Yes, the blog is back. It’s been a while. Quite a while. It’s time to resurrect one’s jottings of experiences and give them a place on the blog page once again.
Steve and I have decided to toddle off on another run, ride, roam adventure next year, hitting the pedals again to scale hill and dale, battle the random navigations of Dodgy Dave the GPS and hopefully tally up some more terrific experiences in new European destinations, so I figured it was time to get in some practise with the blog once again. So here I am.
Words about next year’s trip will make their way here in due course, but for now I’ll get back into the blogging swing again with some jottings a little closer to home…
Aaah, long weekends. Who was the superstar who invented the concept of a long weekend? That one extra day, tacked onto the end of the regular, run-of-the-mill weekend, elevates those two regular days to something that feels positively decadent. I don’t know who did it, but a round of applause my friend, a rousing round of applause for your stellar idea. It was with a long weekend, a luxurious Monday all to ourselves, that Steve and I decided to travel a couple of hours up the coast to the little village of Stanley, for a weekend of relaxation, exploring and a combination of running, riding and roaming. Stanley is a lovely little spot, tucked as it is at the foot of that large granite behemoth known as The Nut. It’s a grand, imposing and at times almost eerie, rock that looms over the little village in a spectacular way. We’d booked a cottage all to ourselves with glorious views of the ocean and sweeping beach, while also being perched at the foot of the great rock, so we could look out at expansive ocean views or back to a grand view of The Nut. The latter view was so spectacularly worms-eye, that a slight crick in the neck was possible, as one craned the head back to take in its full majesty.
On arrival, we decided to treat Day 1 as a pure roaming day and happily ambled around the village, with the sun shining, looking at the historic houses and buildings, gazing up at the great Nut and generally just wandering here and there.
We strolled past Lyons Cottage, which is open as a museum and kept in its original state when Joseph Lyons grew up there. Quick history lesson – Joseph Lyons was Australia’s tenth Prime Minister and our only PM from Tasmania. He was a popular Prime Minister, called “Honest Joe”, serving in the top job for seven years until he died in office in 1939. Who today, could be given such a nickname I wonder? His wife Enid was also someone of note, who went into politics as well, becoming Australia’s first woman to be elected to the Federal House of Representatives and the first woman to serve in Federal Cabinet. What a lady. Not only that, but to add to her remarkable achievements she also gave birth to twelve, that’s TWELVE children and not only that, she actually, unbeknownst to her, broke her pelvis while in labour with her first child and went on to have another eleven after that. Round of applause right there.
The cottage is Joseph Lyons’ childhood home and we walked through the rooms of this tiny cottage, reading about his life, the accomplishments of Enid and marvelling at the small spaces in which families managed to live, in days gone by. A small, bespectacled lady was sitting in a room at the front of the cottage, surrounded by pamphlets and passing the time by reading a paperback. She was one of the many marvellous volunteers who sit patiently, welcoming visitors to historic places such as this. I walked in to say hello.
“Would you like a complimentary bookmark?” she asked with a smile.
“Oh, thank you,” I replied. She had me at that favourite frugal word “complimentary” and with the added favourite of “book”, how was I to refuse?
I asked her some questions about the history and we marvelled at Enid Lyons’ achievements.
“Did you read that she broke her pelvis giving birth and still had eleven more children?” she asked me, with a look that said, ‘isn’t that amazing’!
“Yes,” I said, “where would the world be without strong women? People like her go unheralded and their achievements fly under the radar in favour of the accolades given to the men. More needs to be known of women like her.”
The book-loving lady nodded vigorously. “Yes, there should be more said about them.”
We chatted some more about our unsung feminine champions and then I made a donation and strolled out into the village once more, all the richer for some learning, some pleasant conversation and a very nice complimentary bookmark.
We roamed from one end of the village to the other and then made our way back to the little cottage that was housing us for the weekend. As we walked past our neighbour, we exchanged greetings and he added, “It’s a nice day.”
“Beautiful,” I agreed.
“Where are you from?” he enquired.
“Yes,” I said, “we’re locals. We thought it was time we saw some more of our own backyard.”
“Good on you. You need one of these,” he said, pointing to his camper van with a prominent For Sale sign adorning its side.
“Oh”, I laughed, raising the palms of my hands to keep such a suggestion away, “don’t plant the seed!”
We shared a laugh and we wandered on. I think we’ll stick to two wheels for a while and leave the camper-vanning to those who would do it justice. Steve and I are hopeless at motorised touring, hence our shift to a slower mode of travel. Maybe one day we will join the ranks of the Grey Nomads, but for now, we’ll leave our neighbour’s offer parked firmly in the driveway.
We found a local restaurant that served vegan options and decided to push the boat out on this treat of a weekend and indulged in three delicious courses of plant-based yumminess before strolling once more back to our little village cottage. Steve and I hardly ever eat out. We could count on one hand the number of times we eat anywhere other than our own little home, so we decided to make a treat of it. Oh, and yes, the Big Fella is still a member of Team Veg. For those of you who followed us on our cycling journey through Europe a couple of years ago, you may remember that at one point in the travels Steve inexplicably decided to become vegan, making our “Team Tasmania” team of two, 100% plant-based travellers. In the two years since we have been home, Steve has continued to be plant-powered, which I applaud robustly and he even gets a little forthright at times in trying to bring some other members of the family into the fold. A convert completely of his own doing, with nary a word of enticement from me, yet an enthusiastic convert he remains. Well done Big Fella.
It was a lovely start to our weekend away. A day of roaming, watching, learning and chatting. Tomorrow we would add some running and riding to our itinerary. But…that’s a story for another day.
To those of you who are return readers, I thank you and welcome you back to this humble little blog. To anyone new, another warm welcome and I hope you enjoy the stories of these two Tasmanians who seek the simple things in life with a yen for new experiences found by foot and pedal. On we run, ride and roam.