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It’s been a few weeks of visits from dear friends, and eating/drinking our way around town.

Mum’s close friend Sandra came down for a few days. She and mum went to school together, but Sandra has long lived in Manchester and we usually only get to see her very briefly when she comes back to Australia for her regular visits. So it was a treat to have her all to ourselves for a few days! She was quite taken with the pademelons, and she and mum drove around and looked at lots of things, but I mainly stayed home and worked and let them have time together. Though I did join them for a pleasant lunch at Stillwater.

After Sandra left, we met up with Denise and her friend Kate, who were on what looked like a fantastic trip around Tasmania. There was still plenty of snow for them up at Cradle Mountain! We went to M&B Bar for a coffee and almond croissant, and it was all too quick a catch up. Denise gave us some oranges that she had bought too many of and some bush dust (like a Tasmanian dukkah, and it is delicious, Denise, if you are curious!)

Thanks for the pic Denise! 🙂

Then the very next day our dear friends the Phillips from Sydney arrived to stay for a week. It’s so good to have enough space to be able to have people stay (though I totally understand it when people need their own space or are allergic to cats or whatever (that’s especially the case if you’re on a trip and want to do a whole bunch of things and don’t necessarily want to spend all your time with your host but how do you say that without seeming rude?)). But even though it’s exhausting to step out of routine and work out how to temporarily be a household of six instead of two and how to keep work chugging away in the background while also managing to do fun things with our guests, it was just so wonderful to have familiar faces around, and people with whom you could have interesting and in depth conversations about all sorts of things. As well as the intelligent lunacy of the two kids.

The day after they arrived, we all trooped off to Tasmazia, just because that seems like a thing you do when you have kids around, and we’d never been. It did remind me of places we went to when I was a kid. Though on reflection, hedge mazes aren’t really my thing. And the available food and coffee was, well, not brilliant. So I was glad that we had pulled in for an impromptu early lunch at one of our favourite stops, the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm.

The Phillipses in the maze

The next day we’d thought we might go to the zoo but the weather was pretty unpleasant so we hung out in cafes, as well as exploring the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Cafe crawls pretty much happen, whether you plan them or not, when you’re with Dave. We went to Sweetbrew at the beginning of the day and Amelia Espresso at the end. Everyone indulged me and we went to Burger Junkie for lunch and overate (Canadian maple bacon! Poutine!).

Dave, Kel and I watched the director’s cut of Blade Runner on my projector that night – well, Dave and I watched it while Kel cross-stitched, it not really being her kind of movie. I only remembered bits and pieces of it, and wanted to watch it before seeing Blade Runner 2049. It was a bit like watching A Clockwork Orange or 2001: A Space Odyssey – I can see why they are seminal works of cinema and how they have influenced so much of what we love about genre movies now but they’re a bit…boring. Visually interesting but quite patchy with major pacing issues. I thought this Honest Trailer was pretty accurate (especially “that’s not how consent works!” as that’s what Kel pretty much shouted at the screen).

The Phillips went to Hobart for the weekend so they could visit Salamanca Markets. I went to my first pottery class (more on that later but oh, I loved it).

On the Monday, we went out for a joint birthday celebration (Kel and mum both have birthdays this month) to Hallams, followed by a stroll through the park and dessert at Stillwater.

The view of Stillwater from Hallams

At lunch I gave Kel her birthday present (she’s celebrating a significant birthday this year) – the last piece I made at my glass workshop. Here it is:

So glad she liked it!

On the last day of their visit, I got up at 6:30 (which is early for me, but late for the kids!), lit a fire in the chiminea and we toasted marshmallows for breakfast. We’d been aiming to do it through the whole trip but the weather had been dodgy or we had been too full already. This is a much-loved tradition from when the Phillips used to visit us in Hurstville. With the giant Costco marshmallows (oh how I miss Costco!) we usually can only manage about two before we’re done, so it’s usually a pretty quick affair, but it was quite lovely sitting in the cool of the morning, watching the sun come up, enjoying the toasty warmth and the gooey sugar.

Life has now settled back to its usual routine, but it took a couple of days to recalibrate emotionally. We’ve been here in Launceston just over a year now, and really love living here. But being reminded of the relationships that are now stretched by distance is hard. We miss all our friends! The internet brings things much closer than they used to be of course, and it’s great that we can keep up with the day to day life of so many people. But there is nothing like hugs and face-to-face late night chats and just being with people who know you. So mum and I have had a few teary moments in the past few days, just missing people and realising that although we feel at home here, our roots still haven’t gone that deep yet. I’m looking forward to this second year and feeling a bit more deep-rooted, but also welcoming more friends from afar on their travels.