A year in the life 2016 #234: Hobart

I do like a bit of Hobart. It was good to go for a walk at lunchtime, catch the sun, see the sights and catch a bunch of Magikarp and Slowpokes.

2015 weeks! #45: awards and other sparkling things

2015-11-16 10.34.38Monday morning in Hobart. James dropped me off at the hotel which was to be my home for most of the week and went to MONA, while I went to work in these quite pleasant surroundings. It was Australian Training Awards week in Hobart – two days of judging, three nights of hosting dinners for judges, a day of functions with finalists and the Minister, the Awards themselves…and then a Ministerial Council meeting on Friday.

It was all in a lovely location though – everything was happening in and around Salamanca and the harbour.

2015-11-16 13.09.45I also got to enjoy the luminous local mineral water.

2015-11-17 19.11.46After an enjoyable, but long, day of judging School Based Apprentice of the Year, we had a lovely dinner at T42. The oysters were so fresh and delicious and everything else was lovely as well.

2015-11-18 16.24.18Wednesday involved a morning of judging International Training Provider of the Year and then a two hour video conference with the Minister and other senior staff and so it was then nice to have time for some chips and wine with Jasmin who had been judging an award as well.

2015-11-18 21.59.12Gratuitous selfie.

2015-11-19 10.37.59The venue for the Awards was really coming together – it was being held at Pier 1 and I walked past it all the time so I got to see it in its various stages of preparation.

On Thursday, the Minister came and met our Awards finalists and heard some of their feedback about their experiences in the training system. And there were compulsory photo shoots.

2015-11-19 13.39.21We then had rehearsal/demonstration of the Awards ceremony, getting everyone prepared for the real thing.

2015-11-19 17.56.36Frocked up and ready to go.

2015-11-19 18.05.49And it is time!

2015-11-19 18.19.17James was struggling with doing a tie, so had to recruit one of the finalists to do it for him.

2015-11-19 20.44.14It was important he looked neat for his role of Barrel Girl for the evening – I am sure it is a hazing technique for the section to make the newest recruit do all the handing over of awards and certificates on the night.

The night went well – I always love to see people get their awards and the value and importance of the vocational education sector recognised. As a judge you meet such passionate and impressive people – both the student finalists but also the employers and training providers and it is terrific to see such commitment.

2015-11-20 01.01.18-1Grant convinced me to go for drinks afterwards, but I managed to make the very sensible decision to go home not too late as I had a Ministerial Council meeting to manage the next day.

2015-11-20 09.51.50Look, I wasn’t feeling my absolute best the next morning.

2015-11-20 11.06.48Here are all the Ministers.

2015-11-20 16.03.59And then it was all over and it was drinks at the airport before the long trip home.

2015-11-20 18.50.31Saturday morning and back to regular life. Jude and I went and picked up Zac from a party.

2015-11-21 14.01.32While Sebastian and Zac were busy elsewhere, I took Jude to the skate park where his derby friends taught him to drop in. He did quite well for his first attempts.

2015-11-21 14.43.46Giant tiger prawns for dinner.

2015-11-21 17.41.36Jude and Zac lent a hand with the cooking.

Sunday I took Zac to sing at his Christmas concert for the Turner Trebles and other singing groups run by his conductor.

2015-11-22 16.00.08And here is my face when we reach the compulsory audience participation part of the concert. why can’t I just listen to them sing, why do I have to sing?

2015-11-22 15.57.20Meanwhile Jude was cooking up a feast with his interpretation of the Elk & Pea jerk chicken. It was super delicious.

2015 weeks! #44: other stuff then MEN IN PINK ON SKATES

2015-11-10 19.37.36Herbs and greenery ready for a Monday night dinner of rice paper rolls.

2015-11-11 09.14.39Luminous juice for a quick breakfast stop with James.

Hairdresser time out.

2015-11-11 12.13.33hairBeen feeling very borderline. With an incredibly busy weekend and week ahead, felt I needed to stock up on the drugs.

2015-11-11 20.48.54One of the boys stuck a toy-thing to the ceiling. This was an endless source of fascination for George.

2015-11-12 20.46.57Tired out the new version of Study in Emerald. Not entirely convinced…yet.

Time to fly – all the way to Hobart.

2015-11-13 09.47.34Finished this en route. Super fun read where I think the predictability was a deliberate part of the charm.

2015-11-13 16.15.12A trip to the Sandy Bay Coles allowed us to stock up on beverages for a weekend of roller derby – for us and for Copter who was arriving on a late flight.

2015-11-13 16.22.33Our first Air BnB experience was a delightful terrace in Sandy Bay. Extremely cute and a great location.

2015-11-14 07.28.58A fortifying breakfast is needed for the first day of the Australian Men’s Roller Derby Nationals.

Last year I was a spectator at Nationals as we came 7th in Australia. This year, after a lot of hard work by the team leading up to it, I was there as benchie and we were determined to come home 4th – or 5th at worst. we had a great first day – took it to last year’s champions, the Brawlers, and did all right; comprehensively beat the Tweed Valley Vikings and then took on BCR and beat them more effectively than we had expected. Coming second into the pool took us to the semi finals – and a minimum 4th! We all went home happy that night.

2015-11-14 19.56.36

There was time to smell the roses and eat burgers and feel good before day two.

2015-11-15 09.25.42And the upside of being in the semis was that we had time for a relaxed breakfast.

2015-11-15 11.14.58Our first game was against Vanguard – if we beat them we’d be in the grand final. They are an amazing team. Great discipline and teamwork and some brilliant individual players. We didn’t win, but we did ourselves proud – Vanguard were the only team in the country we hadn’t played at this point, so it was great to get the chance.  We had some great moments…maybe one day!

2015-11-15 12.50.40Cthulhu came out to watch HP Shovecraft play in the 5-6 play off versus Tweed. it was good to see BCR win that.

Then we played off versus the Brawlers for 3rd.  There were some moments during the game when I genuinely thought we could win – then a couple of jams let it slip away from us. But we didn’t expect to get third – fourth in the country was more than good enough for us. We’d achieved our team goal for the year, played well, improved and had fun and we were all super happy about it. The best thign too is that Carnage’s strength is its teamwork – that was what got us 4th.

Then it was all over except for the after party!

2015 weeks! #35: this week had everything

Walking to school with funster Jude.

2015-09-07 11.56.08Up at Parliament House for appearances before Parliamentary committees in which I don’t have to say very much which makes the public servant in me happy.

2015-09-07 13.37.21Parliament House toilet selfie.

2015-09-07 13.40.14I love the reflecting pool at Parliament House. It is a great building.

2015-09-07 13.53.22#Yourtightsatwork walking edition.

2015-09-07 14.09.46It has been a bit tough at work recently, so this card from Tracy, one of my Directors, made me a tiny bit teary. I completely appreciated the sentiment though.

2015-09-07 22.00.23James and I had our Monday night post mental health first aid course time out together which was lovely. There is something so important about taking that time out together to be together without distractions.

2015-09-08 08.41.35

Tuesday morning and it is walking to school with the terrible twosome.

The Turner parklands are pretty magical in spring – a bit like a fairy forest.

Learning journey for Zachary. Great to see his art and read his work and see how much enthusiasm he has for school.

Jude, Zac and I went to a candlelight vigil for refugees and the Syrian refugees in particular. The boys articulately expressed their concerns about refugees and refugee policy articulately to a reporter and ended up in the Canberra Times the next day. Why would you send people back to somewhere that is being bombed?

Jude’s learning journey – equal enthusiasm for learning and showing us what he has been doing.

2015-09-09 15.16.17Cthulhu helped me out with some email management at work.

2015-09-09 18.19.28And then it was off to Tasmania. A flight attendant poured a glass of wine over me on the plane, so she made up for it by giving me a whole bottle.

Hobart is quite pretty at night.

2015-09-10 07.59.45View from the hotel room window.

2015-09-10 10.41.25Having some stocking troubles.

2015-09-10 13.15.12I did find my favourite fizzy caffeinated beverages within a five minute walk of the conference venue so that was a plus.

2015-09-10 15.14.53Conferencing. I gave two presentations, one at the Sino-Australia forum and one at the TAFE Directors conference, so kept me busy.

2015-09-10 17.46.43A lovely Tasmanian dusk.

2015-09-10 18.47.04-1Ready for the conference dinner….which was opened by Chinese dragons.

I had to take a photo of masts because those are compulsory.

2015-09-11 13.26.17It was then off home late Friday afternoon.

2015-09-11 17.11.04The wattle was out in force as more spring action in Canberra.

2015-09-12 10.40.00I was quite excited to be able to go to the hockey in a t-shirt.

2015-09-12 10.49.25And there was a lot of hockey, starting with Jude’s game.

2015-09-12 11.06.52We then went to see James’ semi final which they just lost.

Then we switched sports to derby – James was playing and I was benching for Carnage.

It was a great game against SMASH – the scores were tights and we even led at one point. Considering we were beaten by 100 points last time we played, a five point loss was super fantastic.

It was up early and out to the hockey to see Sebastian’s semi final which they won easily. Sebastian scored five goals and was quite delighted about it.

2015-09-13 09.55.37Zachary got in some beading time.

Meanwhile James and I got changed and then headed to Pod Foods for a lovely Pfeiffers wine lunch.

Food and wine were excellent, and even better was that I won a carton of wine for signing up to their mailing list!

We didn’t need much dinner that night – this was it for James and me.

2015-09-13 20.10.21

Weeks! #32: Hobart Happies

2014-08-04 11.06.45One of the great things about the Tasmanian Hockey Centre is that it is only a 10-15 minute walk from the Newtown Jackman and McRoss. So on Monday and Tuesday when Sebastian had hockey games both in the morning and the afternoon, we spent a fair portion of the time in between enjoying the pastry and other delights Jackman and McRoss had to offer.

2014-08-05 12.08.21We had quite a spectacular view of Mount Wellington from our apartment, and we got to see the snowline slowly recede over the course of the week.

2014-08-04 14.13.48-1The sunsets were also rather beautiful.


When in Hobart, best to drink Tasmanian beer.

2014-08-04 17.43.53It was lovely to spend some time alone with Sebastian and really appreciate how much more grown up he is now (though there is still plenty of the boy in him). We had a couple of lovely dinners and lunches together with pleasant conversation, but also enjoyed curling up on the couch – him with the iPad and me with my book – and enjoying some quite time together.

2014-08-04 18.35.20Even if he isn’t always happy about having his photo taken.

2014-08-05 16.21.09Wednesday was the non hockey playing day, and Sebastian spent the morning with his teammates on an “educational outing” while I spent it mostly in bed reading. Bliss! In the afternoon we headed to Salamanca for some late lunch and a wander about.

We also popped into the Tasmanian Museum for a visit and were quite impressed by it.

James arrived Wednesday evening.

2014-08-07 17.49.46

We went out for dinner at one of the restaurants Sebastian and I had been eyeing off – beautiful local Tasmanian produce. James and I shared a lamb shoulder.

2014-08-06 19.33.28Out for breakfast the next morning before heading to the hockey centre.

2014-08-07 10.40.58Once the game was done, there was time to visit MONA. Again a great place to visit – terrific curation, interesting things to see, fabulous building.

Thursday night we had the fun of catching up with Sam and Tracey in the Coincidence of Us All Being In Tasmania At The Same Time. It was nice to be able to wish Sam a (slightly belated) happy birthday in person and consume more fabulous Tasmanian food.

It was up early for the final hockey game of the tournament.

2014-08-08 08.03.25After the hockey game, we took James to experience the joy of Jackman and McRoss for an early lunch.


Then, once the hockey was all done and the closing ceremony over, we hired a car and headed up Mount Wellington. Sebastian was keen to encounter snow for the first time. He enjoyed that experience.

We had Japanese for dinner and couldn’t resist the beer.

Saturday morning featured a compulsory visit to the Salamanca markets. I bought a new skirt, and the boys later surprised me with the gift of a gorgeous bag I had spotted at one of the stores.

While I have been to Hobart a number of times, I had never really been out of the city, so after Salamanca we headed to Port Arthur. It is an absolutely stunning spot – hard to imagine it has been the site of such violence both recently and in the past.

We started back before the sun set.

2014-08-09 16.13.59For our Saturday night entertainment, we found local roller derby action. The Van Diemen Rollers were playing the South Island Sirens, followed by a combined women’s team versus the Bass Strait Brawlers men’s team.

Sebastian was particularly impressed when he won a giant jar of lollies in a coin sliding competition.

2014-08-09 19.44.49Sunday morning we brunched at Salamanca before we had to say good bye to Hobart and head back to the mainland.

And while it was sad to end my week off, it was lovely to be reunited with Jude and Zachary.

Hobart Hockey!

2014-08-04 10.16.36It was off to the u12 school hockey carnival in Hobart – Sebastian’s first big representative gig. There was an opening ceremony with political banter, so we all knew it was real sport. The format was that each team played each other once and the tournament winners were determined by win/loss points.

2014-08-04 10.38.42As the Northern Territory didn’t send teams, the ACT was never going to be a strong contender and in the end, they didn’t win a game – although it was very close against SA at one point. The boys did play well though, and they improved their team play throughout the tournament. It was a pity they played Tasmania first, because if they had played against them the way they played in some of their later games, the result could have been different. The Tasmanian Hockey Centre was a nice location though, and while a bit cold, we were spared any real rain.

It was a good week of hockey.


2014-08-08 12.51.51

Weeks! #31: busy then Hobart

2014-07-28 16.59.33Back to work with lots to do. It is the way of sickness.

2014-07-29 21.30.20Even though I was still not close to fully healthy again, I made it out to training.

2014-07-30 09.39.03Wednesday I got a chance to have that thinking time – the US Embassy was hosting a “round table” on innovation at Questacon which I was invited to. Interesting to hear about things that are happening in industry and science and collaboration.

2014-07-30 17.30.55Still leaving work after dark.

2014-07-30 18.03.58-1Very pleased to receive another delivery of exciting tights.

2014-07-30 19.33.43Zac and Jude brought home school photos. Zac’s featured his typical Zac look of mild disdain.

2014-07-30 18.49.07-1Schnitzel night. Zac has decided to choose salad over fries in some advanced sign of maturity now with his schnitzels.

Some Arkham Horror for Wednesday night.

On Thursday it was up to Melbourne and back for a day at the airport Parkroyal. Haven’t done that for a while. This is what being back in the Commonwealth-state relationship space does to one. Did get to fly on my new favourite planes, the Qantas 717s though.

2014-07-31 20.08.30Reluctant to be caught in his onesie.

2014-08-01 08.34.52-2Friday was a chance to walk the boys to school.

2014-08-01 14.10.23I hosted a lunch on Friday for the four vocational students and the one teacher we sent to China earlier this year for an APEC youth camp. They then gave a talk afterwards about their experiences. They are all such impressive young people with great stories. For most of them, this had been their first trip out of the country – and it is a long way to China from Mildura or Burnie. Anyway, it is always nice to see soemthing really direct and positive come our of your work and also to see exactly why we do want to try and make the vocational education sector the best it can be – and to help other countries to build their own sectors.

2014-08-01 17.55.55

Since James’ injury, in particular, Jude and Zachary have really stepped it up in the kitchen and are enormously helpful when making dinner and so forth. They are the salad making specialists, and it can be hilarious to hear Jude bossing Zac around like a chef would a kitchen hand. All three of them also do a lot of the preparation of their lunches now, and their breakfasts and somehow we get out of the hosue so much faster in the mornings.

Saturday morning footy – Jude gets player of the round. And a snake.

Fritha came over to hang out for a while, and we got to see her brothers on the way through.

Zac also had his friend Sienna over. They seemed to spend most of the afternoon fighting it out in the backyard.

2014-08-02 16.31.47 2014-08-02 16.31.53Except at afternoon tea time.

2014-08-03 07.06.52The next morning Sebastian and I were up early and onto the plane and off to Hobart for his Primary School Hockey Championships.

It was a lovely afternoon in Hobart, so we did some wandering about.

2014-08-03 12.59.32With inevitable fish and chips for lunch.

Sebastian was also quite impressed to see the Aurora Australis in port, and, to continue the Antarctic theme, we went to the Douglas Mawson Hut museum.

There is no slacking off while on holiday with Sebastian, so after a little break in the afternoon, we went for another walk.

Then it was dinner and bed and ready for an early start for the first game of the tournament on Monday!