From sun to fog - or Rothko II
You couldn't really get a stronger contrast between yesterday's weather in Launceston and this morning's. Completely gone were the blue skies and (albeit faint) sunshine, and in their place lots of heavy morning fog, dark clouds - light grey right through to dark - and most noticeably, a complete absence of anything resembling the bright, warming sunshine of yore.
Not a drop of rain, mind - although the threat was almost palpable for the whole day - or even particularly cooler temperatures. These radical, wholesale changes are solely about the colour and form of the cloudscapes.
Today's activity plan, which was rather hastily hatched over the first morning coffee successfully extracted from the Airbnb's in-house espresso machine, involved a slow and casual drive on the back roads through Tasmania's famed wine regions in the north-eastern region of the state.
The idea was to drive on one or more of the many winery tour loops that start and finish in Launceston, stopping at any winery whose brand we vaguely recognised for a spot of free tasting, and, if that went to plan, not-so-free purchasing.
The Bay of Fires winery was a much desired destination, largely because of our familiarity with its full range of what used to be called champagnes, but is now known, courtesy of Champagne's local naming rights enforcement, as sparkling wines.
As it happened, Bay of Fires turned out to be the first winery we came to along the loop where we were in a position to try some tasting. (That's essentially code for past midday.)
It wasn't much past midday when we turned into the side road leading to the entrance, but already there was much metaphorical licking of the lips at the prospect of tasting, and more importantly buying, some of their sparkling wine varieties at the cellar door.
No-one, of course, was very happy to see that this winery cellar door wasn't open today - Thursday to Sunday only, I'm afraid. But undeterred, we set off again until we came to the next winery along the loop, less than five kilometres away.
That too was closed today; and it wasn't long before we realised that during the cooler months, all the wineries in the region - whether by chance or conspiracy - operate over limited trading hours. None of which include Wednesdays.
The upside - and quite a substantial one at that - was that the small villages and countryside and geography along the entire length of the loop are all unfailingly attractive and inviting.
What's more, once the morning's fog had lifted, patches of blue sky started to emerge, and by mid-afternoon the sun was shining more often than not, and the temperature gradually crept up to its forecast maximum of around 20 degrees Celsius.
It's very hard to stay resentful about the wineries' limited trading hours when you're completely surrounded by bucolic - even idyllic - rustic vistas.
Someone's gotta do it, and I'm very pleased to be part of the someone.
- Sony DSC-RX10M4