12 October 2013, or Twelve:

Happy Tasmemianniversary to me! I made it, I really made it! And I couldn’t be happier. Today is a day for celebration.

I wake up in Stanley, on the north west coast of Tasmania. When I did the ol’ campervan trip around the state with Fran back in July 2011, Stanley was a favourite corner for me. Ever since moving down here, I’d resolved to getting back up to Stanley again for a visit… and while this weekend wasn’t entirely planned this way (I’m a lot less regularly spontaneous than you may think), it turns out it’s the perfect way to celebrate one year on the island.

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Just as magical as I remembered.

How crazy beautiful is this? Welcome to Stanley. That’s the Nut. It’s not a mountain but a volcanic plug, which means that a LONG time ago (see: 20 to 75 MILLION YEARS AGO) it was an active volcano—A FREAKING VOLCANO—but then the plug was created when magma hardened within a vent on the volcano. From wikipedia: If a plug is preserved, erosion may remove the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remains, producing a distinctive upstanding landform. Which is what happened to the Nut.

Which you can find out for yourself if you a) trek up the path or b) catch the chairlift to the top.

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So many options. (Two options.)

Of course today I catch the chairlift. I have a collection of reasons for this:

  • I love chairlifts
  • the chairlift wasn’t operating when I first visited in the campervan with Fran in the dead of winter and I was heartbroken
  • I haven’t had any coffee and I didn’t sleep particularly well last night
  • CHAIRLIFTS!!!
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Hide your childish grin, you are almost thirty.

The ride up in the chairlift also gives me time to contemplate exactly what I’m going to do up the top. The full circuit of the Nut is around 2km and takes around half an hour. I have a long drive ahead of me, so I decide to just walk to the first lookout (around 500m) and then back.

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From around Trig Point Marker. Facing north, looking west.

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12 September 2013, or Eleven:

So… long time no proper blog, hey? My bad.

I guess everything fell apart when I got a job. That’s when the fun stops, right? That’s when the proportion of fun in my life was greatly reduced, anyway. I may have a fairly shocking memory but I don’t think I’ll ever forget those six months of glory. I’m grateful that I had enough funds behind me to let me settle into life in a brand new city (in a brand new state!) before having to get back to the daily grind.

Despite getting back to a slightly more mundane life of full-time work, I’m happy to say that I’m still 100% confident with my decision to move down here. Tasmania continues to awe me. I’m not kidding. Even if it just experienced the warmest winter so far (seriously Tasmania why are you doing this to me YOU ARE MAKING ME FEEL GUILTY IT IS NOT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE FOR ONE PUNY HUMAN TO BRING WEATHER WITH THEM stop making me feel like this is my fault), it’s still been cold. Cold. COLD! Deliciously cold. The kind of cold I’ve been dreaming of. Last week it warmed up a bit and people frolicked in the streets in one layer of clothing but this week we got a cold snap and I frolicked in the streets with three layers again. This is my life now.

So here’s a summary of what I did on the eleventh monthly anniversary of the date I arrived in Tasmania. I’ve also cheated and gone back through and added a post for each of the prior months as well, because I can, and you’re not my real mum (except one of you, HI MUM).

 

12 September 2013, or Eleven:

A Thursday. Snow on the mountain overnight (and in the streets of Hobart the day before!?) means that Jellyfish is curled up completely under the doona with me this morning, a rare event. I wake up before my alarm (easily accomplished while I’m on 11:30am starts at work) and pull on my brand new Doc Martens (purchased in preparation for my overseas adventure at the end of the year).

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too excited to even lace them like a cool person

Out the door with my daily Aeropress’d Zimmah coffee (Dutch Courage today, lovely and sweet) and down the road to get my first taste of The Schwartz Sandwiches. The new lunch place looks awesome and the guys from Ethos Eat Drink seem pretty stoked to be running the joint. I grab my takeaway sandwiches and head down the road to the bank, with a small delay as I grab my first Tasmanian conditional caution for not wearing my seatbelt. Oops.

My work day goes fairly quickly while not overly stressfully, which is a nice combination, and my lunch sandwich exceeds expectations.

I hit the supermarket on the way home to grab a couple of bits and pieces, begrudgingly purchasing some vegies that aren’t in season at Farm Gate at the moment. I finish the evening curled up on the couch with the cat, a blanket over both of us, watching Kevin McCloud exert his sassiness regarding some Grand Designs.

Lovely.

"hey guys everyone wear yellow for R U OK day"

“hey guys everyone wear yellow for R U OK day”

12 August 2013, or Ten:

I make the effort to sweeten a Monday with a visit to Shoebox Cafe to say hello to sweethearts Sammi and Beth while enjoying an espresso from the cutest little cup.

eee.

eee.

Shoebox was one of my first stops when I arrived in Hobart and I still adore them. Surprisingly, it’s taken me almost a year to actually sit my butt down and dine in for once! It’s normally just so easy to grab a delicious pide to run away with.

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or as Siri says, “Show-barx”

Then it’s off to a full day of work for The Man, finishing the day with a facetime date with my hetero lifemate back in Brisbane (a weekly event for us when we’re diligent, normally accompanied by an episode of America’s Next Top Model).

(not current, but a good example)

(not particularly current, but a good example of one of our finer date night efforts)

Oh, and I’m also learning French via my iPhone duolingo app, in preparation for a white Christmas in Quebec this year. Duolingo’s teaching me some very useful phrases.

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:/

12 July 2013, or Nine:

Friday! Though apart from that, the highlight of my day is submitting my tax return.

I also restock on delicious coffee.

I also restock on delicious coffee.

The lowlight is missing my friends back in Brisbane, and feeling as though I haven’t formed any truly strong friendships down here in Hobart yet. What a day for this feeling! Happy Tassiversary, Mem!

Here, feel less sorry for me (or will it be more sorry for me?) thanks to this hilarious photo.

come ON cat GEEZ

come ON cat GEEZ

P.S. Tomorrow I do get to see a few Brissy darlings when 7bit Hero come through town as part of the Festival of Voices, so that’s also nice. Plus the show is wicked sick (apart from Apple not having approved the iPhone app yet).

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BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ!!!

12 June 2013, or Eight:

I am off work with preposterously bad back pain that near to ruined my hetero lifemate’s visit last week. Thank goodness we were more excited about seeing each other than me playing tour guide, because we ended up on the couch at home most of the time! I did manage to get behind the wheel again on the weekend for a trip out to Willie Smith Cider’s open day (a stunning winter day in the Huon)…

Winter Orchard.

Orchard Evan

Willie Smiths on a Winter Sunday

Willie Smiths on a Winter Sunday

But by today I’ve already said goodbye to them with a sore heart and am doing what I can to focus on getting my back to heal. This includes:

1. Sitting around on the couch (yet not slouching, with my back supported, and my body full of pain medication) in my pyjamas (for comfort’s sake)

easy

easy

2. ducking out for something delicious to eat because I can’t hang out standing up in the kitchen long enough to prepare something before my back starts to hurt too much

house made, hand cut beetroot pappadelle with goat ragu, topped with crumbled goat cheese and fresh herbs

hand cut beetroot pappadelle with goat ragu, topped with crumbled goat cheese and fresh herbs

3. visiting the physio and being rigged up to an interesting contraption that’s steadily zapping me with electric pulses/amps/something/whatever/science

uh ok I guess

uh ok I guess

In the afternoon I take delivery of a stick blender and prepare for the ensoupening of winter (I carry through on this threat with great aplomb). I’m also start to plan the itinerary for how I’m going to tackle the Dark Mofo festival and all its delights (and I definitely unlock this achievement in the following week). I also also laugh at my cat taking issue with the weather, though it’s my favourite kind.

but you are a jellyfish

but you are a jellyfish

12 May 2013, or Seven:

This weird, foggy Autumn Sunday begins with a stroll down to Farm Gate market for breakfast en route to picking up my car from town, because I had a fair bit of wine with my dinner at Ethos Eat Drink last night while entertaining another delightful couple of visitors.

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A bargain.

I always love walking around town, I notice so much more of it while strolling and it gives me a chance to absorb more, like the shell of the lovely old toy shop, burnt to the ground back in January.

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🙁

Like the orange leaves of the shedding trees. I have a real crush on Autumn! It seems as though I may be allergic to Autumn, real Autumn (because Queensland doesn’t know what that is), and that’s distressing but my love will not waiver! THIS IS TRUE LOVE!

<3

<3

I spend my afternoon out at my friends’ house, trying to charm their cat that they have entrusted me to keep alive in their absence.
“You’ll be friends while we’re gone!”, they promised me. Their cat is evil and wants me to die. I can’t say I haven’t tried to win her heart, because I try SO HARD.

“Too hard,” some might say.

TRAIN WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME

TRAIN WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME

“Too hard.”

12 April 2013, or Six:

Friday. The first hints of winter approaching are nigh, and I remark about the apparent morning temperature reading of 3.6°. Hahahaha I am so naive. Jellyfish is under the blankets with me until I manage to drag myself out of bed, just recovering from my first cold virus of the year—funny that it hits me right after I start working again… ah, I love a good virus-spreading corporate building environment.

I head into the training room and think I’ll get a break to catch up on the last two days I’ve missed, but instead I’m thrown onto the phones with the rest of the training group for our first live calls. Terror and panic! This is on top of the shellshock I’m still working through after receiving my first payslip. And my mantra of “I did not move to Hobart for the money” begins…

This month’s anniversary goes by completely unnoticed. It’s such a dull day that this is the only photograph I take. Welcome to my fast slide into mundanity.

Sunnycat.

Sunnycat.

(If it makes you feel any better, the weekend is a little more interesting, as on Saturday I finally find a Vietnamese restaurant that will make me a rice noodle salad reminiscent of the glory of my old local in Brisbane, Quan Thanh. Then on Sunday I hang out with my new friend Helen; coincidentally we have mutual friends who we’re both very close to and we’ve even played the same bad guy in a pantomime in two consecutive years and people could probably mistake us for sisters and it’s really kind of confusing that we haven’t met until now but it’s great now that it’s happened.)

Hi Helen!

Hi Helen!

12 March 2013, or Five:

A Tuesday in what shall be referred to as “the sunset weeks”, as my last refundancy days come to an end and I try to ignore the painful reality of returning to the workforce. I’ve been holding out for my dream job to manifest but it hasn’t happened so I’m heading back to the corporate world to see what I can make of it.

In any case, this Tuesday I am joined by my darling friends Helen and Chris who have come down to visit me and a couple of other bits of Tasmania for their first wedding anniversary. I love being the excuse for friends to visit this beautiful island, I honestly do.

TMAG last night.

TMAG last night.

We begin our day with breakfast at Basket & Green and then hit the highway for a DIY tour up through the Coal River Valley, starting with Richmond and heading back down. I’ve been up to Richmond once before but it was for a crazy reconnaissance mission for some edible lavender… don’t ask. There’s no real story. In any case, I haven’t really looked around Richmond properly. That’s what you can take away from this paragraph.

Richmond Bridge, OLD!

Richmond Bridge, OLD!

Yes, Richmond Bridge is old but old in the picturesque sense and not the booooooooriiiiiiiiiing sense. It’s very pretty and also functional, which is just how I like my bridges, and also most of my clothing. It’s apparently Australia’s oldest (known) large stone arch bridge, which is a title I’d be proud of too, and it was first opened in 1825. It’s a lovely place for a picnic and perhaps we should have ended our tour here with wine and cheese instead of starting here. NEVER MIND.

After the bridge, we spontaneously decide to stop at the Richmond Gaol and have a look around. History is very interesting, and often makes me glad to live in the current age. The solitary cells are creepy. I’m glad to have finally seen the Gaol, but it’s probably not going to be worthy of a repeat visit for me. Or even a photo in this blog post. Despite its pretty sandstone buildings.

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Puddleducks!

The main part of the tour is for the wine, as any local who knows about the Coal River Valley will know. We make the executive decision to stop at three wineries, and I get to decide those three, which includes a certain amount of power but also responsibility. Here are one-sentence reviews of each.

Pooley Wines: charming location, lovely almost literal cellar door, oh my gosh there is a cellar door cat this is wonderful, wait why is my favourite wine always the most expensive one?
Puddleducks: Please adopt me, oh except I don’t really like dogs but I suppose these corgis are cute, dear corgis please stop barking that’s really not necessary, oops I drank too much Bubbleduck, oh there’s literally a duck here I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE PUDDLEDUCKS!
Frogmore Creek: What a lovely venue, what lovely wines, what a snooty old bint behind the counter.

Sorry, I’m not very good at one-sentence reviews.

Nice day for it.

Nice day for it.

We actually take our time because we’re in no great hurry, and in between Pooley and Puddleducks we stop at Wicked Cheese to grab some snacky lunch supplies, because I’ve stopped at Wicked Cheese before (that lavender time) and also because cheese. Puddleducks has a BYO Food policy to go with their wine so this is our lunch plan, and it’s an excellent decision.

It’s just a shame that Frogmore Creek is the final note on the tour… or is this the final note:

Nice haul.

Nice haul.

Yeah, it is. That’s much better. Though it’s not actually our final note for the day! We manage to muster a second wind and head down to Ethos Eat Drink for dinner. It’s not my first time, but I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I’m very pleased to be going back again. It is delicious (of course) and I eat ox tongue for the first time, which is strange but not unpleasant (this is how I find myself describing most left-of-centre things I try at Ethos). Duckpond seems to be having a real whale of a time too, so cheers to him and cheers to our grand day out.

Duckpond | Oxtongue

Duckpond | Oxtongue

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.

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?