Showing posts from September, 2021

On our way to Strahan ...

    We have visited Strahan three times since I arrived in Tasmania. Normally a five hour drive from Hobart though this particular trip took us six odd hours as we encountered snow and lot's of it across the top of the State. Dangerous yes, exciting yes, I drove yes! We reached our beautiful destination exhausted yet happy.

The wilderness on the west coast

        On Monday of this week David and I had an interesting steam train trip. We were visiting Strahan for some well deserved R&R.  In the early morning and drove to Queenstown where, very excitedly we boarded a steam train on West Coast Wilderness Railway. It started out like Gillian’s Island, perfectly well. Along the way we were served drinks and delicious Tasmanian fare. Between Lynchford and Rinadeena Saddle however a certain part of the mechanism between the engine and the Abt rack and pinion track broke. The Abt rack and pinion allows a train to motor uphill and downhill. We were stuck in the middle of a rainforest for just over three hours. We were perfectly fine but an urgent need to go to the toilet was for the most part felt more pressing by the women. No toilet facility onboard though there was at each station … if we ever got to them.    We had two train driver engineers but they were not in a position to repair the damage. Three engineers drove from Strahan to Quee

Exciting find

    Whilst on a trip to the west coast of Tasmania we visited the tiny railway station of Lynchford between Queenstown and Strahan. As the area was known for it's mining (gold and other such riches) there remains a tiny two room museum that can only be accessed by train as part of the West Coast Wilderness Railway. It is on the tourist trail and we were playing tourists. It was here I made an exciting find. Orpiment. I have talked about orpiment for years in my lectures on the Book of Kells but I had never actually seen it before last Monday. Orpiment - arsenic tri-sulphide - was used in the Book of Kells as a gold-like pigment and it was also used to adorn the tombs of pharaohs including King Tutankhamen. I was delighted. Magnificent!
The past five or six months has been frenetic to say the least. There have been vaccinations, TSO concerts, lectures to attend online as a participant, lectures to give, Book of Kells, A calligraphers Life. There have been workshops both in-person and online ... many of them. Some have been pop-up workshops that I organise on the spur of the moment with a group or groups in pandemic lock down (gratis) then I have have some invitations to teach in Australia, the UK, and the US. There have been exhibitions to attend and exhibitions to contribute to not to mention preparing works for a major journal (shhhhh) about to go to press. Gosh ... and lunches & dinners to attend. Now I'm off to meet a calligraphy friend for a coffee!