Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
January 2021
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Travels with triplets

Some days I feel as if I am a bad aunty; today probably was not one of those days.

When I moved back to Tasmania three years ago I had intentions of frequent sleep-overs and excursions with various family members, but although I have managed such from time to time, they have occurred nowhere near as often as I had envisaged.

With the summer holidays fast disappearing, and work being particularly summer-unfriendly, I made a late-in-the-week decision to invite the triplets, now eight years old, for a Friday night sleep-over, with their enthusiasm for the idea rather deafening down the phone line when I rang their mum to suggest it.

So on Friday night I escaped work a little early, and picked them up for some bad food of the Scottish persuasion, some games and a movie before bed, before embarking on some adventures on Saturday. We began the day with some mini-golf, which involved me sharing my vast expertise in putting techniques, a unanimous decision to give up the idea of scoring, refreshingly few sooky-la-la moments, two holes-in-one to Laura (note the absence of holes in one from the person with vast expertise in putting techniques), and zero photos of this epic sporting event.

With the day yet young by the time 19 holes had been completed and the weather turning unexpectedly mild and glorious, I thought that perhaps a couple of waterfalls with short, shady walks might be enjoyable and so we headed up to Russell Falls. I was here less than a month ago, but it’s such a lovely place that I certainly didn’t mind visiting again. After lunch in the cafe we headed along the short track, checking some of the amazing ferns and mosses along the way before coming out at the falls which had a good flow of water coming over.



I think the triplets had visited the main falls before, but today we decided to head up the steep path alongside the falls, past the very top — with its somewhat vertiginous view into the void — and on to Horseshoe Falls.


Horseshoe Falls would have to be among the prettiest moderately small waterfalls I know, and it has been a while since I have made the trip up. Today the area was bathed in sunlight, which added to its glory but made things just a little awkward for successful exposures when taking photographs.



Emily was very sure-footed on the return journey, and we kept our eyes open for more plants and animals, spotting a rare magenta robin just briefly, some trout in the river, but sadly no platypus, apart from the taxidermically-treated specimen being carried by a park ranger.

When we had arrived at National Park earlier in the day we had seen some activity and curious contraptions up at the old railway line near the entrance. Daniel is a bit of a train buff, which is a challenge in Tasmania with its limited rail activity, and so we decided to check out what was on offer. Some guys have rigged up some pedal-powered bogies with polyurethane wheels to make the bogey lighter (although the whole four-seater unit is still over 120kg with its metal frame) and offer self-propelled excursions along some of the old Maydena line (“Railtrack Riders”). The two seats at the front are the pedalling seats, which, given the somewhat shorter nature of the triplets sets of legs, meant that I was going to be the main source of horsepower. Fortunately, one of the guys comes along behind on a Rover mini-tractor/ex-ride-on-lawnmower to provide some welcome* driving force on the uphill sections.

Having completed the safety briefing, we headed off towards Maydena, with the Tyenna River beside us much of the way, the aroma of bush and paddock filling our nostrils, plenty of bird-life to hear and see, and the breeze in our hair on the faster sections. It was just over 5km each way (we turned around just past Sharpes Siding, for those who know the area), with the return journey being noticeably (and mercifully) downhill (to the extent that I could outrace the tractor at times). The triplets enjoyed it — Daniel especially — although I think they all wanted their legs to be longer!


And once we’d returned to National Park and had ourselves some icecream it was time to head homeward, having had a rather good day.

* Very welcome.

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