Tuesday, 22 January 2013


So what do you do in Hobart when you have visitors from the mainland? Over the last week we dedicated ourselves to the cause and engaged in some serious tourist behaviour......Hobart style.

We journeyed up to the top of Mt Wellington and looked down on Hobart.....which really does appear small and insignificant from such an elevated vantage point:

We ate cake at Sweet Envy......after seeing the stunning 'Life of Pi' in 3D at the fabulously converted State Cinema in North Hobart:

And we went to dinner at Piccolo, which used to be our favourite restaurant around town until we succumbed to the hype of Garragistes....we were wondering why we had left it literally years between meals.....especially as it accepts bookings and look how delicious the food is:

And OF COURSE, as 400,000 people did last year, we went and worshipped at the temple of David Walsh....submerging ourselves for the day at the 'subversive Disneyland for adults' which is (MONA):

Our visitors were lucky enough to score a double dose of the bizarreness which drives the whole David Walsh/MONA bandwagon, as last week was also the MONA festival of music and art, MONA FOMA, to which we all acquired festival passes:

Colloquially, it's referred to as MoFo.....which is a little bit rude, although maybe not as bad as the full word that it's short for. Even our premier referred to it by this moniker out loud on opening night.....the curator Bryan Ritchie from the 'Violent Femmes', who now resides in Hobart, couldn't help himself and had to make mention of much he loves to hear her say it.

We went to four of the five nights of music.....and might just have made it to five if we hadn't snuck in one rather early morning at the disturbingly decrepit and decadent festival nightclub, Faux Mo:

Regardless, we still experienced all manner of acts including a Spanish band kitted out in cowboy hats who played surf music, an Ethiopian Jazz singer, the French Orchestre Nationale de Jazz which played music for Robert Wyatt (who wasn't even there), an insanely boring organ recital in the Town Hall and on Sunday night, the piece de la resistance.....David Byrne and St Vincent.

When they came back for their first encore, Annie Clark recounted how she'd first heard David Byrne's music as a five year old watching the movie 'Revenge of the Nerds' and that she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams that she'd be playing a gig on stage with Tasmania. And she was.


PS While waiting for a concert out the front of the shed amongst the debris from the end of the world......which was how they'd decorated for MoFo.....I was chatting to a dad from school who, back in the mists of time had worked on 'Countdown'. I was recounting the anecdote of introducing our children to 'The Cockroaches' who turned into 'The Wiggles' and guess's true.....Molly may have had a special relationship with the purple Wiggle. And there I was believing that it was just an urban myth for housewives.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


I have declared a moratorium on costly children's holiday activities. We have been skating, out to lunch, shopping, to the Taste Festival x 3 and......$250 later, to the Great Moscow Circus:

I find the culture of children's entertainment expectation hard work. I want my children to be able to make their own fun. I want them to cultivate what Roald Dahl called 'imaginitis'....before it's too late. So, this week we are attempting to see if we can amuse ourselves.....this is a big ask now that we are well and truly enmeshed in the middle of the school holidays. Trust me, it would be easier to cheat and just dump them at the movies or at an indoor play centre or even at home in front of the TV, yet I'm going to persevere.

We are lamenting the fact that the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is closed while they complete their renovation....this would be the entire family's destination of choice however at the moment it's a no go zone. So, this week we have been hanging out at the State Library of Tasmania, at various parks around town and at home. Today, we ventured up to North Hobart and took a turn around the new exhibition at the Bett Gallery before ending up at the State Cinema Bookshop, where we all loitered for quite some time:

I had no choice other than to bring this home:

I'm desperate to start reading it as soon as I finish typing this, yet am sure that it will be sad as poor old Nancy really was very unlucky in love.

I found this book under the Christmas tree:

I could not put it made my husband peevish to see me reading while stirring the custard for the Christmas the same time. The author really threw himself into an extreme Bikram Yoga journey of a time when he'd let himself go so far that he could no longer see a particular part of his anatomy. Next thing you know, he's completed the three month intensive teacher training course and is working on competing in the American national championships. It's a personal story of a yoga obsession which also explores the science behind the practice from an open and fair minded perspective....he even subjects his best friend to classes and charts the results. After reading this book, I couldn't resist the opportunity and have booked a ticket to Rajashree Choudhury's Bikram Yoga seminar in Melbourne next month. Exciting.

Don't panic.....the last couple of weeks hasn't all been about weirdo yoga books, I've also been working my way through the Wallander series, which makes me ache to visit Sweden, and Rosemary Verey's gardening books, which make me wish I worked harder in my garden.

Yet, the most popular Christmas present book by far was this:

Which was wrapped up for the just turned two year old yet yet it's proved to be a hit with the whole family. Can you believe that it tells the story in 12 words and 12 needle felted pictures? Yes, really. Just four pages in you get this:

And then 8 pages later, this:

The conversation that it elicits is's P & P for all ages....even my husband has had numerous attempts at recounting the entire complex plot to children who are hanging on his every word.

Look at what I made on Monday:

I had charge of four extra children, which swelled the numbers to 8, yet ironically managed to find some time to get out the hot glue gun and cover this lamp shade to match the front door. I don't usually do craft yet when I was struggling to find shades for my chandelier last year, I made my own:

When they turned out so well I became carried away and made more to match the 'Imperial Trellis' wallpaper in the library:

Now I'm eyeing off the two nude chandeliers in the living room:

And I'm seriously thinking of sacrificing the skirt of the Matron of Honour ensemble that I wore to my friend's wedding ten long years ago......even though it has recently had an outing:

 The silk dupion is the exact shade of the pink glass detail in the window....could I?

Now to get stuck into that book.


Saturday, 5 January 2013


So, on a sunny day last week we packed up the Volvo with children, food, drinks and assorted beach paraphernalia (including wetsuits) and headed to a friend's family's beach house an hour out of town. Their shack sits cheek by jowl with others, perched on the edge of the beach with startlingly beautiful water views in the midst of now where. Back in the seventies their mum had had a serious interest in wallpaper with hallways, bathrooms and loos still adorned in the patterns which characterised the time.....matching perfectly with the carpet and the repro Van Gogh sunflowers above the mantlepiece. All a testament to the getting away from it all that shack living offers. A more simple way of life. An escape:

In the lounge room there was a turntable dating back to the time when the grown up with their own children....used to work the Hobart party scene as DJ's. So while we drank local wine and had a BBQ lunch consisting of myriad different versions on a salad theme and my husband's home made Roquefort sausages, we took a walk down memory lane by taking it in turns to select records from the box which showcased all the hits from the 70's and 80's. We introduced the children to the Wiggles previous incarnation as The Cockroaches with 'Some Kind of Girl', played Talking Heads in anticipation of David Byrne coming to Mona Foma later in the month, and generally sifted through the Rodney Rude and Mel and Kim albums reminiscing our way through lunch.....while reminding the children not to jump and dance too aggressively next to the record player as they were unused to such prehistoric ways of listening to tunes.

Hidden amongst the box of LP's was 'Strokin' by Clarence Carter....remember?...if not you can refresh your memory here:

I simultaneously wiped the tears from my eyes I was laughing so uncontrollably while thinking that the lyrics really are much more suggestive than I remembered them to be. This song opened the conversational floodgates evoking stories about university college antics (not me), tales of suspension from school for underage drinking (not me)....and bad discoing....OK maybe that was me and other friends will know who I'm referring to.

Then we took the combined 7 children down to the beach where they donned wetsuits and went for a swim.....the adults donned puffas and stood on the sand. It was another perfect day at Connelly's Marsh. We have been fortunate to share many such days with wonderful friends in this particular hamlet as other friends have a family farm and house just across the road.....which has also been the scene of much revelry.

Yesterday, Hobart reached a record temperature of 41.8 degrees and the weather was further whipped into a frenzy by severe winds. Last night, from our upstairs veranda the sky was eerily red over the hills across the river in the direction of the Tasman Peninsula. This morning, we woke to the news that in the early hours both our friends shack and farm were decimated by fire. Both couples had joined us in celebrating the hope and optimism which go hand in hand with New Year's Eve. Mercifully, while they may have lost property and the scene of many happy memories, they and their families are all safe. The beach where the children played last week was from where they were rescued by boat last night as the flames came down to the water. Still the fires on the Peninsula burn uncontrollably. The stories of destruction are truly inconceivable.


Thursday, 3 January 2013


How can it be 2013 already? I must say though that the final days of last year were excessively good fun.......there is something about this time of year that takes me right back to the summers of my misspent youth. Just before Christmas, we travelled back in time to a party in a paddock in the Midlands.....B&S Ball style.....except that it was to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday and there was no denying that we just aren't 19 any longer. I may have momentarily forgotten this fact while discoing to 'Khe Sanh'......belted out by a two man band in the marquee.....can you believe that one of the band was my old school tutor. Bizarre coincidence. In case you're wondering, I'd better just mention that RM Williams were still the footwear of choice for the chaps (my husband's were black denoting the fact that he, obviously, is a townie) yet mercifully the ladies had moved on from taffeta dresses and puffy sleeves.

Hobart really comes alive once all of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht's start arriving:

And this year, while wandering along the docks, if you felt so inclined, you could go skating on a synthetic rink:

Seventeen years ago I met my now husband amidst the fun and festivities that go along with the lead up to New Year's Eve in Hobart......while the friend I was out and about with met a grinder (before you ask, that's someone who operates the winches to hoist and trim the sails on a yacht) from that year's winner 'Sayonara'. We scored an invitation on board for a New Year's Eve party.....this year three of us who went to that party way back then had to make do with a dinner party at my house:

Which was a much more sedate affair.....yet it was still after three by the time it all wound up.

Happy 2013!