Day #276 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…OK, here goes…17 days and counting!!!…A frustrating Christmas Day…

This was our favorite photo of the day, a giant Billy Goat with quite the beard and defined facial markings.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2016 while staying in Penguin, Tasmania, Australia. For more details and photos, please click here.

Yep, we’ve started the countdown until we leave India. In 17 days, on January 12, 2021, we’ll hopefully be on our way. The only scenario that could prevent us from going to South Africa, as planned, will be that President Cyril Ramphosa decides to close the borders once again due to the new strain of Covid-19.

On a drive through the countryside in Penguin, Tasmania, the ocean can be seen in the distance.

From this site, the following was posted:

“Scientists and officials have warned the country’s 56 million people that the new variant, referred to as 501.V2, carries a heavier viral load and appears to be more prevalent among the young. “It is still very early, but at this stage, the preliminary data suggest the virus that is now dominating in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave,” Prof Salim Abdool Karim, the chairman of the government’s ministerial advisory committee (MAC), said.”

Over the next few weeks, Cyril will announce any changes necessary regarding this update. We continue to hold our breath, awaiting any news, striving to stay upbeat and hopeful. At this point, it’s been incredibly challenging to do so. Christmas Day was undoubtedly a memorable day in this hotel, but not in a good way.

Cattle are curious when humans pass by.

I’d considered not mentioning what transpired yesterday in an attempt to remain upbeat. But, after what happened and our goals of being “transparent” in our experiences, good and bad, we decided we’d share our highly disappointing Christmas Day.

Many of our readers have kindly written to us, espousing our determined attitude and resilience in bearing the brunt of this situation. We appreciate all those thoughtful comments. But, we are no different than many of you when managing a challenging situation. We “buckle up” and make the best of it. Thankfully, our loving relationship with one another and generally good demeanor have been instrumental in getting us through this.

Cute countryside signs.

We’ve often reminded ourselves how fortunate we’ve been that we are staying safe from the virus and have comfortable surroundings. However, lacking in space, and no matter what, we’ve been able to remain calm and composed. This acceptance served us well until yesterday, Christmas Day.

The morning started OK. Then, as the day continued, we encountered several guests in the corridors, talking loudly to one another, spewing spittle as they spoke, talking on cell phones, pacing in the halls, not wearing masks. Regardless of them being on the phone or in conversation, we kindly asked them to put on a show or return to their rooms.

Cattle on a hill.

Our comments were of no avail. We stayed back from them, by no less than five meters, 16 feet in each case, except once when I was carefully rounding a corner, and three unmasked individuals ran right into me. I couldn’t help but raise my voice, “You must wear a mask in the hotel!” They ignored me. I bolted in the other direction.

This scenario continued throughout the day. I finally gave up and discontinued my last walk for the day. Twice, I notified the front desk to hear once again their apologies and statements that have told every guest to wear a mask in all public areas. The guests don’t care for their well-being or care to follow the hotel’s government-mandated requirements,

Once back in our room, all was fine for the next few hours. Later on, as we settled in, watching the new Netflix period series, Bridgerton, a delightful bit of mindless drivel, we were conscientious of excessive noises spewing from the corridors. People were yelling and talking loudly while outside of their rooms. Why not go into the room and make noise? Since it was daytime, and we weren’t leaving our room, we didn’t make a fuss.

Highland Breed cattle. See this link for details on this breed.

By 9:00, we settled in bed, continuing to watch another episode of the series. We were well aware that the door to the suite next to us was banging every minute or so during this time. Each time someone on the floor opened or closed a door, that partially opened door slammed so loud it startled us each time. Whoever was in that room engaged the deadbolt, leaving the door ajar. The air pressure in the hallway causes this.

No less than 20 times in the past months, we had reported this issue to the housekeeping manager when the staff was cleaning the large suite, going in and out, not wanting to use their keys to enter each time. All they had to do was push the door open with the deadbolt engaged with the door ajar but not locked. Each time we complained, within a half-hour, someone came and locked the door properly.

At times, this happened at night when we were trying to sleep. On occasions, guests were leaving the door in this state when they snuck into the stairwell to smoke (not allowed) or go back and forth between rooms where their friends or family members were located. This happened several times after 1:00 or 2:00 am, and as late as 4:30 am, at which point, we had to call the front desk, again complaining.

This annoyed male approached the fence when we stopped for photos.

During the next few hours, people were going in and out of that room, slamming the door each time and often leaving the deadbolt engaged for the big jolt in our room. We must have fallen asleep five or six times to be startled awake after we’d reported this.

As it turned out, the staff was having a party in that suite next door, unbeknownst to management, since we were told (after calling again) that no guests had booked that room. After reporting it a short time later, the door banging finally stopped, and the noise died down, but not entirely.

The only time a guest should be awakened during the night in a hotel would be in the event of a fire or other type such an emergency. But, the worst of it was yet to come when at 11:30 pm, during one of those times we were attempting to doze off, our doorbell rang. Tom bolted out of bed, opened the door with the chain engaged, and handed a letter stating the restaurant could only service 50% occupancy at any given time due to Covid-19. Tom lost it.

Although this one mooed at us, they didn’t bother to get up.

I won’t write what he said. But the question remains in our minds today, why didn’t he place the letter under the door (it fits) or on the little table outside of our room?

Finally, at around 1:00 am, when I was falling asleep, I heard the dreadful sound of a phone vibrating in the room next door, loudly and repeatedly every 20 minutes throughout the night. The head of the beds in our room and the room next door abut one another, and once again, whoever was in that room, didn’t turn off their “notifications.”  They’d have to be passed out not to hear the noise!

This morning, my FitBit indicated I’d slept one hour and 56 minutes. I’m exhausted. This morning, after speaking to my son Greg’s family in Minnesota, I decided to see how I’d do walking the corridors in my current state. No way! I did 1.5 miles, 2.4 km, and gave up, dragging too much to continue through the day.

The countryside in Tasmania certainly reminded us of New Zealand, where we stayed for three months in 2016.

However, during the 1.5 miles, I saw no less than six guests without masks, with as many wearing masks, and heard a woman “coughing up a lung.” No way was it safe to walk the corridors today. I gave up.

Tom is watching football on his laptop using his earbuds. I’ll spend the remainder of the day working on the corrections on our site with Nat Geo Wild on the TV in the background. It’s comforting to see wildlife in Africa and other parts of the world, so hopeful that soon we’ll be face to face. So hopeful, in 17 days.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 26, 2019:

During the cocktail hour before dinner on Christmas Day in 2018, Tom and Kathy posted last year on this date. For more, please click here.

Day #259 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Tom’s Irish Cream recipe…Do we miss the holidays?…

Tom and I and Lisa and Barry, our new friends. They visited us in Ireland in 2019, and we are close in touch.

Today’s photos are from a South American cruise in 2017 where we met friends Lisa and Barry, as shown in the above photo. Today’s also included is Tom’s Irish Cream Recipe which we’d posted on this date, with the holidays on the horizon. For more, please click here.

As the holiday season approaches, we thought it would make sense to post Tom’s Irish Cream recipe today rather than wait until closer to Christmas, allowing plenty of time for those who may consider giving this as a gift for co-workers, family members, and friends.

Here are our comments and the recipe from that 2017 post, although we’d posted this recipe on posts from other years.

“Each year at Christmas time, we receive many requests for Tom’s Irish Cream recipe, which is comparable to Bailey’s Irish Cream, without all the chemicals and artificial ingredients used in commercial production. 

For those who may want to give bottles of this delicious concoction, glass bottles of this holiday beverage make perfect gifts, generally costing around US $12, INR 921, per bottle. 

Bottles with corks can be purchased at any winemaking store or home good stores at TJ Maxx, where they usually carry very decorative glass bottles.  Tom made about 150 bottles each year that we gave to friends and family, including a non-alcoholic version.

Boat in the harbor in Arica, Chile.

Some years we saved wine bottles as we used them, washing them in the dishwasher and storing them in bottle boxes from any liquor store. This avoided the cost of the bottles.  In those cases, we only had to buy the corks.

Now that some wineries use screw-top caps, avid wine drinkers of those varieties can save those bottles and caps for future use as long as they’re sterilized in the dishwasher or hot water before filling them with the mix.

Also, using our home printer’s label-making feature, we made labels to ensure all recipients were made aware that the product needed to be refrigerated and kept only for 30 days.

The stick-on label would read something like this often with a decorative photo of your choice, which could be a photo of you and your family.

Image result for holly jpg
 Lyman’s Irish Cream
From our home to yours…
Have a happy holiday season!
Please keep this product
refrigerated and stored for
no more than 30 days.

Tom Lyman’s Irish Cream (Comparable to Bailey’s Irish Cream)1 can sweeten condensed milk

1 pint half & half or natural whipping cream

Three pasteurized eggs (important for safety)

1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

One tablespoon chocolate syrup

1 cup Irish Whiskey or other bourbon or whiskey

Blend all ingredients in a blender for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup whiskey, measuring into the empty can of sweetened condensed milk to remove every last drop of the creamy sweetened condensed milk.

Blend for another 30 seconds. Pour into a glass bottle using a funnel with a tight-fitting cork.

Keeps refrigerated for 30 days.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the preparation of this recipe. We’re happy to assist! Enjoy!

After many years of making these bottles, we stopped making them in 2011, our last Christmas in Minnesota. The cost for such large and continuing-to-grow numbers of recipients became prohibitive.

Although neither of us drank it, we always kept several bottles to share with guests visiting during the holiday season. It was always a welcomed addition to a cup of fresh French pressed coffee.”

Each year we made dozens of bottles to distribute to family and friends in the weeks before Christmas. Tom handled the blender and filled the bottles while I made the labels, rinsed and dried the bottles’ exterior, and placed the labels when dry. Fortunately, we had an extra refrigerator in our basement where we kept them fresh as we distributed them.

It was one of many traditions we had over the holidays, many with family members and friends. Do we miss all of that? It would be impossible not to miss the memorable events with family and friends. But, when we decided to travel the world in 2012, we left that all behind and embraced our new life.

Dinner for one of our tablemates on the cruise, who ordered the roasted duck.

Again, comparable to the Christmas and New Year’s we spent in a hotel in Buenos Aires in 2018, awaiting our upcoming cruise to Antarctica, Tom’s birthday on December 23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day will be spent in this hotel room, uneventful, without ceremony, while we watch the days tick down to departing India on January 12, 2021.

That will be in 37 days.

Be safe, be healthy, and begin enjoying the holiday season (for those who celebrate), although it will be different this year for all of us worldwide.

Photo from one year ago today, December 7, 2019:

Photo from 2016. Penguin statues were everywhere in the adorable town of Penguin, Tasmania. For more about the year-ago post, please click here.

Mother Nature’s bountiful offerings never fail to amaze us…It may not be what you think…

An exquisite pink rose on the grounds of the vacation home.

In a world filled with war, strife, terrorism, turbulence and heartbreaking news, we’ve found it important to take plenty of time away from often what’s transpiring worldwide to revel in Mother Nature’s endless offerings surrounding us.

More perfectly shaped  pink roses.

One may imagine that living in Australia results in a continual viewing of kangaroos, wallabies and koala bears but it’s just not the case. Although we’ve spent many months in Australia, mostly the only kangaroos we’ve seen, sadly, has been road kill.

A single dahlia.

Eighteen months ago, while living in Trinity Beach (near Cairns), we frequently visited a open vacant field inhabited by many kangaroos and wallabies. Please see this link for more photos. On a few other occasions we’ve visited rehab facilities where we were able to interact with them.

Our second kangaroo sighting at a nearby field in Trinity Beach, Australia in 2015. The first, we’d seen, dashed through a rainforest, unable to take a photo in time.

Arriving in Tasmania on December 3rd, we finally had an opportunity to meet the notorious Tasmanian Devils when we visited Wing’s Wildlife Park and rehab center in Gunns Plains, outside of Penguin on January 6th. Please see this link for more of our photos one of which is shown below.

This Tasmania Devil posed for our photo while at Wild Wings Wildlife Farm in Gunns Plains, Tasmania, the first we’d seen.

It’s funny how we all have perceptions of what we’ll see and experience in various countries throughout the world. Typically, it’s very different than we imagined. We must admit that we’d expected to see indigenous wildlife running around in the remote areas in which we’ve lived in Australia over this extended period.

These flowers grow from the fluffy looking blooms shown here and in the photo below.  Thanks to reader Annie is Florida, this flower is a Clematis.  Thanks, Annie!

Also, surprising at times, is the similar vegetation we’ve seen from country to country. There are flowers growing in Tasmania that were also growing in Hawaii, Kenya, Europe, the US and more, all which countries have entirely unique climates.

Now in Tasmania for a total of 53 days, we’re reveling in being situated directly on the Huon River where each day we observe a wide array of birds pecking at the green grass on the grounds of this lovely property. No kangaroos. No wallabies. No Tasmanian Devils. No koalas hanging onto a tree.

This will eventually become the above flower as shown.  Isn’t nature amazing?

Tasmanian Devils are only seen as road kill during daylight hours based on their nocturnal feeding preferences as indicated here:

“A nocturnal scavenger and sometime hunter, the Tasmanian devil can travel long distances while looking for food. It will eat whatever is available, usually carrion (dead animals), sometimes eating spoiled or rotting meat. It will also eat fur and bones, which it crushes in its powerful jaws.”

Based on its habits, it’s no wonder we often see them as road kill when most of the narrow highways aren’t well lit at night making it difficult for cars and trucks to stop in time to avoid hitting them and other wildlife.

These pods will soon bloom to become the flower shown (near the center).

Tomorrow is Australia Day which we’ll explain further in tomorrow’s post. Once we’ve uploaded that post, we’ll be heading the town of Franklin where a huge annual celebration is planned.

Of course, we’ll be back with many photos from the event in two days. Please check back!

Have a lovely day! 

Photo from one year ago today, January 24, 2016:

This pregnant alpaca with an adorable unusual white marking on her face on the day prior to giving birth. We were living in New Plymouth, New Zealand, one year ago. For more photos, please click here.

Remaining all new photos of Penguin…Today, on our way to Huonville…Final expenses for Penguin, Tasmania…

The high iron content in the rocks created this colorful scene.

We’re anxious to get on the road today. So, as a result, today’s post will be to the point. Also, Terry has more guests moving in later today, so the sooner we’re gone, the sooner he’ll be able to prep for their arrival.

The surf has been impressive on many days. Surfing is popular in Tasmania.

We rushed about the house, gathering last-minute items, attempting to leave the house as tidy as possible. I’d packed my clothing on Saturday, leaving out a few items for Sunday and today’s road trip.

Since we don’t have to have our luggage weighed, it was the easiest packing ever, taking only 10 minutes to put the clothing in my one suitcase. This morning I packed our third bag with supplies, shoes, and toiletries which takes a little longer than the clothing bags, especially when we don’t want any liquids to spill.

Check out this surf!

It takes time to put the following expenses together from the various sheets in our Excel spreadsheet to ensure the final numbers we post here match the numbers on the entries in the various spreadsheets. 

Views in Binalong Bay in Tasmania.

We keep miscellaneous expenses on a separate sheet in the workbook and the food, which numbers are transferred to the main sheet at the end of a stay in a vacation home, with separate line items for cruises. It’s hard to explain without seeing it, but it’s working well for us.

In this particular case, we can bring leftover food items with us, so we packed our remaining oversized tinfoil pans with items for the cupboard in the next house with a few perishable items (cheese, butter, etc.). Packed in a cooler bag packed with ice.

Wildflowers growing along the beach.

Below are the total expenses for the six-week period we spent in Penguin, Tasmania. This includes airfare from Sydney (where our 33-night cruise ended). Also, the expense for the rental car includes fuel for the trip from Hobart to Penguin and that which we used while here. 

Neatly planted fruit trees.

The cost for the rental car was considerably more than we’ve paid in many other locations, greatly impacting the total figures. Also, groceries were higher than usual, especially when we’d purchased expensive cheese we had shipped to us from a Tasmanian dairy farm. 

Over the holidays, we purchased some pricier foods as special treats, including filet Mignon, jumbo prawns, and scallops, all throwing off the usual lower costs. However, we didn’t eat out much due to the difficulty in ordering meals befitting my dietary restrictions, which has always been a little tougher to accomplish in Australia. 

Not only are there gorgeous white sand beaches in Tasmania, but there are also many rocky shorelines.

The “tips and miscellaneous” category included some clothing we purchased, toiletries, and various products from the pharmacy.  As shown, there was no cost for the excellent WiFi Terry provided with the availability of 200 gigs of data usage per month. 

In total, we’re not disappointed by these totals. But, of course, Australia is more expensive than some other parts of the world. Still, it’s a tradeoff with the quality of the experiences, wildlife, scenery, and, most of all, its people, some of the warmest and friendliest on the planet.

Expense US Dollar Australian
Vacation Rental  $   3,143.80  $  4,228.38
re   $      241.68  $     325.06
Hotel (St. Helens)  $      133.33  $     180.00
Taxi  $      100.72  $     135.47
Rental Car  $   2,642.77  $  3,554.50
Wi-Fi  $           0  $          0
Groceries  $   1,470.65  $   1,978.01
Dining Out  $         84.21  $      113.26
Tours  $         34.17  $        45.96
Tips & Miscellaneous  $       523.45  $      704.03
Total  $   8,374.78  $ 11,264.67
Monthly Cost
 $   5,789.38  $   7,786.66
Avg. Daily
Cost – 44 days
 $      190.36  $       256.02

Usually, when we’re leaving a location, we’ll post favorite photos.  However, based on this short period in Penguin, we’ll save those for our final post when we leave Tasmania, which will include the Huon Valley favorites as well.

The statue we passed on the drive from Hobart to Penguin.

Instead, today, we’re posting photos we’d yet to share from our original road trip from Hobart to Penguin and more photos we’d taken while in Penguin. There were too many photos to share as we posted each day with the continual flow of new stories and adventures we encountered in this wonderful area.

White sand beaches are commonly found in Tasmania.

Will we return to Penguin someday? No doubt, we’d love to. But, as always, the reality remains that we still have a lot of worlds to see. So it’s a stretch that we’re returning to Marloth Park next year, coupled with the serious intent of traveling to other African countries to observe more exciting wildlife and scenery.

A special thanks to Terry for his conscientious attention to every detail to ensure a phenomenal experience we’ll always treasure.  We’ve “friended” one another on Facebook and look forward to staying in touch for many years to come, as we have with most of our past landlords/property owners.

This cove view was taken in Burnie, Tasmania.

If you’re looking for a fabulous place to stay in Penguin Tasmania, please click here to reach Terry. We have no doubt he’ll be happy to provide you with the same amazing experience.

Entering the city limits of Penguin.

Goodbye, Penguin. Hello Huon Valley! We’ll be back tomorrow from our new home located on the banks of the Huon River!

Thanks to all of our new and long-time readers for sharing this special six weeks with us.

The charm of this town celebrating its fairy penguins is whimsical.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 16, 2016:

The men’s Nautica store on the ship had nothing that appealed to Tom, although he liked this brand name in our old lives.  For more cruise photos, please click here.

In less than 24 hours, we’re on the move again…Huon Valley, here we come!…All new photos….

Could this scenery be more beautiful?

While uploading today’s first-time-posted photos, I couldn’t help but gasp once again over the beauty of Tasmania. All of today’s photos were taken no more than a 45-minute drive from Penguin.

There’s nothing like a blue sky to enhance a scenic view.

At times we’re asked why we don’t take more long road trips while living in a particular area for an extended period. We’ll often spew the same answer, “Why leave when there’s so much surrounding us that we have little motivation to leave?”

Homes and farms scattered throughout the countryside.

Although this isn’t always the case and, we have taken many road trips (and even stayed overnight in many cases), Penguin has certainly proven our point. We’d only need to jump into the car to drive a short distance to discover the scenery as we’ve shown here today.

We’ve never had to drive the same country road twice to encounter more breathtaking scenes in most instances. Frequently spotting a variety of bodies of water, the ocean at a distance, the rolling hills, the vegetation-covered mountains, the farmhouses scattered throughout the lush greenery, and an array of animals prompted us to stop to admire the views.

The lush greenery, trees, and hills enhance this pond view.

With no shoulders on the narrow country roads finding a place to stop has been a challenge. But, Tom, creative and determined to assist in photo taking, always finds a spot to pull over with the utmost caution in mind. But, unfortunately, the winding hilly roads present a hazard when stopping.

River in the farmland.

In reviewing the photos, we’ve posted and those that remain, it appears that we’ve spent more time exploring Penguin and its surrounding areas than we have in many other parts of the world.

Tom, chewing on his floss pick while enjoying the view.

There’s no doubt that the cooler weather has been instrumental in part in our relaxed perusal of Penguin. However, over these past 51 months, we’ve lived in hot, humid tropical climates (except for New Zealand last year), which has definitely decreased our desire to get out more often.

Flowers blooming along the railroad tracks across the street from us.

Constantly sweating in hot, humid climates without air con certainly reduces one’s energy level and motivation. Although some vacation homes have air con in the bedrooms, which we’ve used at night, none have had full house AC, and, as conscientious renters, if it did, we’d avoid using it to save on energy costs.

Plus, we’ve spent considerable time outdoors in many locations, preferring not to be stuck indoors with windows closed. Unfortunately, few properties have screens on the windows, and we’d had to deal with flies, bees, mosquitoes, and other flying insects daily.

A house tucked away in the vegetation.

In Penguin, the exterior doors have screens, and there’s a screened window in the living room. So with most days and nights cool, we’ve been comfortable. Also, surprisingly there haven’t been many flying insects here, although we’ve seen several ominous-looking spiders in the house.

Cattle grazing.  Grass-fed meat is commonly found in Tasmania.

As we relocate to the Huon River, where the house is located directly on the river, we anticipate many more insects. However, it reviewing the listing for the property, it appears there are screens there. Wonderful!

Horses in the paddock.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m over any unreasonable fears or apprehension about insects. Africa cured me of that! But it’s annoying to have ants and flies in the kitchen while cooking and dining, which was outrageous in the four months we spent in both Fiji and Bali. 

Train tracks at the beach across from our vacation home.

In Bali, every evening while dining, we constantly had to fight off the flies to keep them off of our food. Even the geckos came out while we had dined to take advantage of the hundreds of flies for their dinner. However, once the meals were over, the flies were tolerable, although still present.

Colorful poppies growing wild.

In Penguin, we’ve had to swat no more than eight or nine flies indoors during the entire six-week stay. What can I say? It’s been easy here, comparable to how easy it was in New Zealand one year ago. 

Hazy day country view.

Of course, cruises are also ultra-easy, especially when we have no cleaning, cooking, or need to make the bed. Tom, a bigger fan of cruising than I (although I do love it), especially likes not making the bed and doing the dishes. Likewise, I revel in not having to chop and dice since I have little interest in cooking these days.

Flowing river in Gunns Plains.

Today, we’ll finish most of the packing, which won’t take much time. Tom’s currently watching the US NFL football playoff games on TV. Then, I’ll finish washing the refrigerator and gathering items throughout the house, and…tomorrow, we’ll be on our way.

Enjoy the day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2016:

The shore is Akaroa, New Zealand. At that point, the cruise was ending in a few days, and we’d be living in New Zealand for three months. For more photos, please click here.

The Penguin Market, a popular Sunday event…Winding down with two days until departure…

Last evening’s rainbow over the ocean.  Looking carefully, Tom spotted a second lighter rainbow to the far left, difficult to see in this photo.

Our sightseeing and exploration of Penguin have ended. No more trips to the market. No more drives to the countryside except for the upcoming five-hour drive in two days to Huonville, where we’ll spend the next six weeks.

The Sunday only Penguin Market surprised us when we’d assumed it was a typical farmers market.

As we recall the wide array of experiences we’ve had in Penguin, we can’t stop smiling over the quality of the exceptional six-week stay in this quaint and charming small town. 

There are a few tiny vegetable kiosks tucked away from the main shopping areas. Primarily, this market is about antiques and arts and crafts-type goods for sale from local artisans and vendors.  This display consisted of a variety of rocks and semi-precious stones.

Yes, I’m tired of using “quaint” and “charming” to describe Penguin, but there aren’t many other appropriate words in the English language to depict this special and unique area. 

Many displays were beautifully presented.

From the thesaurus, “quaint” synonyms are as follows:


  1. attractively unusual or old-fashioned.

    synonyms: picturesque, charming, sweet, attractive, old-fashioned, old-world, cunning;


Handmade baby booties and socks.

“Charming” is described as follows:

  1. pleasant or attractive.

    • (of a person or manner) polite, friendly, and likable.
Local artists perform live music in a courtyard area.

After spending many years of my life as owner/broker of a real estate company, I was often stumped in describing certain houses in advertising mediums, avoiding the use of these two seemingly perfect words. 

Mosaic shop.

Few towns we’ve visited in our travels best bespeak these two words more than Penguin. Sure, we could have referred to it as  “picturesque,” which it undoubtedly is, but that word would have become tiresome even more quickly.

At first glance, these doughnuts whet our appetites only to discover they are handmade soaps.

The word “whimsical” could have described the Penguin-related décor evident throughout the town, as we’ve shown in many photos. But, that description ends there when one comes to know its friendly citizens, its simple and slow-paced style of life, and resident’s commitment to maintaining a healthful and environmentally friendly community.

This cake was the same as above…soaps, at AU 15, US $11.25 a slice. Yum!

As shown in today’s photos, the easy-paced Sunday Penguin Market further illustrates this town’s uncomplicated and pleasing persona with handmade crafts, treasured antiques, and items from throughout the world, presenting a diverse sampling of products that may appeal to locals and visitors alike.

Many of the shops offer handmade crafts crocheted and knitted crafts.

As we begin to wrap up our usual pre-packing tasks such as scanning receipts, using remaining perishable foods on hand, preparing the total expenses to be presented online in two days, we find ourselves feeling a tinge of sadness to be leaving Penguin.

One shop’s theme centered around Teddy Bear dolls, furniture, and clothing.

But, in our usual style, we’ll breeze through the prep and the packing. Then, by Monday morning (it’s Saturday here today), we’ll be out the door enthusiastically anticipating the next leg in our journey as we embark on a scenic journey through Tasmania, perhaps encountering more quaint and charming towns along the way.

May the simple things in life bring you joy and fulfillment!

Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2016:

Knox Church is a notable building in Dunedin, New Zealand. It houses the city’s second Presbyterian congregation and is the city’s largest church of any denomination. For more photos from the one year ago post, please click here.

Wow!…An interesting visit to the home of a local collector…Three days and counting…

Brett has spent the past 40 years building his beer memorabilia collection.

On January 9th, we received the following email from Brett Allison, a neighbor of Terry’s whom we’d yet to meet. Upon reading the following email, it was easy to assume that such a collection could be modest or consist of boxes of empty beer cans along with a few other items.

As soon as we entered Brett’s home to find this circular entryway, we anticipated something interesting and unusual was on the horizon. We weren’t disappointed.
We walked past this hallway to the stairway to the lower level to see his massive collection.

“Hi, I’m from Penguin, and I know Terry Owens. I actually live near opposite his place.  I’m a collector of breweriana and I was wondering if you were interested in viewing it. Its a rather large collection of anything to do with beer.. plus I have travelled extensively in Australia and over seas so I’m always interested in hearing what other people’s views are … I’m home tomorrow, (I have another collector calling at 9.30 am tomorrow they should be on their way by mid-afternoon),Wednesday and Thursday then I go to Hobart for the Australian “convention” which we have in January each year at a different state.. looking forward to your reply , cheers Brett Allison.”

As soon as we entered Brett’s lower level our mouths were agape in sheer wonder over his extensive collection of beer-related memorabilia called “breweriana.”  Who knew such a hobby even existed?
His collection of breweriana includes hundreds of tap handle knobs neatly organized and displayed in his handmade glass cabinets.

After word was out that we were sharing stories of various local businesses, we were all over the opportunity to highlight one more business as our time in Penguin dwindled down to less than a week.

There are literally thousands of empty beer cans, drained from the bottom to preserve the integrity of the flip tops.

We planned to arrive at Brett’s home between 1:00 and 2:00 pm.  However, the short drive and ease of finding Brett’s house (nothing is hard to find in Penguin) led us to believe we’d be in and out in no time and on our way back to our vacation home in time to prepare an early dinner, after a quick stop at the local market for a few items. 

He has a wide array of draft beer handle knobs.

Upon entering Brett’s home, he directed us to the ground floor level, after we’d walked up a flight of stairs to enter at his front door.

Many homes in Australia have what we from Minnesota consider a basement when in fact they are ground-level areas with the living areas above. In many cases, this allows for “tuck under” garages, work and storage spaces.

Tom was thoroughly enjoying this collection, although he’s not an avid beer drinker. It’s a guy thing. I found it particularly interesting due to Brett’s organizational skills and the vast nature of the collection.

As we entered this area, our mouths were agape at what we saw before us…a collection like none other we’d ever seen or imagined.  We were both in awe of the professional manner of Brett’s vast collection and organizational skills.

Every wall in the ground level of his home was highlighting his enormous collection.

Not only was his collection neatly displayed but he’d handmade most of the cabinetry displaying his priced collection. Immediately, he and Tom embarked on a lengthy discussion of beer, breweriana and of course, beer drinking in general.

His collection consists almost entirely of beer memorabilia from Australia.

Brett offered us beer, but we both graciously declined. I don’t drink beer (due to the hops derived from wheat), and Tom only drinks beer on rare occasions 

An enthusiastic and experienced world traveler, Brett often travels to “can” shows throughout Australia and the world.
Adding to the unique collection, the ceilings were decorated with beer-inspired serving trays.

Other than that one night, we joined Terry, Fran, and Gerard for happy hour at the Renaessance Café (click here for the post from that evening). In contrast, in Penguin and one other evening during which we sat on the front veranda sipping wine, neither of us has had any alcohol during our time here in Penguin.

Brett built these innovative folding cabinets in the past year o accommodate his growing collection and protect the cans from fading as the sun filters in from a skylight.

We’d had our fair share of complimentary alcoholic drinks on the previous 33-night cruise circumventing Australia and most likely won’t drink anything again until the next cruise beginning on March 1, 2017. 

These cabinets can be fully opened or displayed, as shown in this photo.

Expecting we’d stay at Brett’s home for a short period, I literally had to drag Tom out the door when we needed to be on our way and, to let Brett get back to the remainder of his day and evening.

A variety of toy beer trucks and service vehicles.
The beer cans were displayed with the precision befitting a library, organized, categorized with finite detail.

Needless to say, we had an exciting education on a topic we’d never anticipated we’d encounter in our world travels, breweriana. Thank you, Brett for sharing some of your beer collecting stories along with your vast experience in world travel.

Beer tapper and handle located in the bar area near his hundred signs.

Funny, it was almost a year ago when we were living in New Zealand that we encountered AmeriCARna (yep, spelled corrected) and traveled to a small town to see a collection of antique American cars. (Please click here for that post). Who knows what we’ll encounter in our travels? There are always pleasant surprises!

Tap handles and tap tops.

Have a glorious day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 13, 2016:

A ship sailed its way through Doubtful Sound in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it was a dreary day, but we all enjoyed the scenery anyway. For more photos, please click here.

Final photos from Mount Gnomon Farm…Four days and counting…

A pond located on Mount Gnomon Farm.

Yesterday, we had a most interesting tour of a Penguin resident’s home which we’re excited to share in tomorrow’s post. You won’t believe our photos of one of the most unusual collections we’ve ever seen. Please check back!

A variety of flowers are grown throughout the farm.

Today will be a laid-back day to include a walk down Main Road to the local market for roasted chicken, washing and hanging a few loads of laundry, and preparing the final expenses for our six weeks in Penguin, sadly ending in a mere four days.

Mount Gnomon Farm is surrounded by lush green hills.

There’s no doubt in our minds that our stay in Penguin has been abundant in experience and fulfilling in so many ways some of which is shown in today’s photos from our recent visit to Mount Gnomon Farm. Tom has said that of all the places we’ve lived, Penguin would be the first he’d consider if we ever decided to settle for an extended period.

A spot to relax and enjoy the views.

That’s not to say we’re considering “settling down.” We’re not.  Early on in our travels, we promised ourselves and each other to keep an open mind for possibilities when we either can’t continue to travel due to health concerns or, in the unthinkable prospect of us tiring of living this life.

The entrance to the restaurant where seasonal dining is open to the public. Click here for dates and details.

Tiring of living this life? How could we when we’re “living a dream,” a dream neither of us ever knew we had until it actually began and it became a reality? Now, as we look back we realize why neither of us had ever imagined such a life in our retirement years.

 A pond on the farm.

Prior to commencing on my way of eating five and a half years ago, the chronic pain I suffered from a horrible spinal condition prevented us from traveling much at all. As a result, when we considered retirement options, it never included world travel. 

One had to look carefully to find this pig in the mud.

During those many years, it was a challenge for me to fly on a plane for a few hours, let alone for the day-long (or longer) flights, layovers, and excessive periods of time we’ve spent in airports over these past four-plus years.

A duck tucked away in her nest.

For us, my recovery was nothing short of a miracle.  Only three months after drastically changing my diet in 2011, I was pain-free, albeit shocked that what I’d previously considered a healthy diet was leaving me in a constant state of pain. 

Note the recently birthed piglets white bands like their mom. There are several breeds of pigs at the farm.

Don’t get me wrong…eliminating most of the foods I loved along with my then passion for cooking, wasn’t an easy undertaking. The concept of never again having a breakfast including a toasted whole wheat bagel with jelly, a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with raisins along a small plate of fresh fruit was beyond my realm of reality. 

We arrived at Mount Gnomon Farm on a perfect day as piglets were born such as these, only in the past hour.

Five and a half years later, I haven’t as much as taking a spoonful of any of the above while I continue to reap the benefits of a sugar-free, grain-free, starch-free, and chemical-free way of eating. 

Various breeds of grass-fed cattle lounged comfortably on a sunny day.

Now, it’s easy when I consider what we have (and I mean “we”) in place of those types of food, in place of my former passion for cooking… a life rich in experience, adventure, and mobility. Sure, from time to time, we fall prey to setbacks, such as the injury to my spine in June in the pool in Bali which took five months to heal. No diet will make one exempt from the pain of an injury.

Cattle and sheep are rotated to other paddocks as the grass regenerates.

However, it did heal and I’ve returned to my former state of zero back pain. And, on occasion, like most of the over 60-year-old population, we have illnesses, aches and pains, toothaches, and other medical maladies that may or may not require medical care. 

Regardless of how hard one may try to maintain a degree of good health with appropriate food, plenty of movement and exercise, restful sleep, and a positive and enriching state of mind with as little stress as possible, we still may have periods of time when we aren’t at our best. 

The sheep were so friendly they approached the fence to be petted.

In a few days, we continue on to the next leg in our journey. Our goal is to never feel a sense of urgency to see more of the world.  Instead, we choose to travel at a pace that provides us with the optimum of joy, purpose, and pleasure while sharing it with special people we meet along the way, in special places along our path.

Thanks to all of our friends/readers who “travel” this journey with us. You mean the world to us!

Photo from one year ago today, January 12, 2016:

It was cold one year ago when our shop sailed through Milford Sound in New Zealand, prompting us to wear long-sleeve safari shirts with jeans, the warmest we’d dressed since  Vancouver in September 2014. It was a cloudy, hazy day but the scenery was beautiful. For more photos, please click here.

A visit to a pig farm and seasonal gourmet restaurant in the Penguin countryside…Pigs in the mud video…Mount Gnomon Farm…

Pigs doing their thing at Mount Gnomon Farm…in the mud!
I’ve often used the expression, “Happy as a pig in the mud.” Now I grasp the full significance of this expression!

We’d contacted Guy Robinson, owner of Mount Gnomon Farm, in December, hoping to have an opportunity to visit his farm during our six weeks in Penguin. We’d yet to visit a pig farm, and with our curiosity about pigs, this seemed like a perfect day’s outing.

Mount Gnomon Farm is located less than a 15-minute drive from the center of Penguin.

Communicating back and forth on Facebook chat over the holidays, Guy suggested we come by after the first year when things settled down during their busy holiday season.

During certain periods of the year, Mount Gnomon Restaurant serves gourmet meals. Check their website here for dates and special events. In addition, a highly skilled chef will often stay at the farm to cook for special events and during the holiday season.

Not only is the farm’s restaurant opened on weekends and for special events over the holiday season, but often, throughout the year, it’s opened for special events, music festivals, and the opportunity for the public to purchase bacon, pork, lamb, beef, and produce. Please check their Facebook page for events by searching: Mount Gnomon Farm.

Volunteers, often animal studies students, come from all over the world to assist at the farm through various international work/visa programs. The temporary caravans are available in a pinch when there is an overflow volunteer on site. The owner, Guy Robertson, works hard to ensure the flow of volunteers and the overall management of the farm.

The magic of this special agricultural environment was evident in the time we spent speaking to Guy and later on during a lengthy tour with his volunteers. His goal is to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and thought-provoking farm for the public’s enjoyment, including children who can learn so much from the nuances of farm life.

This sow was in labor in a small shed of which there are many for the birthing process. Seeing these piglets only minutes after birth was quite an experience.

With many plans and dreams for the future, Guy’s compassion and interest for his animals, volunteers, paid workers, and visitors is evident in everything he does. 

Born only minutes earlier, it was interesting to see this piglet looking at us. We were among the first humans he/she may have seen.

Coming off a hectic holiday season and a recent trip out of town, it was obvious Guy needed some quiet time to relax and unwind. So his considerate and fast learning volunteers took over after we chatted with Guy when Sam and Danielle, both students, took us on the tour of the farm.

He/she still had remnants of afterbirth on his/her little face.

With plenty of flies, bees, and dust surrounding us, added to the pungent smells one encounters at a farm, we felt right at home. In our almost 51 months of world travel, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to interact with animals in their habitat when in the wild, in our own backyard, or such facilities as a farm.

More piglet born in the past few hours.

We managed just fine, feeling more at ease in this type of environment than we do in a shopping mall. I often joke that both of us must have “agricultural genes” in our respective DNA, inspiring our interest in barnyard animals and farming.

This huge male was watching over the activities in the mud hole.

Tom’s mother and father grew up on farms that perhaps have influenced him. And for me and the rest of us, surely many of our ancestors lived on and worked on farms for their own sustenance if not with the intent of earning a living.

Not only are there pigs at Mount Gnomon but also sheep and cattle.

Mount Gnomon Farm sells a portion of their products to some restaurants, with the remainder being sold to customers who either call to place orders or visit the farm during their “open” dates throughout the year. 

To place an order or inquire:

Phone:  0448 067 779

Email – (please note sometimes it takes us a few days to respond to emails)

Snail mail – PO Box 320, Penguin, Tasmania, 7316

Farm address – 886 Ironcliffe Rd, Penguin, Tasmania, 7316

A mom and her growing young lounging in the shade on a warm sunny day.

As we wandered through the often muddy clay soil through the farm, we had the opportunity to see the birthing sheds with laboring sows under cover from the heat of the sun. 

Even a small mud hole gathers a crowd.

Under their own volition, the sows enter the sheds when delivery is imminent. The hay bed and enclosed space provide the perfect environment for giving birth. 

These cattle are friendly, allowing us to enter the paddock.

To be able to witness this firsthand gave us the same sense of joy and wonder we’d experienced only a year ago while living on the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Please click here for details. (If you scroll through our archives for February 2016, numerous posts on alpacas give birth).

These scenes made us “squeal” with delight, especially when we heard the pigs squealing over their individual right to occupy the mud hole. Check our video above to see and hear!

As we walked through the farm, we observed sheep, pigs, and cattle in any of the 15 paddocks with various chickens and ducks wandering about near the houses, barns, and sheds at various points on the almost 100-acre farm.

More cattle checking us out.

From Guy’s website:
“I am a passionate Tasmanian farmer who wants to share a love of farming, food, music, and our region with you. We want to reconnect families with their food and local producers.

In 2009, I bought 35 hectares of beautiful red dirt behind the seaside village of Penguin in northwest Tasmania.  (Continued below).

A lot of pigs.  There can be as many as 400 pigs at any given time at Mount Gnomon Farm.

It was just going to be a hobby farm, but somehow, it became a pretty serious free-range pig farm over a couple of years. Finally, the cows and sheep arrived, and now a restaurant and butchery are sitting in our front paddock overlooking 1,000 cider trees.

We’re on the menu of some of Australia’s and Tassie’s best restaurants. We visit farmers’ markets across Tasmania, selling our fresh pork, beef, lamb, and hand-crafted small. If you go to a food, art, or music festival, you’ll see us there serving flavorsome, meaty dishes. (Continued below).

Sam, a student volunteer, working at the farm, and another student Danielle, provided us with quite a tour. Thanks to both of them for their assistance!

We run the farm with the help of a fabulous team of locals and international volunteers. We hope you really enjoy your Mount Gnomon Farm experience – whether it’s eating our food at a festival or spending time at the farm.”

Raspberries growing in the extensive garden. Many other crops. are grown in fields.

When the tour ended, we began the dusty long walk back to the car. Our shoes were covered in dust, manure, and mud. When we returned to our vacation home, we shook and cleaned them off with paper towels and threw both pairs in the washer, leaving them to dry outdoors.

The farm has an enormous garden with produce and flowers in abundance.

Visiting Mount Gnomon Farm will surely remain in our repertoire of worthwhile and memorable experiences for many years to come.  Over the next few days, we’ll be posting additional scenery photos from the farm we wouldn’t want our readers to miss.

Thanks to Guy Robinson and his staff for the fabulous tour!

May you have a day filled with wonderful adventures!

Photo from one year ago today, January 11, 2016:

This is my entrée for four nights aboard the ship, seafood on a bed of cooked cabbage and vegetables. The chef is always willing to accommodate my way of eating. For more details, please click here.

Six days and counting…Photos galore!…

Regardless of the roads we take to explore the area; we’ve never been disappointed. This scene reminded us of what one may find in a painting.

Leaving Penguin in six days will be relatively easy in many ways.  We won’t have to be concerned about leftover nonperishable foods.  We can take what remains with us.

Beautiful farmland.

We won’t have to weigh our luggage or pack as neatly as usual when flying or boarding a cruise. We’ll save those concerns for March 1st (50 days from today) when we’ll fly to Sydney to board yet another cruise.

A pond nestles among the rolling hills.

The five-hour drive to the Huon Valley will hopefully be as pleasurable as driving through the countryside when we arrived in Hobart on December 3rd, taking two leisurely days to make our way to Penguin. But, this time, we’ll do it in one day.

Organized and neat plantings on a farm.

Hobart is actually a less than four-hour drive from Penguin, as Terry explained yesterday. However, the new vacation home is another 45 minutes beyond the capital city. We’ll certainly take plenty of photos along the way, sharing them for many days to come.

A view down a ravine.

We still have hundreds of photos we’ve yet to post, with hundreds more on the horizon over these next 50 days, including a few outings we have planned for the remainder of this week.

River flowing along the rocky riverbank.

As mentioned above, leaving Penguin will be easy based on organizing and packing requirements. However, there another aspect that’s causing us a degree of apprehension. We’ve loved it here. It will be hard to leave.

The bright blue sea of Tasmania never fails to impress.

There’s no doubt that our new friend and landlord Terry has tremendously added to our experience in Penguin. This house (click here for the listing) has been ideal for us with its well-equipped kitchen, comfortable dining room, living room, three bedrooms, and neatly trimmed grounds.

Three Sisters Reserve on the road to Ulverstone.

We prefer a three-bedroom house when possible, although if necessary we’re fine with one bedroom. But, having a bedroom for sleeping and two additional bedrooms allowing us to keep our luggage lying open on the bed(s) with everything available is quite a nice perk. This prevents us from having to unpack entirely and also to repack with great ease.

There are 8222 islands within the maritime border of Australia.

Then, of course, the views have been breathtaking. So as I sit here now in the living room on the comfy leather sofa, I need only look out the front windows for an exquisite view of the sea.

Frequently used train tracks run along the beach for many miles/kilometers.

Each day over the past week, as the temperatures have warmed, sitting on the front veranda for a healthy dose of Vitamin D has been a thoroughly delightful experience in itself. 

With the narrow road and sidewalk in front of the property, between us and the beach, a fairly steady stream of walkers and runners pass by, never failing to wave, say hello, or belt out a hearty “gaday!”

A park bench donated by the Ulysses Club with their motto, “Grow Old Disgracefully!”

Then, there’s been Terry, our personal tour guide, social director, and public relations rep, who’s gone over-the-top to ensure we’ve had an exceptional experience.

Low tide at a rocky beach.

Although not required by us, Terry stops by every few days to either work around the yard or stop to see how we’re doing. He’s very respectful of our privacy and is so with all his tenants. But, early on, he picked up on the fact that we’ve loved his visits. He’s quite an amazing guy! 

A peek through the trees to low tide.

It’s through his kind and conscientious efforts that we’ve seen as much as we have, met as many people as he directed our way, and learned as much about Penguin and its surrounding areas in these short six weeks, soon coming to an end.

Today, we’re off on an interesting tour of a countryside facility we’ll be excited to share in tomorrow’s post with more to come over the next several days.

Be well. Be happy. Please check back tomorrow.

Photo from one year ago today, January 10, 2016:

View from the ship of a monument in Hobart where we’ll be heading in six days. For more photos from the ship one year ago, please click here.