2019 Tas The Sunday before Christmas

Sat 11 Jan 2020 22:07

Position update 43:32.16S 146:54.27E

The Sunday before Christmas

In north Tasmania

Part 1

Market Day

An elderly gentleman was giving pleasure to the young generation by leading his tiny pony around the Evandale Sunday market with children sitting in the carriage, one holding the ‘reins’ while the other clung on for dear life in this unfamiliar transport mode. People chatted and laughed together behind their adjacent stalls selling all sorts of lovingly produced and presented items, many ideal for Christmas presents like the homemade jams and preserves, gleaming ornaments, cottage made children’s clothes and an impressive display of garden plants. All this despite, and no doubt partly because of, the unfolding devastation of the fires. The show of life must go on of course.

One small trailer contained goats and another, owned by the same ruddy faced farmer, chickens and I wondered about their futures, they could go either way, pet or pot.

These outdoor farmer/craft markets really are uplifting. If they continue with enough support from the punters then at least one aspect of rural life is safe.

We drove out of town on a rural road past fields of white poppies destined for the legal opium trade and started climbing a hill that took a turn, “Ah look, an echidna,” said Bron as it waddled towards the road from her side. Ken pulled over and we got out for a look. On seeing us humans the little chap made its way across the road and we followed at an unthreatening distance. Once on the other side it found a hollow and wiggled itself into it so for a few moments all we could see was its lovely brown hairy coat with those amazing spines sticking out. Along with platypus, echidnas are monotremes, mammals that lay eggs, but the name comes from their having a singular urogenital hole, mono=one and treme=hole.

We waited to see if this shy and endearing creature would unfold far enough for us to see its head and the photo you see is the result. There are few left in the wild, same old sad story, so we were indeed fortunate.

Down by the riverside we stopped at Ken’s old camping and swimming spot from his childhood. He reminisced on some of the stories of those happy days when wildlife was bountiful. A pretty little blue headed wren with its less colourful mate flitted around the grasses on the banks. This was a little haven of quintessential Australia.