Ten Days on the Island

There’s been a bit on in the realm of the Blue Room of late!

As January segued into its following month, two beautiful women came to stay by the river to gladden the heart of this old scribe. My sister flew in from the endless sun of Mangoland to experience our southern capital’s less predictable climes for a week. Frith, named after the feisty heroine of Paul Gallico’s wartime saga ‘The Snow Goose’, once was, for a brief time, a resident of Hobart herself way back in the dim mists of time. Visits have been few since. She left this island many moons ago to be a navy-man’s wife, returned for a time to Tassie’s North West, before escaping the winter chill she abhorred to the warm grasp of the Sunshine Coast. She and husband Glen have been wonderful hosts to me on my several occasions in Maroochydore, so now I was proud to return the compliment; to introduce her to the little abode under Kunanyi , Mt Wellington’s new/ancient name. She would see the changes wrought on Hobart over the years since her own time beside the Derwent.

Accompanying her was stunning daughter Peta, bringing with her the glamour of big city Melbourne life, her home of late. Peta has used her talent as a dancer to see our earthly orb from cruise ship sorties to the four corners; to play fairy tale belles at Japan’s Disney World and to entertain a hundred thousand at that ‘one day in September.’ With a radiant smile, a whiff of exotic scents and a zestful take on life, this gorgeous young lady charms all lucky enough to enter her orbit.

frith and peta02

The occasion for their visit was the eighty-seventh birthday of a remarkable woman – my mother. The event was held at the Asian Gourmet, an eatery gracing one of the piers protruding into Sullivan’s Cove on Hobart’s docks. Lovells, partners and offspring from all over the island gathered to experience tasty tucker, catch up on the doings of each other and to celebrate their good fortune in calling Alwyn mother, mother-in-law, gran and great-grandmother. Hobart turned on its glorious best that sunny Sunday arvo for the coming together. The harbour pulsated with sea craft and the tourists were snapping for all they were worth. The attendees were transfixed, though, by the little people. None older than half a decade – Mia, Evie, Tessa Tiger, Charlie and Thomas (as well as a new addition on the way) enlivened proceedings with their palpable pleasure at being part of another adventure, their inquisitiveness at he sights around them and their tentative steps towards forming relationships with each other.

As the week progressed tours were taken away from the wee riverside abode. Peta was entranced by another form of Disneyland – the adults playground that MONA, as the city’s leading attraction, has become. She pronounced it ‘way cool.’ Shopping expeditions were mounted to the Salamanca Market, the CBD, the emporiums of collectibles at New Norfolk and the stationary train at Margate. Nothing lasts forever and all too soon Nan was wending her way back to Burnie; Peta and Frith to Yarra City.

But for this aspiring chronicler of events, these happenings were not the only notable occurrence to be had. In a joyous coincidence and for me a matter of immense pride, that very weekend my adored daughter graced the local daily as the feature article of its weekend supplement. Her lovely face appeared on the cover, with, on the inside, more images to savour of her little family – hubby Leigh and the mini-wonder that is Tessa Tiger. Tim Martain did a great job of wordsmithery in tracing my daughter’s progress from her upbringing in provincial Wynyard to finally calling Hobs home; in recounting her previous literary publications and flagging her upcoming one – ‘Writing Clementine’. All of it was pure unadulterated bliss for a proud father to peruse.

mercury kate

And now I am away from the southern city I love, penning these words on the same coast that saw my daughter and son born and nurtured, as well as being home for the bulk of my own adult life. Another remarkable mother is my host, my Leigh’s mum in Pat. She treats me royally, plying me with the rhubarb I love and other culinary treats. Another occasion bought us north – the seventh consecutive twenty-fifth birthday bash of Leigh’s cherished daughter, Ilsa. Yesterday again there were family and friends meeting up at their ‘ranch’ under the flanks of Roland. The barbie was fired up by husband Keith and fine, expertly cooked meaty fare was partaken of. In the past twelve months this Sheffield couple have had much to celebrate as their industriousness is paying dividends in their chosen community. Keith is now sought after to lend a hand in garden and household maintenance around local traps with Ilsa’s managerial skills having an impact on local businesses. In the little time remaining to them they work together to restore a dwelling on the outskirts of town to make a fine home for their son, my mate Little Ford Man. He is a treasure, never ceasing to amaze his besotted grandmother and I with his ability to observe, figure it all out and then replicate. When Brynner raises his arms up to me, then lifts a leg to signify he has deemed it to be a time I should lift him up for a higher view of proceedings, I feel humbled that I have a place in his world too.

We travel back south later this day and routines around the Blue Room for the remainder of the week will return to their normal rhythms. No doubt I will cast my mind back over these ‘ten days on the island’ and contemplate their significance. Of course, in a worrisome world there is always the positive constant that is family. I will ponder on the talent that is possessed within the family group – my daughter’s writing, Peta’s dancing, Keith’s for landscaping, Ilsa’s for organisation, for instance – and where those capabilities will lead their possessors. I will ruminate on the little mites at the Asian Gourmet that sunshiny afternoon and think on how they will make their way along their, as yet unscripted, life’s journey. There are still so many unanswered questions and this old fellow is determined to be around for a while longer to see some of them answered.

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