Sunday, January 03, 2010


A quick update from Tasmania - we had Christmas day with my family in Launceston then headed down to Hobart with my Uncle Barry and his wife Diana. Can you see a family resemblance? The sun hat may give away the fact that it was hot, hot, HOT in Hobart, but we still enjoyed mooching the bookshops and cruising the harbour, eating at the revolving restaurant at Wrest point casino and driving up Mount Wellington.

Barry is my father's younger brother and left home at 16 to join the Merchant Navy, having received a postcard from Hong Kong from an old school friend which gave him a glimpse of live outside his industrial home town. It was fun to catch up on the details of the family history. Turns out Barry was one of only three men who went AWOL from the Australian army having been drafted for Vietnam. As a conscientious objector he was on the lam from the military police and the Federal Police for about six months before a plan was hatched. Diana set out with their baby girl to England and Barry - a merchant seaman by trade, joined a ship with plans to jump ship in New Zealand and head for home. However, when he was on the ship the Australian government changed and the draft was abolished overnight and he was able to return to Australia and thence to England legally. A man of real character - a family member to be proud of.

Apart from those two years in England - when I was very small and do not really remember him - he has lived in Tasmania. It was funny though learn that he still occasionally used very St. Helens' phrases: his daughter was baffled when he told her to 'put wood in th'ole' (shut the door) and he was the only one in the room to laugh when I added "shift - you weren't made at Pilks." ( Please move from in front of the TV - you were not made at the local glass factory and therefore I cannot see through you.). Dennis was equally lost when I answered Barry's query about where the new stadium was to be built by describing a location in relation to buildings that were all demolished about thirty years ago!

Since we said a teary goodbye to them Dennis and I have come to Port Arthur to view the old convict station and to hang out in a cabin in the woods. This is my bath. This is my view. Need I say more?
Tomorrow we have a night back in Hobart then Japan here we come.....!

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