Monday, January 29, 2018

Big Days Out

Jeanneret Beach, Bay of Fires

Ah, summer holidays. The first question everyone asks is, "Where are you going over summer?" And my answer mostly is, "Well, nowhere actually." The subject of my sermon today is, 'Why you don't have to get on a plane to experience the good life.' Choosing experiences over stuff is all very well but experiences don't have to involve exotic, far away places. One of my recent resolutions is to learn to live deep in the place where I already am. I could spend a lifetime walking the forests and towns of Tasmania and discovering the birds, the fungi, the plants and the extraordinary human history just on this little island where I live. To be honest, I hardly even do that. I like my house, my garden, my neighbours, the little patch on the mountain I find myself visiting on a regular basis.

Liffey Falls

But certain family members get restless, and other family members come to visit, with their partners, best friends, cousins, great aunts etc, in tow, and sometimes I find myself under pressure to actually leave the house. Sometimes I find myself entangled in schemes to go away for a few days, camping or staying at a house at the beach, or other variations on that theme. And let's face it, while that always seems worthwhile in retrospect, it is completely exhausting before, during and after the event, with all the packing, cooking, washing, cleaning and organising that goes with leaving the house for a few days. Like Armageddon, with suitcases. Clearly, event organisation is not my thing. So this summer, I have been encouraging Big Days Out instead.

Honeycomb Caves, underground river

Most places in Tasmania are within two hours' drive of most other places, so in high summer, if you leave earlyish you can have a good six to eight hours of being in a whole different place, and then get home in time to sleep in your own bed. Oh, my goodness, I appreciate my own bed. I think I must be getting old. There are so many benefits to this scheme. Food for one day is relatively easy to prepare and stash in an esky in the back of the car. Sleeping bags, tents, toothbrushes, camping permits etc are not required, nor is it necessary to sell one of the children to finance overnight accommodation. It is easier to persuade friends and family to join you for one day, thus spreading the joy and the food preparation and sharing the children around.

Honeycomb Caves - quick, count the children, have we lost any?

This summer we have been to the beach, been caving in unguided caves in the hills, clambered up and down waterfalls, discovered two new river swimming holes, been blueberry picking and picnicking, and well, now would be a good time to stay home, I think.

On top of the world - The Sidling Lookout

Being Tasmania, most of our adventures have been in the great outdoors, but city Big Days Out could be very creative and fun and cheap as well. For me, art galleries and botanic gardens would always top the list, but it is possible there are other entertaining free things to do in a city as well.. anyone?

Tell me about the Big Days Out you enjoy in your part of the world..

Monday, January 8, 2018

Three New Things

Margaret's garden - tea tree and bird houses

A week or so ago my mother asked plaintively if she had been dropped off the blog. My dad then explained that isn't how blogs work. Sorry mum, it isn't you, it’s me. Kind people have been emailing me to see if I'm ok. That is so lovely, and thank you. As you can see, I am still here, and my new year began at the end of last year with a string of good things.

Thing One: Yes, the article in the summer edition of Earth Garden with my name at the top. So very excited and happy to see this. The beginning, and gods willing, not the end, of the rest of a lifetime of writing things to send out into the world. And certainly not the end of sending words out into the world via All the Blue Day. Still so much to say :)

Thing Two: My first gardening job! This is me in my mushroom hat, which I have since mislaid, much to the relief of my children. I am in the beautiful garden of my friend Katherine, where I spent some pleasant and productive hours. Today I spent more hours in Margaret’s garden, which is one of my favourite gardens ever. I feel so lucky to have be working in such lovely surroundings with such good people.

Thing Three: There is.. a man. This was not part of my plan. I have so many plans, and none of them involved a man. All of them involved me being a woman alone. I was so content and happy to live my life on my own terms, make my own plans, think my own thoughts. But what happened? The universe brought me a man. I had no sooner set eyes on him, than I knew. Here he was. That one I hadn't been looking for. He lives in a wee cabin on a mountain where he thinks his thoughts and makes his things and hand-feeds bananas to skinks. And now I have two lives. My normal daily life in a cottage in the city with all the children (so many children right now. All of mine, and then some). And a second, secret life in a cabin on the mountain with the birds, the echidnas, the banana-loving skinks, and that man I accidentally fell in love with..