Ramblings from Nature

Today it has been extremely warm and sunny, so I took a stroll around the vineyard.  It was evident that spring had arrived in full force.   People say it’s cold here and it certainly was in the winter, but the spring is amazing, I can sit out in the sun with a warm gentle breeze brushing against my face and it just feels comfortable.  Sure it is not as hot as Sydney, but who wants to spend their time sitting in air conditioned rooms hiding from the searing heat when you could be out enjoying warm sun and fresh air?

I strolled around , up and down the rows of vines admiring how quickly the vines changed from looking boring brown  and dormant to a vibrant green and so full of life, as if the leaves burst out from almost nowhere in just a few short days.  After a while I found a spot among the rows where I could sit hidden among the leafy vines and survey the peaceful surrounds, breathe in the fresh air and admire the miracle of Mother Nature.

In the city my mind was constantly buzzing with everything that needed to be done, every place I needed to be, the constant traffic noise, and the struggle to drive even a short distance without having to allow an hour to get somewhere.     Now I stare across the valley at the green grass covered hills, separated by a road where occasionally a car drives by producing a slight hum before the sounds of nature once again take over.   I wonder how long it will take before the urban sprawl spreads this far.

In the short time we have been here I have seen Hobart spread taking in what was once a small town called Cambridge.    Every time I pass through the town I see a new home which has just been completed and already a new family has moved in even though the new subdivision hasn’t yet been completed

Currently there is still a 10km stretch of road between Cambridge and Richmond where we reside,  that still has a number of vineyards,  farms, cheese and artisan chocolate outlets,  however there are council murmurings that it may be prime land to subdivide.  There is no doubt that that these rolling hills will soon be covered with new homes.

I take a deep breath of clean fresh air close my eyes and contemplate the noises around me, birds singing, and the distinctive sound of the heavy wings of the lapwing plover that flies overhead on its way to its nest nearby.    It has had a new born chick hatch recently; I have watched this little bird family grow from early spring when the male bird started swooping me in an attempt to dissuade me from visiting his nesting area.  Now that his young one is more mobile he seems to more accepting of my regular presence.

A fat yellow bumblebee flies past my face making me contemplate how different the wildlife is in this part of Australia compared to Sydney.    I have never seen a bumble bee on the mainland I thought they only existed in New Zealand yet here they are in this magnificent piece of Australia.  Such a beautiful rounded bee, although a bit too fond of the smell of my sunscreen for my liking as he keeps trying to land on my face.

In the distance I hear the children’s voices being carried on the breeze; they love this place so much even S has taken to playing outdoors in a way I could never have imagined just a few short months ago.   She is often up a tree or swinging on a rope.   When I first arrived here I was concerned that the school curriculum was lagging behind NSW, but after being here for a while and watching the way children play when they are bored I realized that they actually are more developed than their Sydney counterparts.  As long as students know the how to read write and do maths they can do amazing things when they are allowed to just go and create and find their own solutions to problems.

They have no homework here and given that there is actually no scientific evidence to prove homework makes a difference I am glad, S has so much extra time to hang out in the garden working out for herself how to create a rope swing strong enough to carry her through her acrobatics.  She has also created a rain gauge and an anemometer – this for the girl that claims she is not interested in science

I wonder where this great obsession of forcing kids into prescriptive learning for hours and hours a day including weekends and public holidays actually came from.   While at the same time the Department of Education and the Government are concerned about how Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of innovation.   My question is when they have got time to create and innovate if they are continually bombarded with homework and extra tutoring to keep them constantly busy?

I digress from discussion about how amazing it is to be out in nature, all I want to say is spend time looking at the natural world around you.  Find a nice spot outside; mindfully listen to the birds and the sounds around you, clear your head of the chatter and you never know what great ideas will come to you.

And so it is.

A Huge Milestone Nearly Slips By

J started big school today.   It should have been a relaxing day when mama paparazzi could have taken lots of pictures, then walked him into his class said goodbye and gone home to worry about how he is doing and contemplating how fast his childhood is slipping away… In reality the morning was spent screaming at his big sister to get moving then spending hours trying to comb a tennis ball sized (and shaped) knot out of her hair that she had cultivated over her three and a half weeks off school…

I have been contemplating childhood today and how we have so much time to spend with our first born versus subsequent children.  Well I only have two – just as well really because I would hate to think how I would cope.    It seemed I had all the time in the world when S was born.  I would stroll around the streets of an afternoon with a dreamy smile on my face pushing my beautiful new-born daughter in her pram contemplating how amazing women’s bodies are to be able to create such a beautiful little thing.    Other cooing parents would stop, stare into the pram and comment on how gorgeous she is.     Poor J, the only strolling I ever did with him is a hurried walk up to the school grounds to drop of his older sister then rushed home to clean up the kitchen before the next feed  a nap and then back in his pram for another brisk walk up the road to pick her up.  No time for cooing strangers.

Now here we are nearly five years later and after spending his formative years tagging along while we dropped his sister at school or watched her assembly performances or took her to drama, it strikes me, he got no quiet time with his mum to contemplate life and ask a million questions like – why is the sky blue?  Why are cats furry?

Today I would have liked to spend a leisurely morning gushing about how handsome J looks in his uniform and taking lots of photos to display proudly on Facebook and on my phone.  Instead  the morning was spent screaming at his sister for letting a tennis ball sized knot grow in the back of her hair over the holidays, while brushing it a little too roughly.  This was promptly followed by screaming at them to hurry up and get in the car as we only have 10 minutes to get to school.

The frost on my car hadn’t time to melt, as we sped along the country lanes, warning alarms on my dashboard sounding, and icicle symbols that I had never seen before lighting up.  Perhaps the car was not supposed to be driven that fast before it had a chance to warm up but hey it’s been a long time since I have had to drive in those conditions.  Thank goodness for country roads and no traffic or traffic lights it turned out we were only about 8 minutes late but not a good way to start at the new school that that was so crowded it had to turn away 17 other families and only just took us out of zone because we were house sitting for another school family who were away overseas.

When I got to the kindy room, the lovely kinder teacher let me take a few hurried pictures of J outside the classroom, unfortunately the sun was in his eyes and he was squinty and distracted.  I felt that I had already intruded on the teacher’s time too much to ask her if I could try few more angles to get a good shot.

A quick squinty photo

The school is amazing and J’s teacher rang me at 11am to tell me that J had seamlessly transitioned into the school routine and was having a good day, just because she knew I was worried that he would be behind all the other children who had started at the beginning of the year and had been drilled on the routine for the last 6 months.

At pick up a happy child came up to tell me he had two Dojo points and had borrowed a book from the school library.    The teacher, who is lovely spent time with me showing me what J had accomplished,  but also gave me a firm reminder of drop off times and could I please get him there earlier in future.

S also had a lovely day despite her teary start and came home happy that she had made a friend to play with at lunchtime and earned a dojo for PE.   They also had school assembly where both S and J were asked to stand up so all the students could say a special welcome.

To top it off I also got a few pictures of them in their uniforms when they got home before they wanted to race off again to climb the tree before dinner.

 

Hello Tasmania

A cold frosty Devonport morning greeted us as we drove off the Spirit of Tasmania at 6.45am.  We grabbed an overpriced but hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs at a nearby motel before hitting the road Richmond bound.

There were whinges of how cold it felt from our poor Sydney born children but once we were on the road and the car had warmed up, the whinging soon gave way to exclamations of amazement as they stared out the window at field upon field of frosted grass.

frosted grass

The long stretches of straight motorway soon gave way to long, winding sealed roads that lead us into the hills that surround Richmond.  The frost soon burned off, the fields of white giving way to the sight of the tough brown grass that covered the hills.   I am sure as winter fades and the vines spring back to life this area will look amazing.

We arrived at Charles Reuben our new home for the next  six months around 11.30am, after introductions and a brief lunch we moved into the accommodation on the property.  Now the adventure is about to begin.

Chrales Reuben Estate Tasmania

The Spirit of Adventure

The Spirit of Tasmania only does overnight sailings during the winter months, but you still get a spectacular view of Melbourne’s city lights as you depart.

Boarding Spirit of Tasmania was smooth and painless; we drove aboard, parked in the non-descript car park and were in our tiny cabin within 15 minutes.   The cabins were small; neutrally coloured, comprised four bunk beds, and a tiny bathroom which contained a toilet and a miniscule shower.  We were told we were only able to bring a small carry-on bag each into our cabin and it is clear as to why.

2017-07-10 17.26.45

 

After dropping our bags in our room we headed up to Bar 7 for a glass of Shiraz (the kids had fruit juice).    We found a table that was perfectly poised to watch the sunset and the bright lights of Melbourne drift away over the horizon as we left the port.   Once it was pitch black outside it was time for a bistro style dinner at TMK (The Market Kitchen), the ferry’s on board restaurant.  We retired to our cabin after that as we had a long day ahead of us the next day starting at 5.45am and we wanted to get the kids into bed.

The captain warned us that once we passed the Melbourne heads at about 9pm we would have some rough sailing conditions due to strong winds.   Little did I know how rough as I lay on the top bunk I was trying not to vomit as the bed tilted roughly backwards and forwards length ways.   Going to the bathroom was a mission in itself as I stumbled toward the tiny en-suite like a drunk, crashing into the bunks as I went.  Unable to sleep I lay there listening to the creaking sounds as the life rafts outside swayed heavily on their ropes.    The good news was that the rough weather soon gave way to a gentler rocking helping me drift off into a peaceful slumber.

At 5.45am we were woken by a firm but friendly voice telling us that it was time to get up and prepare for disembarking at 6.30am.   We were called back to our cars by deck number, once we reached our car it was only a few minutes before the doors opened and we were able to drive off the ferry into the cold Devonport fog.

The Spirit of Tasmania is a great way to travel, the on boarding and disembarking process was easy and efficient,   I would highly recommend it.

Our Journey from Sydney

We left Sydney 7th July around 5.30pm, already 2 hours behind schedule.   Our plan to lead a simpler less cluttered life but in reality we are still fairly shallow when it comes to hanging on to stuff.  Hence the needed to make a number of unplanned trips to our storage unit to store items we cannot bring ourselves to get rid of.

Just when we believed we had finished ferrying our belongings back and forth to the unit and we were down to a few essentials, we realised that we could still not fit all the remaining items into our Mitsubishi Outlander and had to make yet another trip to the storage unit.

The aim for that evening  was to make it out of the city, on our long car journey to Melbourne and that we did, we got to Goulburn had MacDonalds for dinner  and checked into the very lovely Best Western.

We planned to do no more than four hours driving a day as anyone with young kids knows that to do much more would mean arguments fights and constant whining from the backseat.  On the second day we drove from Goulburn to Wangaretta, with just a short stop at the Criterion Hotel in Gundagai for lunch – I would not recommend – ‘nuff said.

On Sunday we continued to Melbourne.   Just was we were nearing the city we got a call from the Adina Hotels and Apartments in St Kilda asking us why we did not show up last night.  Er we were supposed to be booked for tonight, said Paul.  I checked the paper work and indeed Paul had booked us for Saturday night rather than Sunday.    We asked if they could book us another room they said yes but because we booked through Expedia they can’t refund the previous night.   Fair enough it was our stupid mistake, at least they had a room for us that night.

The staff at the Adina were brilliant, they not only booked us another room at a heavy discount they were so apologetic about not being able to refund us; they upgraded us from a suite to a two bedroom apartment.   Now that’s what I call service Adina and we will be back and we will recommend you to others.

That evening we had a relaxing meal at chez Reid always good to catch up with friends.