RDP Tuesday: Rain

It’s Raining Again

Whether we have it or we don’t have it rain plays an enormous part in our daily lives.  We can’t live without it but too much of it at one time can cause havoc and not enough of it is devastating.

One of the things that attracted me to the Huon Valley is how green it is. I’d spent most of my life in South Australia, the driest state and the rivers and lakes, green grass and flowers here appealed to me. It does seem to rain more here than some other parts of the state. Naomi says that it always rains when she comes to visit me. She was here Saturday and it was dry until about 5pm and then as she started to think about going home down came the rain.

The view of the Huon River from halfway up Percy St, Port Huon

Not enough rain at the right time of year can be bad for farmers crops but unseasonal rain and hail in summer can ruin the cherry crop and growers lose a lot of money because damaged cherries are no good for export.

At times there are areas that are very prone to flooding. Launceston often suffers from floods in winter but the city has put in levees that they hope will protect the city from the worst of them. We had bad flooding in the north a couple of winters ago when several rivers rose dangerously high.

Huon River in flood at Huonville. photo from ABC news.

The Huon River sometimes floods in winter, usually, it is not too bad in Huonville, just water over the road in a couple of places. Two or three times since I’ve been here I’ve seen water in the main street and a couple of businesses have been affected but a couple of years ago there was a situation created by high tides in the estuary, melting snow and a lot of rain and there was a much worse flood. Homes were evacuated, businesses were flooded and livestock lost.

Tasmania isn’t always wet though, people don’t realise it but Hobart is the driest state capital after Adelaide and we have had serious droughts in Tasmania, especially in the eastern part of the state. The area where Naomi lives in the centre of the state is farming country and she often told me how distressed the local farmers were when they had to destroy sheep or sell them for very little because the land would not support them. Lake Dulverton at Oatlands where she lives dried up completely during a particularly bad drought.

This is the lake at the height of the drought.
image fisherman
Fisherman December 2009

I am fortunate enough that my house is connected to the town water supply but I have friends who rely on rainwater tanks and when the rain doesn’t come they have to buy water.

Mostly I don’t mind when it rains. Of course, it is a nuisance at times, at the Op Shop for example when it is too wet for us to put anything outside the shop and the bad weather keeps customers away. Or when I go to the cricket and the match is rained out.  On the other hand, rain is nice to cool everything down after a hot day and I like the sound of rain on a metal roof. Without rain, there would be no rainbows.

Rainbow in a dark sky.




RDP: Broadcast

Who Listens to the Radio?

I probably started to listen to the radio a lot when I was a young teen. It was the beginning of the 1970’s and radios were getting smaller although the Sony Walkman had not yet been invented. Most people had a radio in the house and even kids might have a “tranny”, a transistor radio.

That’s how we discovered the music we grew to love, listening to it on the radio.

The first rock concerts that Naomi and I attended were free ones sponsored by a local radio station featuring local Adelaide bands. We had favourite DJ’s and shows that we liked to listen to. I always enjoyed “The Album Show”, I think that was the name, on 5KA Adelaide hosted by Barry Bissell 

He would play several tracks from the latest albums and as this was in the days of the four-minute single it was great to hear the long versions of songs and those that you didn’t hear on repeat all day. A sort of try before you buy if you like.

I probably stopped listening so much sometime in the late nineties as the music of that time was less to my taste and now, I hardly listen to current music at all.

When we moved to Geeveston I discovered there was a community radio station and David and I eagerly tuned in but we were unlucky that every time we did they seemed to be playing country music which neither of us liked. Later though, I started to volunteer at the station and discovered that there were also presenters playing blues, jazz, folk, “oldies” music and various other genres as well as information programs. Community radio stations don’t have to play what the commercial stations play. The presenters are usually enthusiasts of a particular type of music and most put a lot of thought into their selection of songs each week.

I never had any desire to go on air myself but I did enjoy working in the office where I did a variety of jobs to support the manager and presenters. Sometimes if there was an outside broadcast I would go along to help set up, sell raffle tickets and so on.

Setting up for an OB. Kingston Beach January 2012
Presenter interviewing one of the police officers at the venue.

I made some good friends too who I still see regularly even though most of us are no longer associated with the station. I still turn off the country music though.

I don’t listen to the radio all that much now though. When David was in the hospital and I was first at home by myself I started to listen to a classical music station at night and I found it helped me to sleep (unless it was opera). I still listen to it sometimes before I go to sleep and when I wake up. I like to hear the news and the weather first thing and then, unless something major is going on, I don’t listen to the news for the rest of the day. I like hearing the news without ads, without opinion and without a video clip attached to it.


RDP: Birthday

Celebrating Life

Age is a tricky subject for a lot of people. An older relative of mine once had a complete meltdown because she was turning fifty. Naomi and I were teenagers and we felt very embarrassed and uncomfortable to see an adult acting that way.

Birthdays for me are like markers on the road of life and I like to acknowledge them no matter how many I have. I don’t mean I want a big party or lots of presents although of course presents are nice. I just don’t want it to be “just another day”. Naomi and I usually plan some little outing or at least cook a special meal at home to celebrate our birthdays. Sometimes life intervenes and things don’t work out like the year that Naomi had a car problem on the way to our lunch get together and had to cancel at the last minute or the very sad year that my mother in law died or the one where David was in hospital but three or four  sad ones out of sixty plus is not so bad.

My birthday treat for 2018, a trip on the Huon onboard Yukon.

Up until we moved to Tasmania my birthday often fell on a holiday. School holidays were in May and there was a Public Holiday around that time as well so even when I was working I often had it free. Strangely enough, after we moved away,  that South Australian Public Holiday was moved from May to March.

My friend Gillian and I are exactly two weeks apart in age and we started a habit of celebrating our milestone birthdays, zeros and fives, together, especially after we moved to different states.

David, Gillian and Bruce, West Coast Wilderness Railway 2012
Gillian and I with her assistance dog Dusty who got camera-shy. Photo by Bruce Laughton

One year David and I drove to Canberra for Gillian’s birthday, next time Gillian and her husband Bruce came to Tasmania and we all went to Strahan on the west coast for the weekend. Last year it was my turn again and I went to spend the weekend in Melbourne with them.

I have never consciously thought about it but I guess I see birthdays as a time to celebrate life.

Glass given to me by my friends at the Op Shop for my birthday last year.


RDP: Past

A Sense of Time and Place

I’ve always found history very interesting. I remember as a young child being taught about how the Romans invaded Britain. I understood that modern-day buildings could be built on top of older ones but at seven my ideas of archeology were a bit sketchy. When we found some bricks in the back garden I thought that perhaps there was a Roman house underneath and this was the chimney sticking out.
Billingsgate roman house London: Remains of the Roman house at Billingsgate; 2nd to 3rd century AD. Photo by Udimu.

Still, despite that misconception, or perhaps because of it, I became interested in the way people lived in the past and particularly in the places they lived. A few years ago I came across the British TV program “Time Team” and even though the episodes were some years old I enjoyed every one. In another life, I might have been an archaeologist.

Although I was born in England I’ve spent the majority of my life in Australia where the history of European settlement only goes back a couple of hundred years. When I first went back to England for a visit I was taken to see Lincoln Cathedral, a church built more than 900 years ago. No building in Australia is that old. I’ve also been to York, one of my favourite places because of its old city walls and narrow streets. and its links with the Vikings.

In some places, I feel the past very strongly. I’ve stood on the Great Wall of China marveled at the length of it and wondered again how men could build things like this without computers and machinery.

Closer to home I once sat with Naomi in the grounds of the old prison complex at Port Arthur and at dusk as the day trippers leave you really get a sense of how lonely and isolated the convicts who lived there must have felt.

Port Arthur photo by Naomi

What a shame it would be if everything old was torn down and we didn’t have the opportunity to experience the feeling of times past in our towns and cities.





RDP: Home

Be It Ever So Humble

My house is not a mansion. It is a little rough around the edges but it is home to me.

The chairs in place.

I remember the day we moved in. It was a wet June day in 2002. David and I had driven from Adelaide to Melbourne to catch the overnight ferry to Devonport and then driven for another five hours to reach the Huon Valley. We hoped that our payment would be transferred that day and that we would be able to spend the night in our new home.

It was late afternoon by the time we pulled into the driveway. Someone, the previous owner perhaps, had lit a fire in the wood heater and left us a few logs to get started. We had no furniture except what was packed in the back of the station wagon, air mattresses, sleeping bags, a couple of chairs and a card table. Our dog, Tessie, made the trip sitting on top of a pile of blankets on the back seat.

The next day the rest of our things arrived and once we had our books, pictures, knick-knacks and familiar furniture the place began to look like home. The final touch was the arrival of our cat who was flown to Hobart a few days later.

Over the years this house has become a home. Everywhere I look I see familiar things, some of them were in my childhood homes or David’s. There are things that belonged to his grandparents and mine and of course things we have collected ourselves along the way.

Favourite treasures in the living room.

I think I have always had a strong sense of place so the town has become home too.  If I go to the local shops I know I will almost certainly meet someone I know, if I am walking more often than not someone will stop and offer me a lift. I think I’m lucky to have had that, not all country towns welcome outsiders so willingly.

These big logs welcome everyone to Geeveston.



RDP: Object

A Hard Working Word

I nearly wrote another ranty post about all the things that I object to eg. right-wing political figures, petty political correctness, destruction of beautiful old buildings, war, poverty, reality TV. However, I’d just get cross writing it and probably end up annoying at least a few people who didn’t agree with me.

Instead, I thought I’d look at the word from another angle. Grammar. It is one of those words that is used as both a noun and a verb.

When I use “object” as a verb, an action word, as my teachers used to say it’s something I am doing. As in “I object to the government’s policies.”

Not In Our Name

As a noun”Object” can be used to refer to a material thing, that’s pretty straightforward. An unidentified flying object could be a flying saucer or a tomato being chucked at one of the previously mentioned politicians.

However, it can also be used to mean purpose; as in “The object of the Ragtag Daily Prompt is to use a particular word in a post.”

But it can be used to pinpoint something or someone who has caused a reaction of some kind too. For example “The man was an object of ridicule in his red budgie smugglers.”

Object is a very hard-working word. As a native English speaker, I didn’t really learn the rules to this. Well, I probably did in Primary School but I just knew how to use the word from reading and listening. Trying to explain it in my own words was a lot harder and I used the definitions from the Collins online dictionary to help me get my thoughts in order.


*Budgie Smugglers


RDP: Sport

Confessions of a Lazy Person

My initial response to this post was a polite “no thank you”. I don’t do sport. I have never enjoyed it even as a child. I remember a school sports day when I was five or six. I was in a running race where I came last or maybe second last. I didn’t care about that. What I did care about was that some teachers laughed at the way I was pumping my arms, something I had probably seen athletes do on television. Perhaps mum should not have told me that but anyway I had no further interest in running. When our class was taken to the pool to learn to swim I disliked that they made us put our heads under water.  My school years were a blur of being afraid balls would hit me, being afraid of falling off balance beams and constantly trying to get on the back of the line to do anything physical if I could not avoid going altogether. The only school sports activity I truly enjoyed was once whacking a ball with a hockey stick. Unfortunately, that was the only part of the game that I did like.

I am not a well-coordinated person. I can’t hit tennis balls, I can’t bowl although I do actually enjoy tenpin bowling. I can’t play table tennis although I will give it a go. I still can’t swim. Mini golf is fine, I can hold my own in that although I am not sure if you can call it a sport.

The only sports I’ve ever watched are yacht racing, Motorsports, and cricket. I sat up all night to see Australia win the “America’s Cup” for the first time and I love to see the start of the Sydney Hobart race on TV although that is just as much about the spectacle really.

image yachts
Sydney Hobart Race yachts at Constitution Dock.

I started to watch Motorsports with David. He enjoyed watching it and I became interested myself. We went to a lot of Formula 1 Grand Prix in Adelaide and every other sort of event we could get to for several years. Naomi and I often went to the Speedway too where we enjoyed cheering for our favourite cars and drivers.

Formula one car chassis’ circa 1988-89
Peter Brock at an F1 support race in Adelaide.

I didn’t seriously take an interest in cricket until we moved to Tasmania although I’d sometimes watch it on TV with David. I first went to a cricket match in Hobart to see if I’d enjoy it. I did and went to many more over the next few years.

I especially enjoyed going to live sports events because it’s fun to cheer for your team, it adds to the excitement when you are barracking for a particular racing driver, or a particular team especially if it is someone from your home that you can identify with.

The crowd on the hill at Blundstone Arena

I also really enjoy the photography aspect. I’ve taken a lot of pictures at motor racing events and cricket matches.

One of the few occasions I’ve captured the ball leaving the bat.