Autumn in Launceston
After a few diversions along less well travelled routes, where the roads are more winding and narrow, the road line markings more faded or non-existent, and the newly-sown crops push out closer to the verge, we finally arrive in Launceston, Tasmania's second largest city.
Against the odds, it's a magnificent day, with blue skies, a scattering of white clouds, and faint but determined sunshine transmitting some much needed warmth through to the bones.
We're looking at a 20C maximum temperature, which at this time of year is both unexpected and greatly appreciated. Indeed, after leaving the car parked in the sunshine while we had lunch, there were subdued grumblings amongst some passengers about the interior becoming so hot and stuffy that windows required lowering. Like I say, a welcome bonus.
Took a gamble by booking an Airbnb house near the outskirts of the city as an alternative to dreary motel rooms, which don't seem to have improved on their appallingly low levels of welcoming cheer since those previous road trips predating the newly departed caravan.
The gamble paid off, and the accommodation for the next three nights is a full-size house on a suburban block, with bedrooms and bathrooms galore, all mod cons, a massive double-door fridge/freezer with auto ice-maker, a proper espresso coffee machine, and the supermarket is just down the road.
The decor is exactly right for way too many people's taste (seating, furniture and worktops all in on-trend but light-sapping black), but it's neat, clean and tidy, everything works, and the barbecue on the deck, all stainless steel and rows of gas-rings, has already had a bit of a workout.
Set high up on the hilly slopes, there are expansive views from the deck, taking in the river as it winds its way through the outer suburban landscape.
Dotted amongst the expanses of look-alike houses are small gatherings of trees with foliage in full-blown autumn colours.
The house also has strong, reliable WiFi, and a giant-screened TV with multiple streaming subscriptions. So with good stocks of wine and food in place, and a plant-heavy, fresh-cooked meal on the horizon, a quiet night in has great appeal.
It's perfectly possible that there are better ways to spend an evening, but I have a feeling they'd be a bit thin on the ground.
- Sony DSC-RX10M4