Jul. 17th, 2014 02:29 pm
shapeofthings: (fight)
I miss you so much but the time's not yet right to go home.


What is home anyway? )


This journey's far from over.


Feb. 7th, 2013 04:45 pm
shapeofthings: (Hug?)
Ah shit...

Everything smells of smoke again.

This one's about a half hour drive from my house, in a pretty place I like to go walking.

I've been on the road for the last couple of days. It's so dry out there. So dry. I've never seen fire weather this bad.

I've driven through 2 of the last fire zones recently. I'm used to bushfire, but I've never seen anything like this before. I've never seen a fire burn so hot. In places there's just nothing left.

How long until it finally starts to rain again?
shapeofthings: (Wandering)
Tonight I am going to this: MONA Bushfire benefit concert.

Yup, MONA, our crazy-beautiful private museum (MONA) and arts festival (MoFo) people are putting on a bushfire benefit concert tonight on the waterfront and I've just bought myself a ticket.

I could have gone for free entry. Our top-end taiko drummers are performing, y'see, and I was down to be a roadie, but given I was sick yesterday and I'm still limpy from the gimpy knee acting up I passed on my place to someone more able-bodied and was just going to go home and sleep tonight. Friends are catching the concert though, and it'll be ace to see my friends up on stage, the only Tassie act in a show featuring the likes of David Byrne and Neil Gaiman (MoFo just wound up and most of the acts are still in town). It makes me feel a bit better about missing the entirety of MoFo this year too. So after work I'll hobble down to the waterfront and spend a lovely evening in the wonderland I call my home town.

<3 Hobart.

So, yesterday, I started to feel a little less virus-ridden by the afternoon so I hopped into the car and took myself off for a scenic drive in lieu of the walk I'd planned. I picked up a pair of European back-packers in the city and let their destination dictate my route. They were headed out Margate way, so after dropping them off I continued down to the Channel.

At Kettering I stopped off at Nutpatch, a chocolate shop run by a family with a hazelnut plantation. It's a tiny shop and all the chocolates are made on site. I'd been planning on checking it out for months, only to find I'd arrived a little past closing time. The owner-chocolatier was still on site though and insisted I come in, handing me a creme-brulee choc as I entered and happily chatting away. After 3 free samples and a chinwag with Giovannni I bought more than intended and went on my way, following the coastline around to Cygnet in the golden late-afternoon light then shooting home through the Huon Valley.

One day I might buy myself a little place down the Channel somewhere. Perhaps the village of Woodbridge, so pretty nestled between the hills and the water and only half an hour to Hobart. I could have my own cottage and a garden big enough for a veggie patch, some fruit trees, a dog or two and some chickens. It would be lovely, and in my mind's eye I can see it, beautiful.

It's not what I want right now. For the moment adventure is calling and I want to immerse myself in the wider world. I think I'd want to come back here though. This place is home. Not Brisbane, not Melbourne, but my lovely little Tasmania with her wild country and kooky inhabitants, with more artists and scientists per capita than any other Australian city, balanced out by the most narrow-minded NIMBYs and uber-bogans. This strange little island where magic things happen and the Mountain sings to my soul.

<3 Tasmania.

shapeofthings: (Wandering)
I've just had "we all got caught up the fires and survived" drinks with the neighbours. Have I mentioned how awesome my neighbours are and that they have become good friends? I am so damn lucky to live here.

Anyway, they were caught down in Primrose Sands, which was cut off and under severe risk from the fires. I got in touch with them by phone yesterday and was very pleased to see them home today. My uncle and aunt in Lewisham are fine and prepped to evacuate should the fires worsen in their area. My friend in Bicheno is fine and the fire there is now under control. Likewise for the friends in Hamilton I was staying with on Friday night - all calm there now and no immediate threat. An uncle and aunt are still out of contact in Port Arthur, but there's no fire there at present so I'm not worried; just no power or phone communications or any road access.

Of course it's not over yet. The Repulse and Forcett fires are still out of control and if conditions worsen they could take off again. They're both huge too (~10 000 and ~20 000 ha respectively), with massive fire fronts. There's no rain in sight and conditions will remain warm for the rest of the week, though not as insanely hot as Friday, so the fire risk is still very real for a while and the firies are still working very hard.

Someone I know is coordinating the feeding of the fire-fighters up at the Repulse blaze. I've donated four-dozen eggs and some baked goodies and am on duty to keep supplying special-dietary-requirements-friendly treats for the week ahead. They're doing an amazing job and the least we can do is feed them well. Hopefully the garden will recover enough that I can also supply some veggies too in a couple of days. Although I've only lost a few young herbs, the growth tips and leaves are burnt on most everything in my garden, so we'll see how well it all recovers.

The Ladies are doing fine after spending Friday on ice bricks. The two brown girls are even still laying! People are chipping in every way they can to help those who've lost everything in the fires. Humans can be utterly brilliant sometimes.

In a few minutes I'm going to walk down to see Hobart Kat and take her some home-made lemon & raspberry sorbet. Kat's family home burnt down a few years ago, and although the whole family survived, the smell of fire is not a pleasant experience for her. Right now Hobart is hazy with smoke and everything smells faintly of burning. Sorbet will help.

If you want to help out those who've lost their homes to the fires, you can donate here: (as you can see, I've donated my photos - hey, it's a start!). In the meantime, please send rain!

Hell's gate
shapeofthings: (Default)
Taiko remains one of the best things ever. If I have to leave Hobart i'm going to miss my group of mad drummers so very much.

Posted via

Hobart life

Feb. 5th, 2012 03:17 pm
shapeofthings: (Wellington)
This afternoon, stopped at a traffic light, I briefly met a 3rd cousin on my father's side.
shapeofthings: (bloop!)
Yesterday... it was only yesterday but it feels half a world away. Yesterday we went to Freycinet, rocky peninsula half-way up the eastern coast; a world of pink feldspar peaks and turquoise bays. Yesterday I fell into a paradise of rock, sand and sea.

We'd spent the night in Swansea, in a little cabin by the beach (my friend [ profile] playdoe_man and me). The afternoon before was rainy and I delighted in racing through the shallows in the rain, ankle-length skirt billowing out in the sea, the smell of rain, salt and sand so evocative of childhood: the camping trips in Easter with inevitable rain.

But Sunday, she dawned in style, the sunlight slipping past the curtain edge waking me at half-past five, summoning me back to the beach to bask in her beauty. The day was going to be spectacular, I couldn't wait to hit the road.


Heading back, I hammered on the other door til [ profile] playdoe_man emerged, sleepy-eyed and grumpy, and threw the day at him. Time to go, Allan, time to go. By 7 am we were finally on the road. Freycinet: an hour along the road, a different world. Come with me... )


Nov. 19th, 2011 05:12 pm
shapeofthings: (Default)
On a rainy day road trip up the Tassie east coast with [ profile] playdoe_man. Planning a lovely hike through Freycinet National Park in the morning, so hopefully the weather lifts. For now we're holed up in Swansea for an evening of relaxing, watching the rain sweep across the bay.

Posted via

shapeofthings: (bloop!)

...and people still ask me why I live here.

It's been three years today!
shapeofthings: (Wellington)
Did any of my Aussie friends happen to catch Gourmet Farmer on SBS tonight?

If so, "wild food expert" Anita Wild is a friend of mine. We spent a pleasant hour today gossiping over tea and plotting future foodie adventures.


shapeofthings: (Diva)
Road-side eggs - Piper's River; Snowdrop Cemetery - Windermere; Toad Hall - Windermere;
Echidna crossing - Windermere; Black Forest Smallgoods - Launceston; Rimfire Sports - Launceston
Gasworks - Launceston; Black Forest Smallgoods - Launceston; Leaning Church Vinyard - Lalla;
Leaning Church tasting - Lalla; Friendly goat - Lalla; Lunch @ Bay of Fires - Piper's River

Between soccer games I took the opportunity to explore a little bit of Launceston and the East Tamar region. It was utterly lovely and somehow I came home with an interesting collection of fresh eggs, venison, hand-made smallgoods and a few bottles of wine. I am utterly hopeless at resisting such things. It was a very good weekend.

City Park, Launceston
shapeofthings: (Default)
Ok, I am most definitely insane. I have just booked myself in to spend 7 days over New Years in the middle of the Tasmanian wilderness. I'm going on a rafting trip down the Frankin River, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

If the river itself doesn't kill me[1], the portages and day-hike up Frenchman's Cap will come close!

The Franklin's a part of this island I've been keen to see for a while. It's apparently stunningly beautiful and is also an interesting part of Tasmania's history. The modern green movement was born here when the Hydro Electric Commission moved to dam the Franklin in the 1980s. Protestors successfully prevented the dam from being built, bringing down a government in the process. This makes the trip particularly interesting to me, being an ecologist, environmentalist and supporter of the green movement, and also a current employee of the descendant of the old HEC. Poignant, no?

Meanwhile I'm off to Launceston this evening, spending the weekend "up north" for a soccer tournament in my role of team manager for the southern girls under-16 squad. I've got plenty of time between games so I'm hoping to get out exploring and photographing, providing the weather cooperates and I can drag myself out of bed for the early morning light. A visit to the Ninth Island winery would go down nicely as well. I'm yet to even pack and am not looking forward to driving up in the dark, dodging the wildlife (both human and marsupial).

May your weekend be what you need it to be, I'll catch you when I get back.



[1] Refer to Richard Flannagan's debut novel set on the Franklin River: "Death of a River Guide"...
shapeofthings: (Wellington)
Yesterday the weather was a little feral, with gusty winds and rain showers. After much gazing out the window wondering if I was game to go out walking, the cloud around the mountain finally lifted so I decided to head out.

I checked my book of walks and spied one I'd not done before that seemed to stick to the sheltered side of the mountain (a good idea with the wind) and was listed as moderate grade, taking 3 hours. Since I'd have just under 3 hours of daylight left by the time I drove up the Mountain I decided the walk was do-able, but that I'd leave my camera behind and take a light pack with just a jacket and water so I didn't have any weight to carry and slow me down.

So off I set for the Organ Pipes circuit, a little concerned about the weather, but not overly so - after all there's always other people on the Mountain, I have phone reception up there, and the track was in good condition.

Walk1 Walk2

Heading up from the Springs towards the Chalet was a steep climb of ~300m to 1000m ASL, but occasional breaks in vegetation provided spectacular views, keeping me motivated. I was quite pleased with myself when I finished the climb in good time and not too tired (given I'd been up til 4 am the night before and was rather sleep-deprived).

Once the track levelled out I found myself at the foot of the massive dolerite columns known as the Organ Pipes that crown the summit of Mt Wellington. The track became more of a boulder-scramble in places as I crossed over the remnants of collapsed columns and imagined the sound those falling rocks must have made. Given the rocky footing and steep drop-offs I was glad to be out of the wind and rain, able to enjoy the rather spectacular geology.

Walk4 Walk5

All was well until I rounded a corner and found myself on a boulder slope on the exposed side of the Mountain, being buffeted by a rather cold wind and realising how dangerous this terrain would be should it start raining. I scurried across as quickly as I could and was greatly relieved when I reached solid ground again! I continued on, into the chilly wind, until I reached the Chalet after an hour and ten (posted time: 1 hr 30); the half-way point of my journey (or so I thought).

From here the track crossed the road and dropped steeply into the scrub down to Junction Cabin at ~600m ASL. Great, I thought, this'll drop me back into forest and out of the wind, and with a posted time of 50 minutes I'll hit Junction Cabin with plenty of daylight to spare. Yeah, 50 very long minutes later I finally dropped out of the wind just as I reached the cabin, jelly-legged from a very steep, rough descent across more boulder-slopes and open forest with lots of standing dead trees, with a freezing gale blowing all the while.

Walk6 Walk7

It was now 5 pm, I was tiring and I had about 45 minutes of daylight left. That's when I saw the sign telling me it was still an hour and 20 to get back up to the Springs and my waiting car and I realised I'd made a mistake when I'd checked the walk time: it was 3 hours to the Chalet and back to the Springs via the road, and a wee bit longer for the full circuit walk. I was rapidly running out of daylight, had no food on me, only a light jacket and had left my torch in the car. Concerningly, I'd passed only one other person on the trail and that was almost an hour ago (I guess the weather had scared more sensible folk off). Thankfully I'd at least taken my phone with me, so, feeling rather sheepish, I called my friend K to let her know what trail I was on, what time I anticipated getting back to my car and what to do if I didn't call back by 6:30 pm.

Thankfully the trail from Junction Cabin to the Springs was the easiest leg of the whole circuit; a gentle uphill slope of well-made track, sheltered from the wind, and I found myself making good time, even stopping briefly at Sphinx Rock to take in the amazing views just before sunset. Now that would be a fantastic place to watch the sunrise from on a day with better weather!

Walk9 Walk10

By 5:50 the sun had set completely and the world sunk into dim monochrome, yet I still had half an hour to go according to the posted time (1 hr 20). I found myself wondering how useful a torch my phone would make as I pressed on into the gloaming. I never did find out though, as bang on 6 pm I rounded the last bend and found myself back at the Springs, my little red car all alone in the carpark except for the burnt-out wreck of someone's dumped joyride. Leg muscles trembling with fatigue I happily clambered inside, cranked up the heating and started my journey back down the Mountain into civilization, dreaming of a hot shower and a good feed.

In the end I had a fantastic hike, completing the 9 km walk (with ~400m changes in elevation) in exactly 3 hours (posted time: 3.5 to 4.5 hrs) in challenging conditions. I did, however, take more risks than I should have: this is Tasmania and bushwalks gone wrong are frequently fatal (I checked the weather record for the Wellington summit when I got home - it was 4oC when I was up there, with apparent temps around -8oC and wind gusts around 80 km/hr. It snowed that night). This is the last time I go without my usual stash of trail-mix and and extra jacket, plus I'm buying an LED torch to carry on my keyring. I'm pretty happy that all I have to show for my little adventure is some pretty phone-photos and some tired legs.

Walk8 Walk11
shapeofthings: (Wellington)
I'm home and I'm so happy to be here. While I was away Spring crept in and the warm light is seeping into everything. The plums, apricots and cherries are in flower, pink petals strewn along the footpaths and the impossibly green grass. There are green rosallas in the trees, irises and tulips in my garden and the air smells of life and growth and possibility. The mountain slips into your awareness like a song you don't even notice you're hearing until you're singing along and everything hums a rhythm that seeped into your spirit when you weren't paying attention.

Home. I'm not sure when this strange little city at the edge of the world became it, but right now this is where I want to be. Not this house, perhaps, not this job, perhaps, but yes, this city that some days is so damn beautiful my soul aches. The quiet, mossy forests, the rugged mountain peaks, the wide, briny estuary and the pretty little city. I needed to go away to see more clearly what I have here. I don't want to go, not yet, perhaps not ever.

This is good to know.

shapeofthings: (Hug?)

If the slide's been long and all downhill, or you're bogged down in that sinking feeling;
When hope is sometimes hard to find, and it's been so long since the sun was shining;
Recall there's only so far you can fall before the ground comes up to meet you;
And sometimes when you're stuck down there, profound truths will come to greet you;
Take from the journey all you can, though you may not know it's value until later,
It is the trials that make the man, and these struggles will make you greater;
But above all this, please do remember, when you hit rock bottom to take a minute
And look back up on where you've fallen from to see there may be beauty in it.

shapeofthings: (Default)
Today I decided to venture out for a mini road trip, exploring some of the towns I've only ever driven past before.

I packed myself up in the car with some lunch and a thermos of tea and hit the road for 6 and a bit hours, checking out Campania, Colebrook, Oatlands, Ross and Campbelltown. Sleepy little rural towns of the Tasmanian midlands, rich in history and left behind by the 21st century.

It was good to spend time in my own company, letting my thoughts wander where they would, but with enough to do to stop myself from dwelling on anything. I think it was just what I needed.
shapeofthings: (Wellington)

Good morning!

I have no idea why I'm awake an hour before the sun this morning, but I am, so I decided I may as well get up and see what the day has to offer.

I got back from Cradle Mountain yesterday evening, tired and completely blissed out on life. I had a fantastic time, trekking about a beautiful place with brilliant company. My friend Nat and I have drifted in and out of each other's lives for 19 years now, but after this weekend it feels like we've finally got to know each other properly, as remarkable grown women. I have many pretty images to share with you all.

Reality has been something of a rude shock after a long weekend of wilderness bliss, though I did very much enjoy a long soak in a hot bath last night! And now it's the start of a brand new day. The sooner I head into the office, the earlier I can escape this afternoon, so I'd best make the most of this pre-dawn never-when.

Love & light,
T. x

shapeofthings: (Wellington)
I'm about to head off to have myself a little holiday. I'm off to Cradle Mountain with a friend for an extended weekend, with plans to do lots of hiking and photograph the Fagus, Australia's only native deciduous plant. I've been looking forward to this for weeks!

I've been so excited about it, in fact, that I went and destroyed my budget last weekend and came home with this beautiful object:


Oh yeah!

It's really cold today, so hopefully that means the weather will be fine and I'll come home happy and exhausted with some rather delicious photos.

See you Sunday night!



Apr. 16th, 2011 10:51 pm
shapeofthings: (Default)
Lake Hansen

There's a place where the land holds power,
Where the view fills your soul to over-flowing.
There's a place where the mountains croon lullabies,
To the wild winds that come blowing.

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