It has been a crazy three weeks since I last updated!
Tempest Fugit :)
During my third week of holidays my mum and I flew down to Tasmania to visit/meet with her family. Our plane was Monday morning, but I was so excited that simply had to pack Friday night. I checked the weather in Hobart for the last week and it was lovely, mild conditions, using this as a guide I packed. Then I weighed and re-packed until I managed to get the suitcase down to 7 Kilo, although the airline allowed a maximum of 23 kilo's I wanted to be sure that I could buy a heap of souvenirs and presents.
Mum decided that she would come out to visit with Brett, the Kitties and I at home for the night Saturday. We pottered around, and had a massive delish dinner proudly cooked by Brett of Dry Rub Beef Chops with home grown veg.
The next day I said goodbye to my beautiful kittens, and my handsome man, although I was only leaving for 9 days, I have never been apart from them all for so long in one stretch. Mum and I left before lunch, we had some shopping to squeeze into our day, one of us had to buy a suitcase. After making sure mum was fully packed and her little dogs were taken care of we had an early night.
Finally Monday morning broke warm and bright, the taxi we booked arrived and we headed off to the airport. I think I may have mentioned before that I am not a great flyer, I sit and worry the whole time. I have read, and do understand the basic physics of how/why the big metal bird stays in the air, but this knowledge does nothing to soothe my worries. For me though it is a matter of mind control, although I am tense for the entire time, my flight is not without a measure of excitement. Mum was quite helpful trying to distract me with lollies, books, questions and conversation however I am definitely relieved when we can finally get out of the plane approximately 2 hours and 45 mins later.
We had decided to rent a small car so we could do a lot of day tripping and did not expect anyone to be waiting for us at the airport. We were however extremely pleasantly surprised when several of my Aunts, Uncle and cousins were waiving and waiting, it was awesome. Although I had been waiting for years to be able to get down to Tasmania, and thought time and again what it would be like to see my mothers side of the family again. I was approximately 9 the last time and my memories are few. I found that I was slightly overwhelmed with emotion, I received hugs and kisses as though it was only last week we had been together. We went to have coffee and tried to cram 20 years of catching up into one big conversation. Everyone was laughing and smiling, these people with my mother's and in many ways mine and my sister's characteristics. It is a powerful thing to know that these people are my blood and my heritage.
Finally we managed to tear ourselves apart with promises to catch up in the following days. Mum and I found the Suzuki Swift we had rented and drove off excitedly through to Glenorchy were my Aunty Annie's family lives with their lovely dog Bruce. We had yet more hugs, smiles, coffee and frantic catching up. I saw both my cousins Ben and Sam whom I have met a few times over the years, however I was not prepared to see men smiling back at me and not the mischievous boys of my childhood. We tore ourselves away as it was peak hour and we had a few kilometres to cover before our final destination at my Aunty Bethy's home. Peak hour, I quickly and humorously learnt consisted of around 15 cars, hahaha. I kept waiting for it to get bad, and then finally Mum let me know we had already been through it hehe.
Mum and I had a long day travelling, also had managed to skip lunch in all the excitement. Uncle Michael had that all under control however, a feast awaited us with home grown pink eye potatoes, the magic potato of many, many stories of impressive flavour. I was not disappointed!!! Aunty Beth, Uncle Micheal and also now quite grown up cousins were extremely welcoming and amazingly comfortable and familiar even though I am all but a stranger to them. It was an unexpected pleasure to feel so deeply involved in family immediately, I was prepared it to take a few days before being so accepted. We stayed up and chatted while the sun refused to go to bed, until rather late into the evening. I was rather shocked about the temperature , as mum and I snuggled under a blanket on the couch in the middle of January, deep into an Australian Summer, which for me in my part of this country meant sweltering, hot, humid, burning days around
30 to 40 degrees.
Tuesday quickly appeared after a night of pure, contented oblivion, we stumbled out into the cold summer morning, to gaze rather enviously upon the un-assuming beauty of the quiet countryside that is right out the back door of my Aunts home. After a lazy relaxed morning we headed off into the distance to start exploring this place of rolling mountains, hills, wide open skies, the backdrop for the evolution of my mother and her family. I have known my mother all my life, without ever really knowing what created and formed her, and want to discover just what made her the woman I love, and try to emulate.
We drove through un-ending postcards, picturesque vistas with every turn. Cygnet i was dying to see mostly due to The Gourmet Farmer, Mathew Evans, whom I adore and wish we could follow in his footsteps give up everything and move to this quietly elegant place. It was wonderful to drive through and see these places I had seen on the television screen. We drove through on our way to a Sheep cheesery I had heard about. The view was stunning, and the cheese was delightful, we didn't stay for lunch as we had planned as the atmosphere wasn't conducive to our mood. Uncle Michael had recommended a good lunch spot at the Kettering Pub, which did not disappoint. It was getting rather windy and wet as we pulled up to the pub, out the front of which was Riley, this wonderful, charming old car that I couldn't resist investigating. Inside was warm and lovely, with huge wooden carvings which my photographs do not do justice to. We both ordered the biggest beef schnitzel I have ever seen, which i devoured and then helped Mum finish hers off. Outside into the increasingly wild and wet weather we saw more of the wonderful carvings, and a lot of sailboats!! As the wind picked up we waddled back to the car and I contemplated snoozing off my massive meal.
We drove through the countryside talking and I learnt many things about my family I had never thought to ask, such as Sunday family drives, and about my grandmother. Mum had said she was taking me to the train, I smiled and said OK, all the while thinking I have seen a train station mum!! haha. Finally, at Margate my mother's cheeky grin was explained! Before my eyes was an old steam train of a stunning proportion. Standing on a piece of rail all on its own this train was not only a monument to a bygone era, but each carriage housed a different shop. Lollies, books, pancakes, worldly foods, antiques the lot. I loved it, I want one here where i live, It was brilliant.
After a day where my eyes, and camera shutter finger where beginning to weary due to undulating greenery of a million shades and water views I was relieved to be returning to Aunty Bethy's for a rest and some wine. We chattered the night away, brilliant food once again, and a lovely warm fire rounded off a wonderful day. A few wines, many laughs, and after finally talking the sun to its late, late bed, mum and I shared Damon's room, while he was relegated to the lounge room! For which we are grateful, as we slept soundly once again.
Wednesday we struggled forth into the crisp, clean, air, which is one of the few memories I have spent years trying to explain to people, the air. I have had many a bizarre glance as I prattle on about the quality, the scent which is unlike anything else I have known that, It really is something else, mum and I spent days trying to capture and explain its essence.
This day we dedicated to the local Huonville and surrounding countryside. The home where my mother grew up, the apple shed, the waterway under the bridge which was played in by the entire lot of children, the little beach front where she loved to play in these chilly summers. It was all a wonderful insight into my mother the person these experiences made her become. Stories and places which ultimately help to form who I am, and who I might yet become. I was touched by the introspective look upon my mum's face as she crept up to the old apple shed and peeked through the gaps with memories shining brightly in her eyes. I was trying to keep my emotions under control as I saw her reach out and with one finger simply touch the outside wall, smile, then walk away from it towards me.
We each collected a precious river stone for memories sake and after quite a lot of photographs we left it all behind.
We drove along as she regaled me with stories of the orchard, all the men playing cricket together, of the home, garden of family secrets and of childhood adventures roaming the hills. All of which is a world away from my city childhood, that it is nearly impossible to comprehend the difference.
We drove all over all afternoon, it was really a wonderful day, a great experience and a wonder that we hadn't thought to do this years ago.
We drove from Hounville, down to Dover, hitting these exquisite scene despite the overcast day. We packed alot into that day, wonderful wooden statues, a museum dedicated to the wood industry, a lot of photographs. Then we stopped into an old turn of the century cemetery were it was suspected some of our ancestors lay. I got some lovely, eerie pictures there.
Eventually we worked our way back home to yet another filling stunning meal, and warmth not only of the hearth but of the family smiles. We spent hours talking, drinking wine, pouring over recipes, old recipe books, and family favourites, which I am still VERY excited about. I have a pile of papers and recipes to go through one rainy day and it was one of the many, many highlights of my week. I was having a ball and never wanted to leave, I was beginning to wonder if there is a way I could be calling this patch of earth home.
Thursday came way too quickly, my holiday was halfway over! Uncle Michael had a wonderful surprise idea for us, a trip to Bruny Island. We all piled into the four wheel drive and chattered our way to Kettering Ferry, surprisingly we even made it on time! We drove onto the ferry with many other people in anticipation of a brilliant day, which is exactly what we got!! We drove around the north of the island, taking photo's of its beauty, marvelling at the harsh lives people must have lived to colonise this small island. We stopped to stretch our legs and discovered a real gem, The Bruny Island Cheese Company, the most awesome cheese ever created. We had a look around, Mum and I lined up in front of the counter for a cheese tasting. The gentleman behind the cheese samples was extremely informative and helpful, we tasted some wonderful cheeses, for each he had a story of how it was made, how long it takes, and why they had the names they did. ODO (one day old cheese), TOM were my favourites. We bought a couple, and i have every intention of ordering some up from their website. After this I got some stunning shots, or so I thought, until we reached a place called the neck. This thin piece of land tapers dramatically with brilliant opal blue/green sea on either side. At the neck is a place Aunty Beth and Uncle Michael kept calling the steps with large smile upon their faces. Indeed once we disembarked from the four wheel drive we discovered white steps. Up they rose to the heavens above, mum joked and decided there must be 3000!!!
Luckily it wasn't a hot day, and there was a slight breeze picking up as we climbed up to the sky. I was unsure I would make it, yet with burning leg muscles I got there......and well worth it was the sight. Stretched out as far as I could see was beautiful water, sky, and land.
After all those stairs lunch beckoned, so off to Bruny Island pub we trekked, a pub which is reputed to be the Southern Most Pub in the country. It certainly had one of the most stunning beaches for a pub lunch of crumbed lamb cutlets and veg, it was so good I could of licked the plate!
The day was getting away from us somehow and we still had one more place on our list. Further south we ventured, weaving our way towards the lighthouse. It marvels me that it was ever built at all considering its location at the top of a hill, as far south on the island as possible, however there was no denying it was worth the drive. The walk up the hill was a challenge, but at least worked off the calories from lunch. Up at the top was 360 degree views, I took many, many photos just as every day and every view before, I was convinced I would never see anything as beautiful anywhere else.
We climbed back up into the ute and Uncle Michael showed us several places out of the way for camping, and then we headed back to ferry, weary from journeying from end to end of Bruny Island.
That night sleep was definitely welcome as my legs protested about doing more exercise in one day than i had in 6 months!! I lay down, excited for the morning, Friday was family day.
Friday was a morning of cooking, and organising until people started to arrive bringing a mountain of delicious food with them. Quickly we settled into eating and many conversations sprung up at once. Talk of recipes, our lives and homes, and as much laughter as could be contained by one brick home. It was a pleasure to be able to see everyone all at once together. It is strange how many of the mannerisms had crossed the kilometres to my sisters and myself. Some of which were simple, such as the uprising of an eyebrow, or a certain manner of laughing, others were more obvious to me, such as the manner in which when in deep conversation many of my aunts, uncles and cousins place their hands upon their chin or mouths. It was wonderful to see my mum in a role of sister, instead of mother. Many memories were shared over countless pieces of food, every few minutes I found myself saying to Aunty Kaye "I'm not hungry, but this looks delish!'' As I ate my way through a weeks worth of food and calories in a few hours. There were family photo's taken, promises to keep in touch but all too soon the day flew by and I had so, so much fun. I miss everyone already.
Saturday had arrived far too quickly, I swear we only flew down moments before. The day was as action filled as all the others. We went to Salamanca Markets, which are the best markets I have been to in years. They were HUGE!! With so much great stuff to see. A lot of yummy food, but as we ate our own body weight in food on Friday we decided to skip that pleasure. That is until we saw the jam filled doughnuts! We wandered, and gawked at many stalls, I bought many presents, mostly presents for myself, but also a few for others. Up and down we dawdled, smelling all the stalls that had food, the stalls with wooden carved items. There were hundreds of people there all enjoying the music, food, stalls and magic, and somehow in the midst of it all we bumped into Aunty Sue, My cousin Angela and her pretty daughter. We stopped, had a quick chat, but as I had quickly run out of arms to carry goods, eaten my fill and looked at every last stall we said goodbye. Mum and I moved on to visit the Hobart Botanical Gardens,which are huge! Filled with massive, ancient pine trees, we saw the ABC Gardening Australia Vegie Plot which looks bigger on TV! That I found really exciting, we had a ham sandwhich picnic near the Tree Fern Gully. We even managed to seen a black fluffy bunny rabbit sitting under a brick archway, it was very Alice in Wonderland for a heartbeat. We tried to find the Wollemi Pine that was on the map, but we were pooped, and despite being determined our tired legs won, so we decided it must have died, therefore doesn't exist so we didn't miss anything at all. On the way home we visited the high school, and one of the first places my mum lived out from home, and wonderful Cascade Brewery.
Sunday morning we had a relaxed, lazy slow start, after a full and almost overwhelming week, we went to the Cemetery where my grandparents and lie, which was emotion filled, yet something I had to do. Sunday night Uncle Chris, Aunt Lisa, and my awesome cousins came to visit, we talked and ate all the bright sunny night through.
Monday we slept in, and then made sure to have packed everything carefully, we started to say our goodbyes, the week had just flown by, we saw, and talked about sooo much, yet had only just scratched the surface, I didn't want to go, I needed more time. We returned the car, and met Aunty Kaye, Aunty Sue and Uncle Philip at the airport. I began the inevitable struggle to remain calm about the impending flight. We said goodbye once again, but hopefully not for long.
All these people whom I've really only just met, and haven't even begun to get to know. I hope to make it back before too long, and I certainly wish that these kilometers I have put between us don't hamper our newly formed friendships. Thank you all so much for helping me learn about who I am, who my family is, where we come from and who it is possible for us to become.
I hope to hear from all of you soon.
With my love, til next time.
Kiss, kiss, hug hug!
(PS. Please forgive any errors, it is a rather long post!! I will try to update with photo's in the next few days)