Saturday, 28 December 2013
Out and about again on day 3 as Zali was dissapointed to miss the Sheep Farm (i.e. Haloumi Shop) yesterday. We started the day at Flour Cask Bay which has cool sink holes in the limestone which the water dissapears through like a plug hole as the tide washes over it.
It was quite windy again so the weird formations weren't as obvious as the last time we visited, but we still had fun racing up and down the beach.
In keeping with our 'visit different places' drive we went to visit a eucalyptus distillary place which mum would have loved as it sold all sorts of crazy remedies based on eucalyptus oil. What was most amazing was the fact that it was absolutely buzzing with asian tourists buying everything.
From there we went to visit the nearby Lavender farm - no-one was very keen but it was just down the road so we thought we should. Luckily we were saved from admiring their 67 types of lavender by the fact that it had closed - so onwards we went..
I really wanted us to take the mysteriously named 'Bomb Alley Road' back to the highway but it was closed as well. Nevertheless there were a few photo opportunities along the more beaten track.
Onwards to an old favourite, Parndana Wildlife Park, where the kids got to feed the wallabies and kangaroos and get up close with the koalas. So close (and unsupervised) in fact that I'm sure we would have gotten away with grabbing one of them and stuffing it under Jonno's jumper and making a run for it.
Some kangaroos queued in an orderly fashion to get fed by Zali..
While others just rushed her..
After lunch we were finally ready to go to the Pure Island Dairy sheep farm where we paid $22 to watch two promotional dvds and then look through a window at the sheep being milked. We did get some cheese samples but by that time I was (and am) a bit fed up with the 'come to our business, pay money to see what we do, pay more money to buy our products' type of tourism on offer on the island. Holiday timeshare companies would be wishing they had such willing and captive customers!
Anyway back to Penneshaw via a sprint up Prospect Hill and a trip to a really nice art gallery at Baudin Beach which had such cool stuff in it we could have easily spent thousands (but we restrained ourselves). Only the evening bike ride to go.
Whilst travelling around we've had a couple of K.I. locals, upon hearing that we've come from Tasmania on the boat, comment that they reconned the boat to K.I. may have cost more than the Spirit of Tasmania. Um not likely sunshine! I'm not sure what they are being told, but our Spirit of Tasmania trip cost $1400 and that includes a $200 rebate from the government. I'd be surprised that if the trip across costs more than $40 for a local. Stop thy whining K.I. residents!
Friday, 27 December 2013
Today we got out and about a bit.. We decided to eschew our usual route and usual stops and make an effort to visit the places we always seem to miss..
We started with an expensive stop at the Art Glass Gallery where Zali chose a birthday present for herself. Then we went to the town called American River which I'd never been to before..
Then onto Stokes Bay where we had sandy sandwiches thanks to a blowy easterly wind.
To get to Stokes Bay you have to walk through a gap in the rocks. It really is quite narrow - not everyone on our Ferry would have made it through.
Jon and Zali marked that we were on the north side of the island by making an 'N'..
Then we hopped into the car and drove via dirt roads to the south side of the island about 45 ks away - to Vivenne Bay. Strangely it was just as windy there despite being theoretically sheltered according to the map. Zali and Jon made an 'S', to mark the southern side..
(as a family we are so easily amused).
From there we went to Little Sahara to play on the huge sand dunes. They hired out sand boards and sand toboggans but we were too cheap to fork out $19 for an hour per toboggan so we just used our legs. I think some people felt sorry for Zali and Jett attempting to swim breastroke down the dunes so they lent us theirs for a few goes which was cool - next time we'll bring our own though. My only toboggan ride felt like I was having a shower in sand but it was fun.
After that we tried to go to the Pure Island Dairy, but fate punished us for visiting a 'usual' place by having it close an hour earlier than we were expecting - so our attempts at buying fresh Haloumi were thwarted.
We stopped quickly at Browns Beach on the way home to rinse off some sand and inadvertently found the only sheltered beach on the island today - so Jon had a quick swim and the rest of us paddled. I didn't have my camera out too much today as I've found that sand is the death of cameras so you'll just have to take my word for it about the un-recorded stops.
After dinner I went for a quick swim - the water really is warm but perhaps that's because I've been paddling in Hobart all through winter and then we all went for a bike ride. It cost us $88 to get our 4 bikes over to the island so bike riding is compulsory for everyone each day.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Today somewhere between Christmas Lunch and Christmas Dinner, if there is in fact a boundary between the two or maybe they just merge to become a greater eating event simply called 'Christmas Day', Jett and I went for a walk in the nearby national park. Well I wanted to go for a walk, and Jett wanted to use my good SLR camera. So we combined the two wishes and I took the opportunity to teach him about depth of field - or the difference between taking a photo on 'Landscape', 'Portrait' and 'Macro' settings. He picked it up pretty quickly although his interest in birds made some of the shots a bit challenging. Anyway - the following is a mix of his and my photos from the hour or so we were there.. (btw the koala count is 4 which is exciting for us koala starved Tasmanians)
Monday, 23 December 2013
Let me paint you a picture. We've arrived a sovereign hill. It's pretty busy for a rainy Monday mooring and the action is clearly centred around the gold panning creek. We all grab a pan, and get going, expecting to find gold nuggets the size of fists, in just a few minutes. After about 4 minutes it's evident that's not going to happen and Zali and I have had enough but Jett and Jon are still going. A few more minutes and still no luck so Zali and I persuade them to give up and go look at something else, but just as we're leaving, Jon gets some advice and instruction from the staff member in charge.
The kids get back into it with reviewed vigour, and I do to but after about 30 seconds, and no gold (clearly I wouldn't have been a great asset to the family during the gold rush) I'm ready to move on again. Just as I do that Jon finds gold. Then more, then more. It seems he's now finding gold in every pan he picks up. And as evidence, on our way out we returned to the panning place to take a posed photo with Jon's iPhone so he could Facebook it. So he picked up someone's abandoned pan with a few rocks and water in it, and held it out for the photo. After I took the photo he looked down and found another piece of gold. Then another piece - so two pieces in that abandoned pan. sheesh.
So overall Sovereign Hill was ok. I guess. It was pretty expensive ($117 for a family) and that felt quite pricey given the whole experience especially as many of the activities once you were inside cost extra, and every ye-olde-shop was another opportunity for them to sell you stuff. Add to that the fact that all the cool demonstrations seemed to occur at the same time (so you'd have to stay the day to see everything - thus leaving you plenty of time to buy some more sovereign hill products), and by the time you leave, you feel pretty sucked dry financially. Call me a heathen but I would have felt we had more value for money at Lunar Park. I guess we've also been to the Bendigo mines this year, so the mining bit didn't interest me hugely when it might have otherwise.
Sunday, 22 December 2013
Today I paddled from Kingston to Kettering in a run I'm going to call from now on the K2K, simply because it sounds epic and cool.
I set off at about 8.30am after waking the sleepy children (yep I did feel a bit guilty but someone has to suffer for my fun right?), hurling breakfast at them then dropping them off at Denny and Robin's on my way (jon was going for a ride).
The first 7.5 or so Ks was down the coast from Kingston via Blackmans Bay to the Tinderbox headland. This meant I had a slightly awkward diagonal tailwind and rebound off the cliffs for that section but I was generally being pushed forwards so it was fine if a bit bumpy and sloshy at times. Once I turned around the headland I had the wind directly behind me which was great - I stuck to the middle the Channel - between Bruny Island and the mainland and prayed that the wind would pick up so I'd just be able to surf my way south. It didn't really but I still got catch some nice little waves heading in my direction, so it kept my speed up as my arms got weary! It was a pretty grey day as you can see by the photo, but in my boat, a grey day and a tailwind always beats a sunshiny blue sky day with a headwind!At the 19k point I turned into the little bay near Clare's house (just past the bay where the ferry docks) and spotted Clare and her dad waiting for me to appear on the point. After a quick wave and posing for a photo where I made an effort to make my paddle stroke look nice and vertical as opposed to the chumpy looking horizontal stroke I always seem to get caught out doing in photographs. (it clearly didn't work - see photo below..)
Clare and Greg drove me and the boat up to the house for a shower and then showered me with christmas gifts before Jon came to pick me up with the kids.
20k of downwind paddling, catching up with my good buddy, christmas gifts (of which I will write more about in a minute as I am very excited about one in particular), and a handsome chauffeur to drive me home… You'd have to agree that this was a perfect morning!
When you don't drink coffee, getting a hot takeaway beverage is a treat! I love the feel of the insulated cardboard cup, and the way I'm masquerading as a coffee-drinking adult whilst actually drinking childish hot chocolate! Today I got to combine this with the also rare experience of having those funky noodle boxes that you see on american TV shows.. so I felt grown up, and big city cool at the same time! I'm easily pleased, as you can see.
Whilst we ate and drunk our dinner at the mouth of the Mersey we also got to watch a group of pretty good surfers catching the waves on the point. Yep, it was just like Hawaii, except, um.. colder..
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Just to prove I'm not just counting rugby tops and eating leftover gingerbread houses, here's a photo from this morning's paddle from Kingston beach. As I was going around the Alum Cliffs I bumped into some regular paddlers so I turned around and paddled with them for a while. They showed me how their usual route along the cliffs involved going on the inside of one of the pillars of rocks along the way. I normally avoid getting too close to the cliffs so it was cool to follow people through the gap. Unfortunately I was too fumbly with my camera so I didn't capture the scene at all (there was a rock outcrop on my left). Now I know about it, I'll do it again sometime and take a better photo.
In other paddling non-news, I've probably been paddling 3 or so times a week since the Freycinet Challenge. I told myself I could take a month off after that slightly disappointing race but I've been enjoying paddling so I've kept on going. It is so light in the mornings now it's just really nice to get out on the water in our beautiful estuary.
The photos below are from Jett's first day of school at SBIS, in February 2010.. (from left is Toby, Jett, Miley & Zali)
The photos below are from the eve of the last day of Jett's time at SBIS:
Georgeous isn't he. Also, when you are the last child from a clan you end up with a few hand-me-down uniforms gained along the way..
Amongst that pile is 10 rugby tops and 17 school shirts.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
This week coming is the last week of school - so for Jett that means his last week ever at Sandy Bay Infants School. As he is the last Liggins' grandchild to attend there it also marks the end of a 6 year association with the school for both our families. So it's quite a milestone.
Interestingly, despite living across the road, Denny, Paul and I never went to SBIS - we went to Hutchins (as we could start younger) then we went straight to Waimea from grade 2.
I think Zali, Toby & Miley could all have done well at either Waimea or SBIS, but the smaller (k-2) SBIS has really suited Jett. He started out quite a bit shyer than the others, and it took him a few years to get brave enough to even speak up in class. Having a consistent group of people, a very nurturing environment, and some great friends around him each year has done wonders for his confidence. This was no more evident than during his performance in the Grade 1/2 play which was part of the Christmas Assembly last week. Jett was a tiger (actingly and metaphorically) with lots of lines to say and he nailed them and loved every moment of it - you can see that from my dodgy photos...
This is in stark contrast to the end of year show for his last year at childcare when at the last minute he broke down and refused to go on stage in the play he'd been rehearsing with the other kids for weeks.
So thanks SBIS - perhaps there won't be too many years left for the small school by the sea - we've been lucky to have been able to send our kids there.
Actually the principal invited a mix of politicians along to the final assembly which was pretty smart I recon (that's Jim Wilkinson in the background there) as then she was able to mention (as you do) how SBIS had 100% of pupils performing at or above the expected level for their year in maths, half of students in grade 2 reading two years above their age and all sorts of other impressive stats like that. Just the sort of stuff that state schools need to crow about - particularly those with their heads on the chopping block!
Jett might miss being right by the beach next year but I certainly won't miss the parking hassles and double school dropoff. We'll both always remember SBIS fondly though, whatever happens.
As I mentioned in the last post, this weekend was so complicated that I had to write myself a run-sheet, just for the bit between 2pm and 6pm today. It looks like this..
I'm pleased to report that I made it home with everything done and the correct two children in the back. I really needed the run sheet - particularly because it was the first time I've ridden my mountain bike in AGES and I exhausted myself by riding not-all-that-far at Tolosa st mtb park. Without it I probably would have just driven home and had a shower. With the run-sheet I only got as far as K-mart before I realised I'd missed Jett and Al and turned around to get them.
So.. due to a mis-communication between Denny and I, I organised Zali and Jett's friends to come around for the traditional gingerbread house building activity just minutes before I discovered that we didn't actually have any Ikea gingerbread house sets to build with (this was just one hour after I'd confirmed that we did have gingerbread sets to build with). Anyway... this meant a quick trip to the supermarket (actually back to the supermarket I'd just come home from) to buy the last 5 gingerbread house kits they had in store. Phew. So that meant an afternoon of turning this:
(x 4) and this.. (x 1 - beggars can't be choosers)
As I mentioned we normally use the Ikea sets which come without lollies - so we'd also gone out and bought $30 worth of lollies before we then found ourselves buying the Cole's branded kit which included them. Oh well.
The kit assemblies went smoothly - Coles haTd clearly done a bit of airbrushing with their cover photos, but generally it was fine - there was only one breakage of a veranda pole within a kit. The Ikea kits are generally a bit more busted when you open them so there's a lot of fixing to do before you start - I guess from travelling from Sweden and all.
So Sunday morning arrived and the kids and Jon got stuck into the decorating..
Because of the weekend's theme ("Nothing Shall Be Simple") I also had to go and meet and pick up Zali's friend from the Kettering ferry - so they started a bit after and consequently no photos of them working. They were there though.
So with our own selection of lollies, we didn't have to stick to the designs on the boxes.
Which was good because a) the kit lollies were a bit yukky, and b) why would you do this...
when you could do this..
when you could do this.. (complete with doped out train-surfing snowman):
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.. Jon has a special talent for gingerbread houses, even when he only has a train to work with..
Sunday, 1 December 2013
As the reindeer are out! I'm not sure what the pademelon is going to think about these moving, glowing garden features but since it ate our tomato plants, I don't really care.
Sunday, 24 November 2013
The Hellfire Cup was going to be so cool. With riders and support crew camping at the event centre it promised a fun villiage atmosphere, heaps of entertainment, fun new trails, a unique pairs format (including relays, criteriums, hill time trial etc). It was going to be great. Except the stupid weather came in and mucked up all the plans. The village was re-located and only a few opted to stay camping - everyone else wisely re-located themselves to their homes. (Kellevie is only an hour away from Hobart so commuting each day was feasible). The poor organisers had to cancel some stages, heavily modify others and those trails they've been working on for 18 months didn't get to be used at all. The cool castle they built out of bike boxes would be paper mache by now.
Jon had been looking forward to this event for ages - he'd been stocking up on food and camping gear (including a cool new gazebo style tent), preparing his bike and I'd even managed to convince Jon and his partner JohnW that they needed to have team cycling gerseys. Which of course went completely unseen underneath their raincoats. sigh. Anyway - after two wet nights the kids and I have come home early and left Jon to race the last stage - a super short time trial the organisers created last night at the Bream Creek Show Ground. Hopefully it will be fun.
Thursday, 21 November 2013