Ruby red crab apples are crisp and sweet, one of the old heirloom edible varieties. Sticky sweet blackberries amongst the hedgerows taste delicious, offset by the red hawthorn berries and vivid yellow gorse flowers … ahh Tasmania
This morning It smells like Christmas as we pass a clump of pine trees grown, like the hedge rows, as windbreaks or to define a property’s boundary.
Moving towards us in the distance was the unmistakable form of a touring cyclist. It turns out Graeme, a retired man in his 60’s is from Bairnsdale. He was on his first bicycle tour having decided only 3 weeks ago to give it a try. He said “I got bored sitting at home”.
Our back roads travel took us along the aptly named Meander Valley. We stopped at the White House Bakery on the edge of Westbury where we met Andrew, a baker originally from Northumberland in England, but making a new life these last four years in Tasmania. “Everything is made with love” said Andrew in his quite Northern Accent.
I liked Andrew and he was keen to show off his 150 year old, wood fired, convict built oven and explain the process of baking using old fashioned techniques and only fresh homegrown organic foods. Apparently the baking process is somewhat idiosyncratic. It takes time to heat the oven to the right temperature, that varies on the type of wood he uses and the outside weather conditions. Then he bakes the bread in tins first, as the oven cools, cakes and pies, then the meringues last of all. We shared a big piece of his carrot cake which was great and took away a couple of crusty sourdough rolls for dinner.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of historical, colonial homesteads, like Westfield. Circa 1825 a lush working farm, with the biggest stand of oaks, poplars and elms I have ever seen outside of England.
I think collectively we like to imagine that the early convicts transported from England were innocent or at least tried unjustly, however, reading some of the accounts of early settlement around Longford leaves you in no doubt at how nasty some of these criminals were. Victims of circumstances perhaps, they lived and died in violent times, so I guess that’s the context you need to see it in.
Fair winds and sunshine today and hope for more tomorrow.