This is where the action is...

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Jett on my lap and the tennis in the background... Bliss!

Growth Chart

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Some people measure their children with rulers, us, we measure ours against a purposely bought grass-tree, or Yakka, depending on where you are from..   When we bought the tree neither the tree nor Zali could walk or talk. I have to say Zali has made a lot more progress in both areas..


Now you may have a number of questions regarding this sequence. Firstly - is the grass tree growing at all ? - well, I'm not sure, its middle bit (technically called the "spikey thing") has definitely grown, the rest of it may even have  shrunk.  Secondly, am I really wearing sandals with socks in July 2004 ? - sadly it seems I am - it was raining that night so perhaps it was protection against the leaches.  Thirdly,  where's Jett? Well we're saving up for his own tree - they cost a packet you know - ours is padlocked down. Well, maybe not exactly padlocked but it is in the care of Jon's sister Shirley and his brother in law Tim - both of whom can get very cranky (especially Tim) so don't go getting any ideas about relocation.


Tuesday, 31 January 2006

For a 5 month old baby, Jett sure gets around. I think he might be trying to escape as he's always heading for a door.  I'm not really worried though, as not only does he leave a little dribble trail,  he also starts to go backwards after about 15 minutes and much to his frustration pretty much ends up where he started from.



Back to Work

Monday, 16 January 2006

Well this is what Jett did today - lounged around in his underpants really. I on the otherhand iced some cake boards, made some royal icing, made some sugar roses,  assembled a mini-cake tower and fretted about a pair of cat figurines due on one of next Saturday's cakes.

All babies look the same

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Ok - We've proved it. Babies, at least those in the same family, pretty much look the same. The best first guess was 5 correct answers (Andy), the worst was 3 (Jon - yes their own dad!).  Nobody got it without at least 3 tries and some clues. I have to admit to throwing in a small trick baby, just to test the theory that ALL babies look the same - baby B was in fact Tiia - which Tiia's dad correctly noticed.  The other correct answers were ..


Huon Show 2018

Saturday, 16 February 2019

I can't believe I haven't posted this lovely photo earlier!


There was perfect weather for the Huon show (and my annual dagwood dog) this year (well it's last year now).  The crowds were good, the flowers and cakes were good..


and of course the animals-made-from-vegetables competition never lets us down!


Show Cakes

Friday, 17 November 2017

Because it’s been a while since I’ve entered anything, and because I had time to do it, I’ve also got two Christmas cakes which are headed to the Huon Show tomorrow.   


Let’s call them The Knitted Cake (left) and the Wrapping Paper Cake (right). 

The Wrapping Paper Cake took quite long time to create - what with a double layer fruit cake and all the different greens and time consuming techniques I was using. On the other hand I pretty much threw together the knitted cake on a whim one afternoon last week.

Although to be fair, that cake actually has quite a history.  I originally wanted to do a cake that looked like a christmas pattern on a jumper, like this:

So in December last year I started investigating how to get a knitted effect on icing. Firstly I sent away for an imprint mat from a regular cake shop. The stitches looked authentic but the overall knitted effect was actually so small and fine that it wasn’t suitable for a big cake - it was suited to jumpers for these gingerbread men though.. god rest their delicious gingerbready souls…

On the hunt for a larger imprint thing I scoured the entire internet and found just one option - there was someone in the Netherlands who made their own imprint mat and sold them. In euros. Via international bank transfer only (no PayPal). Sigh. With no other options I went ahead with a 16 euro purchase and we won’t talk about the shipping.  Having said that, I must add that the seller was actually really nice and helpful thoughout the transaction.

Anyway, it arrived a few weeks later, but as I suspected, the result was actually more of a crochet/knotted effect than a simple knitted effect. I really wanted big clear knitted stitches.

There was no other option, I had to make my own. After some time spent with the institute of You-Tube I felt confident I could make the actual silicon mold part, the greater challenge was to find the thing to make the mold OF - Let’s call this the ‘knitted-positive’.  Obviously I couldn’t just press silicon up against a wooly jumper as it would be too soft and impossible to release once the mold was set. I toyed with the idea of spraying layers of varnish over some knitted garment and using that once it was dry but after consideration I decided that it was likely to be very messy, and Jon (the owner of the garment) would probably not be happy with the end result.  So it was back to the internet to find something that was both knitted, and hard - and I found this - an ugly knitted looking plastic basket - perfect!  Another purchase and some more shipping costs later and I had my starting point.

To make my knitted-positive I cut the ugly basket up into rows, trimmed them,  and lined them up on some wood.

The size of the stitches actually changed from the top of the basket to the bottom, so I tried to adjust for that as I stuck them down. Then I used a silicon-cornflour mixture to make the mat, pressed it down as hard as I could, and left it to dry. The first go wasn’t great (below left), but the second attempt went really well (right). Yay! After many purchases and many months I finally had my knitted-imprint mat - yay me!

Then it was time to test the concept of using it with actual icing to make a jumper pattern and I quickly found out that it was very hard to any sort of pattern, in fact it was going to be impossible to do what I had originally planned. dang.  

So I put the whole lot back into the stupid ugly half cut up basket and pushed it to the back of my cake shelves.  

It was only last week (some six months later) that I had the strength to pull it all out again and try to create something. Originally it was in order to justify at least some of the hard work (and expense!) that had gone before it - but in the end it was simply quite fun to create something using my hard-won knitting imprint mat.



The funny thing is that there's absolutely no way anyone will look at that cake tomorrow and guess its complicated past!  


Gingerbread Brewery

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

This big pile of stationary is not normally how I'd start a baking project. I do occasionally make a sketch, or maybe even grab a reference photo from the internet, but creating reams of recyling isn't a normal thing - but this project has been a bit different. Let me explain..

While perusing the baked goods display at the 2015 Huon Show I thought to myself that it would be fun to enter the gingerbread house competition with a gingerbread house that looked like something in Hobart.   And having not entered anything at the show that year I promised myself that I'd create this house and enter it in the 2016 show.  Just a few weeks later I came up with the perfect idea - Hobart's Cascade Brewery:


So with the idea in place, and alnost a full year to execute it, I did absolutely nothing further.  I arrived at the 2016 Huon Show empty handed.  

This year I've had a lot of unexpected free-time, so it seemed like 2017 was a good time to revive my plan. Duly armed with some photos from the internet I started by trying to sketch the front of the brewery onto some graph paper so I would have the basis for the model.  This went terribly, and after a few attempts I was ready to shelve the plan for another year.  Luckily for me though, after I had abandoned my sketches on the kitchen bench and left the house to do something else, Zali came along and immediately saw the 'pattern' of the building's architecture - she said it was something about thirds. Anyway she drew up a perfectly scaled version for me.


With this hurdle overcome, and my enthusiasm rekindled, I took Zali's template and turned it into a cardboard proof-of-concept..


This helped me iron out some of the structural problems. The Cascade Brewery is really just a massive sandstone facade, with lots of tin-shed looking bits stuck onto the back and sides.  I had to simplify the details of the real building and make sure it would be strong enough to stand.

With the overall design sorted out, I decided to draw it up on Sketch-Up, so I could print out accurate guides for cutting the gingerbread.  This involved teaching myself how to use the 3d drawing tool - I'd tried it before but given up immediately, but once I got the hang of it it was quite fun..

By the end of that task I had a nice set of printed templates that I stuck onto cardboard and used to cut out the gingerbread. Along the way I also made a new metal cutter to do the windows, and I also like to think that I invented a new technique of doing windows - cutting them out and replacing them with thinner gingerbread - so they are inset.  I added on the thin strips of gingerbread to imitate some of the other features of the building. Here's the front of it before it went into the oven. Oh - I also invested in s $3 piece of plastic for pressing in the brickwork - which saved a lot of time and made it quite neat.


I did have a few attempts at cooking the parts as I experimented with other ways of doing things, but by the third time I was ready to commit to baking all the bits..and they turned out well.


The next step was assembling the building, using the time honoured method of tins to hold the sides up while they dried!  

I didn't end up using most of the roof bits, as the thickness of the gingerbread (as opposed to paper) made it look and fit a bit funny.  It turned out the liquorice straps made much better looking corrugated iron roof anyway. Zali came up with a method for making it look aged.


With the stucture built, it was time to do the funnest stuff - decorate with lollies.  It took me a while to settle on a method for doing the road out the front - in the end I sliced up liquorice bullets and laid it like cobblestone..


Then it was time for the finishing details - I came up with a good way to do trees if I do say so myself. Zali invented the mixed lolly hedges. The rest is pretty standard gingerbread house fodder with a few extra details:


like the drunk man out the back.. 




I hope my efforts are enjoyed by punters on Saturday when Zali and I enter it in the 2017 Huon Show. Regardless of the outcome, it's been a fun if rather frivolous project!



Tasman Island

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Despite the fact that I've never landed on, or lived near, or even had my parking spot taken by Tasman Island, I've held a grudge against it. Let me tell you why..


In the summer of 87/88 I was preparing to start my first year of Fine Art at UTas (or Ye Very Olde University of Van Diemons Land as it was then known). I was also preparing to participate in the Tall Ships race on my Grandfathers boat, the Delphis.   

The preparations generally involved a great many alterations to the boat.  One of which was the addition of a figurehead to the bowsprit.  This was a dolphin shaped thing that extended an extra foot or so from the existing bowsprit. It wasn't just decorative, it was also so that we made the minimum length requirement of an official tall ship - 40 feet.  

So we were the littlest of  boats, in a fleet of giants.   We weren't alone though, Grandfather had a group of cohorts, all in various states of decrepidness, and all captaining their own quaint, elderly wooden masterpieces.   

Sailing with Grandfather was always a very shouty experience. As kids, we'd always be sent down below decks when we were heading out of, or into port, but as we grew up we were expected to contribute in more active ways. This meant occasionally having to help repaint the anitfouling on the boat (a dreaded task), but it also meant knowing what the hell grandfather meant when he would command us to do various things with great urgency as the boat careened sidewards towards Constitution Dock.  I am pleased to say that by the time of the Tall Ships race, I could understand roughly half of his instructions. It's not that I didn't know how to sail - I'd sailed my own little boat for four years, it's just that Grandfather and I seemed to speak a different sailing language.  

Anyway - after a summer of intense preparation which included a fair bit of actual sailing, the "race" day arrived and we coasted down the River Derwent amongst a huge fleet of participants and spectators.  To be honest, it wasn't really a race, it was really just a way of getting a whole lot of elderly boats up to Sydney, in a semi supervised fashion, in time for the Bicentennial Celebrations on the 1st of January 1988.   

Our progress was good down the Derwent as we had a stiff tailwind behind us. Unfortunately  this was actually the worst thing that could possibly have happened.  What we had was a Northerly. What we we needed to in order to make it to Sydney with the least amount of effort, was a Southerly.  

And if there's one thing Grandfather's striking huon pine schooner couldn't do very well, it was sail upwind.  In fact most of the fleet couldn't sail upwind very well and we all found ourselves being pummelled by high seas and headwinds.  By the time the sun set  on the first night of the race we'd made very little progress up the coast of Tasmania at all.  I remember  darkening skies and Tasman Island looming above us and a scary looking section of coast nearby. In fact we were  told during our recent tour from Port Arthur that there were no known survivors of the hundred or so shipwrecks which had occurred of the so called "Black Coast".   I can easily believe that.


So we headed out to sea and into the darkness.  Despite my many nights at sea, this was my first night out in the real Southern Ocean and boy did I feel it.  It was the first and only time I've been really sea sick in my life and it was horrible. Horrible and dark and scary.  The northerly was relentless so we were forced to head west-north-west and we tacked at about midnight to head back towards shore, ideally east-north-east, and ideally further up the coast.  


The above photo is from a different trip, but it's what I imagine we looked like that night.. 


After a long and sleepless night, dawn finally came, and what did it reveal? Tasman Bloody Island.  In the exact same spot it was before - of course I wasn't expecting it to have moved, but I was certainly hoping that we'd made some progress.  But we hadn't - not a bit.  Words can't express how disheartening that was.  I was sick, the toilet was blocked up,  we were going no-where, and to top it all off, Tasman Island was just sitting there mocking us. Stupid, hateful Tasman Island. 


By midday that day we'd made no progress north despite a succession of tacks and me and my cousin Rohan leaving a trail of berley in our wake.  By 3pm almost the entire fleet had abandoned the race and had turned on their engines so they could motor north to Sydney in order to make it on time. We also turned on our engine but the Delphis' engine had all the horse power of a miniature pony so we knew our Sydney adventure was over.  We pulled out of the race we'd been preparing for for months, after only one night of sailing. One very memorable, and truly horrible night but only one night.  It was really disappointing.  None of us wanted to return to Hobart straight away so we sailed up to Maria Island and spent some time relaxing and recovering.  I remember those few days as really good fun actually - our intergenerational 6 member crew got on really well and my cousin Rohan, my boyfriend Philip and I had a good time playing cards and enjoying our thwarted adventure.  It wasn't all bad, but that's why I've always shuddered when I've heard the words Tasman Island. In my mind it was just a big black looming hulk of an island with an extremely bad attitude.

So I was really glad that the Tasman Island I encountered when we did the seal tour a few weeks ago was a whole different place. With the sunny skies, calm winds and seals frolicking at he base of the sea cliffs it looked more like a holiday destination than a harbinger of doom.

Eight-ish years of the Huon Show

Saturday, 15 November 2014

There's a lot to be said for keeping a blog. Especially when you have kids who just grow so fast!

We started going to the Huon Show the year we moved back here - in 2006.  Life was different then - I wasn't working (ok - so right now that bit is the same) - but the children were little - so it was quite the palava to get them anywhere - let alone to the show. It was still worth it though..

Here they are in 2006:


I can't find the original photos from 2007, but I still have my compilation that I posted here:


Yep. My yearly dagwood dog - A tradition I have maintained.

In 2008 there's proof the kids were growing - but only up to the bouncy things, rather than the big rides..

Also I got my best photos of the dog high jump in 2008. This year the winning dog (Nelson) didn't quite clear 2.30. In 2008 the winner (Sprocket on the left) cleared that height to win.

Growing up in 2009..I'm not sure why we have the photo of Zali swimming - although I guess we possibly had swimming lessons before we drove down to Huonville. Something we wouldn't attempt any more as it is a lot busier now - best to go early.

Unfortunately it looks like I was a bit lazy with the camera in 2010-2013  (although Jon probably has some on his phone) - but here they are so grown up in 2014..

As you could imagine it's a completely different experience going to the show now. Strollers and nappy bags are replaced with wallets and show bags - and much talk of budget limits.  Today I lent Zali my watch and we just met up at specified times as they both roamed free with their cousins and one of Jett's friends.  We still park in the paddock though - which smells of the show before you've even gone through the gates. Granny almost always comes with us which is nice - although we also allow her to roam free and meet up with her at the Dog Highjump at around lunchtime. 

I've got more to post about this years show - but it will have to wait - it's been a big day with the show, then I had a meeting in the city, then straight onto the school fair - until we finally arrived home after 7pm feeling sunburnt, wind burnt, broke and exhausted!

7 runs in 7 days - Day #7

Thursday, 10 July 2014

  • Run #7: Waterworks to Huon Road
  • Distance: 8.2k
  • Climb: 325m
  • Garmin Link

Today I was up again at 6:45am and running from the Waterworks just after 7:30.  When I'm not injured I run here fairly regularly as it's sort of on my way to work and it's quite pleasant (except for the hill).  


Basically my route takes me around the far side of the two dams, then up the steep steps towards the pipeline track...  


Once I make it to the Pipeline I breath a sign of relief and normally just head on up the wide smooth track until I either run out of time, or reach the turnaround point which for me is where it joins up with Huon Road..


Then I turn and head back down via the junction with the imaginatively named R18 fire trail..



I used to take the R18 and make a loop out of the run but lately I've been heading back down the Pipeline track and retracing my route back to the car.  I've decided that's a better option even though I normally prefer a loop,  because the undulations continue to the end of the run, rather than just being a long rocky downhill all the way back - which is a good thing. It also makes it a little longer.

By the time I got back the sun was out and the light was a bit more intense - compare  this photo with the one at the start of this post!


Anyway - back at the car - all 7 runs done! Yay!  The hardest part hasn't been the running itself - despite the large amount of climbing I feel I've done!  - it's really just been the getting-out-there factor. I've also been surprised at how I've avoided injury - I was almost sure I'd end up with either a rolled ankle, or very sore back - which isn't to say my back is perfect, but it's ok.

So, that was fun. I've got other ideas for other challenges to keep me moving. Stay tuned.. 




The opposite of relaxing..

Friday, 28 March 2014

As our project is winding down at work (we're up to episode 44 of 52) I've been able to negotiate finishing early two days a week so I can do more the the child-shuffling that Jon has been doing of the last year. This is particularly useful as Jon is very busy and I am less busy (at work anyway).  

So this is what I did last Tuesday afternoon after work:

  • Leave work at 3pm & scoot to car, 
  • pick up zali and Jett from street near school, 
  • drop zali off at swimming pool, 
  • drive to Bellerive (over the bridge) to girl guides shop, using Jett as my manequin(i.e if it fits Jett it's too small for Zali) purchase Girl Guides uniform for Zali. 
  • Drive back to town, stopping on way to pick up mobile phone I left in a shop earlier in the day (don't ask)
  • Park at swimming pool, watch end of Zali's lesson.
  • Take Zali to a friend's house. 
  • Return to swimming pool, watch end of Jett's lesson, 
  • Load him into car and arrive home at 6.45.  
  • Have dinner, 
  • Leave home 7.45, return to city to pick up Zali from girl guides.. Arrive home 8.30pm.

And tonight this is what happened:

  • Leave work 5pm, scoot to car,
  • Drive to pool, pick up Zali and friend 1.
  • Drop friend 1 at school fair,
  • Drop friend 1's bag at her house,
  • Pick up Jett from mum's house,
  • Pick up friend 2 from Sandy Bay,
  • *Drive to Lonnavale camp site to drop Zali and friend 2 off at Girl Guides camp, stay to help set up tent,
  • leave lonnavale 7.15, arrive home 8.30. 

* it must be noted that the campground at Lonnavale advertises itself as being 45 minutes from town, yet it's 28k on windy and gravel roads from Huonville which in turn is 40 or so kms from Hobart. So in actual fact it's 70 minutes driving quickly with no navigational errors, and google says it's 80 minutes.  If I'd known the truth I would have let Jett out of the car in Kingston and not subjected him to a 3hr round trip home from Granny's place. Poor Jett. Places which LIE about their travel times should be ashamed of themselves - it reminded me of our horrendous Grindelwald experience (motto: and you thought Launceston was a bit dodgy) a few years ago which advertised itself as being 15 minutes from Launceston when it was actually more like 30. Not a big deal unless you have to make multiple trips in an evening.

Anyway - there's no point to this blog post except to note I've been busy after work lately - when I negotiated my afternoons 'off' I imagined myself squeezing in a paddle or a run while the kids swam - that hasn't happened quite yet!   I am pleased to say though that I have been for one paddle this week - the first one in over a month due to my sore back and broken motivation. I rewarded myself with pizza afterwards and now I seem to be on a bit of a pizza binge as my last 3 out of 4 meals have been pizza due to a farewell lunch at work and usual friday night pizza at home.  This could possibly have negated the effects of the training session.



in other news..

Thursday, 21 November 2013

  • Jon was 29th in Point to Pinnacle - well done him - 6 mins faster than 2011

  • My sister Denny was 8th in the Point to Pinnacle. 8th Female that is.  So in the top 10. I'm still impressed and it's Thursday!

  • My Christmas cake won its category at Huon Show. yay

  • Jon is now away at the 4 day Hellfire Cup MTB race.  It was actually scheduled for February but hell fire actually came through the district two weeks before the event and they had to postpone it to now. Unfortunately for the organisers (who really don't deserve it) the forecast is for extremely wet weather over the weekend this time - including a flood watch. I can't help but think that if they'd called themselves the 'Godfearing Cup' instead this might not have happened (although the logo would have been so much more boring). It's a shame as we've all been looking forward to it for ages (we were going to come out and camp with everyone and soak up the atmosphere) - the only thing we're likely to be soaking now is mud.

Winners are grinners!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Jon's on a roll this year - first the family swimming carnival, then the Huon Show! Is there an obscure event that he can't conquer?

Before & after #28

Friday, 15 November 2013

I love the moment just before you do the actual decorating of the cake. The moment after you've done all the tedious work, and you've got a blank canvas ready in front of you.   The possibilities are endless. Of course I'd prefer it if this moment didn't come at about 10:15pm the night before I had a 5:50am start the next day but there you go!

This cake is for the Huon show. I'm entering the Christmas Cake category again and as usual (I say 'usual' but I've only entered once before!) I'm also not allowing myself to decorate it with anything overtly Christmassy.   No Santas, Christmas trees, snow etc.  

This was my entry a few years ago.

This is the final result last night:


The design changed slightly a few times during the night, I'd planned to underlay a colour on some sections of the sides of the cake but I decided I just didn't have time. Also I didn't originally intend the flowers to extend over the top of the cake but I decided the straight lines caused by the top edge took away from the randomness of the rest of the design.  I considered decorating the whole top in the same style but in the end I decided that I would have certainly gone from the modern look I was trying to achieve (with mixed success) to a completely 60s wallpaper look which I didn't want.

So now it's in the hands of the judges. When I stumbled through the doors of the Hall of Industries to the deliver the cake a few minutes before entries closed (I had to race out of work, scoot to the car,  drive from the city to home then to Huonville all in an hour, the last 20 minutes with the fuel light on!) I didn't see too many other Christmas cakes - I did see quite a few 'angry bird' themed cakes in the non-christmas section though which was amusing.  

Oh - and, whilst the category I have officially entered is number 200 : Open Iced and Decorated Christmas Cake, I recon if there had been a category called 'Christmas Cake Iced and Decorated in the Dark' I could have entered that as well, as of the 12 rediculous assortment of lights we have in our kitchen / dining area,  only 5 currently work which makes things especially tricky.

Jon entered himself in category 188b : Chocolate Cake Baked By A Male - he's hoping to defend his tied first place title from 2010 but after an uneven bake he's not too confident with this year's entry.. we'll just have to wait and see what the judges think..




Lake Rosebery Paddle

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Every time we have been to Tullah (three times before now) I've left wishing I'd had more of an opportunity to explore the lake from my boat.  Lake Roseberry was created by hydro electric schemes and it's a fairly long narrow lake with fingers of water stretching into the valleys.  The  actual race takes us down a cool canyon to the bridge turning spot but it's only 4.5 k all up and the lake is huge so there's plenty more to explore! I always imagine I'll go after the end of the race, or early the next morning but it's never happened as we hang around for presentations and then leave pretty early the next day to get Jon to the start of the TripleTops race near Sheffield.

This time I'd made plans to ensure another opportunity wouldn't slip by! Straight after the race I paddled back to the lodge, changed to some dry paddling gear, had a drink and a snack, debriefed with Jonno about my performance in the first leg, then I headed out again. I had exactly an hour because I wanted to get back in time to see Jon finish the cycle leg. 

And it was everything I hoped it would be.  The mountains tower above the lake and are bathed in sunshine one moment and covered with rainclouds the next. The vegetation is so thick all around you feel like you are surrounded by impenetrable forest (you are). There was one point where it seemed as if the forest had closed up behind me to block all the exits -I couldn't see which way I needed to go - it all looked like forest The water was sometimes gusty and choppy, then just around a corner it was mirror calm.  There were little marooned islands of forrest scattered through-out the lake as well. At about my furtherest point (30mins from the lodge and close to the Lyell highway again) i came to a cool little waterfall. There was also the start of a nice looking canyon/narrow creek that headed between some of the steep rocky hills but I had run out of time, so I decided to leave it for next time.





Due to some clever planning, 'next time' came the very next day as Jon got a lift to the start of the race so the kids and I didn't have to leave at 7.30. This meant I could drive the few minutes to a launching place right near the canyon I'd seen the day before, and paddle from there.  Even better was that another paddling friend Cooksey was keen to have a paddle as well so I had company.

Again, it was everything I'd hoped for.  We paddled up all the way up to the Murchison Dam wall and then came back - it took about an hour altogether. It was beautiful - the kind of paddling you dream of (or pay lots of money to do with a guide!). It was calm and deep, so we didn't have to worry about rocks or anything.  We saw a platypus sun baking, waratahs bushes hanging over the water and dropping their bright red flowers into the dark waters beneath, huon pines covered in moss towering above the rest of the forest, reflections which had you confused about which way was up. It was awesome. 





Sunday, 11 August 2013

I believe that no matter how organised you are, if you commute to work on your bike, one day you will find that you have forgotten your work trousers, and you will have to spend the day in your bike shorts.

By the same token, if you swim frequently at a pool, it is inevitable that one day you will either forget your goggles (which is a hassle but it's still possible to swim without them), or worse, your bathers, which while it is physically possible to swim without them it may result in having to serve some sort of community service order and being forever restricted from working with children.

So it was therefore inevitable that after 2.5 years of paddling, one day I would drive down to Huonville (30k from kingston) and arrive to see the following fantastic and inviting conditions..


 only to discover I'd forgotten my paddle.

Oh well.  I drove back home and briefly floated the idea of postponing my paddle but was shoed back out the door by Jon so I headed to my old favourite NorthWest Bay which was only 10k away in a different direction..I was on the water roughly 50 minutes after I arrived at Huonville..


Despite the stupid start I still had a nice paddle though.  It was surprisingly warm and not too breezy. There were lots of birds around and therefore lots of feathers on the water. I've always liked the way they float without seemingly touching the water..  (again it's a shame my waterproof camera can't really focus on the right things) ..


Magic Melbourne

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I'm clearly not making progress with a detailed write-up of my recent girls weekend in Melbourne to help celebrate a friend's 40th. So here are some photos instead..

We stayed at an apartment in docklands. It was pretty cool..


I was hoping to organise a paddle what with the water so close by but unfortunately the only day I could hire a boat it was blowing a gale.

Right outside our building was a rack of Melbourne city bikes. As casual users it only cost us $2.70 per day. They were great fun! Sitting on a 3 speed bike in a very upright position is positively joyous!


The first place we pedalled to was the QVB Markets which I haven't been to since 2006 when I bought some ugg boots on our way to moving to Tasmania. I'm still wearing them now! This time we were more food focussed as we set about getting fresh pasta, bread, dips & cheese for our birthday feast.. It was so fun - and so different to daily Hobart life!

 I did have to hold my nose as we navigated through the meat and fish sections though - ugg!

After our market trip we rewarded ourselves with a trip down to St Kilda, Acland Street to be exact.. no guesses as to why...



After some free time during which I went to check out my buddy Clare's cool new apartment and my other buddy Jo's new mind studio we reconvened at the docklands apartment and had a relaxing evening with delicious food and fine wine (ok ok - the others had fine wine I had Midori and Lemonade as I have the palette of a 14 year old).

The next morning the others went out running while I watched the Cake Boss on foxtel.  When they got back we packed up, dumped our bags at reception, picked up a city bike and cycled joyously (again!) to highly regarded cafe Seven Seeds in Carlton. It's famous for coffee apparently. For me it's now famous for hot chocolates with a stick of chocolate in them..


I have to say that the food was indifferent  though - my poached eggs on sourdough came on toast that was less than a cm thick, and rock hard to cut - what happened to thick slices?  Also it wasn't a patch on Huon Valley Woodfired Sourdough. 

After the cafe the others headed to Lygon Street for cake but I really didn't deserve any and I was pretty cafe'd out by that point so Clare and I hopped back on the bikes and went back to get Clare's car from Docklands.  When we got there we decided to join Matt, Jo and Jo's nephews at the pretty new ice-rink a short walk away. It was fantastic - two beautiful full size rinks with fantastic freshly groomed ice.  It's been a long time since my ice hockey days in Norway that's for sure but that brought it all back (not the skills unfortunately but the smell of the ice and the feeling of flying). Sooo cool..We're going back for sure next time our family passes through Melbourne!

So that was pretty much it! Melbourne was just fantastic. The shops and markets and cafes were great. The company was awesome. Oh and on Friday night we saw a hilarious movie (The Heat) at the Jam Factory in Toorak that I'd see again tomorrow if I could afford it!  The fact that the cinema was right next to a lindt shop was a happy co-incidence as well!

What a fun adventure that was.  I had my  $200 prize money to spend from the IceBreaker. The weekend was certainly worth all the training (although of course I would have gone anyway - I just would have felt a little more guilty about it!

Egg Island Circumnavigation

Saturday, 13 July 2013

After a week of next to no movement I decided it would be good to plan something for the weekend which would ensure I actually did some exercise.  And at about 4.30 yesterday afternoon I had a brilliant paddle all around Egg Island in the Huon.  Egg Island is pretty long -  maybe around 10k - and normally I cut through the canal and either paddle the northern half, or less frequently (once in fact) the southern half.   My eggcellent plan was to do the whole thing.  

Of course every good adventure needs an adventure buddy - and Dr Evil was available so my plan was coming together nicely..

So at 8am this morning we headed off from Franklin paddling the north towards Huonville.  The weather was perfect - not cold and completely calm. The reflections on the water were as clear as the real things.  


The first 5 k was into the sun and I guess into a very light current. At the top of the island we turned and the camera was able to cope a bit better with the light..


Look at that.. how nice are the views!


So calm..

The stretch on the backside of the island was around 10k but with conversation and the current it felt like we reached the southern tip in no time at all. 


 Which just left the last 5k or so back to up to Franklin. Along the way we discussed where we'd live if we couldn't live in Hobart but still had to live in Tasmania.  After I dissuaded John that Launceston wasn't the right answer we both agreed that St Helens would be pretty good - big enough for major services, by the beach and the bush and with good weather. 

Happily though we all get to live in Hobart - which means we get the mountain (and the walking and riding trails), the beach, the Derwent and everything else around.  Franklin is only a 30 minute drive from home and look how fantastic a place it is to come for a paddle.  We're so lucky. 


After arriving back at Franklin we did a quick tour through the canal - it's always nice to paddle through it when it's not a race and to just enjoy the atmosphere. Out of interest it was built in 1838 to give direct access to the other river bank when boats were the best form of transport in these parts.


So all up it was a 22.4k paddle - which much to John's surprise just happens to be the longest paddle I've ever done. I guess because I'm in a ski and often by myself I don't really do long distances - probably the next longest things I've done are the Bruny Island races. Today might have been the longest but with the weather and the views and the company it felt like it was all over in about 20 minutes (I think it actually took close to 3 hours including lots of photo stops and a couple of side trips).


The Icebreaker Part III

Monday, 8 July 2013

This is part 3 of a million part write-up of the Icebreaker race. Scroll down to start at part one.

I'm traditionally not good at race starts. The field is generally 90% (or more) guys  and I find that I don't have same power to accelerate off the line so I feel like I'm going backwards to the rest of the bunch's forward movement.  This wouldn't be so bad except it's important to try to hang onto the wash of the faster boats, as they'll drag you along with them if you can keep up - letting them get a gap on you off the line is not ideal.  Handily though, a few weeks earlier at one of my evening paddle group sessions we'd been practising a lot of starts. So I'd improved a bit at least.

So by the time 2 minutes to go had been announced,  I had joined the group of boats waiting on about the 2nd row of the starting line.  If there's one thing I have learnt from racing,  it's that 2 minutes to go doesn't mean two minutes to go so it's good to be ready early..  When 30 seconds to go was announced, Jordy, a fast paddler who was next to me on the start line, took one hand off his paddle to start his garmin watch. Less than a second later the starter yelled GO, and the wash from the frenzy of paddles and boats in front promptly tipped him out into the freezing waters of the lake.  Oops - bad start.  He was back in his boat and paddling pretty quickly though, unlike the chump who thought two minutes meant two minutes and had gone to do a little warm-up loop. woops.


Just cruising up to the startline - I'm up towards the top of this photo to the left..

Anyway - finally we were off. After all this training - and I'm the first to admit it was sporadic, haphazard and unstructured, but it was training nethertheless -  I'd been paddling on cold dark mornings, locked my bike up on my way to work and run up trugannini track, and I'd cycled home on cold dark evenings when I was exhausted.  So I was more than ready to have this race get underway! 

Heading towards the first turning buoy I suddenly felt all the nervous tension that I hadn't felt before the race due to our late arrival wash though my body. I suddenly felt like I needed to spew but I just kept paddling though it and the nausea sort of faded away. I found some clear water and got around the buoy smoothly which was great as I'd also joined the back of some paddlers I knew it would be good to try to hang on to.  So everything was going just fine - it was just a matter of focussing on the boat in front of me an making sure I stayed right on it's tail. 1/4 of the way though the two lap course we had to do a 180 degree turn - I've got a sneaky little take-the-inside line manoeuvre which has worked well for me before so while the others around me took a wider line I cut the buoy tight and picked up two places, settling in behind a paddler who had beaten me by a few minutes at the Huon race a few weeks ago.  10 or so minutes later and back at the very first turning buoy again I was having some middle-of-the-race struggles which meant I lost the tail of the boat in front and I found myself alone in no-mans land.  I tried to focus on technique to keep things going but by the time I was back at 180 degree turn buoy I was probably 10 or so seconds behind that group. Unfortunately from there we had a slight headwind for the last 1/4 of the race so I felt like I was dropping back even more, but just as I was feeling frustrated some boats caught me from behind - which was actually really good as I hopped onto the back of them and we slowly made up some ground on the group of boats in front. By the time we arrived back at the beach there wasn't much between us and with my excellent boat handler Jon waiting for me and taking my boat, I actually started running to the transition zone before the guys who'd arrived just before me - yay!   

approaching the finish.. 

So one part of the race I'd been fretting about late at night, was the run up the hill from the lake to the transition area. It was steep, and slippery with frost, and I had to do it in paddling gear. Last year I just tagged Jon at the bottom and he ran himself to the top and jumped onto his bike. This time the rules had changed so all paddlers (including the solo competitors of course) had to run up the hill.  I was afraid I'd  embarrass myself by having to walk it, but I surprised myself by managing to keep up to slow jogging pace while discarding my life jacket and rash vest as I went. By the time I got to the transition zone I was buggered (of course) but amused by the sight of Jon already being there. Yep, the same Jon who I left to carry my boat to shore, had then sprinted up and arrived ahead of me. That made me laugh.  Especially as it turned out he'd also had time to collect up my discarded life jacket, rashie and paddle on the way.  He hadn't just paddled for the better part of an hour of course.

Looking down the hill we had to run up. Jett is on the right with my paddle, Jon is carrying my boat to the left, and the other Jett we know is in blue.. one photo two Jetts!

So it was on with my socks, cycling shoes, helmet, camelback, glasses, gloves and I was away... slowly.. 

How did the other girls go? Well I was 2nd female off the water - Georgia Laird, a talented young paddler from the North West was racing as part of an all girls team and beat me in by a three minutes. Apart from that all I knew was that the last time I'd spotted Jenny was at the first 180 degree turn - I could see at that point that she was at least 3 minutes behind me then.  Rowena Fry, the likely overall winner of the event and former world cup MTB rider was no-where to be seen so I assumed I had quite a few minutes on her. I would need it.. 

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Party Time

Sunday, 8 January 2006

It was finally Zali's birthday party today after what seems like a huge leadup - although it's only a week after her actual birthday. We didn't have it last week as it was 42 degrees and hot enough for us adults let alone for sugar-fueled toddlers who no doubt would have left trails of fire behind them as they rushed around.

Anyway - it was a much nicer day today and lots of fun. Jon made very high quality fairy bread, and I put together a cake. Our first childrens birthday party! 


Friday, 6 January 2006

Welcome to my new blog. My first blog.  I’m only doing this for the photo opportunities I think although it will be nice to vent some frustrations from time to time I am sure!  It is intended for friends and family, not really the general public who wouldn’t give a rats about what I am up to anyway…  Now don’t think this means you can stop emailing me to find out what I am up to as emails are often the highlight of my day!!! 

Zali Rose McComb

whose idea was children anyway?

Thursday, 9 February 2006

It's 2:30am. Since feeding Jett at midnight, he's woken at 1:30, 2 and 2:30.  Oh and now we're up again and it's 3:10. It's funny (In a not very funny kind of way) cos the last time Jon was away, Zali was sick . Anyway I've just fed him again and given him some panadol. Hopefully he'll sleep for a bit and I'll get a total of 4.5 hours of broken sleep for the night - although I fear I'm being a bit optimistic!

yep. Just up again and  it's 4:10 now. I've been lying in bed dreaming about having just one uninterrupted nights sleep - maybe if you dream it, it's almost the same as having it.

Relax, QUICK!!

Friday, 3 February 2006

This is a photo from Palm Cove in May last year - that was a very nice and relaxing holiday.   But what I was thinking about yesterday as I rode up and down Lane Cove park in 35 degrees, is that when you only get a few hours to officially take a break and relax each week, you kind of feel the need to make the most of it, which does not necessarily make for the most relaxing time! It's still great to get out mind you, just not the relaxing, paper-reading, smoothie drinking experience you might used to have imagined when you think about having a break. I 'could' do those things of course - but I'd never get to cycle - it's all about choices I guess - starting with the choice to have children!!

Off the list

Sunday, 29 January 2006

Yesterday we crossed off one of the few remaining things off our 'Things to do in Sydney before we leave' list. We went to Greenwich Baths. It's really close to us and has a little beach area with a netted off swimming area. Pretty good for the kiddies - you wouldn't go there to swim laps or anything I don't recon!