DorkyDad went to Canberra for a work event earlier this week, and on his way out the door to the airport he said to me, “You have to write a DorkyMum post. Even if it’s just a post about why you’re not blogging, you have to blog…”
So I’m doing what I’m told. (Pretty sure it’s just because he wants an excuse to wear this nifty t-shirt I bought him a few years ago…) But anyway, here are some things I’ve done over the last six weeks, none of which are blogging.
- Reading. I had a big clear out of my bookshelves recently and as well as getting rid of those books I knew I’d never read again I made a big pile of the ones I’ve owned for years and never got round to opening. I’m trying to work my way through them before I let myself buy any new ones. I’ve read The Kite Runner, Half of a Yellow Sun, Wild, Girl with a Pearl Earring and Desert Solitaire all for the first time, and have re-read Morvern Callar and The Shipping News which are two long-time favourites.
- Writing in other places. Sometimes, when the words just won’t work, writing is awful. Other times, like when you’re invited to attend a brewery opening and write about it for The Crafty Pint, it feels like the best job in the world. Since February, I’ve written 21 pieces for other sites and publications that I’ve been paid for, and a good few other ones unpaid. I’m unlikely to be winning a Walkley anytime soon, and unfortunately I’ve not stacked up quite enough dollars to pay off the mortgage yet, but this is the first year that I’ve had to start a spreadsheet to keep track of invoices and commissions. In my own slightly awkward and bashful Scottish way, I’m quite chuffed with that.
3. Visited Coles Bay. During DorkySon’s October school break, we headed up for three nights in Coles Bay, on the East Coast of Tasmania. It was so beautiful. We’d hoped to do a little bit of walking in the Freycinet National Park, but the day after we arrived all the roads and paths were closed down due to the fire risk posed by high temperatures and strong winds. Instead we ended up spending three days paddling on the beach and eating ice cream – poor us. The one day that we did head a bit further afield – up to the Cape Tourville lighthouse – we had our first encounter with a Tassie snake! I’m glad to have got that out of the way, but none of us are in a hurry for the next one.
4. Gardening. Shortly after we moved here I wrote a post about my reluctance to get involved in the garden. I stand (slightly) corrected. I’m still not very good at the planting side of things – we currently have some very sad looking lavender and some droopy looking cucumber plants that shame me every time I walk down the front path – but I quite like the more destructive activities. I’ve found pulling out weeds, raking up leaves and chopping back bramble bushes that are poking through from next door all very satisfying activities on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
5. Trying to shed the winter body. Oh, Tasmania. You and your delicious cold climate wines, your Mexican food trucks and your great big slices of apple pie with ice cream. We can’t keep this up for much longer, or I’ll have to pay excess baggage rates on my butt next time I fly off the island. Thank goodness for warmer spring weather, which has finally got me off the sofa and onto the streets. I’ve run every day for the last couple of weeks, and by combining that with an hour of pilates every week I’m hopeful I might be able to shed some of the extra insulation I’ve developed this winter. It’s crunchy salads and handfuls of almonds from now on.
6. Getting used to new glasses. I’d had my last pair for almost three years, and they’d taken a bit of a battering from wrestling matches with DorkySon. When I got my eyes checked earlier this month I discovered that I’m even more shortsighted than I was previously, so I’ve been getting used to some heavier frames and a stronger prescription, as well as trying out some trial contact lenses for the first time in almost a year. There has been a lot of squinting and head tipping going on, but I think I’ve finally adjusted.
7. Taking photographs. My poor old Nikon has been a bit neglected in recent months – I’ve come to rely too heavily on the convenience of my phone camera. However, I was super excited to get a commission for a Hobart city guide, including photographs, for one of my favourite UK magazines (I’ll share details nearer the time). It gave me a great excuse to spend a few days out and about in the city getting comfortable using a DSLR again, although when I was bending down to take a shot of some fish boxes and turned round to see the harbour’s resident seal this close behind me I almost fell in the water with shock!
8. Visiting the Coal River Valley. DorkyDad and I have discovered that the Coal Valley Vineyard is only a twenty minute drive from his office. They do lovely food along with a great selection of red and white wines, and on a nice sunny day the view looks like this. When it’s so close it’s all too tempting an offer for the occasional sneaky lunch… But please note that this discovery is not helping with number 5 on my list.
9. Applying sunscreen. The temperature is all over the place just now. In the space of a week we’ve had a 6 degree day and a 32 degree day – perhaps this is why some of the plants in our garden are so confused. What we’ve all had to learn though is that the temperature and the UV index are not related, and even on the chilliest of days it’s possible to do serious sun damage to your skin. We are back to the icky daily routine of slapping sunscreen on every visible body part before leaving the house.
10. Playing. Playing with DorkySon is so much more fun now that the weather is improving. We have had all kinds of imaginative scenarios played out in the garden, tennis, cricket, soccer and running on the oval across the road, and daily walks to school where we make up stories and play word games with each other. I feel super lucky to spend as much time with him as I do, and hope that I’m invited to be a part of his play for a long time to come.
11. Panicking about Christmas. As always, Christmas seems to be racing towards me like a juggernaut. I love how relaxed Christmas in Tasmania is – there is far less of the frantic last minute fighting over potatoes in the supermarkets – but I’m very aware that with family and friends all over the place I need to get my act together in the next couple of weeks if we want our gifts to arrive on time. I finally made a start a few days ago by buying some lovely cards from my clever designer friend Bec at Bon Mot. I love her cute and quirky illustrations and can’t wait to send them out into the world. (There are also some fab printables for kids on her site if you’d like to check it out!)
12. Helping the tooth fairy find our house. DorkySon has now lost two teeth. The first one was a breeze, he popped it right out with no fuss while sitting on the sofa one morning. The second one seemed to hang on for weeks, and we were getting close to threatening the string and door handle treatment if he didn’t pluck up the courage to give it a good yank. It finally fell out at school earlier this week and the tooth fairy left him a nice shiny coin on the bedside table. Apparently she wasn’t feeling quite brave enough to venture under his pillow…
13. Painting my nails. I’m not sure when I became the kind of person who celebrates summer with a new pair of Birkenstocks. Or indeed when I became the kind of person who spends her weekends walking around garden centres debating the merits of one carrot variety over another. I’ve tried to counteract the loss of cool associated with those two activities by painting my nails to match my plants.
14. Getting healthy. All three of us have had lurgies over the last couple of months. DorkySon keeps bringing things home from school and recovering in just a few days, while DorkyDad and I end up hanging onto them for weeks. It feels like we have coughed, sneezed and spluttered our way through spring, and suffered a serious loss of energy as a result, but I’m keeping fingers crossed that we might finally be done now.
15 Reading old diaries. I had to re-read some old teenage diaries and journals for a piece I was writing. Eee gads! The writing itself was bad enough, but when I found a picture of Tony Blair that I’d pritt-sticked to the inside cover of one (sandwiched neatly between Michael Stipe and Audrey Hepburn) my shame was complete. I would not go back to being sixteen for all the money in the world.
So that’s some of what I’ve been up to! There has been more, of course. Sitting by the pool watching DorkySon learn to swim (we have been in the same class for a year, I am beginning to lose hope that we will ever graduate from A3/1, but maybe the next intensive holiday course will do it…). Someone dinged our car in town when it was parked, so I have spent silly amounts of time talking to bodywork repairers and our insurance company. There have been tax returns, because gosh, there are always tax returns. There have been coffees with friends, school association meetings, and endless piles of laundry. But, as DorkyDad noticed, there has not been a whole lot of DorkyMum. I’m hoping now I’ve got the ball rolling with this post, silly though it is, that might change and I’ll get back to posting more regularly.
Meanwhile tell me about you… what have I missed?