[DISCLAIMER: Sorry for lack of reports. I had to stop grumping on about COVID owing to the fact that so far, we in Tasmania have been about the luckiest people in the world on the pandemic front. My quibbles about cracked hands and unspecified sadness are inappropriate and well, nothing really. I hope I’m not speaking too soon re luck. Our borders open today. Eeek]
We have a thing in Southern Tasmania called The Show Weekend, which is when the children have a four day weekend in order to attend the Hobart Show. Well this year there is no Hobart Show so luckily, the weekend has other functions. For one, it’s meant to be when the cold weather stops and warm weather starts — i.e., “I’ll pack up my flannie pyjamas after Show weekend”. Don’t put your uggs away just yet though, October in Tasmania is a fifteen year old girl — all at once gorgeous, terrible, blustery, chilly, alarming, warm, floral scented and makes your eyes water.
Show Weekend is also when you plant your tomatoes. Then you hope you won’t get a cheeky frost or a snapping wind (you usually do).
And Show weekend is when you are allowed to PANIC about being in the end part of the year and not having everything done. I mean, if you haven’t finished that book by show weekend, you know you’ll be battling against all the end of year malarky that mean digging out kid’s swimming caps or running lines for end of year performances or booking in xmas things or just sitting in a confused fug thinking about how this year, the passing of time has been as weird AF.
I successfully delayed my panic/fug by making time stop altogether and booking the family on a show weekend staycation, in which we packed up the car and moved three hours up the coast to unpack it again. I’m making it sound lame. It wasn’t. It was great.
We took mountain bikes. It was a mountain biking staycation, which is a thing here in Tassie. When we arrived at our destination, we discovered that pretty much everyone had moved a few hours up the coast too, including our neighbours, who I saw within the first hour of our arrival. This is not odd for Tasmania, we don’t say things like, ‘How funny that we ran into you’ or ‘what a co-incidence’. We just say, ‘Hi Bob, loving what you’re doing with the garden, how’s Steve’s tooth?’ and so on.
Anyway, once I’d established that I knew most of the people on the trails, it didn’t matter so much that I am TERRIBLE at mountain biking. This came to light just as soon as I wobbled away from the bike hire shop (I didn’t have my own bike on account of it being one you might ride to the library with a loaf of bread in the basket and not up and down mountains avoiding trees. My handlebars would have hit all the trees.)
Apparently I am way too tense when I ride, and that I needed to relax my upper body more, go with the flow. It is, I pointed out, a bit hard to relax when some bastard has peppered the trail with BOOBY TRAPS such as bumps, trees, hair-pin turns stumps, roots and rocks. I don’t think the trail designers have done a decent safety check in a while or else they would have smoothed things out a bit. Surely they don’t want us to fall off, do they? I mean, the trails are made of gravel, which is, I suppose, why the turns and not called turns but ‘burns’. Essentially, if you fall off, you will sustain an injury. Unless you topple over when you’re not moving, which I managed very successfully. I claimed I’d lost interest and decided to have a little lie down on the trail.
Anyway, it didn’t matter that I returned my hired bike after one day because I didn’t go on the mountain bike holiday to go mountain biking. I went for the no housework factor. Also to support our local economy, to have family time, to have someone else cook. And to ease myself into the bit of year in which time rushes like a mofo.
The family time ended up being very close family time, because we were all five of us staying in one room of a hotel that might have had a hey-day (just one of them) back in about 1966. What the hotel lacked in snazz, it made up for in friendly staff and the fact it was directly across the road from the Reject Shop. Also, the shower was one of the showers you could have when no one thought about water consumption. With that shower head and the correct angle, you could successfully blast yourself right out of the hotel and across the road to the Reject Shop for some shampoo and a chamois. (I did buy some shampoo from there, it is Revlon Flex brand which I haven’t seen since the 80s. It’s subtle scent makes me think of ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by The Communards.)
I also bought an emergency nightie from the Reject Shop, having forgotten mine. It’s a bit on the granny side but only ten bucks and not too flammable and apparently mum-in-the-nude is an unthinkable travesty since my twins hit their teens. On the first night we all hopped into bed and I said, ‘Well this is fun, just like school camp,’ to which my ten year old replied, ‘Yeah, except granny is here.’ Later, I muttered something about needing a biro, and all three children said, ‘What’s a biro?’ then screeched with laughter when I told them it’s a pen, you idiots.
I was losing patience by then. Forty-five is quite a vulnerable age to have a sense of humour about getting old. I began to feel an affinity with the hotel, which is also past its prime, and would definitely have known what a biro is. ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘This hotel is on my side when it comes to slowing time. It’s an actual time-slip.’ But then my husband grazed his hand on the textured walls, and the smell of the carpets was starting to offend, so the affinity didn’t last long.
So now I’m rambling on too much but the point of me making a rare visit to the Megoracle dashboard is really just to say hello, staycations are great, support local, family is lovely, mountain biking is for fucking idiots, trail mud doesn’t come out of white tee-shirts, don’t order Thai chicken curry in a pub that prides itself on its parmies (also for idiots), modern day showers are pathetic and PLEASE stay safe everyone, wash your hands, be kind, do the right thing.
Particular love to my Melbourne friends who have done it so tough for the good of all of us. They wouldn’t be moaning about mountain biking or stinky pub carpet. I wish you holidays a-plenty very, very soon.
And Tassie people, remember that the draw bridge is down and we probably should stop hugging hello. The Reject Shop has plenty of hand sanitiser.
Also, 2nd of March 2021 is the release date of my new novel, WELCOME TO NOWHERE RIVER. Please put it in your diaries and tell everyone you know.
I’m off now to remember that it’s almost November and I need to panic.
Lots of love. XXM
Tags: COVID-19, family, Mountain biking, staycation, tasmania, The Reject Shop
Oh Meg, I have missed your writing. And I needed to have that treat today. Thank you. X
Thank you Julie! XX
Hey Meg, where the bloody hell are you, we could all do with some of your sparkling wit during this damn pandemic. Please start blogging again, and stay safe.
Hi Ellie! I’m still lurking on the inter webs, just not at megoracle at the moment. My book deadlines are just too easy to ignore. I write a monthly newsletter instead. If you want to subscribe it’s free and via http://www.megbignell.com.au . I’d love you to join the mailing list. Thank you so much for your message it’s lovely to know I am missed. It’s a bastard this pandemic business. I hope you’re well.