Sunday, March 24, 2019

Some short walks at last and a glimpse of the Shot Tower

A little autumn colour behind the dwelling at the Shot Tower, Taroona

My friend has been a bit better this week and so has the weather, so we have had a couple of short walks, a breath of fresh  air and  our usual long talks  - about philosophy, the state of the world and things which have gotten up our noses since the last time we walked. I always find it quite therapeutic. Not sure about my friend, but he’s a very patient soul. Although the walks haven’t been too strenuous out of consideration for his state of health, I am so out of shape that I have secretly also appreciated the fact that both of them were only about an hour each.  
1. Whitewater Creek, Kingston
The first walk was a very gentle one along Whitewater Creek in Kingston – not spectacular, but easy going and very good as a first try. It also had some excellent information about wetlands of which this is a part, and how important they are in absorbing run-off and to filter out pollutants before they reach the  river. This was brought home to me again while watching the devastation caused by flooding in the wake of the three Superstorms which hit Florida, Texas and the Caribbean in 2017. One of the scientists in this video argues that if so much of Houston and the other cities hadn’t been paved over and the wetlands been allowed to do their job, the floods would not have been as severe. 

Of course we have our own storms to contend with – Cyclones Veronica (!!!) and Trevor are raging in the North East and North West of Australia as I write and the one in Mozambique is far worse. However, for more on what unassuming looking wetlands can do for us and why we should protect them, read an old post  Croak if you like Wetlands” from a few years ago. The story about why we are having more superstorms is on sbs On Demand “The Rise of the Super Storms” though you may not be able to see it outside Australia 

2. Alum Cliffs, Track, Taroona   
The second walk starts from the top carpark at the Shot Tower, at Taroona about 11 km south of Hobart.  Built by  Joseph Moir in 1870 to make lead shot  for muzzle loaders, this  58.7 metre sandstone tower is a magnificent landmark from which you can see great views up and down the coast, especially if you can bring yourself  to climb the ? steps to the top.  There is much dispute about its height and quite a few other little secrets which you can discover at Discover Tasmania.
There is a charge to climb the stairs (see below) and they also do an excellent Devonshire Tea, though that was not our plan today.  

A glimpse of the Shot Tower - Largest sandstone tower of its kind still left in the world. Shame it wasn't sunnier

Although you can walk all the way to Kingston from here - around three hours, I was rather hoping that we would be able to go left and walk along the cliff tops to Hinsby Beach.  This was a popular walk some years ago, but a landslip led to the closure of the track. Now someone has apparently built a house right across the middle of where the old track was.  Another walker with whom we swapped memories of Lombok, did say that he was pretty sure that if you walked through the front door and out the back, the track would still be there, but he didn’t recommend it. Besides, the whole place is pretty thoroughly fenced off.

Yes, you do have to go up this hill!

The trip downhill and up the next was daunting enough and gave us an excellent workout. At the top there’s a fine lookout over ravaged sea cliffs and a lovely sheltered picnic area, then it’s all the way back down and up, before the promised rain overtakes us.

The reward - I just have to imagine it on a sunny day
Click  here  for Admission details  re Shot Tower
or here for more about Joseph Moir and the history

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spiegeltent – ghosts of show business past

Spiegeltent on Hobart's waterfront has a long history

 Had a great time listening to Judith Lucy in the Spiegeltent last night. It was certainly a nice break from election coverage and stories of mass shootings in New Zealand. The venue was a real blast too. 

Did I mention that the show was really good too? Not as rabid as the title might suggest

This Spiegeltent is one of two which was used by the Klessens family to travel around Belgium until about 1919.   Its big brother/sister was struck by an incendiary bomb and this one – “De Sonnenstrahl” was stolen.  After being rediscovered, post WWII, it lived on as a cabaret venue in Berlin, but as film and television took away audiences, it was put into storage.  In 2014 it was brought to Australia by James McPherson and co – producer, choreographer Jason Coleman and has been spreading happiness and joy ever since.

Wish I could show you some pictures, but photography is banned inside. Of timber, glass and canvas with parquetry floors, red velvet drapes and mirrors, it still has all the glitz and glamour of days gone by. It has a bar and private boxes too. Seating only about 130 in a semi -circle around the stage makes it a very intimate experience and the show was a buzz too. It’s great to see Hobart getting so many top acts. 

In fact, comedy is quite big here. The Joker’s Comedy Club in Newtown, has a show every Wednesday. Panchovilla Mexican restaurant in North Hobart has comedy out the back once a month, but their  website seems to be down at the moment and other places such as the Republic Bar, The Theatre Royal and the Playhouse Theatre also have comedy from time to time.

Can’t wait that long? If you need a little comedy fix right now, try a little Brexit Yoga with Sammy J

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Meet Borys – Extreme Cyclist

- image courtesy of Natasha Mulhall

A bit busy at the moment, so I thought I would introduce you to Borys, one of my neighbours. I’d often seen his van parked nearby, but finally got up the courage to ask him what the heck he does. Boris is originally from Poland and came to Australia 12 years ago. He's a professional mountain biker and Trials Bicycle rider and holds two National Elite Championship titles. He's been riding for 16 years and has also plied his most unusual occupation in Europe and Asia.Watch him in action on FB

 - image courtesy of Natasha Mulhall
Health Warning: don’t try this at home, unless like Borys, you've had at least 16 years experience!

Boris at work at the Taste of Tasmania Festival

Mountain Bike in its natural habitat

By the way, we did get our heatwave. Last Saturday it was officially 38oC  -the second highest temperature in the country, possibly the world, after Adelaide, so the Weather Bureau got it right, despite the snow in between.

Acknowledgements: have taken most of these pictures from Borys' Facebook page. If anyone minds, let me or Borys know