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Mum and I went on a couple of days’ break down to Hobart. It was mainly because I had a ticket to see Tripod’s This Gaming Life, a show they perform with an orchestra, about being lovers of gaming. Because they need an orchestra for the show, they don’t get to perform it very often, so when I heard they were performing with the TSO I booked the ticket and thought I’d work out the details later.

On our way south we stopped at Oatlands, about an hour out of Hobart. It was a cold, rainy day and being a Tuesday with less likelihood of tourists, many of the shops were closed. But it was a lovely looking town, full of Georgian-era buildings. We stopped for crepes, with a view of the Callington Mill, which we wandered over to look at after lunch.

And on to Hobart. I do love a fancy hotel stay. It probably started when I was a kid, and our family travelled a lot and was reasonably wealthy so could afford to stay at nice places. But we were never allowed to get room service or take anything from the mini bar – probably with good reason, the markup is insane (I still feel naughty or defiant as an adult if I room service). We checked in to the Hotel Grand Chancellor, on the Hobart waterfront, and had an upgrade to a room on the 18th floor. As soon as we opened the door, we just stood and stared at the view that spread out in front of us. What is it about water and horizons that are so mesmerising?

No room service for dinner. I thought since we were splurging on a break, we would have a nice dinner (fine dining is something that mum and I really, really enjoy). So I booked at Peacock and Jones (in the bottom left of the above photo) and we had some very tasty food and attentive service.

The venue for the Tripod concert was Federation Concert Hall which, conveniently, was in the same building as our hotel. How nice to be able to stroll from dinner to concert to bed, barely having to be outside.

The concert was lots of fun. I love Tripod’s music – they are funny and silly and goofy, but their musicianship is so solid. Nothing quite like delicious three part vocal harmonies, and when backed by an orchestra…wonderful!

Back up to the room. I didn’t sleep well though. I think it’s that I’m not used to sharing a room with someone, I had also drunk heaps of coffee that day and much as I love hotel rooms, they’re always really dehydrating. Anyway. We left the curtains open, so I lay there and watched the lights and listened to podcasts. I hoped there would have been a pretty colourful sunrise to watch from bed, but it was a bit too grey. The harbour was still beautiful to watch coming to life in the morning. There were a surprising number of birds around too, some calmly gliding high above the water, and others joyously dipping and diving outside our window.

After a tasty breakfast downstairs, we went for a walk, wandering up to the beautiful St David’s Cathedral. It was nice to find it open and empty, so we wandered through. Loved the stained glass and the art on the walls. I was also amazed that even though it has a soaring ceiling and a lot of stone, like our church St John’s, it wasn’t absolutely freezing cold, like our church St John’s. Towards the end of our wander, a couple of volunteers turned up; these women (from various denominations) volunteer to talk to visitors and to pray with/for them if needed.

I’ve been exploring some of the convict history of Tasmania, especially the female factories, and doing some research so I can write some stories about it. We went to Cascades Female Factory and paid entry but didn’t pay for a tour; the man at the visitor centre said there weren’t many existing structures so without a tour we might not get as much of an ‘experience’ and at first we thought “hm, that’s a bit of a rort”. But it didn’t take long to get a sense of the place, to imagine what it would have been like.

As we headed for home, I was suddenly very hungry, so we had the opposite of our delicious meal from the night before and got some drive through fast food, something we hardly ever do anymore since our diabetes diagnoses (and we’re all the better for it). We sat by the water to eat, accompanied by an extremely bold seagull.

I had to get mum to take over driving on the way back, as a sleepless night doesn’t go well with a long drive. We stopped briefly at Ross for a coffee (and driving past another empty field that had once held a female factory (there were four in Tasmania altogether)) and then on to home.

It was great to get home and find the pets still alive and to lie down on my bed. Having a break is great. When you have a lovely home to come back to, that’s a big part of the pleasure too.

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