Heaven scent and home­grown

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - COUNTRY CHARM -

Reap the re­wards of a rich har­vest with a weekend away in the lus­cious coun­try­side of the Ap­ple Isle

IT WAS love at first sight. I wanted the Pash­ley bi­cy­cle, with its springy large seat and bas­ket over­flow­ing with laven­der.

It had my name all over it, surely? I could pic­ture my­self rid­ing through nar­row, cob­bled lanes in some pic­ture-per­fect French vil­lage with my bas­ket loaded with baguettes, fresh but­ter, cream, cheese, chilled wine, green stalks of some­thing stu­pen­dously healthy, clemen­tines – sim­ply be­cause I like the French word for tan­ger­ine more, and beau­ti­ful French pas­tries.

Yes, in­deed, I could see my­self livin’ the dream so I sim­ply had to win that raf­fle at the Clare Writ­ers’ Week.

But while I had the mi­cro­phone in my hand and tried to bully a hun­dred or more peo­ple to fo­cus on the num­ber 636, I re­alised I was think­ing about Tas­ma­nia, from where I like to do a lot of my writ­ing in the mainly cool climes when the main­land is swel­ter­ing through sum­mer. I was re­minded that we have ev­ery­thing we need right here for amaz­ing hol­i­days.

Now I know you may want to stick me in the stocks and throw rot­ting fish heads at me be­cause I do get to go to Paris most years and travel the world for my work but I’m go­ing to say it . . . the very best bit about glo­be­trot­ting is com­ing home.

We have it all go­ing on here – desert, rain­for­est, beaches, moun­tains, snow­fields, wilder­ness and our own gor­geous vil­lages and ham­lets that may not have the an­cient his­tory of Bri­tain, or may not tum­ble down hill­sides as they do in south­ern France, but our tiny towns are alive with ru­ral ac­tiv­ity and if you take the time to visit, you’ll be able to fill your own bi­cy­cle bas­kets with in­cred­i­ble home­grown prod­uct.

When in Tassie I go to our lo­cal vil­lage at Cygnet for the best sour­dough loaves I’ve ever eaten, veg­eta­bles dug up from the earth that morn­ing, boxes of cher­ries, bags of just-picked ap­ples from or­chards that line the road, and car­ton-loads of the fat­test, sweet­est, red­dest, straw­ber­ries, or plump blue­ber­ries plucked that day; ooz­ing am­ber honey of the high­est or­ganic qual­ity, award­win­ning cheeses to make your heart sing, cakes, chut­neys, pick­les, ex­quis­ite hand­made choco­lates – all of this grown, picked, bot­tled, baked or made within the small Huon Val­ley.

And while the Huon re­gion is breath­tak­ingly beau­ti­ful, it’s

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