Jul. 29th, 2013

quiregrrl: (Dancing/Gay)
So, I've been back a whole week, and I still haven't written about my holiday, I figured I best do it now before I forget everything!

Sunday 7th July - we were up at stupid o'clock to fly down to Launceston, where we picked up our hire car and met up with mum and Roger (her husband) for brunch in nearby Evandale, a gorgeous historic town that hosts an annual penny-farthing festival in Spring. We had brunch in the very old bakery, and after a couple of coffees to wake me up a bit I felt much more confident about driving to Hobart. We stopped off at the Gourmet Sauce company just outside of Evandale for some relishes and mustards for Spanky and then continued on down the highway. Next stop was about an hour and a half down the road in Oatlands, another beautiful old town that looks like it's barely changed in the last 200 years, including a very large, very old, windmill which is still used for grinding locally grown wheat into flour. We were tempted by sweet goodies at the bakery, and ooohhhh they were insanely good! the brown sugar and quark tart especially!! Out the front of the pub Spank found a stuffed toy penguin, face down on the footpath, and we decided he clearly needed to be rescued and to come along as our trip mascot. Between Oatlands and Hobart we settled on the name Floyd for our new friend, and he settled comfortably into his place in the car, wedged between the windscreen and dashboard. We made it to Hobart in the late afternoon, and found our way to Spanky's friends' place in West Moonah. We were staying with Meeks and Sarah, and their adorable dog Jaffa, in a cosy house with spectacular views over the river to the back, and straight up Mt Wellington to the front. Mt Wellington was covered with snow when we arrived, although the day had been sunny and beautiful, although somewhat cold! That evening was spent chatting with our hosts, sharing dinner, and playing music. Meeks had a collection of guitars, and a tenor ukulele (half again as big as mine, which is a soprano uke), and she is very gifted musically, unlike me, so it was a bit intimidating trying to play along, but it was fun nonetheless. Then I fell asleep on the couch while we were watching TV and after being tactfully woken by Sarah after I snored a little, I went to bed.

Monday 8th July - we had a bit of a sleep in, and then Spank and I decided we'd go play in the snow on Mt Wellington, as it was another gorgeous day. Unfortunately, the authorities had decided it wasn't safe and had closed the mountain half way up, just above the snow line. There were also a LOT of other people wanting to play in the snow, so although we got to see the snow, we decided not to fight for a parking space and join all the squealing children in the meager snow at that level and headed back down to Hobart where we wandered and explored the city for the rest of the afternoon. I had to find a doctor to get a prescription as my meds had run out the day before, and that ended up being harder than you'd imagine, but we found someone who'd see me without an appointment eventually, and got the drugs, and then did some grocery shopping and headed home. Monday evening was spent cooking dinner for our hosts, and hanging out watching sport on TV. They like sport a lot, every evening spent at home involved watching either cricket or tour de france. I know way more about both now than I ever imagined I would, or wanted to.

Tuesday 9th July - we were up earlyish and headed south to Bruny Island. We caught the ferry across with a bunch of other cars and set out to explore the island. The first stop was Bruny Island Smoke House, where we tasted some yummy hot-smoked meats and fish, and amazingly good relishes. As we had to drive past it on the way back to the ferry we decided not to buy anything just then, but stop in on the way back. Continuing on down the road we marvelled at the beauty of the island, it was just spectacular. Our next stop was the Bruny Island Cheese Company. We arrived just in time for a tasting with another couple of tourists, and the lovely german cheese-maker talked us through and let us taste most of their cheeses, which were nearly all divine. We decided to have lunch there as it was by now nearly 1pm, and ordered the baked OTTO to share - a fresh farmhouse cheese wrapped in prosciutto and baked in the oven until gooey and runny, served with fresh sourdough and olives. We also bought a couple of bottles of cider to wash it down, and sat out on their deck amidst the trees and sunshine to eat. The solitude was somewhat interrupted by our moans at the deliciousness of the food, and the cider as well. Willie Smith's cider is seriously amazingly good cider, the best I've ever had. After lunch we headed a bit further down the road and stopped off at the penguin colony, unfortunately the penguins weren't home, they were at the summer home off in the antarctic somewhere so it was pretty much just a hill full of penguin burrows, and a spectacular lookout at the top, but the views were amazing and it was a beautiful spot to pause a while. Floyd was keen to check it out in particular, and best boy snapped a pic of him leaning up against the "sensitive penguin breeding area" sign. From there we continued on to the south part of the island across the narrow neck road, and our next stop was Bruny Island Winery, the most southern vineyard in Australia. Spank tasted their entire range of wines, while I limited myself to just a couple, although he assures me they were all pretty damn good, certainly the ones I tried were exceptional and I bought a bottle of the Reserve Pinot Noir, which later helped me get through an evening at mums! From there it kind of went down hill a little, and up hill, and along a narrow, steep, rocky, wet, muddy, slippery dirt road... ok, we got lost and ended up traversing the island on what may have been a forestry access road, we saw nothing but trees for an hour or more. It was scary and anxiety-inducing, and the sun was starting to get lower in the sky, and nowhere we were seemed to be on the map we had, and I was Not Happy At All. We eventually managed to get back onto the main road, a lot further south and east than we anticipated, and then had to rush a bit to get back to the 5pm ferry, which meant no more stopping for spectacular views, or smoke house goodies. We did admire the views from the car though, and they truly were spectacular. I'd love to go back to Bruny Island (with a better map) and explore it a bit more. We pulled up to the ferry terminal with only about two minutes to wait until they started loading cars on, so that was lucky! Once back on the mainland we headed the hour or so up the highway to Hobart once more, and into Salamander for best boy to go and register and get his pass for the Festival of Voices, and catch up with other choristers at the festival bar. As we were a bit late getting back, I dropped him at the door and went hunting for parking. Unfortunately, when I got back the doorbitch asked if I was there to register for the festival, and stupidly I said "Oh no, I'm here with a friend who's registering, he's already inside" and she told me the event was only for participants and I wasn't allowed in. I texted Spank, who came outside, and a moment later Festival Dyke (I never managed to get her name, but she was very very cute and one of the organisers/volunteers/festival participant wranglers) appeared, best boy spoke to her and explained the situation and she said "Of course you can come in!". Phew!! Once inside Spank plied me with mulled wine, we had some dinner, found some other choir folk, chatted and schmoozed a little, grabbed some seats eventually when some other people left, and settled in to enjoy the entertainment of several of the participating choirs singing a few songs each. It was a very enjoyable evening to cap off a lovely day.

Wednesday 9 July - up earlyish to get Spanky to his first day of festival workshop and rehearsals, I dropped him off at 9:30am and then spent the morning wandering Hobart, window shopping, and then went down to Salamanca and wandered those shops and bought some possum merino socks and thermals for Spanky, who'd been suffering from frozen feet and generally not loving the cold weather. It was another sunny day so I spent some time just sitting outside in the sunshine in the park down by the harbour, reading my book and soaking up the rays. I picked Spank up at 2:30, and headed home. Spanky had a nap as he was exhausted, and I did some washing, and also offered to iron his choir uniform for the evenings gig, unfortunately our hosts didn't actually own an iron or ironing board. I was gobsmacked! Luckily though, Sarah was home and offered to go and borrow said items from a friend who lived close by, so she brought them back and I was able to get his uniform all nicely pressed. Woke him up, and after a cup of tea and some chatting with Sarah we were headed back into town for the first gig for SGLC. It was "Open Voices", a concert featuring about 10 of the choirs performing throughout the festival, so I dropped him off for soundcheck, found some parking and then loitered around the foyer of the venue and bought my ticket and loitered some more. The concert was great, some of the choirs were significantly better than others, the standouts were the Auckland Girls Choir, and SGLC, but everyone was enjoyable to listen to. AFter the concert I found Spanky again and we headed down to Salamanca to grab some dinner before heading into the festival bar again for their second performance of the night, a somewhat more informal gig than the concert earlier. They finished this set with The Pheasant Plucking Song, which is highly entertaining and the audience loved it! We hung out and listened to the rest of the performances, drank some more mulled wine, chatted with choir friends and enjoyed the ambience.

Okay, it's 2am, I should finish this tomorrow i think!!

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quiregrrl

April 2014

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