Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wild weather, birthdays and a very sore finger

Last week was my birthday – not a significant one, that’s next year. But it was the day that the weather in Tassie went wild with a capital W. We had about 70 mls of rain and the wind and chill factor had me huddled inside. I was expecting some friends for the afternoon and then later another couple were coming with a wonderful Asian curry for my (our) dinner. As the day continued to deteriorate (weather-wise) I wondered if my friends with the dinner would be able to drive down their bush track, even in the 4WD and contacted them about the safety of the idea. They just laughed at me and said of course they’ll be there. Naturally, the afternoon crowd, who all lived locally, were still around when dinner arrived so it was considerably later when we actually sat down to eat. But it was worth the wait, yum. I had a lovely birthday and it really made me appreciate what good friends I have made since I arrived in Tassie nine years ago. But, I had started drinking champagne at 1.30pm with the first group of friends. I ensured that we had nibbles on the table throughout the afternoon and ensured that I did partake. I then had a good sized serve of the curry etc. but when the whiskey bottle came out later I should have declined. But I didn’t. And I didn’t go to bed until 3.30am. Now my friends stayed over and the next morning I can’t say that we were up and out of bed bright and early. I also can’t say that we looked the picture of perfect health. In fact, after a late lunch of bacon and eggs a certain birthday girl took herself back to bed for a couple of hours. But was it worth it? Darn right it was! There was so much laughter, pretty gifts and good friendship. M apologised for not having a gift for me but said that he had thought about it and he was trying to source a cold climate banana plant for me to grow in the grow house. (He’s since decided to build a separate grow house for tropical fruits since I told him how tall bananas can grow!)

**** Now all of the above was written around the second weekend in June. It’s now July 30th – where have I been and what have I been doing?

The week after my birthday we went to a funeral. A friend in town had contracted cancer and died ten weeks after diagnosis. She was 51 years old and had a loving husband and three beautiful daughters. All of those amazing young women spoke at the funeral and the church was packed. Everyone from our small town had travelled up to Hobart (well it seemed like it). I am never very good at funerals, I cry easily. I managed to hold it together until the final song when the coffin was removed from the church. “It’s time to say goodbye” tipped me over the edge and I don’t think I was the only one. We decided against the cemetery as we thought maybe it was going to be just for the family and made our way home with the friends we had brought along. Unfortunately for the town the friend who died was the wife of the local baker and German coffee shop owner and it hasn’t been open since Easter and now is up for sale.

Then this month another friend died. He was the husband of the lovely Peggy who died last December and I wrote about her then. Dave was 95 and had been in hospital since December. I last saw him around the end of May when he regaled me with stories of Genghis Khan. But he deteriorated quickly and was sent up to Hobart for specialist care and that’s where he died. We didn’t hear about it until I saw a notice in the local paper. He’s back with Peggy.

But back to the living….

In June we went to protest meetings after the state government announced that they were going to close our school. It’s since had a reprieve, for now, and no doubt we’ll be back to the placards in late 2012 when it will start all over again. We have also been to protests about the budget cuts to our local medical centre. We were able to speak to both the Premier and Deputy Premier as M knows the Deputy and I have had many dealings with the Premier through my previous job. Somehow, we were not reassured with the words “We’re not closing the medical centre but there has to be some rationalisation there”. It’s running on bare bones now so which services will they cut? Ah politicians, I don’t envy them their jobs but it would be nice to get straight talking sometimes.

Did I mention that I’ve lost my job? Oh yes, the financial crisis has certainly arrived in Tassie. I was only working one day a fortnight but now even that has finished. I used to use the cash for the food bill so there’s going to be a bit of downsizing on “yummy treats”. However, with the extra time at home my sourdough baking is coming on a treat. M has gone to visit his parents in Launceston this weekend and has taken three loaves with him for them to try, one white, one multigrain and one rye (thanks to Kate from Vegetable Vagabond for the rye recipe) and a large bag of Asian lettuce mix from the garden.

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This is one of the white loaves I made yesterday.

As for the garden, well the weather has been soooooo unpredictable this winter. We have had many frosts and wet and windy days. I remarked that I thought that it was a lot colder this year to M as I was even wearing a long sleeved spencer under my woollen jumper. Something I have never done before. He said it was because I had my hair cut short at the wrong time of the year – oh duh… So consequently the veggies have been somewhat neglected. The lettuces and rocket are still going strong; the chooks ate all my kale (while it was still growing); I finally pulled the last of the tomato plants out in mid-July; and have planted brassicas, peas, garlic and silver beet.

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Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli                            garlic

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silver beet and peas                                          lemongrass

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tiny avocado plant                                            first head of broccoli


the first (very blurry) buds of the Satsuma plum

I think I’ll have to go to dot points or this will never end!

  • Took the granddaughter to Cirque du Soleil – fantastic
  • Saw the show Chicago which was presented by Hobart college students – very professional
  • invited to a Christmas in July in June – ate far too much
  • three friends with birthdays – ate too much
  • booked the villa for Bali next year for my significant birthday with five friends – YES!
  • off to Adelaide to see the family next week and then on to Mission Beach to stay with friends – some sunshine please
  • have an inner ear infection affecting my balance – Labyrinthitis, a very Alice in Wonderland name for an ear infection and found out I have the blood pressure of a 10 year old (pity about the rest of me)


And in the words of our beloved Peter Cundall – That’s your blooming lot!


ps. Just in case anyone is wondering about the sore finger in the title – well I can’t remember so it can’t have been that sore can it?