One year for Chrissy my DLP (Darling Loving Partner) decided she wanted an adventure – something away from the humdrum, something out of the ordinary as well as, dare I write it – something out of her comfort zone. Unfortunately she left it totally up to me as to what that would be. She won’t be doing that again and has kept a tight rein on me ever since. What I came up with left her pleading to be left on some wind-blasted rocks with the seals and shags, but that is a story for another day. Last year we decided for our mutual gift we would treat each other to a trip to the deep south – an excursion that resulted in skirmishes with nudists and kamikaze Japanese tourists – see and This year was a tad more subdued. In keeping with out recent renovations, we updated our kitchen appliances with cranberry red microwave, kettle and toaster. A much safer option. Of course DLP’s greatest gift to me is a daily occurrence – her continued love; her having me in her life. Not a day goes by when I do not tell her how much she means to me.


Towards the end of the past year, again as part and parcel of those aforementioned renovations, my DLP gave me another excellent gift. I have a brand new man-cave. I simply adore it. Ever since I’ve moved down south, two years ago now, I have had my own space – the front chamber across the way from the Blue Room and the sunny nook out back. Now the former master bedroom has been moved to the old cave, and visa versa. The original, due to our lack of room before mate Stefan produced for us our built-ins, means the new area is now my sanctuary with my stuff, much of it retrieved from storage out in the garage, around me. I have a bed to loll on and to take nanny-naps. I have a table to compose my scribblings on. I have shelves on which to place books and images of the one’s I love the most. I am not a man who is interested in sheds, so what could be better than this generous gift? Adorning its walls are some of my favourite possessions. Keeping her eye on proceedings is Fleur, my half-naked 1920’s beauty who has been with me for decades. There’s a wonderful painting by prestigious local artist John Lownds that DLP presented to me for a birthday a while ago now. His work doesn’t come cheap so I know that, on a restricted budget, buying it for me wouldn’t have been a straight forward decision – so I so treasure it. My friends have contributed – Carolyn with her own rendering of Tasmania’s iconic Dove Lake boat house and Claire’s presentation of the mighty Hawks team of ’11, autographed by every member. Although not the victorious side of ’13, they were on their way back then. Then there are two items from DLP’s own talented hands – a large crayon nude and a red-hued seascape. In my mint new room I have a limited licence, under supervision, to clutter – even to cover the pristine white built-ins with my photographic efforts and my granddaughter’s precious first drawings for her Poppy.


Another artist in my life has given me the gift of two of her paintings that adorn other walls in our little abode by the river. Pride of place in my sunny nook is Julia’s cityscape of my cherished little metropolis from the perspective of atop Mt Wellington. This was painted to thank me for teaching her three wonderful children. In truth I think this trio gave me back more than I could have possibly given them. The other, greeting visitors to our home, is my very, very special farewell gift from fronting classes over the course of twenty years at Yolla School. Of the Midlands in Julia’s unique style, it evokes all those trips I made between Hobs and Burnie during the years DLP and I were a bi-coastal couple. Thankfully those trips are taken less frequently today, it being usually with the gift of DLP’s presence as well.

Writing of art, another humbling gift came right at the end of ’13. Whereas I’ve taken to my scribblings in my retirement, brother Kim spends some of his time crafting ukuleles. What he produces are items of stunning beauty – expertly, fastidiously, time-consumingly and flawlessly fashioned from our island’s precious endemic timbers. These are works of utmost artistry as well as functioning musical instruments. I may never play it proficiently, but who knows? What I do know is that I can look at it till the end of my time and be reminded of his expertise; his symbolic heart-felt gesture to the familial ties that bind.


As with Kim, my own son has inherited the same of the hands on capabilities of my father. I know our dad would have been in awe of my ukulele and thoroughly approving of the gift of DVD shelving my son produced for me a few years back. Watching him construct these I saw father Fred’s ability to problem solve on the run. I know this has been a valued asset to Rich in his various workplaces. And wouldn’t my father be gobsmacked to see where he is working now, maintaining the huge barges that service the Furneaux Islands out of Bridport – as gobsmacked as I was on the tour he gave me a month or so back.

Over recent months there is perhaps the most treasured gift of all given to me by my BTD – Beautiful Talented Daughter. That is the gift of being able to accompany braveheart Tessa Tiger Gordon, my granddaughter, on some of her adventurings. It is just pure, pure magic. Being Poppy to her – well it just doesn’t get any better. All these gifts gives my life so much meaning. I am truly, truly a fortunate man.

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