On the whole, waking up in 2018 didn’t feel that much different to 2017. It started with what would be a fairly relaxing week, based mostly in the Adelaide Hills. After a slow start on New Years Day, I put my bike in the car and drove down to Burnside, where I cycled the biggest climb and the second highest paved road in South Australia: Mount Lofty. Compared to the steep climbs I had become accustomed to in Tasmania, this climb was very steady, even though the weather was a little hot. The mountain overlooks the city of Adelaide and gives views from Salisbury in the north down to Noarlunga in the south. It is popular with tourists, who drive their hire cars to the summit, and with trail runners who run the track up the western side. I lingered there for a bit, before heading back down, looping around the very steep climbs of Gill Terrace and Hayward Drive to add a bit of variety into my ride.
From there, the week continued slowly, taking Tuesday as a slow day, just staying around home. On Wednesday, I went out for another ride, this time hitting the very steep climb of Checker Hill, an old favourite that I often avoid, before heading to some steadier climbs around Mount Torrens. That afternoon, I started playing around with some digital Lego designs, ending up getting quite involved into building a stereotypical South Australian pub.
Thursday was a little more exciting, firstly, Indy and I went around to Nana’s to wish her well for her birthday, before heading in to the city to catch up with some old friends from university. I went back into my old office and enjoyed the company of whomever happened to be there, grabbing lunch and a coffee, before heading back home again for a quiet evening and a quieter Friday.
Saturday was very hot, with the mercury topping out over 40 degrees. We had initially planned on hosting Nana’s 80th birthday party at our place in the Hills, but had to relocate to the resident’s centre at her retirement village to seek out the air conditioning and for bushfire risk reasons. Mum and Dad were preparing the food, and tasked Indy and I with decorating. I blew up a whole bunch of balloons, which Indy then hung around the room. I then draped some streamers around, before people started arriving. I appointed myself as bartender, serving people refreshing drinks from the fridge on the hot day. All sorts of people were there, relatives who I hadn’t seen for many years, Nana’s friends from her church or from her days working on the nursery and so on. There was a lot of small talk and conversations with people I don’t normally get to talk to. Mum and Dad served their barbecued meat for lunch, with a pavlova for dessert. Dad stood up and wanted to give some a nice speech to his mother, and encouraged other people from other parts of her life to do the same. It was a touching moment. After the food, Dad took some people to the theatrette and showed a Dutch documentary film about what life is like as a lighthouse keeper on Maatsuyker Island, where he and Mum were to go in a few months time.
After people started to leave, we packed up the last of the things, before heading back to our place. A few relatives joined us, some from Perth, some from Melbourne and one from Germany. We entertained them for the rest of the evening; fortunately it had cooled down a little. We showed them around the garden, before sitting down for an outside dinner in the late summer evening. Once they left, we packed everything up and finally relaxed again.
Finally, Sunday was another easy day, staying mostly indoors to watch the National Championship Cycling Road Race, followed by Australia’s debut in the genre of slow television, a no-commentary, no-soundtrack 3 hour long broadcast of the train journey of The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin through central Australia.