Yes, winter was cold but not the raw, biting pinch of a crisp Orange winter’s day. The Bureau did announce this week that it was the mildest Tasmanian winter on record and its easy to see why. I only remember having to wear my puffer jacket on a couple of occasions. Most afternoon walks on the beach required just a warm jumper to be comfortable.
I know it may seem that I have become obsessed with the wind down here, but it can be truly surprising and so varied. There is very rarely a day that can’t be described as windy but it is the speed with which it arrives, and disappears that can amaze. The absolute force of the wind is awesome. We had a BOM severe weather warning for Monday night and sure enough at 3.00am, the gale-force winds (of over 100 kph) tore and ripped at the house trying to find a finger-hold on any loose or vulnerable aspect of the building. What we weren’t warned about was a repeat performance last night, but of even more intensity. At times it felt like a heavyweight boxer was raining body-blows to the house and it responded by shuddering as if its feet were being lifted off the ground. Ruby slept through the whole experience totally unconcerned, or at least totally oblivious. (Boy, can she sleep!)
One interesting aspect of the wind is what it can do to the beach. In the afternoon after the gale of Monday night the beach had a very different appearance to normal. Where the waves had wetted the sand the wind had scoured the surface enough to undercut every bit of tiny pebble, wood, shell and seed and left them each on their own sandy pedestal. It resembled a specimen tray in a high-end jewellery shop. At the back of the beach where the sand was dry, the landscape of ‘dunes’ was just liked Jimmy Murdoch had described in Year 9 Geography back at Orange High in the sixties.
As you know, food is an important part of our lifestyle and we are still exploring the wide range of local produce available to us. We are well-served by several outlets on the island including the Bruny Island Cheese Factory for cheese, locally brewed beers and condiments; The Oyster Shuckery; and the baker down near Alonnah that sells his bread out of a couple of old fridges on the side of the road; and a local farmer who grows vegetables. Its not difficult to be fully inspired in the kitchen as a result. Our vegetable garden is ready to go into full production and we already have a couple of things on the go.
In terms of ‘home improvements’, I have been busy constructing a new garden shed/potting shed down near the studio. The enclosed area that has been created (which I have grandly named “the utility area”) is handy for hiding the garbage bins, compost bins and saved bits of timber and other building materials. Two or three garden beds out the front of the house have also been created and/or renovated to tidy up for first impressions.
The back yard is still a work in progress and is undergoing a change from the original ideas. When the weather permits that will be the next focus of attention with yet another garden bed (I wonder who is going to maintain them all?), and a new fire pit to locate and install.
If you listen carefully, you may just hear the wind screeching like a banshee through the fly-screens!