and dispense with the Xmas tree altogether. Instead, I put up and decorated what I am calling a ‘summer tree’. It’s covered in lots of red and gold ribbons, stars and flowers, as I see these colours as representing the sun in summer. I added on some fake fruit (very classy), some birds – a cockatoo, a kookaburra (this is Australia after all) and a little bird in a nest, which is actually more springtime, but who cares – and to top it off, that most Australian of icons, an ugg boot.
The Summer Tree
The bird section
Yes, I have an ugg boot on my tree. 
Not a single bit of tinsel.
Actually looking at it now, it doesn’t quite look summery enough. It almost looks like it’s getting into autumn. Maybe I need some more colours.
Anyway it’s done now, so that’s it for this year. Juniordwarf is quite impressed with it, and he’s very excited about Christmas. Especially Santa.
While he’s still little, that’s one part of Christmas I’m happy to hang onto. It’s so exciting for him to make his list, sing songs about Santa and have his photo taken. And I love to see him being this excited. It’s such a thrill.
I read that interpretation of the word somewhere a while ago, but can’t remember who it was that said it. However, I believe that the reason it was originally spelled like that was that X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ.