Not In My Back Yard

A few days before our odyssey at Garden Island Creek was to end, a (not entirely unexpected) message from M said that he needed a few more days to complete the floors in Bella Luna – as the job had originally taken him a month back at the boatyard, he was still making good time.

“I’ll take care of it. We’ll find somewhere,” I texted back, thinking momentarily about camping somewhere with the Smalls… until I remembered that M was using the tent – he had it up on the front nets, sleeping in it every night away from the resin fumes.

It took me ages of delightful faffing on AirBnB to decide on a spot – I try to make it a habit to NEVER pay for accommodation, so I was trying to get something as cheap as possible. I settled, with Small DB’s input, on a shack in a backyard in Mount Stuart – just behind North Hobart. It promised monkey bars, trampoline, chickens and fruit trees…

And so it transpired that all the family members that were with us at Garden Island Creek drove us (via the boat to offload excess baggage) in convoy to our new home for the next five nights – our backyard cubby.

Our AirBnB Backyard cubbyhouse
Our digs. After we’d populated the verandah.

Bookshelf. Yes, I judge people by their bookshelves.
The bookshelf inside. It gets a tick from me.

As much as we were going to miss the Mothership and T et al, it was nice to be on our own as well. I really got a buzz out of our tiny space – it reminded me of my caravan. There was a teensy fridge, a kettle and a click/clack couch – we used a mattress from the lounge on the verandah for a Small to sleep on the floor…

017/365 * early this morning - I had to stand outside the window to take this 📷 * #sisters #morning #sunshine l#Summer2019 #airbnb #gypsies #mtstuart #improvising #bellalunaboat #glamping #family #australia #tasmania #abcmyphoto #tasmaniagram #disc
Early morning…

The first afternoon we arrived, Small DB and I found our way to a little supermarket and bought some necessities. As it turned out, we never used the kitchen inside the big house – I used a lot of sweet-potato noodles softened in boiling water from the kettle, mingled with a cup-of-soup and plates of cut up carrot, cucumber, avocado… etc.

The basis of a tiny house dinner…

And for breakfast, lunch and all other snack times? These…

apricots
Our staple.

We were given free access to the two apricot trees, and oh-my-god we tried our best to eat them all, but it was impossible. The Smalls adored the backyard – there were old-school monkey bars, swings, a trampoline and mounds of toys under the other cubby house…

Jumping from the monkey bars on to the trampoline.
Jumping from the monkey bars on to the trampoline.

Mt Stuart backyard chooks.
Small DB adored collecting the eggs.

The resident five chickens seemed to have eaten so many apricots that they cared for them no longer. Both trees were inside their enclosure – I did ponder whether, if one of them met an untimely demise, once roasted they would make a readymade ‘apricot chicken‘ dish…

016/365 • painting on the tiny verandah - today we have no plans • . . #sunshine #painting #todaywehavenoplans #sisters #Summer2019 #airbnb #gypsies #mtstuart #improvising #bellalunaboat #glamping #family #australia #tasmania #abcmyphoto #tasmaniagram #di
Painting on the verandah with landlord’s art supplies <3

Blowing bubbles
Bubbles…

015/365 • first morning in our cubby house - we all went to bed early as the light faded - feels like we are moving closer to getting back aboard Bella Luna • . . #goodmorning #8yo #Summer2019 #airbnb #gypsies #mtstuart #improvising #bellalunaboat #glampi
First morning…

018/365 • on our way through the early morning smoke haze to the Hobart Cat Cafe - the Smalls most requested destination 🐈 • . . #sisters #morning #sunshine #Summer2019 #northhobart #gypsies #mtstuart @hobartcatcafe #improvising #bellalunaboat #glamp
Walking to the Cat Cafe.

The benefit of Mt Stuart was that we were able to walk into the city, and (with slightly more determination) walk back again. The way in was downhill, but the way back was not – making it somewhat fraught with tired children. We walked to the library and spent time at the marvellous Hobart Cat Cafe…


In addition to the shack in the backyard, there was also an actual cubby-house, built for our landlord’s daughter when she was small. He had to modify it as she grew taller and add on an extra bit so she was able to lie down full length and sleep in it.

I had thought that the Smalls might like to sleep in there, but hilariously, it was home to a German backpacker called Simon. A man of very few words – dossing in the cubby for free in return for helping around the house. We never knew when he was in the cubby, but occasionally saw him walking meticulously along the garden path to the back door. He didn’t seem to want to talk, so after about three days we stopped saying hello – he seemed to prefer it.

There was a telephone call from a fairly distraught M after we had been there for a few days. He had done the final coat on the main cabin floor (after the sanding, and the laying of the fibreglass tissue – I am hoping he will write a blogpost about the process) and then closed up the boat because he didn’t want the wind outside to blow dust over it all.

Several hours later he opened the doors and, I presume, gave a manly kind of shriek – the surface of the floor had cracked because the lack of fresh air, rendering all his work null. Fark.

All Photos-421
Spiderweb crackles of despair…

The initial news was dire. But being accustomed to unforeseeable boat issues has taught me to treat each one with a three hour buffer. Sure enough – M called back, having done some assessment (and probably lots of chatting with all his cronies on the dock). He’d managed to borrow a sander with a dust extraction system and planned to sand off the entire layer of resin he’d put on, and reapply it. He reckoned on getting it done by Wednesday – (the disaster occurred on a Monday) which was the day we were due to return.

There wasn’t a lot we could do from the wilds of Mt Stuart, so we ate some more apricots in his honour and hoped for the best.

On our last day of our backyard adventure Small Z and I went on a little adventure. I’d made contact with a woman on FB Marketplace who was selling a whole lot of yarn – she too lived in Mt Stuart, so we set out to find our way to where she lived.

The thing about the area is that it is steep. Which adds to its picturesqueness and kooky quota. There are little walkways in between streets, and many houses have fruit trees that overhang the fences. Small Z and I found some fabulous plums on our yarn excursion…scrumpworthy!!

Free plums of deliciousness!

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