The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


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Tassie Solos Rally 2017

This rally is the main reason I have been so slack doing my blog since ….  forever! (October last year, actually). I was the Rally Manager and all my energies and efforts were channeled towards creating a fantastic experience for our CMCA Solos Network members when we met in Campbell Town, Tasmania from 28th February to 6th March this year.

For those of you who follow my blog I’d like to explain that our Solos group are motorhomers that travel by themselves – it is not a singles club in that most of us are quite happy travelling solo and not looking for a partner. It provides a safe group of travellers that we can link up with as we journey around our beautiful country.

IMG_7341CT Rally 2017 web

Thanks to George Gatenby, Show Society member, who took this photo with his drone

It was a wonderful experience for me and I loved every minute of the planning, preparation, putting together a week long program and then seeing it come to fruition with the help of my Rally Team, some of the local residents and businesses and of course my sister, Marion who lives nearby.

We had 205 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes in attendance and about 225 people (some couples joined us as they’d heard how much fun we have at our rallies!)

The Campbell Town Showground was a great venue with big buildings and plenty of room for us all to park. It was ‘rustic’ – our main building was a 75 metre long sheep pavilion – and the smell of the sheep never really left it even with all the doors open. Here’s how I first saw it when I arrived in Tasmania in June 2016 and the Campbell Town Show was on.

Not long before our rally started the Show Society held a working bee, so this is what the pavilion looked like without the sheep!

And then we filled it up with happy Solos ready to party!

IMG_7346CT Rally 2017 web

The theme of the rally was Life is Magic so we had witches and wizards, fairies and fortune tellers dressed up for our night of Magic and Mystery.

A spit roast dinner was provided and the night kicked off with our very own witches dance that our members had learned and practised with our member/instructor Karin Kirk.

This was just one of the many things on our program. Here’s an overview of what we got up to during the week…. Programxls – At a Glance

One afternoon we had an Op Shop Fashion Parade where members unwanted clothes plus those from the local Op Shop were ‘modelled’ by some of our group. What a funny day! So much laughter even the townspeople were talking about it!

Our Skit Night showcased our talented members – or those who thought they were talented – and it was another night of laughter and friendship. Here’s our Line Dancers and our First Timers performing.

Before the main crowd arrived on the Monday we had a special dinner to thank our Volunteers and welcome our First Timers. You can’t keep a Solo seated for long when there’s dance music playing.

The local Solos Chapter, The Tassie Shearwaters, organised a great Fun Day for us.  Some of the activities were quite challenging but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

Info Elaine

 

There’s a huge age range among our members and 2 of them celebrated their 80th birthdays at Campbell Town – Nev, our chief bus driver and Miss Information (or was that misinformation?), Elaine. We even found a special booth for her.

 

The local towns people were delighted with the boost to their businesses while we were in Campbell Town. Our mini bus ferried us back and forth daily to the supermarket and coffee shops and we totalled up our shopper dockets at the end of the rally and we had spent over $65,000 in town during the rally. This is a huge amount for the economy of a small town of only 700 people.

 

You can see it was full on and wouldn’t have been at all possible without our hard working volunteers and everyone who came along to have a good time. You made it happen!

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the many members who posted some of these photos on our Facebook page and I have ‘borrowed’ them to illustrate this blog. Contributors include Rosanna Grifone, Jenny McLelland, Fay Byrnes and Shannon Lightfoot.

 


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The Pontville Party

The theme was pink and purple 

In the Pontville Party tent

And we dressed for the occasion,

Looking good was our intent.

We decorated tables

In purple and in pink

And played with colouring our hair

Asking friends “What do you think?”

And when we turned up for the “do”

We had our nibbles on our plates,

And we also had a drink or two

To share with all our mates. 

The Baker Boys performed for us

And they played long and loud.

The dancers surged to the dance floor,

It was a happy party crowd.

I finally made my way back home

My wine bottle the worse for wear,

I danced my way through the pristine grass

I didn’t have a care!

That all changed when I reached my van

And bent to fix my solar light –

I forgot to stop when I leant down

And a dramatic face plant ended my night. 

I hope no one saw me-

It was not a pretty sight –

My pride was hurt more than my head

And all because of that stupid light!

To continue the colour theme of the night

My eye is turning purple, not pink

And like Pete and Trish, Rally Managers

I’m swearing off the drink!
Rosemary Robinson 

March 2017

road kill cat


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The Flatapuss

It was when we were camped up in Broome
Geoff took us for a drive
And he pointed to something on the road
That used to be alive.

He’d taken us to Willie Creek,
And along this sandy track
A shape lay flattened in the sand
And Geoff said “Look at that!”

Well it was thin, like a template made of tin,
And I thought it had a quite familiar look
A rounded face, a pointed ear – a second glance was all it took
To work out what this animal had been.

It was so flat, squashed on the sandy track
By tyres that travelled back and forth all day
The heat had dehydrated it, but you could tell when it was hit
That once upon a time it was a cat!

Rosemary Robinson       November 2016

leeches


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That Bloody Leech!

What did I do on Halloween Eve?
The answer you may not want to know
Because I made a quiche – and squashed a leech –
I tell you, everything was all go!

I rifled through the recipe book,
(I had made the quiche before),
But the leech was a surprise to me
When I squashed him on the floor.

I was busy at the kitchen bench
Cutting up the silver beet
When I stepped away and something squished
Beneath my clumsy feet.

A little bit of fetta cheese
Was what I thought of first
But when I saw the mess I’d made
My God, this leech had a thirst!

He’d gorged himself upon my blood
Until he was bloated and fat
And when he could fit not another drop in
He let go of my leg and went splat!

The blood shot across the kitchen floor
On the cupboards, the oven and wall
And ran down my leg where the blood sucker had been
Until his fat bloody body did fall.

Apart from it feeling disgusting
To have your blood sucked out by a leech,
It leaves behind a reminder
– A little hole with one hell of an itch!

So what did I do on Halloween Eve?
Well, I did finish making the quiche
And I washed the kitchen from top to toe
Thanks to the mess from that bloody leech.


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Chocolate, Cheese and Raspberries

When you arrive in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania it’s only a short drive to three of the most iconic tourist destinations, Anvers Chocolates, Ashgrove Cheese and the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. They offer you a trio of tastes – and even some free camping at Christmas Hills.

House of Anvers

The first taste sensation you’ll discover is the delicious Anvers House of Chocolate. As their website says Belgian Chocolate Skills & Tasmania’s fresh clean climate combine to create the supreme chocolate experience. Now if you’ve done an overnighter on the Spirit it might be a tad early for a chocolate fix, so plan to do it on the way home. My thinking, though, is that it’s never too early for chocolate! They open for breakfast at 7am so that’s a good reason to pop in. As their welcome sign says “Give me Chocolate Now!”

There is also a chocolate museum you can explore that gives you the history of chocolate since the Aztecs, with moulds of old easter eggs and specialty chocolates. If you’re in luck you can see the chocolate being made. And I dare you to resist the wonderful display of chocolates to buy.

Before you settle down to breakfast here, though, read on for the other tasty delights ahead!

Ashgrove Cheese

A little further down the Bass Highway you’ll find Ashgrove Cheese, another well known breakfast stop and a place to stock up on treats for Happy Hour. Colourful cows welcome you to the shop, but glance across the road for the real thing.

The shop stocks all the varieties of cheeses made at Ashgrove plus a wonderful selection of other Tasmanian products such as sauces, jams, cider and relishes. It’s interesting to see the cheeses all stacked for aging. And yes, they are open for breakfast if you’re hungry by now.

But wait, there’s more!

Keep driving along the Bass Highway and you’ll arrive at one of my favourite destinations…

The Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm

The Raspberry Farm at Christmas Hills is more than just a cafe. There’s a lovely lake you can walk around, pretty gardens to enjoy a coffee in, views of the huge greenhouses that grow the raspberries, and best of all you can stay overnight in their big rig carpark! It’s truly an indulgence to wake up in the morning and wander in for raspberry pancakes (for me) or more traditional breakfast food if that’s what takes your fancy.

Now come for a walk with me around the grounds ….

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You don’t have to go very far when you arrive in Tasmania to enjoy the wonderful fresh food that Tassie is famous for. This is my Trio of Tastes, chocolate, cheese and raspberries, to tempt you to explore even more.

Murals in Sheffield, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Sheffield

I have been to Sheffield, the town of murals, before but this time I was enticed to go by the Medieval Festival being held there.

sheffield-map

I wandered my way there via Latrobe, where the Axeman’s Hall of Fame is…

img_7078latrobe

…. and Railton, town of topiary ….

This part of Tasmania had suffered severe damage from floods a few weeks ago, the roads were still very chopped up and there were piles of debris along the banks of the Mersey River. The Latrobe Caravan Park had been evacuated and was undergoing repair, and now  I hear on the news tonight that the latest downpour has damaged it once again.

The free camp in Sheffield is at the Recreation Ground and the Medieval Festival was happening right next door so I was looking forward to a great weekend……until it rained!  It was just too wet to enjoy the festival, dodging the showers and trudging through the mud, so I only spent a couple of hours there and decided not to stay another night in the hope the weather would improve.

Many of those who attended got into the mood with period costume, and I couldn’t help thinking, as they dragged the hems of their gowns through the mud, that it was probably exactly like that in Medieval England, without the benefit of washing machines!

The market stalls sold all things Medieval … anyone need a new visor? battleaxe?

And then I was off to find my knight in shining armour – except the mud took the shine off most things, including the jousting knights.

When the Medieval Festival isn’t happening in Sheffield, the town is famous for it’s murals that adorn the walls of the buildings and also panels in a ‘mural’park behind the Information Centre. Some of these are so realistic you feel you could step right into them.

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Happy Campers:
As I mentioned before there is a free camp at the Recreation Ground for fully self-contained vehicles. No grey water to be let onto the ground. It is beside the leash free area for your fur babies. It is a little way from the centre of town – too far to walk in the rain when I was there.

I can’t leave Sheffield without sharing the fabulous sign at the front of the Info Centre – and yes, the arrows are pointing to real places nearby.

sheffield

 

 

 

Meander River, Deloraine Tas


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Delightful Deloraine

I loved Deloraine the last time I visited in 2014 and this time around I think I love it even more.

deloraine-map

It has a real arty vibe to it with Galleries, Art Shops,  Coffee Shops and Op Shops lining the steep main road that curls around bends on its way uphill from the Meander River as you approach from the East.

Cross the river, cross the railway line and wend your way through the town. So many quirky little shops invite you to explore …..

Here’s one of my favourites. It’s called Elf on the Shelf. I’m pretty sure I know how to speak Zombie – give me a couple of drinks and I can demonstrate it for you, but if you want to study it yourself you can buy the book here.

The Information Centre is at the top of the hill and it’s a MUST SEE visit if you are in Deloraine. In the forecourt is the statue of a famous race horse, Malua, who won Adelaide Cup (1884),Newmarket Handicap (1884), Melbourne Stakes (1884) Oakleigh Plate (1884), Melbourne Cup (1884), Australian Cup (1886) and then went on to win the Grand National Hurdle (1889). What a champion!

But it’s when you step inside that you will discover the amazing Art in Silk exhibition, with a movie that tells you how it was developed as a community initiative and the stunning panels they created. It truly is spectacular. It does cost to view it but it is something you won’t want to miss! These photos were taken when I last visited. It’s a wonder they are not worn out I have shown them to so many people 🙂

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Drive around the back streets and you’ll discover lovely old homes like The Manse, with outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.

Happy Campers: There is a Free Camp for self contained vehicles as you travel into Deloraine from the East. Turn right at the Police Station and follow the road around. The camp is well signed. It’s only a short walk into town.

Deloraine is a short detour off the Bass Highway that links Devonport to Launceston. It’s about 55 kms from Devonport and only 50 kms to Launceston. If you are looking for somewhere to stop when you get off the ferry (or you’re on the way there) this little town is well worth a visit!