Show us yer map of Tassie
I'm baaack but still suffering a slight speech impediment due to my lips, tongue, throat and palate being continually burned, blistered and shredded into unflattering flaps of peeling skin giving the inside of my mouth a slightly moist and creepy diorama featuring stalactites of weeping flesh fringes due to the molten temperatures of the coffee served in Tasmania.
After a week with the family in South Australia, we three Locketts drove the bum-numbingly boring trip back to Melbourne ("Oh look, it's the Big Koala! And yes, it still looks like a pile of koala droppings and isn't it disturbing that the entrance to the gift shop is via its crotch?") and hopped on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry the following day, thus ensuring another bum-numbingly boring trip to another state.
In fact, despite the 'entertainment' on offer during our 'cruise', Mr Migraine decided to pay me his first visit of 2010 and because we ferry virgins didn't push pensioners down the stairs in the rush to snaggle some decent seats and were left to while away nine hours sitting beside the squeaking door that desperate smokers forgot to close; treating us to passing farts, stray fumes, lashing winds and new hairstyles. If the door did close - again to an agonisingly loud shriek - the wind continued to blast in via the gap in the window that thoughtfully included sea spray spat via the drooping pollyfilla directly into my eyes.
Add the 'Best of Stevie Wonder' being inexplicably and evilly piped through some tinny mono speakers in every part of the boat, toilet doors that would shake into the locked position due to the lurching of the seas thus fooling me into waiting and hopping fifteen minutes longer before I twigged that no-one was in there and the joys of an machine-excreted nescafe with added cardboard flavour and it was a long trip indeed.
I did, however, have the foresight the night before to predict (accurately, as it turned out) that the food available to purchase might not be particularly appealing - especially when wedged in between decades-old lavender fudge, devil tea-towels and the worst example of photoshopping I'd ever seen, featuring two headed people and animals on postcards optimistically and greedily priced at $2.50 apiece.
Love Chunks surveyed the snacks - dried fruit, meusli bars, chocolate and pretzels and then said, "I've got myself some Lucky Nuts." Bless him; he's not usually one to brag about such things but it gave us several minutes of double entendres and some sober explanations afterwards to Sapphire which at least got my mind off Mr Wonder wailing, "....and it's much toooo late to cry...." That's his opinion.
Then, after the nine hours had finally ended and we were yawning in our cars, another hour was wasted: "Would the owner of the Nissan Microbe on level 3 please come and collect their vehicle to enable the rest of the garage to leave," said the loud speaker, mercifully quelling Stevie Wonder for a wee moment.
Another four cars were called in the following hour. To this day I have no idea what would cause anyone to want to dawdle getting into their car after nine hours on a ferry....
As for our fortnight in Tasmania, I learned a few things.
Firstly, their love of quirky signs:
Secondly, that Love Chunks is irrepressibly perky on holidays and had us up at 6.30am most days in order to catch a ferry, do a river cruise, get on the road to the next location, see some animals before they became road kill and generally wanting to fully carpe his diem.
Thirdly, Tasmanians, as mentioned first up, love their coffees searingly, hellishly HOT. Love Chunks and I actually developed some empathy for the US woman who infamously sued Maccas a decade ago for being burned by their coffee. Tasmanian stuff needed to be purchased, bleary-eyed soon after LC's 6.30am start, and carefully left alone until it was ready to be drunk at morning tea time.
At Deloraine we stopped off for a wee (I estimate that fifty percent of my time is spent on holidays looking for toilets), some bakery goodies and a coffee. Sapph and I wandered off to the ablutions block which was made out of convict-hewn bricks from a demolished building, had a chat and a pleasant amble through the gardens before dawdling into the bakery. Love Chunks greeted me more effusively than normal.
Turns out he didn't have his wallet on him, so he was waiting there with two coffees, two sausage rolls (his and Sapph's) and a custard tart (mine) and chatting up Maureen behind the counter ("Hey Kath, I showed her my Lucky Nuts") until I coughed up the readies.
By this stage we knew that the coffee - already causing our palms to throb with rapidly painful heat despite the insulated cups - wasn't ready to drink and thus busied ourselves sitting outside in the sunshine eating our selected versions of naughty pastries. Dusting the crumbs off, we three headed towards our car, parked right in front of the bakery.
Poor Sapphire had a coughing fit and promptly vomited up her entire sausage roll. After checking that she was OK (she always is - she's been a 'better out than in' girl her entire life), we clambered in. My coffee sat between my legs as I plugged in my seatbelt and somehow, as I turned around to hand some water to Sapphire, it tipped........ straight into my map of Tassie.
AAAAARGH I shrieked, causing more coffee to scald that most delicate of regions as I frantically wriggled about (hindsight reveals that this merely created more coverage for burning rather than a quick escape), grabbed Sapph's water and doused myself before leaping out of the car, still screaming. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Maureen's worried face, deciding to stay inside and perhaps stick a 'back in ten minutes' sign on the locked door in case we decided to bother her again.
It hurt. No blisters thank God, but a hot throbbing that - usually welcome in that area on other more erotic and private occasions - wasn't pleasant. I wet myself with more water, unzipped my fly, took off my belt and slid my jeans down to Plumber's Crack level and said, "Keep driving, LC." He did, eventually, after his hooting, mocking laughter subsided. He, at least, got to enjoy drinking his coffee (an hour later) whilst mine had soaked into my knickers, under-butt beach towel and - most irritatingly - up my bike rack, causing the 'ol seat cheeks to have to be unsealed via steam, baby wipes and a fair bit of swearing later on.
My Fourth observation is that road kill rules. We'd barely got off the ferry before several beautiful, fluttering butterflies had smooshed themselves on our windscreen and a galah flew straight into our front grille before being flattened into a feathery pancake by the car behind us. The road itself resembled the underside of a block of almond chocolate with lumps of Tasmanian devils, pademelon wallabies, rats, blackbirds, rabbits and possums. For every animal we saw alive, there were 50 spread like pate on the bitumen.
The fifth observation was a pleasant surprise. It is South Australia's own Farmers Union Iced Coffee that rules the corner shops here, not Melbourne's mediocre Big M. It'd be easier and cheaper to ship Big M over, but Tasmanians clearly know quality (at least in flavoured milk drinks) when they see it.
Finally, it was clear that after a week inhaling every fattening, sugary, cholesterolly and bad for me food in Victor Harbor followed by a fortnight of fudge, chips-with-everything, cheap chocolate, roadhouse pasties and no running whatsoever that photos do NOT lie. Elmo, when worn by me, has a set of cheeks that only a squirrel storing nuts for the winter possesses. Back to the treadmill.