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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Pandani Grove Nature Walk

We spent some delightful days exploring Mount Field National Park. We loved the Pandani Grove Nature walk around Lake Dobson, looking at the Pandani plant which apparently is a subalpine plant only found in Tasmania. Looking at the, snowy mountains, the lakes and the heathers which surround this area.

The richness in fauna and flora is forever changing and I just hope that these pictures convey some of the vistas that we were able to enjoy. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mount Field National Park-

We chose this National Park because it was not too far away from Hobart. It has been a tough winter in Tasmania but we didn't quite know how tough it was until we headed out there. 
We stayed in some lovely cottages and this was our view from our deck. A fast flowing river that we would check constantly for the elusive platypus sighting. We did see one - in the salmon farm next door and who could blame him, it must be like Xmas every day. 

We headed out to the mountains and were warned by the Park office that we may find snow. I am ashamed to say we were a little blasé about it all and off we went with walking boots on but not the proper gear. Jonathan Halstead would have been appalled at our amateurishness, yet again. 
We walked in mossy forest paths which were vibrant green and rocks alive with the colours of the ferns and the bracken on them. We arrived at a beautiful lake, called Lake Fenton and sat down for a drink but the idea was to head higher to the mountain ridge and come down the other side. 

 The ridge we were hoping to reach -
 Lake Fenton
 Some snow but there was a lot more up above.
Some dry bark which fell off a tree that looked like your mind's eye or a bird's beak.

Only problem was that there was snow on the ground and we could just barely make out the path. That was not so much of a problem as what we encountered a little further up. There was no sun on that side of the mountain and the higher we climbed the deeper the snow. Well not rocket science I hear you say, but we had hoped that the sun would have melted some of the higher areas. We soon found ourselves thigh high in snow and unable practically to pull one foot out to move forward, we were sinking so far down. Our socks and our boots were wet and so were our trousers so we reluctantly had to accept that it was dangerous to go any further especially as it was difficult to see where the path was going.We returned to the lake and took our boots off and rung out our socks. However soggy my boots felt walking back I was elated we were finding our way safely out of the forest and into the local bar - I was the only woman- where we befriended the locals and drank lots of beers. The steak with chips was the best I have tasted in a while. The events on the wall caught my eye and I finished my evening with ROAD KILL - which was just delicious.There is so much roadkill in Tasmania, it even inspires cocktails. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

My favourite work of Art

I dont tire of Museums and we are lucky enough in the world to have more than we can see in a life time. I liked MONA but I didn't love it. I visited a heritage house in Hobart called Narryna, a beautiful Greco stone built house with a group of children and loved the interaction and learning about all their quirky systems like having an embroidery hanging in front of the fire so they didn't get too hot and all the painstaking equipment needed in a kitchen with no running water. 
 A wall hanging made of bugs and butterflies
 The drawing room where the women spent their time embroidering or reading.
Cheryl the lovely volunteer guide showing us the serving plate which could be warmed up and had a special little dip for the meat juices. The class I was with was from a little school in Hobart. It was great to hear their remarks and their questions. And look at them - such diversity - Asian, North African, Sudanese perhaps, Irish, English but now all proud to be calling themselves Aussies.
The next day I went to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the centre of Hobart and this is a real little gem of a place. It has something for everyone, aboriginal history, natural history, early medicine practices, geographical facts, antarctic expedition results and a lovely art collection. 

My favourite piece of art in the whole museum was something that looked like an old fashioned ice cream cart, except it was made of perspex and had lots of compartments and drawers which you could open and close and it was full of jars and containers with everyday articles and treasured possessions. It reminded me of the fact that in 2000 when we thought the world was going to implode and the banks to collapse we planted a space capsule under a new oak tree in our garden in Liverpool to be found by the next owners, the next inhabitants of this planet, to give them a small insight into what life was like all those years ago. 

This work of art was made by a local artist called Patrick Hall and it is called "Hollow Vessels." If you have time listen to his YOU TUBE VIDEO  ( about 10 mins long ) on this work of art. He is for me the epitome of a down to earth and thoughtful man who espouses the essence of art and who was able to make the link of communicating enough information to his viewers about what it meant, to inspire them and to lead them down a road of consideration. I guess that is what I found was missing in Mona, and which captured me so wholeheartedly here in this simple but hugely meaningful work. 

You tube of Patrick Hall

These are his words, engraved around the upper side of the cart which I took down with a pencil borrowed from a museum attendant which was an inch long. Worth every word taken down:

"The things I think bob and jostle. They are a flotilla of tiny craft. They are an unstable raft on which to journey, on which to look back to where I have been, on which to stand and be seen. The things I think voyage in hollow vessels of many shapes and sizes. They are carried in ships, fashioned by the gathered knowledge of others, clinker built with planks, stripped from the material world, caulked with stories we are told and nailed with love and passion. The things I think are so often swept away by the current, forgotten or lost in an unnamed space, unmarked on charts of other places. My thoughts are messages that sometimes sink or drift to be washed upon a distant shore."

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Hobart- the Capital of Tasmania

Steeped in convict history and aboriginal traumas this very southerly capital was inhabited in 1804 when the first convicts arrived. There are many landmarks to commemorate those times, which are sobering and sad, since so many men and women were brought here to live harsh lives for sometimes the smallest of crimes. It is said that some 65,000 to 75,000 convicts passed through Van Diemen's Land. I dont really need to be reminded of its horrors and injustices so I will leave that aspect of the town to another visit but if this is something that interests you  I suggest you read two books, the "Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes and "The Secret River" by Kate Grenville. "For the term of his Natural life", a book by Marcus Clarke is written in rather old fashioned language but is also an interesting insight into the life of convicts at the time. 

For this visit I chose to walk the streets and explore Battery point and visit the Museums of Tasmanian art and heritage, not least the world famous, MONA.

If you can, stay at the Henry Jones Art hotel on Hunter Street, made into individual and different rooms, all showcasing art, from the old warehouses that belonged at one point to Henry James who made a fortune from selling his IXL Jams. Here is the famous hotel along the docks in Hobart. 
Breakfast has to be at Jackmans& McRoss and then a walk along the streets of Battery Point to admire the beautiful houses in Hamden Road.

Then a ferry ride to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. Designed by a Greek Australian Architect Nondas Katsalidis and funded by Millionaire Tasmanian David Walsh it is an impressive massive structure by the water's edge. You enter through these silver sleek doors and you descend a circular staircase three floors into dimly lit rooms with confronting, challenging, funny, inspirational and sometimes brilliant art. Art which is not to everyone's taste and some may come away revolted at the number of vaginas displayed on the wall or the video art which bordered on blood curling. 

We wandered throughout most of it slightly open mouthed, but chose to photograph those bits of the current exhibition of Marina Abramovic's art to secure some communing with the beautiful stones from which they were built.One of the few art works we could interact with or touch. We are still hoping for the positive outcomes we were promised.

One of my favourites was Sidney Nolan's Snake, a collection of some 1620 separate pastel drawings which he made drawing his inspiration from aboriginal snakes tales.Did he expect to have this displayed like this on a very long wall ?  What was the image in his head when he was making them ?We were fascinated thinking about his intentions.
C's favourite was the  Erwin Wurm's Fat Car which was a sports car with bulging bits to represent our over eating and over indulging fast food society. Quite hilarious and of course spot on !
And finally on leaving - some parking space and a bit more, for the spiritual among us ! I don't know if this was art work or just good ol' Aussie humour.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Launceston - The little northern lovely

Its the V in the heart, the only inland town but with plenty of water around and famous for having the Cataract Gorge, underground sewers and hydro electricity. It was named after a town in Cornwall.

There is a fierce rivalry with Hobart, the capital of Tasmania,  as Jeremy our captain on the Cataract Gorge tour told us. Its very picturesque. We stayed in a hotel which was once a dry dock and we looked over the rivers, the South Esk and the North Esk which form the Tamar River.  We headed into the Gorge. This is where further up they installed the first hydro electric power station which gave the city electricity in 1895. Impressive.
 The hotel over looking the rivers.
 Some of the heritage architecture of Launceston. 
The little cottage was originally for collecting tolls at the entrance of the Gorge. The walkway which goes all the way along was built by volunteers and there are some magnificent walks to be had here, complete with peacocks, chairlifts and swimming pools.

Queen Victoria in the Botanical Gardens checking things over. 
 This magnificent clock tower on the Post office Building

This last picture seemed time warped but there is no accounting for everyones pastimes !

Friday, 11 September 2015

Bicheno and Bay of Fires

Travelling up the Eastern Coast of Tasmania the roads are empty and so are the beaches. The weather is still a little chilly but the sun is in and out of clouds and the light is a joy for any camera lens. We stopped at Bicheno, a small town which is famous for its Blowhole. If you are wondering what this is, here is the answer. A spray of white foam which is forced up through huge rocks on the beach. 

A bit further up the coast, the Bay of Fires, some 27 kms of beaches, called the Bay of Fires because of the Aboriginal fires first seen by the colonialists when they were approaching these coast lines all those years ago. The orange on the rocks is due to a lichen which grows on them which make them a little unusual. 

We turn inland towards Launceston, our destination and go through lush rainforests and pastures full of cows and sheep. This one was birthing, and in the same fiield was another one also birthing and we watched them gravitate to one another and lick each other, almost in comfort and to ease the process. We wondered where the farmer was but it seems both calves were alive and on their way to being born. 

The rainbow coming at the end of our day, the rain having abated and the sun creeping out of the clouds. We stopped the car and took in the strength of those colours in picturesque countryside.