Cat travel prep.

If you know me, you know that I have a little tortoiseshell shadow called Jellyfish. I got her from the RSPCA in Brisbane when she was a wee runt of a kitten, and now she’s a big and beautiful girl, nine years old. There was no way I was coming to Hobart without her, and I had to give a fair bit of thought as to how I’d get her down here.

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There are two clear options with interstate pet transfers—air or road. There are easily identified pros and cons for both options. Air is a far, far shorter total travel time for your pet, but it’s also more of a hassle to organise if you’ll be driving your car down (side note: why get your car freighted when you can have a road trip adventure?). If I was going to have my cat flown down, I would have had to either leave her with friends or a cattery in Brisbane for a few days while I drove down, so I could be there to meet her at the other end, or I could have put her on the plane myself in Brisbane and then had a cattery pick her up in Hobart and hold her for a few days until I got there.

The third option would have been to leave her with friends, drive down to Hobart, fly back up to get her and bring her back on the plane with me—or the opposite, bring her down to Hobart on the plane first and leave her in my new, empty house for a few days while I flew back up to Brisbane, got in my car and drove down. All of these options meant that she’d be spending at least a few days with STRANGERS!!! in a STRANGE PLACE!!! (her thoughts, not my words) and for anyone who knows my cat, that may not have been very good for her already delicate nerves. She’s easily startled and/or terrified of most things that exist on this earth. It also meant shelling out money for the flight/s and the cattery (or asking for a HUGE favour of friends).

So instead, I chose to bring her in the car with me. Her delicate nerves would still be tested, of course, but I would be there with her to talk her down from the ledge for most of the trip (which, to be honest, would probably actually just make ME feel better, as this is a co-dependent relationship). The only cost to incur was an extra $20 for a kennel on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry that I was using to bring my car into Tasmania anyway, and a little extra for the pet-friendly stopover accommodation (the Ardeanal Motel in West Wyalong; a solid option).

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Roadtrip cat!

I’m going to waffle on a bunch more about preparing my (or your) cat for a road trip, but I’ll spare the front page and put this behind the cut, so keep reading only if you feel so inclined. Continue reading »

12 February 2013, or Four:

I was baptised Catholic, and I continue to claim it for a) the source of the guilty feeling I get when I call in sick to work even when I am legitimately sick and b) celebrating Shrove Tuesday with pancakes.

Holy crepe. (Sorry, God.)

Holy crepe. (Sorry, God.)

This year I decide to try crepes, for something different. They’re supposed to be really easy. I still manage to kinda stuff them up, but then I cover them in lemon juice and sugar and everything is okay again. Hands down my favourite kinda crepe/pancake topping.

Today’s actually fairly quiet after the excitement of the weekend, where I volunteered for the tenth Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Yeah, it does what it says on the box, but it was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be, speaking as a non-boating person. I have some clothes with stripes on them and a couple of pieces of jewellery with anchors but that’s about as boating as I get, and yet wandering around the festival when I wasn’t on shift was still super interesting. Wooden boats are beautiful creatures.

Boats from all around the world!

Boats from all around the world!

I totally fell in love with Notorious, the pirate ship, but that’s because I’m a nerd and I love a gimmick.

So. Awesome.

So. Awesome.

Why volunteer for a festival you’re possibly not even interested in?, I hear you ask. Firstly, mind your own business. Secondly, just kidding. Thirdly, I decided when I moved down here that in order to become a part of the community, I should probably get involved in the community, and I’ve always been a fan of festivals. So I started signing up for whichever ones I could, which led to me spending the weekend in a bright red polo shirt (quite nice as far as volunteer shirts go, to be quite honest) standing in a big orange shipping container and providing festival punters with any information they asked for, if I a) knew it or b) could find it out on their behalf.

But, I digress. It’s just that today is an in-between day! The festival was on the weekend, and tomorrow is Galentine’s Day, but today is just for chilling out. Oh, and starting my week as guest host of @WeTasmania! I don’t muck about.

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I also have the company of an excellent guest for the week, a lovely gent by the name of Matthew who is down here to do some musical workshopping. We actually know each other from a different life—not in the psychic sense, but from back when I was in primary school in central Queensland and my mum was in the musical society in town. It’s so random that our paths should cross again, but also totally excellent. I’ll miss him when he goes and he’s only been here one night!

I made him pose.

I made him pose.

Living in a post-Ginuary world.

I didn’t have any time or energy to blog here last month because everything was funnelled into my favourite ridiculous project, Ginuary.This was the second year I’ve done the challenge to the best of my ability, and the challenge (as set by me) was to have gin a different way every day. I’ve had gin sixty different ways now. Most of them have been cocktails, most of which I’ve made at home, but I also used it as a good excuse this year to scope out some potential drinking venues in Hobart.

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Damnit, this post just got larger than I intended it to. I was just going to apologise for my absence in Ginuary and attach the finale photo above but now I’m going to mention all the places I drank in Hobart last month.

The Taste Festival

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Dude’s face, bottom right.

Hobart’s annual festival that takes over the waterfront for a week or so over the new year. Like a couple of other things in Hobart, it’s a little overexaggerated—the Taste is just a giant food hall. But if you’re prepared for that, it’s awesome. I had some issues sourcing gin, which was disheartening, but there was a happy ending to the story, so PHEW.

The Abbey Tavern & Preachers

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WALL OF COMICS

Preachers and the Abbey are awesome spots for beer and cider. Amazing selections, whether you’re looking for a Tassie beverage, or an Aussie one, or even some internationals. Unfortunately last month I was on a gin hunt, and these two places (owned and run by the same team) are not the places to go for spirits. Preachers only does basics, with a fairly heinous selection of brands (pretty much one of each spirit, nothing top shelf). The Abbey has a “cocktails” board, but it’s strongly influenced by the tragic cocktail lists of the 90s. So, the moral of the story is, definitely go to these places if you want to drink beer and/or cider.

Nant Whisky Cellar & Bar

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I feel like hunting some deer, Charles.

Cool small space, but not decked out as I’d expected at all. Very light and airy, with olive greens and golds… I suppose I was expecting more of a speakeasy vibe, darker and bedecked in crimson and dark wood. I’m still looking for that place. Nant is fairly classic if you like whisky. You can get whisky, whisky, or whisky cocktails, of which the list is full of old-school classics, so two thumbs up from me for that.

Grape Bar & Bottleshop / Grape Food & Wine

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Locals on tap!

I think Grape have either just recently decided to alter their name or they tried a while ago and it didn’t really stick. Anyone know? In any case, GRAPE (whatever the rest may be) is a buzzing hive in the middle of Salamanca Place. There’s definitely a strong focus on their wine cellar here, so get into a bottle or two. Grape’s bartender the evening I went in for Ginuary was a surprise delight, making up something on the spot for me, so I’ll definitely be back to Grape to test his cocktail skills out again!

Tavern 42 Degrees South (T42)

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Long bar is long.

I wasn’t keen on going to T42, for some reason. I think my brain associated it with 42Below Vodka, and I don’t really care for vodka, and last month was all about gin. Turns out there’s a gin fan behind the bar at T42 and they have a fairly awesome selection of gins on the shelves. There’s a short but sweet cocktail menu with enough of a tempting selection to make me want to go back again, and the design of the place is pretty cool. I want to go back again soon to spend some time in Tug Bar, just next door (part of T42 but with its own separate bar). It’s a specialist rum bar, so I think they’ve missed the boat there, but the decor is excellent.

The Mill on Morrison

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More of a restaurant.

It’s a pity that not more of the Mill’s space is given to the bar, because the current bar manager is pretty passionate about cocktails, running a fairly impressive menu and doing some really cool stuff with infused spirits. I felt pretty weird walking past all the restaurant-set tables just to get a drink at the bar. Was I sitting in the wrong area? Is there more to the Mill than the main restaurant section? I saw a hint of something looking vaguely courtyard-y as I was on my way out…

The Lark Distillery

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Good choice for a local.

The utter disappointment I felt when I first visited the Lark on a holiday to Tasmania in 2011 has stuck with me, but only in that every time I go to Lark these days I have to giggle. Similar to my feelings about Nant, after spending a bit of time gazing at Lark’s website prior to my trip I was expecting something lush and dark. Instead my friend and I walked in on a Friday night to a rollicking live country band, plastic-covered tables with stackable plastic chairs, and a very local feel. If you go in expecting that then Lark is bloody good stuff. Just don’t expect any fancy shit. Bonus: Lark goes off on a Friday night, go grab a burger from Stu.

Void Bar @ MONA

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The museum can really take it out of you.

It’s become tradition for me to hit up the Void Bar on the bottom floor of the Museum of Old and New Art for a strong cocktail before I face the antiquities on that floor. I love Void, and I love Void’s gorgeous cocktail menu, but twice now (in a row) the drink I’ve asked for (a different one each visit) has been unavailable due to one or more ingredients being unavailable. Sorry, but if you have a menu, at least make all the menu items a constant possibility. Otherwise try a different menu attack, okay? (The drinks I have had there were very nice, but I hate disappointment.)

The 21st Amendment @ MONA Market

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Best. Market stall. EVER.

I pretty much lost my mind with glee when I showed up to MONA’s first summer Saturday market to find that one of this summer’s stalls was a gin bar. Rose, the stall owner, and I are now on a first-name basis. I only wish the 21st Amendment was a permanent fixture in some classy little space in the city, but at this stage I’m just going to have to live for Saturdays at MONA. The market’s well worth a lunch visit, too.

IXL Long Bar

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Absolute class.

My Ginuary finale was held at this classy bar attached to the Henry Jones Art Hotel. I planned to finish the month here anyway, but the night before I rustled together a small crew of friends to join me in toasting the end of my second liver-bashing event. It’s not that literally long, to be honest, but on a Friday afternoon with the live pianist tinkering away and a delicious dry martini in hand, IXL Long Bar is my new high.
 
I may do another post in the future to cover more drinking holes like the New Sydney Hotel, the Pumphouse, and Sidecar… but I will forever chase a decent shaken-or-stirred. Is there anywhere else to get a classy cocktail in Hobart? I’m willing to listen!