Laneway

On a recent foray to Devonport, our thoughts turned to food as midday approached. We recalled a place where we had indulged in a scrumptious eggs benedict after an early morning start to attend mapali last year. Laneway, as the name suggests, is situated in a narrow lane off a main thoroughfare.

Behind an unassuming exterior,

the rustic simplicity leaves no doubt as to the buildings industrial heritage.

I haven’t been able to find any reference to its history but the old Small & Shattell wood fired oven, the type of which was common in the late 1800s, suggests a past life as a bakehouse.

The friendly staff are welcoming

and we chose a table on the mezzanine

with a different perspective of the décor.

The industrial theme continues with light fittings made from builders strapping.

Another room on the upper level offers more dining space with simple tables and mismatched chairs.

Old newspapers cover the walls, seemingly discovered during initial renovations.

There is plenty to choose from on the tempting menu, we couldn’t go past the Cape Grim Beef & Cheese Burger. Dill pickles, tomato, mesclun, relish and coleslaw accompanied a perfectly cooked beef patty sandwiched in a lightly toasted sourdough bun. Served with just the right amount of chips, a piquant garlic aioli and a glass of our favourite beverage, lunch could not have been better.

remarkable regeneration

After some lovely spring weather, summer has arrived with a cold snap. Plenty of rain, high winds and even snow on some peaks. It is not unusual to lose a few trees during these storms

and a few months ago we lost a magnificent eucalypt along one of our forest paths.

We cut enough wood to clear the path and decided to leave the remainder of the tree where it lay, as nature’s retaining wall.

No surprise that the mosses are thriving

but rather than just giving up, there is new life along the trunk.

The majesty of our surroundings never ceases to amaze me.

Sadly, our peaceful walks in the forest are becoming less and less enjoyable due to the ever increasing presence of a group of dogs who are free to wander and hunt, torture and kill wildlife on our property. The accompaniment of constant manic barking echoing through the trees is far from tranquil. Unfortunately, the owners consider it is a dogs right to roam freely, despite legislation that clearly states, among many other requirements, “The owner or person in charge of a dog must ensure that the dog is not at large.” It is, however, a farmers right to dispatch marauding dogs threatening livestock.

It would be nice to wander our property without the prospect of being confronted by five dogs with their blood up, we all know what animals hunting in a pack are capable of.

Some of you reading this may consider me “precious”. Whether I am or not, my dog certainly is and she is treated with the care and respect she deserves.

Cradle comforts

Last time we spent the weekend at Cradle Mountain Lodge we promised ourselves we would make it a regular treat, perhaps once a year. Nine years on, we returned last month for a mid-week stay, the impetus being Michael’s birthday. After a leisurely scenic drive of just over an hour, we felt compelled to inspect the new, controversial, Visitor Centre. With all the negative publicity, I wasn’t expecting to find, in my opinion, a rather impressive construction.

Once the hundreds of plantings have grown, I think it will blend well with the environment.

The lodge looks stunning with a new face lift

and the reconfigured reception area has lost none of its welcoming charm.

We checked in to our Pencil Pine cabin, surrounded by wildlife

with a distant view of Cradle Mountain,

and returned to the tavern for lunch.

The guest lounge is cosy and comfortable

and there were two chairs by the fire that definitely had our names on them.

Our cabin was an easy stroll from the lodge, passing many contented furry residents along the way, obviously used to the comings and goings of the human variety.

The next day brought rain, a soothing constant downpour with not a breath of wind.

After a hearty breakfast, we retired to the guest lounge for a couple of hours of enforced relaxation before making our way to Waldheim Spa for a spot of pampering. Michael savoured a sixty minute Aromasoul massage by the lovely Eka, while Kayoko treated me to a Tension Tonic Ritual – a delicious hour of body massage, foot treatment and scalp therapy.

Anticipating a sumptuous dinner at the Highland Restaurant, we returned to the cabin for a cheese platter and quiet afternoon, hoping the forecast snow would materialise. Despite -4°C overnight, snow didn’t eventuate but a heavy frost and ice greeted us the next morning.

We couldn’t resist a final indulgence with a cooked breakfast followed by an easy walk in the crisp, clear air before departing for home, vowing to do this more often.

spring has sprung

One of the best things about living in Tasmania is the four distinct seasons. As winter comes to an end, the stark beauty of the garden changes with the appearance of the first green shoots of spring bulbs.

The daffodils were culled last year and hundreds of bulbs were given to a friend to enjoy the splendour in her own garden. There were plenty left to put on an impressive show.

The delicate hyacinths briefly add colour to the rosemary hedge.

Iris Florentina never disappoints, they seem to appear in a new spot each year but I’m not sure I can bring myself to cull them.

Snowbells and Spanish bluebells commingle with the daffodils and irises

while the elegant arum lilies would monopolise the entire garden if not kept in check.

Blossoms are appearing on the fruit trees, hopefully the Roaring Forties won’t come too soon and blow them away, it would be nice to have some fruit this year.

The grevilleas are ready for the birds and bees

and the clivia are managing to withstand the wildlife.

New leaves on the Pieris are a wonderful shade of red, soon to turn green and await the pendulous white “Lily-of-the-Valley” flowers.

The Waratah is in full bloom

with the magnolia

and rhododendrons not far behind.

As the weather warms up, the garden will become an ever changing palette until winter slumber and the cycle will begin again.

renovation ruminations: part 8

After ten years lamenting the eyesore across the garden, the time had come to do something about it. It was so horrible, this is the only photo I could find.

A few bits of timber and tin had been thrown together to resemble sheds by the previous owners, handy storage but not pretty.

Demolition began in November 2018, a very satisfying exercise.

The initial plan to ‘use & re-use’ as much as possible with timber framed windows and doors from the salvage yard. I set to with a scraper, sander and heat gun, hoping to have them prepared before the builders needed them.

The new slab was poured in February (Poppy made her mark) as well as a smaller
3m x 3m and we possum-proofed them for a few days.

When we demolished the 6m x 3m tin shed we resurrected the best panels and turned it into a 3m x 3m shed, hence the smaller slab.

We finally pinned down the builder to do the frame in April, a hasty job that was left largely unfinished.

We completed the structural work with advice from a building surveyor and got on with the cedar cladding in the hope of being weatherproof before winter. The builders had put the colorbond on the roof but hadn’t finished the edges so we temporarily fixed some old flashings until we could find a roofer willing to finish the job. We had since realised the windows were a step too far, it would take far too long to restore them and the end result wouldn’t be as we pictured. We ordered new windows to match those on the house, another six week wait and we halted cladding until they arrived.

There was plenty more to keep us occupied. We finished wrapping the carport area and, with a few acrobatics involved, applied the colorbond to the outside.

A bit more cladding,

fitting the back door

and the new windows arrived two weeks early. We replaced the old ones and finished the cladding

but the season had changed and it was too cold to apply protection until summer.

Many years ago, Michael found an old door at the salvage yard that was too nice to leave there. It has rested in the garage for eight years and now has pride of place as the front door. With the warmer weather, I could finally attempt to restore it to its former glory.

More delays ensued waiting for the electrician and we were now into May 2020. Once his cabling was in, we fitted the insulation batts

and the plasterers were able to work their magic.

We had decided on epoxy resin with vinyl flakes for the floor and the next few weeks were a juggling act between the plumbers and the flooring contractor. With the heat pump installed we could paint through the cold months and apply architraves and skirtings.

A kitchenette is next and some comfy couches and we have a lovely music studio to relax in as well as a more pleasing vision across the garden.