We have just completed six weeks of shore leave, house and animal sitting. The first three weeks were in Lauderdale (not far from Hobart) looking after Ruby the Bernese Mountain dog. She was a little shy of us at first (who are these strangers in my house), but after bribing her with walks every day, lots of brushing and some treats, we were finally accepted. She was even protective in the end. She was a lot of fun, reminded us how much we miss having a dog in our life. The area was nice, we could walk the beach and the canal.
The next three weeks were in Wattle Grove (near Cygnet) looking after two cute dogs, a cat, three geese, six hens, and three pregnant goats. Morning feeding was a lot of fun. Just after sunrise the three geese (Elvis and his two ladies) would knock on the window telling us it’s time for breakfast. When we approached with food there would be plenty of honking and wing flapping. But you had to keep an eye on Elvis because he would like to run over and try and bite. Next the hens were let out to roam and we would check for eggs. We would usually find one every day. But they were tricky. You had to find where they were laying them. Freshest eggs we have ever eaten. Last but not least the goats. Ethel, the herd queen was the boss. She would eat first and push the others away. You had to keep an eye on her as well as she would try and ram you. Enad, the other one with horns was a little more docile. Penny (poor Penny) had no horns so she was pushed around by the other two. We had to feed her separately while the other two were busy eating. We learned a lot about these animals, that we would never have goats and geese! Great fun though for us for a few weeks. Also terrific sun rises most mornings, as well as mist laying down in the valley.
During these six weeks Liliane succeeded in her mission of finishing her children’s book as well as painting twelve illustrations. The book will soon be printed and we will have copies to give away to our family and the children in the islands that we will be visiting.
While in Cygnet we also got together to play music with a neighbour, Robin who we had met at an open mic. Ironically our cruising friends Serge and Joanne (SY Spirare) had house sat for her earlier. Small world.
We also went up to the Huonville Mid-Winter Music Festival. A well done event, over seven thousand people the Saturday we were there. The theme was around wassailing. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. That and of course great food and music.
We’ll finish with one of the craziest things we have ever done. No, not selling our house and buying a boat. At the end of Dark Mofo (a two week gothic themed winter festival in downtown Hobart) there is the Nude Solstice Swim on June 21. It marks the return of the sun after the longest night (shortest day) of the year. At 7:30 am that morning we were standing on the beach with a thousand other people with only a towel around us in 4 degree C air temperature. Fire poles were a blazing and Tibetan monks were pounding on a drum. Then the starter pistol fired and we all dropped our towels and ran into the 14 degree C water. It is an amazing feeling running naked and screaming with a thousand other people into the water. It is quite emotional actually. We were one the lasts ones out (Liliane was enjoying it!) The trick coming back to the beach was to find your towel, or any towel for that matter. Seems more people showed than were expected. Something we will remember for the rest our our lives. And we got to keep the really cool red cap.
Now getting reading for our trip back home to Canada for a couple of months. Can’t wait to see the the grandkids and all the all the rest of our families. Get to tell all our stories!