La Maison Française

Today’s journey took us out of Bicheno and up the coast.  We took a left turn up towards St Mary’s and stopped in at the Mount Elephant Pancake Barn for some Tassie renowned pancake goodness.


They take where you park pretty seriously …..


….. but not as seriously as what will happen if your kids misbehave!


The pancakes were delicious and well worth the drive.  I mean, look at these happy diners.


We made it St Mary’s thinking we’d hit the big smoke, but it was sadly a very run down old town with minimal shops, or even olde world charm.  The locals were very friendly though, a lady approached us completely out of the blue and told us to go down to the old station because they had ‘something’ there we should look at and if we go the other was there were quilts. We found neither and headed for the highway.

Everything in Tassie seems to have been founded, started, built or designed by a French person!

A lot of the town, cape and bay names are French and tonight, in St Helen’s we are staying at The French House – a gorgeous French inspired chateau that sits just on the outskirts of St Helens.  The house is just beautiful and the owners are super friendly – if you’re ever up this way, it’s highly recommended!


The French House, St Helens, Tasmania

Tomorrow, I want you to strap yourselves in, cause we’re headed to lavender country!


Where is Superman When You Need Him?


When we were staying in Richmond, a couple of nights ago, we came back to our cottage after dinner at the pub to find a Japanese couple standing at the door of the main house looking a little lost.  He had relatively good English and asked us if we knew where our host was.  We let them know that she was out and wouldn’t be home until later that night.  He told us that they’d been driving all day and had just arrived and that they were staying there that night.  This was odd to us as our host hadn’t mentioned that there might be people arriving whilst she was out and we also knew that the cottages were full.  So we suggested giving our host a call as she couldn’t be far away.  Then we left them to it.

Our host finally came home about 30 minutes later and a conversation was had that we couldn’t quite make out – even with our ears pressed right up against the window, but we found out the next day that the couple had made a mistake and their booking was actually for a month later.  She helped them find different accommodation for the night and we thought that was that.

Then, we drove into the next town and stopped for lunch, who should walk past us but the same chap!  Then down at Coles Bay we were making our way down a walking path and who should run past?  yep, the same guy!  Then in Bicheno….. who should we see?  you guessed it.  Then driving through St Mary’s, there he was again.  He was easy to spot cause he’s been wearing the same Superman t-shirt since Sunday!


Waiting For Penguins


Tonight at dusk we ventured down to the beach to try and catch a glimpse of the penguins coming in from a day of fishing and frolicking.  Our instructions were to go down with a torch, but not to shine the torch directly at the penguin or take photos with a flash.  So just before dusk, we put on all the clothing that we had with brought with us, grabbed our torches, got to the beach and waited.  It got darker and darker by the minute and still there were no signs of the cute little critters.  Just before it got too dark to see each other, it was decided that even if these birds did show up, we weren’t going to be able to see them anyway!

So we went out for dinner.

Didn’t We Have a Loverly Day…….

Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your genuine concern and sympathy regarding the incident with my elbow yesterday.  I’d like to let everyone know that it is feeling 100% better today and if I’m honest, unless I press quite hard on the area in question, I wouldn’t even remember that I hurt it…… so that’s good news.

My sister mentioned that we’d better do something exciting today so I can write about something more interesting than hurting my elbow – so we did just that!

Let me take you on a photographical journey of our day…….

Last night there was thunder and lightening and heavy rain, but this morning, we awoke to this lovely view.


The view from our house


The view across Waubs Bay to our little house


Look how calm the bay is today…. although behind these boats there is one half sunken dinghy.

We drove down t0 Coles Bay and Freycinet Bay.


Coles Bay with “The Hazards” in the background

The Beach in front of the Freycinet Lodge was a big weedy, but the water was a lovely colour.


The unassuming Freycinet Lodge

This is how much we love our Mum.


Jen & Jode

And this was the best photo that was taken all day!


Shell & Jen…. I think

Next we pulled into Honeymoon Bay.  It was meant to be a miniature version of Wineglass Bay…….


The walkway through to Honeymoon Bay

So, not as spectacular as Wineglass Bay, but it is still the same shape, so they weren’t lying completely


Mini Wineglass Bay


Just near Honeymoon Bay – amazing coastline


Look at the clear water!

Whilst we didn’t make the trek up the trekking enthusiasts path to Wine Glass Bay, we did take the easier walking option and managed to catch a long distance glimpse of the famous bay from the Cape Tourville Lighthouse.


If you squint, you can see the white beach at Wineglass Bay

This is what it looks like from the air.


Wineglass Bay


The Tourville Lighthouse

Up at the lighthouse there were plethora foreign tourists and I thought I’d best take a picture of these idiots before they fell to their deaths taking selfies.  I think a railing is a pretty universal sign that you stay on one side of it for your own safety, isn’t it?


Not all tourists were created equally intelligent

Here’s my pretty sister, Jodie soaking in the sunshine of this amazing day!


Me Sister

Then if was back to Coles Bay for some oysters.  We are certainly not going to be low in zinc after this trip!


So there you go, was that more interesting than my elbow story?  I don’t know, you tell me.

Nothing Funny About This!

So, we got here, did some washing and when we were hanging it out I flicked a pair of jeans to get the kinks out and whacked my elbow on a wall corner – like really hard.

I know it doesn’t look like much……. but it hurts.  #sadface


This isn’t my arm, but looks the same.

The Oldest _________ in Australia

Mulberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast – the beds were comfy, but the breakfast was wasn’t good.  3 frozen crumpets, 5 pieces of frozen sliced bread.  Rock hard butter that you couldn’t spread, 3 choices of old looking, end of the packet cereal, milk in a Tupperware container that you couldn’t pour from and all eaten – two people at a time at a table really big enough for one small child.  We were offered some fresh stewed plumbs though, which were nice.


So we had a little taste and high-tailed it out of there.  Our host was a nice enough lady, but the B&B had been for sale since the beginning of the year after running it for 11 years and the dust and cobwebs in the cottage make a clear statement that she is over it!

Richmond is a historical town comprising of quite a few of “Australia’s oldest” things.  This old bridge is apparently the oldest in Australia built in 1825.  The people of the township of Ross, just inland would have you believe that theirs is the oldest, but who knows?  And really, who cares?  but this one’s a beauty, isn’t she?


The rest of the morning was spent wandering up and down the main street looking into little crafty antique wood turned shops, looking at the oldest gaol in Australia, the oldest existing Catholic church and the oldest Anglican church…….. so historical, it’s hysterical!


wood turned cherries!


Crafty, gifty shops


crocheted coasters! This is why I love Tasmania!


Australia’s oldest existing Catholic church

This is the pub where we had dinner….. it isn’t the country’s oldest pub, but it sure served up a tasty roast of the day!

The Richmond Pub

The Richmond Pub

Now, Richmond has a bakery here which is famous for its scallop pies and Me Jenny wasn’t leaving town until she had one.  So the last stop on our whirlwind tour of the town was the bakery.

There are no pictures of the scallop pie as I was eating my own pie…. so here’s one I found.  Jenny declared that it was lovely.

The Scallop Pie

The Scallop Pie

There was an extreme briskness in the air all of a sudden, just as we were getting ready to leave Richmond.  Me Jenny spotted this snail climbing the wall and announced that it was going to rain.  Not because their were black clouds in the sky or that the air had a cold dampness to it, not because there had been rain forecast for this very day, but because this know-all snail was on his way up.  I tell you, my Mother knows things!


The weather forecast for today

The rest of our day was taken up meandering up the highway to Bicheno, stopping at the little towns and checking out their op shops and crafty wares.


The picturesque town of Orford

These rocks below look just like the hexagonal volcanic rocks of The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland!


Shelly Beach – Orford.


Shelly Beach

The town of Swansea has a strange rule about camping…..


Swansea cemetery

And there’s our day.  We arrived at our accommodation in Bicheno – a lovely 2 bedroom house overlooking Waubs Bay.  The weather here is not flash, so I won’t share a pic until it’s looking a little nicer.  Here’s what it should look like though……

Our house for the next two nights.

Our house for the next two nights.

The penguins come up onto that beach and if it’s not too too cold tonight, we jut might see them.  If it is too cold however, it will be up to the penguins to come and see us. It’s only fair.

Here we are.....

Here we are…..

And if they’re not available, we’ll just call the wombats…


“Come on Sharon, the Brown girls are in town!”



Une autre magnifique journée en Tasmanie

Today’s trail saw the three Brown girls heading south of Hobart and around one of the most picturesque routes in Tasmania, if not the world!

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                    I apologise for the quality of the screen shot pic

We nosed around the township of Kettering where the ferry goes across to Bruny Island and then made our way to the next little town called Woodbridge and as luck would have it – there was a village market on!


It was held in the town hall, where you could do bookmark making and rock art out the front.


Inside you could purchase wooden products from a chap who called his store “Wooden it be Nice?”  There was a lady from Perth, WA who had just moved to Tassie last November selling heated lavender bags, a couple of jewellery stalls and a couple of knitted wear stalls – so, your standard fare.


There was also some live music, who were actually quite good.  They were asking for donations that would help refugees.

A good cause – donation made.


Outside was a little van selling home made pasties and pies and choux pastry donuts….. we’ll take 3 please.


  Our next stop was Grand Vewe Cheeses – Tasmania’s only sheep cheesery.

They have a “retirement village” for the older, more mature sheep….


And accommodation for “The Girls” and their new babies…


Cheese was tasted and purchased and then we were on our way.  This is possibly the only photo that you will see of me…. so enjoy!


One of our favourite places from our last trip to Tassie was a little town of Cygnet.  On returning, I’m unsure, besides being quaint, what was so fabulous about it.  This little second hand shop was cute, but hardly worth the trip across Bass Strait!


Last time we had a lovely lunch at a cosy restaurant called The Red Velvet Lounge. It had a red velvet lounge by a fire place and cute and cosy.  Recently it had a fire and much damage was done.  Since then, they’ve done it all up and now it’s a bit old fashioned trying to be modern.  It was light and airy and clean and spacious, but the red velvet lounge is gone and in its place was a green cotton one! I mean….. it’s in the title!  The food wasn’t spectacular and we left underwhelmed.

 I’m wondering if this corgi ran out of things to do here in Cygnet.


Our final destination for the day was Richmond – about 30 mins drive north of Hobart.  Our accommodation – a pretty little B&B called Mulberry Cottages.  It was a lovely quaint little spot with a gorgeous English garden.  We always book at least 2 rooms for our own sanity and safety.  My sister is quite the light sleeper, where as Me Jenny and I can snore and plough through most things.


The first room we were shown in the cottage had 2 beds, so Me Jenny and I baggsed that one.  It wasn’t until later that we realised that the room we had so hastily chosen was called “The French Boudoir” and the main bed had a canopy and a mirror – on the ceiling. Ew.


This ▼ was my little ‘day bed’ – again with canopy!?  Then one begins to wonder….. why would a French themed boudoir room with a ceiling mirror have a small single bed in there with it?   I guess it does have the modesty curtain.


This was the room that my sister got by default…. the four poster king.  That’s what happens when you’re too hasty!


Our host was in a bit of a rush to go out when we arrived, so she hurriedly showed us around and gave instructions left, right and centre and she pointed to the cupboard in our room and said there were extra pillows and blankets in there for the little day bed.  When we got home from our lovely Richmond pub dinner, we were getting ready for bed and started looking for those pillows and blankets – only to find this……

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A feather boa and a small lace couch cushion……. Um?


A Perfect Tasmanian Day!

So we looked out the window this morning and turned our heads slightly to the left to see Mt Wellington – with about 4 or 5 patches of snow.  Yesterday it was covered by clouds, so today’s glorious sunshine has cleared up the Mountain View question.


Today is Saturday and in Hobart that means it’s all about the Salamanca Markets.

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You can find pretty much everything here from wooden products, to woollen fox stolls, to crocheted outfits, to fruit and veg to flowers and everything in between.

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Seriously, what’s a market without a balloon designer?


You’ve got Kevin, the bowl maker……


There were about 4 million people at the market today, but most kept to the left, which made it pretty easy to manoeuvre.

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I was so close to purchasing this Animal beanie, but then I realised that I don’t live in a cold climate anymore….. cause that would be the ONLY reason to not buy it!


Something for everyone!


Well done Salamanca Markets – always worth a visit.

Being such a gorgeous day it was decided to have a wander around Battery Point with it’s gorgeous old houses and buildings….


Looked in a couple of shops…..


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And made our way to Narryna – a house museum that was built in late 1830s!  Our tour guide was doing a spot of gardening when we arrived, so she wasn’t terribly busy, then she managed to show us through the first 3 rooms before a barrage of people barrelled through the door and she had to leave us to attend to the new guests.  I must say, even though what she was telling us was extremely interesting, we were happy to be left to our own devices.


They had refurbished the rooms with replica wallpaper from back in the day.  Like this one ▼ which was in the entrance hall and was meant to make you feel like you were not yet inside, but in a transition period of entrance……..


Some of the wallpapers were were shocking, but I quite like this lovely pink one one ▼


There was also some lovely collectables on the mantle pieces.



The house was holding an exhibition of old style clothing – the detail on these dresses was so amazing when you think of the amount of light they had to needlepoint under!

This this frock on the right was apparently a boys dress (?)

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This Quaker are jug was one of my favourite pieces.  It reminded me of the outside of a sea urchin or a cable knit jumper!


We finished the night off with a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Smolt – well worth it if you’re ever in Hobart and then we RACED home to watch the last half of the AFL between the West Coast Eagles and the North Melbourne Kangaroos…….

Go the Eagles!

How Do You Get To The Mona?

We fancied going to check out the Mona whilst here in Hobart, but we couldn’t see where the ferry was…….


….. get it?  ’cause it’s camouflaged!


Shelter From The Storm

In the last two years since we were in Hobart last, a replica of Mawson’s Hut has been built down near the wharf and it’s one of the most awesome museums that I’ve been to.


Those of you who haven’t heard of Sir Douglas Mawson, he’s the bloke who lead an a team of explorers to Antarctica.


This image is pretty famous – you might have seen him here:


 There were scientists, scholars, mechanics and medicos, but not a single carpenter among them.  Even so, they set to work to build the huts that would shelter them and their Greenland sledge dogs from the freezing blizzards and hurricane-force winds.  The lady at the museum told us that the winds could reach up to 300kph


That’s giving Geraldton a run for its money!!!


They lived in those huts through two dark winters and when the expedition departed in 1914, they left behind many domestic items and personal effects inside the huts.  Snow and ice encased the fragile timber buildings, preserving discarded books, clothing, tools, furniture, photographs and food.  The contents lay undisturbed for six decades!

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When the decision was made to replicate the huts in Hobart they used the same Scandinavian Baltic pine from Finland and they spent several years collecting artefacts to re-create the interiors.  Many of the items are the originals or genuine early 20th century bits and pieces and others have been re-made in authentic style.


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There was a big book with an inventory of what they would need for their time in Antarctica.  A couple of things crossed my mind when reading through it.

a) where would the explorers be going to be in need of 27 blouses?            b) Are they really going camping if they’ve ordered pate de fois gras and truffles?

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A lovely chap by the name of David happily shared all he knew about the hut and Mawson, retelling stories and walking us around pointing out interesting pieces.  We told him how interesting it all was and he told us that one esteemed journalist by the name of Charles Whooley wrote a scathing article about how the hut shouldn’t be there and should never have been built – to David’s knowledge Charlie had never set foot inside the museum.  I’m not sure that spells authentic journalism.

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On the right ▼ was Mawson’s handwritten instructions for the other blokes when he was out doing his exploring….. thank goodness somebody thought to type it out.  I’d hate to be in a blizzardy emergency and needing to read “Step 4” in a hurry.



You’d also want to be pretty easy going when it comes to listening to other people’s taste in music


If they got bored at night though, they had the best seat on the planet to witness the amazing Aurora Australis – the Southern Lights.

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This is Mawson’s personal room within the hut.  The piano was sold on their return from Antarctica as they were little short on cash, but the new owner donated it back to the museum.


The rest of the chaps slept on bunks that lined the hut.


and the walls above their bunks were adorned with photos of loved ones.


The hut sits snugly on a small patch of grass facing the wharf and overlooked by this ugly building.


A far cry from it’s original icey home…..


If you’re in Hobart and you have even a little bit of interest, here’s the details.



What The hell Just Happened?

So, with Great Great Grandfathers on our mind today, we made our way to the Tasmanian State Library – Linc.


where we were shown by a friendly lady how to look up stuff on the computer – which we could’ve done from home.  Then we thought, there must be records here of the census’ from back in the day and asked where we would find those.  We were taken into the “History Room”which is a very important room where very important books and very important documents are kept and you must show ID, fill our a form with all your details on it in order to look at these very important things. You must put your bags in a locker – even though ALL the important books are kept behind locked glass doors and then if you want a particular document you have to wait until the appropriate, previously set and agreed upon “retrieval hours” of quarter to and quarter past the hour.  I’m not kidding.


Not the actual librarian – but close!

There were exactly 2 people in that large room and they were working on their own, so didn’t require any assistance.  The very efficacious lady looked at her watch and said, “well I guess I could get them now for you” – it was 11.50am.  So then she walked as slow as it is possible for an actual human being to walk around the desk and then around the room where all the books were behind the glass cabinets searching for what we thought we’d asked for.  It would have taken her about 20-30 minutes to check over the 100 or so books (it wasn’t a huge room) before she came back and said “well it looks like I’m meant to be looking for a map, it says here that it’s a book, but I think it’s a map” – This bizarre conversation went on for a while before I asked her what she was actually looking for.  It seemed we had had a large communication error and nobody quite knew what they were meant to be doing.

So we started again.

She managed to give us some helpful information, but really nothing we couldn’t have worked out for ourselves in the comfort of our own home.

We left that room wondering what the hell we went in there for and indeed, what the hell those people in there did all day?


To take our minds off the morning, we wandered through town, checking out the gorgeous old buildings and wondered why oh why town planners or councils or who ever makes the decisions continue to tear down gorgeous architecture and build modern monstrosities – void of beauty and creativity.


headed towards the Town Hall for what promised to be a spectacular Orchid Show!


Here we go……..


That wasn’t all of it.  Seriously, do you think I’d bring you all this way for 4 pot plants and a great sign?

Spoiler Alert !!!

There’s about to be quite a few pics of flowers – orchids, to be exact….. Enjoy.

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I know!

How lovely are they?

You are welcome my friends.


The Old World Charm of The Lenna




Jen and I flew into Hobart last night hence arriving in the dark.  We knew we had a “Mountain View” room as all the “Harbour View” rooms were full – first world problem?  Anyway, we woke up this morning and threw open the curtains with great enthusiasm…. and this was our “Mountain View”  I think you could call it a “glimpse” at best.  Nevertheless, the room was comfy, even though Jen is sleeping on a roll-away bed.

(hey, don’t give me that look, I tried to make her take the big bed, but she argued that she was used to a small bed after the motorhome and then just got in it – what was I meant to do?)


The lovely hotel we are staying at is called The Lenna.  Those of you who followed along with the blog entitled “Our Take On Tassie” back in 2013 will remember we stayed here last time.  I love the old world charm and the beautiful architecture… .I mean, look at this gate!


Me Jenny loves a bit of old world charm.  And, would you just look at that day!  They had forecast rain – honestly, what do they know?


It is a tiny bit upsetting that they built the extension in this unflattering ‘government building’ style and blocked the front of the gorgeous old one.  They are trying to grow some ivy up the front of it though, so you can’t say they aren’t trying to make the best of it.


This would have been the original frontage that looked out to the harbour.  There are many buildings in front of it now, but how lovely it would have been to stand up there on your verandah and watch the ships roll in.


Who Do You Think You Are?

After arriving in Hobart, the capital of the Apple Isle, Tasmania, there was a sense of belonging for me and Me Jenny as this is the spot that Jen’s great grandfather – my great great grandfather first arrived on a ship called Orient back in 1887 – Well, it wasn’t Hobart exactly, they apparently arrived in Launceston and then seemed to move around Tassie a bit before high-tailing it to Fremantle in WA.

William Archer Garland & Maria Grey Hampton with Aunty Gwen and Clem

My Great Grandfather, William with his wife, Maria and their two eldest children, Gwen and My grandfather, Clem

So after much discussion about where and when and how and then much joyless searching on the inter-web for facts, the Births, Deaths and Marriages office looked like it was going to be high on the agenda for tomorrow.

There is so much conflicting advice and ‘facts’ online.  I know you have to leave room for human error, but I do have to wonder if it was the data entry person’s own family members, maybe they would have taken more care.


Clem Bert Betty Nanna Da and Gwen with an unknown man maybe an uncle

Clem, not sure, maybe William’s brother?, Bert, Betty, Nanna – Maria, Da – William and Gwen

Here’s our story:  There was a chap, let’s call him Archer, cause that was his name. He married Sarah in the UK and they had some kids, including my great grandfather, William. They came out to Australia on a ship called Orient along with Sarah’s younger sister, Jane.  Now, poor Sarah died two years after arriving in Tassie, when my GG Grandfather was only 2 years old, and so the heartbroken Archer married Jane – Talk about bringing a spare, just in case! Archer and Jane went on to have about 8 more children.


So with a beautiful day before us, BDM here we come!