February 1st this year and we were still in Hobart Tasmania; I know I’m the sort of person that when I visit a place I want to live there and be there for ever more… it’s always mostly fantasy; much as I loved Iceland I actually don’t think I could live there (well, maybe I could, but it isn’t likely) however Ireland I really do think I could spend my life there. This isn’t just for foreign parts, the north-east coast of England enchanted me, but is it really practical… whereas I also loved Monmouth and I think it would be a practical place to live. However Tasmania… I completely lost my heart; it appealed in every way and I felt comfortable and at home – from the moment I stepped off the plane and smelt the intoxicating and strangely familiar Tasmanian pepper plant, Tasmannia lanceolata, I wanted never to leave…

Halfway through February, with a tear in my eye, we left and flew to Brisbane to stay with friends. Our lovely and marvellous hosts there managed to squeeze a wonderful variety of trips to every sort of interesting place you could imagine – rain forests, art galleries, museums, mountain top breakfasts, river cruises, botanical gardens, Australian animal sanctuaries (kangaroos and koalas, dingoes a platypus!) the Gold Coast, historical places of interest… and of course, the bonus of being with people we like very much!

We came home from the Sunshine Coast to a rainy, sleety, slushy cold England. We were delighted to see our family again of course, but I felt slightly heart-broken at being on the other side of the world from a place I loved so much!

Apart from our memories, what else did we bring back? A healthy tan for a start! We were also much fitter; we had walked and walked and walked, nearly a hundred and thirty miles, which might not seem a lot for some people, but for us who are so sedentary usually (writing, painting, and drumming don’t involve much movement!) and considering we had days of flying, driving, being on boats, or days where we were wandering round galleries and museums, was an achievement! I confess we had also put on a few pounds..

We spent most of the holiday apart from the last week with just the two of us and it was wonderful – we always get on well anyway, but we had so much fun, so many funny things, shared so many experiences… it was marvellous, and a fitting celebration of our silver wedding anniversary the previous October.

 

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