Thursday, January 19, 2006
Tamar River Odyssey
In the wake of America's recent Martin Luther King holiday, I'd just like to say (forgive me Dr King) "I have a dream". My dream isn't as auspicious or as philanthropic as Dr King's dream (not that I don't share that dream too) ... my dream is one of a Tamar Valley odyssey.
In the humblest of ways, I discovered the Rosevears district the other day. Took a long drive and ended up in Launceston visiting my Gran. Gran's a top chick, and she suggested a "picnic by the river". So we packed cheese, crackers, pate, grapes, and hand-picked peas-in-the-pod from her garden. We drove along the west Tamar for 20-odd clicks out of Launceston. The time passed very quickly (we tend to natter, my Gran and I). Taking the turn off the highway at the Rosevears sign, just as the Tamar re-emerges into view, I found myself in a lolly shop for grown ups. On the right, magical unending river views with the rolling hills of the east Tamar beyond. On my left ... oooh, on my left was heaven.
Strathlynn, St Matthius, Rosevears, Ninth Island. The vineyards snuggle against the side of the road, and the road hugs the river. It's beautiful!
But Gran's not silly, there was no vineyard-hopping for me that day. We settled at a solitary picnic table under a lonely Norfolk Pine on the edge of a bend in the river. Gran said that years ago vandals had stripped the tree of all its branches, leaving just a sad old trunk. The branches were slowing returning, and they were glorious.
We had only a couple of hours to enjoy the sun and the blue sky and each others company (and of course, the picnic). Road signs sat insolently behind my back, whispering "Geoooorrrgieeeeeee ... come driiiiiiiiiiiink with uuuuuuuuusssss".
But I didn't.
I was so excited, and so astounded that I'd never been there before. Now I can't wait to go back. But I'll do it properly. None of this spur of the moment stuff. I'll book a cottage so I can stagger from cellar door to cellar door to bed.
Some call the Tamar Valley the "Valley of the Senses". I prefer to think of it as the "Valley of the Sensualists". One could end up on an express train to hell, or a slow boat to heaven (I'll leave that up to you to figure out).
But who'd have thought heaven could be so close by?
Yours with bated breath,
p.s. Yes I know there is a boat called the Tamar Odyssey.