Contra Hobart.

Here’s a couple of things you don’t find out about Hobart until you move to Hobart, or are at least in with some locals.

You Gon’ Get Burnt

I spent a blissful two weeks walking around Hobart without a care until the sun emerged one day. Within hours of each other, two different people in two completely unrelated encounters took one look at my Scottish/Irish heritage (proudly on display via my near-translucent skin tone) and told me to be wary of the sun. Apparently the ozone layer isn’t as strong down here (? SCIENCE) so we’re partial to some stronger skin-cracklin’ UV rays getting all up in our grills. I don’t know whether I completely believe these warnings yet, and I trust I won’t until I actually do get burnt when I least suspect it, but I’ve heard it from so many people now that I’m surprised I didn’t hear a peep of it before I moved here.

Lord of the Flies

There aren’t school children killing each other on this island, but there are some monstrous flies. Every time I open the doors and/or windows of my house to enjoy the beautiful sunny days (who knew I’d ever enjoy sunny days? Screw you, Queensland!), at least a dozen flies find their way into my house, high-fiving each other before putting their action plan into effect. This action plan involves spreading out and treating my windows like baseball bases after somefly’s just hit it out of the park. They aren’t small flies. They aren’t your standard houseflies (well, a couple of them are, but they’re the minority). These guys are big and they are loud and they are driving me a little bit insane. You should see the maniacal laugh that overtakes me when there’s a bottle of Raid spray in my hand.

Where the Wind Goes Sweeping Down the Plains

I lived through a couple of windy days in Brisbane here and there, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the crazy breezes that smash their way through Hobart (or at least my little bit of it) on a somewhat regular basis. Ironic (or just an unfortunate coincidence, Alanis?) that I used the phrase “hold a candle to” when speaking about wind, because it wouldn’t stand a chance in these gusts. Look, just for example, back in Brisbane, I used to hang my washed clothes out on the line to dry already on their hangers, to save time and ironing. Sometimes if I left them too long or if it was a windy day, I’d find one or two items on the ground later. Unfortunate. The other day I attempted to practise a similar application down here, and once I hung the first dress out, I’d barely turned my back before it hit the ground. It hit the ground a few feet away. I tried to peg my dresses on their hangers (a little bit redundant?) but again, there was just no chance they were staying on there. I’ve had to give up on my old habits and nail those suckers to the line or it’s just not worth it. I said a lot of swears that afternoon. Also, hanging up a queen-sized doona cover turned into a terrifying 360° assault by wet linen.

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But on the other hand, there’s this.

13 January 2013, or Three:

I’m cheating by a day here, because the 12th is quite dull, but on the 13th, I go cherry picking with friends. Who knew this was a thing I’d ever do?

Up high!

Up high!

My friend Liz is crazy and wonderful and somehow stumbled across Platinum Ridge Orchard‘s awesome “rent your own cherry tree” offer prior to last summer, so she went ahead and rented one all for herself because her husband Jarod doesn’t even like cherries. (He’s also crazy, but clearly for different reasons.) When the time to pick said cherries arrives—you only get one pick per season, because the trees only fruit once—Liz gets in touch with a few of us and is like, “So… cherries?” and I am all too happy to jump in the car with them for a lovely drive down the channel where we meet up with some more pals to PICK. SOME. CHERRIES.

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The money shot.

I’m not ashamed (ok I’m maybe a little bit ashamed) to admit that I didn’t really know what cherry trees looked like until today. I wasn’t sure exactly how cherries grew. Turns out it’s a lot like apples! (I didn’t really know what apple trees looked like either…)

Efficiency.

Efficiency.

When we get out there, the Orchard lady in charge of the picking (I think that’s her official title) checks Liz’s tree and isn’t happy with the amount of fruit on it, so we get a bonus tree. Two trees for the pickings. We have buckets and bags and boxes and we fill them with cherries. Some also go in our mouths. But most into the bags and boxes and buckets.

Clumps and clusters of cherries.

Clumps and clusters of cherries.

Platinum Ridge effectively ruins all other cherries for me forever. These cherries are the biggest, fattest, sweetest cherries I have ever eaten in my life and never again will another cherry measure up. Nope. I can’t imagine how. And yes, we are already planning on renting another cherry tree next season.

Once we get home, we all weigh our various collections of cherries and add the results up to discover we have picked twenty kilograms’ worth of cherries today. We’re not counting the ones that have gone in our mouths, or the ones we left on the trees because we called time on picking eventually because no human can eat that many cherries in three weeks. I fill the entire crisper section of my fridge with cherries. I have eight kilos of cherries alone.

EIGHT. KILOS.

EIGHT. KILOS.

I pin as many interesting-looking cherry recipes as I can and the next couple of weeks see us all get very creative with cherries. Cherry juice, cherry scones, cherry ice-cream, cherry pie, cherries in the face. Constant cherries. We have so many surplus cherries that we even have cherry treasure hunts.

Thanks, Jarod.

Thanks, Jarod.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier in my life. Happier, and constantly stained.

See you in twelve months, Platinum Ridge.

Cue Garbage's hit song?

Cue Garbage’s hit song?

The festive season becomes twenty thirteen.

Happy new year! I didn’t exactly forget to blog in December, I just did a really good job of procrastinating from it. Which is ridiculous, because it’s not something I have to do, it’s something I want to do. Ridiculous. My dad kicked my butt into action while I was in Perth for Christmas.

Dad: “I’ve been reading your blog!”

Me, shocked: “Really? I haven’t written anything in a while…”

Dad: “I know, I check it every week! I bookmarked it!”

Dad isn’t big on technology, so when he does show some interest, momentum must continue to build. Hi, dad! Dad surprised us more than once during our Perth Christmas break, for example:

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Tour shirts.

On top of my dad’s left-fielders, I had a great week in Perth with my siblings. I hadn’t been to Perth for years, so I took the opportunity to do a little bit of exploring. An afternoon of browsing solo in Leederville was followed by some discoveries in Mt Lawley, and my brother did an excellent job of “tour guide” in his free time. Christmas and Boxing Day were both spent out at my dad’s place in the foothills, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we spent at least half our time in the pool, weathering the forty-degree heatwave.

I missed my little Hobart home so much! After an overnight flight home (why do I punish myself this way?), I had only twenty-four hours of normal (accustomed) life before I was heading out of town again, but this time to the Falls Arts & Music Festival at Marion Bay to bring in the new year. Months ago, I applied to be a festival volunteer, and I was delighted to be accepted.

Fairly epic.

Fairly epic.

The weekend was huge. I ended up rostered onto Artist Gate, which isn’t quite as star-studded as it sounds, but it was an excellent task to be assigned (far better than Green Team or Loo Crew, sorry guys). When I wasn’t on shift, I was eating tempura mushrooms and/or sitting under the big top in the main arena, gazing out at the ridiculous view. Oh, Tasmania. You never fail to fill me with awe.

As much as I loved Falls, I was still very happy to pack up my tent and hit the road after the staff party last night, rather than stay one more night. My little cat was pretty stoked to see me and I was overjoyed to sleep in my big, sturdy bed in my quiet house after a weekend of tent-battering winds and noisy festival punters.

As for the bigger picture, I am so looking forward to finding out what 2013 has to offer me, and what I have to offer to the world. I am still full of complete joy to be here, and after this crazy festive season I’m looking forward to settling back into the little routine I’ve been establishing down here. Here’s to a bright and rewarding year, for all of us!