Monday, 16 April 2018

Chapter 94 : Is retirement to enjoy or dread?


Bob said, “You haven’t helped me. You haven’t told me if and when I should retire. You haven’t told me if I should enjoy my retirement or dread it.”    

Well this is my chance to try and answer Bob’s questions. I’ll begin with a questionable comment. To retire successfully there are four things you need.

First thing is money. You need enough money to do what you want to do. You’ve worked for the government for about 40 years. It’s too late for you to accumulate money. If you don’t have enough money now you never will have. Do what I do. Make your aims and plans fit the money available. Don’t try and make your money fit your plans. 

Second thing you need is good health. Bob at the moment you are pretty healthy. You may be suddenly hit by an unexpected malady. I can’t tell you how to avoid a sudden medical disaster.  All I can do is two things.  Tell you to try and maintain your present health indefinitely and wish you a quick recovery and successful rehabilitation if you are hit by the sick stick.

Third thing you need is a good social network. You need people to talk to. More than just me. Somebody to talk to about what was written in The Mercury.  What you watched on TV. The latest film you saw. The telemarketers are not part of your social network.
Bob I know you and when working you seemed to have a strong and deep social network. During your whole working life your social network evolved and changed. People left and others entered. Well entering retirement land the changes will be sudden and more numerous. Some of the changes, like avoiding the man trying to sell you another phone plan, will be welcomed. Some of the changes are unavoidable and precipitate sadness.

Your social network should include people who will say, “That’s a really dumb idea.”
Unlike some retired professional sports people I have managed to hear such words. You know I live with people who know and care enough about me to tell me the truth.

When somebody recently asked me where I worked I was initially pleased and upbeat to be thought of as a worker and then ashamed and embarrassed to admit, “I don’t work.”
This is where my social network judged it was time I heard the truth with comments such as, “Nobody could possibly think that you work.”
This is where I say to Bob. Don’t ape me, when you retire be proud of yourself and what you do.

Number four is a reason for getting out of bed. You need something to do. You need an aim or goal. It may be turning your hobby (music) into a small money-making business.  It may be turning some of your interests (music) into non-paid volunteer work. In your case it won’t be looking after grandchildren.  It is defiantly the way I spend part of my time-pretending I am looking after my grandchildren- and I know there are people who spend all their time with their progeny. 

Perhaps you can aim to improve your backhand. I know when I partner you it worries me. When I play against you I go for it. I see it as your weakness. Now that you are retired you have got no excuses. Your backhand should become good.

Bob I realise I haven’t told you whether or not or when you should retire. I can’t.  But I can say don’t look forward to retirement as nirvana. Don’t spend your working life complaining about your job and saying, “I hate this. One day I will retire and no longer have to put up with this nonsense.”
Enjoy your work. Don’t delay pleasure until you retire.  

Your life in retirement land will not be dramatically different to your working life. It’s a different stage of life. It is not a dramatically different country.  When you migrate from working land to retirement land you take a lot of luggage with you. Some of the luggage, like old friends, is welcome and appreciated. Some of the luggage you should have left behind but had no choice about. That’s life.

Bob I can’t say if you should retire.  You are still capable of working successfully. You could go on for a couple more years. However now may be a good time to retire. You are fit and healthy.  It may help you adjust and settle into retirement land.

Bob enjoy your retirement –whenever it comes- as much as your working life. Enjoy them both. Go for a pair.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Chapter 93 : Retirement : I am learning on the job


Dear Bob,      
You asked me, “What’s it like being retired.  What you should I do when I retire?”
I would love to help you but I can’t. I am retired and have absolutely no idea what retired people do.
I spent 5 years at Uni and the first 5 years of work learning how to work as a dentist. Perhaps after 10 years of retirement I will know how to be retired. It is like getting a driving license. After getting your license you learn how to drive.
I am retired not tired.  I look on retirement as a different phase I will go through. It will be different from what I expect but I plan on finding out about it, not retiring from life.
Bob, first you have to think about what you want other people to call you. A lot of people describe themselves by what they used to do.  Retired doctor, retired teacher, retired plumber or retired footballer.   Sometimes I go that way. I am a retired dentist.  Now I don’t want to be described by what I used to do. I prefer not to be called a retired dentist.
I used to be a dentist. They used to stop me in the cereal aisle of the supermarket, open their mouth and say, “What should I do about this tooth?” Now when I shop they expect me to get out of their way.
Bob, when retired you have to work out when to shave.  And what clothes to wear. Do you want to look like someone who has a job or someone who is retired?  What is today going to be?
Previously I had a routine for lunch. I always had lunch at the same time. I was predictable. Now I have to think about lunch. Footloose, fancy free and floundering.
Bob, you have to work out when to get up.  I don’t know if my alarm clock has also retired. I’ve never used it.  Now I have to work out when to get up. Or if.
Bob you have to work out what clothes to wear.  When working I had my certain clothes and shoes I walked to work. When I arrived I took off my walking shoes and clothes and put my work attire on. Now I am fancy free to wear anything anytime.  Freedom just another word for confused.
Bob, when retired you learn about your working life.
When I worked as a dentist all teeth are the same. As a dentist I never discriminated or preferred certain races or sexes. Now I cannot understand bias based on sex or race. It just completely perplexes me.
Nowadays before I have lunch I line everything up on the bench. I don’t start until everything is out in the right spot and ready.
When working I knew what I was going to do on Wednesday week at 3:00 pm.  Now in the morning I like to know what I am going to do at 2:30. I need to know my appointments for the day.
Bob, when working I was always assessed. When working I always had someone to tell me if I’d done a good job or not. I always had something to work on or to improve.  Now I have no idea how to succeed. How to do a good job. I have to mark myself. I give myself a mark for mowing the lawn or putting out the garbage. I did a good job. Next time I can put the bin further up the road away from the parked car.
Bob, you will need a reason for getting out of bed.  Some purpose or meaning to your life. At times I have thought nobody depends on me. Nobody needs me. Nobody cares.  If you can solve this then please tell me.
You could go the way a lot of people go.  Become a volunteer. Belong to an organization. You will receive a christmas card, sign the farewell card, be missed if you sleep in, get public holidays and weekends off and do something the community needs. You can go this way. You need to find an organization who needs you as much as you need them.
Bob, I have noticed how hobbies either expand or disappear.  Some hobbies were my escape or release from working. They have now disappeared.  Other hobbies have expanded. Be flexible and ready to adjust your life.
Bob, I still go on holiday. Retirement purportedly means you are on continuous holiday. No commitments. But I find I need a break from endless similar repetitive days.  Probably why so many retirees spend so much time travelling. When other retirees talk about their coming cruise I join in. Why not?
Bob, I don’t need to tell you, family and friends are important. I know you and you know that. You will see more of your family. I know for you that is not a problem.  You will no longer be able to avoid them. You can’t say, “I can’t do that. I have to go to work.  I’ve got some letters I need to finish.”
Bob, I will have to mention money. Do you have enough money to do everything you want to do?  Do what I do.  I alter my goals or aims to fit the money available.  My goal is to do what I can afford to do.
And now you are retired be happy. All your excuses have gone. You can’t complain about anything. Don’t be a grumpy old man.
And all your excuses have gone. I’ll organize my record collection when I retire. That excuse has gone. 
And get ready for people who say, “What do you do all day?
You can reply with, “I’m just as busy as ever.”
You may be but I am not as busy as ever. Life is easier.










Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Chapter 92 : Not ball tampering


I watch the clouds attracted to the mountain. I ponder what animals they resemble and whether they will lead to rain. Will the rain be enough to stop us playing tennis? It was raining last night and a few puddles linger but they don’t restrict us.

A fence separates the birds in surrounding trees from the game of tennis. The tennis lines mark the limit of our game.  The court is a soft, smooth, comfortable surface. The net divides the court into two opposing areas.

I amble in. I am now number three. We can play tennis when number four turns up. I peer towards the car park looking for number four. Trying to see who it will be.  

Number four turns up and now we decide who is playing with who. And who is against who.  After one set we can either change partners or go for revenge.

The game starts when I throw the ball up and serve the ball down the middle of the court.  The guy receiving the ball hits the ball into the net and says, “You tampered the ball.”

We all have a good laugh. No serious cultural issues here. We are here to play sport.  We are with our friends to play sport.

The players are all different. A lady who slices everything. Every shot she returns low and short. She doesn’t move that quickly so I will try to make her move. I will attack her weakness.

A lady who hits every ball hard. She belts everything. She has a good volley. Very strong and sure. Never doubt her volley. Be wary if opposing her and confident if partnering her. Very friendly lady, I don’t doubt that.

And the final guy is just good at everything. He can play short or long. Spin it or hit it hard. Run or volley it. Everything he touches is good. And he is not arrogant or boastful. When you do a good shot he says, “Good shot.”
When the ball hits the net and drops over he says, “Sorry about that.”
He is too good for me but I like playing against him because I know I will get a good game. A good game well played.

After a couple of sets we have a break. Unlike the cricketers we all sup together.  Without any opponents. We are all together. On the court we were divided into opposition and teammates.  Now we are all on the same side. I can’t even remember who my opponent was.

One lady talks about her grandchildren. She talks about them playing soccer at the weekend.  They will eventually play against my grandson.  Another lady talks about her art. Yesterday she was painting a watercolor of the mountain. I would love to see it.

One guy asked me about what film I saw this week. I tell him and say, “I would give it four stars. Go and see it.”
He tells me what other films the director has made and says, “Sounds like he is back in form. Hitting winners again after a period of bad play.”

We return to the tennis for our final sets. Different opponents and different partners.

I find myself receiving. The server throws the ball and hits it down the middle. I move my left foot towards the ball and swing my racket back. The racket thumps the ball and I watch the ball. Is it going where I wanted it to go?
Hopefully to his backhand. He doesn’t like it deep and bouncy to his backhand. If he returns it he will go across court and I will be ready for that.

The other lady we are playing always tries to lob me.   I stand further back from the net making it more difficult for her.

I find myself playing with a guy I love to beat. I resent his court behavior but accept it.  We are now playing together and doing our best to win. 

I want a good game. I want long rallies. I want rallies were everybody runs and jumps and moves. Rallies involving everybody. A rally were nobody knows who is going to win. I want games where nobody knows who is going to win. I want an even set where the result is always in doubt.

Set point is announced. They win. We shake hands and depart. We have all had physical and social exercise.
The professional cricketers are on a planet where winning, marketing and money are important. Luckily we are on a different planet. I can’t even remember if I won.  I always try to win and improve my play. Work on my weaknesses. I need to be more consistent on the deep backhand. I reckon somebody has spotted that weakness and is attacking it. I go home thinking I need to practice my deep backhand and feeling incredibly lucky that I can play sport without pressure. Nobody’s income depends on the result. The result will not be broadcast worldwide. And nobody has tampered with the ball.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Chapter 91 : I want to finish the Gold Coast marathon.


I want to finish the Gold Coast marathon.    
 
There are a lot of other people who want to do the same.

I am 61 years old.

Not so many people in my cohort now.

I have had a dramatic medical problem.

My cohort is getting smaller.

I began my running when I was 20. I was a student at Melbourne Uni. I used to drive home pass the Flemington Racecourse. One day I felt stressed about my study. My mind was racing faster than my legs.   I looked at the racecourse and thought if I run around there my mind will slow down.  It turned out to be perfect. No dogs. No cars. The run restored my mind.
And my running career had begun. And it continued because it helped me relax, helped me study and made me feel good.

After Uni came work. I realised that my job was not providing me with enough physical exercise. When I came home from work I needed to go for a run to help me relax and help me sleep.

And I used to enjoy physical activities. Like squash. I loved sweating and puffing with mates.
And fun runs started to appear. I can do that. I can do better. I can go further. I can run quicker. And I would run against people I knew or play squash against my mates. And I realised men bond with other men by physical activity followed by a beer.

It was all about friendship. I didn’t run to lose weight or build up certain muscles or to look better. It was not about looking in mirrors. It was all about bragging rights. It was about the people I knew. It was what we talked about. We talked about the current squash competition or the next fun run. These were the people I mixed with.

At the age of 25/26 my heroes were sportsmen. I read the newspaper from the back. I read about Robert de Costello and Alberto Salazar.  They inspired me.  Reading about my heroes made me want to copy them.

I can do what they do. I can do that. I entered a marathon. It became my most painful marathon. I learnt that to run a marathon I would need to train specifically for it. It won’t just happen after reading about it.

After my first marathon I was a runner. I talked to other runners about the next race, what was coming up. And I talked about training. And I subscribed to running magazines and I ran and ran. 

My first marathon taught me that to run a marathon I need to train for it and I needed specific marathon knowledge.

I read what the experts said.  They said on Tuesday run 5 kays. I dutifully followed programs the experts had written down.
It was around this time that I learnt something else.

A detailed plan written by someone else doesn’t work for me.  What works for me is weekly or monthly goals. My actual running fits in with the weather, social engagements, my health and other factors.
I find specific training plans incredibly depressing. The moment I don’t achieve the prescribed daily plan I get depressed. I find it much more helpful to keep a record of what I have done rather than a plan of what I plan to do.

I keep a record of what I have done. And then I see how close to my goals I am. Do my goals need changing or does my training need changing?

After every run I write down how long it took.  At the end of the week I total up the time.  . I then divide my time by 6 or 7 to get my distance.  I know have a rough idea of how many kays I have run.  It is a rough guide but it works for me.

At the end of a week I know will know how many minutes (and kays) I spent running. During any week the terrain will vary, the gradient will vary, the weather, my health and the speed at which I run will vary but total time or distance is some sort of guide.


For example:

Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
34 mins
34  mins
36 mins
65 mins
0
36 mins
79 mins

Total time is 284 mins

Divide by 6 equals 47 kays
Divide by 7 equals 41 kays.


Please debate my plan but I won’t argue about one thing. In order to run a marathon I need a plan.

My plan for the Gold Coast marathon is:

Marathon training to consist of 10/12 weeks of hard training followed by a taper of 2/3 weeks.

My marathon training goal is 50/60 kays per week. I will keeping a record of total run in week.  Total per week will vary dependent on weather, illness or injury and social engagements.  And total run per week is one factor. Other factors are speed and gradient of track.

One session of speed or drills per week. Or one time trial per week.

One long distance run per week.

Develop healthy habits involving healthy eating and drinking.
Develop healthy habits involving social, emotional and spiritual health.

I also need to review and improve my basic knowledge about running marathons. 
I have run marathons in the past. They have taught me one thing.  I have a lot to learn.  I need to read magazines, books and websites about running.

And when I finish. I will celebrate. I will have a beer and a rest from hard running. I will enjoy life doing something else.









Sunday, 18 February 2018

Chapter 90 : Queens Domain


One day Tasmania’s governor looked at the Hobartians enjoying the Domain and said, “The Queens Domain belongs to the people of Hobart.”

In 1860 the Governor officially handed the Queens Domain to the people of Tasmania.  There was no big announcement or handover ceremony. The people of Hobart did not celebrate or change their attitude or behavior towards the Domain. They had always looked on the Domain as their land.

The name Queens Domain tells the people of Hobart who the previous owner was.  The name Queens Domain over-emphasizes the importance of Queen Victoria to the Domain. She was not one of the original custodians of the land.  When she did own the Domain she never visited it, never saw it and had many other things to interest her. Since 1860 the Queens Domain has been looked after and managed by the people of Hobart. Any Queen has had virtually no input into the running of the Queens Domain.

The Domain contains an area of degraded native bush.  Native animals such as bandicoots, wallabies and possums have been seen but no snakes. About 50 species of native and introduced birds have been spotted. There are 10 to 12 plants from the threatened species’ lists growing there.  

It was originally inhabited by the Mouheneenner aboriginal people. Their traditional area was Hobart and up the Derwent River. The Domain was a popular area because it was protected from extreme weather, provided plenty of game and was close to shellfish. There are many middens below the Domain along the Derwent River.

In the 19th Century the main activities on the Domain were cricket and strolling. It was also busy at regatta time.
The main public debate was how to get rid of its wild state and show it was under the control of a civilized community.  There was a lot of talk about drives, avenues, planting trees and formal gardens. The main reason we missed out on acres of formal gardens is because nobody could work out a way to pay for the landscaping.

The Domain was always seen as a place for recreation.  In the 19th C the main physical activities by the people of Hobart on the Domain were strolling or promenading.  Running on the Domain as a recreational activity was not considered.  

There are many interesting areas on the Queens Domain.  Let’s take a look at some of them.

There are some concrete slabs on the east side of the hill. Between 1939-1945 a number of defense force installations were built on the Domain. These included workshops, camps, training facilities, searchlight batteries and air raid shelters. Building of a searchlight and air raid shelters in Hobart shows us the way the people of Hobart at the time were thinking.

There have been at least ten quarries on the Domain. One quarry was turned into Beaumaris Zoo.  Another became the site for the Hobart Aquatic Center. The quarries provided sandstone for construction of buildings in Hobart and dolerite for road building.  Government House, buildings in Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the powder magazine were all built with sandstone from quarries on the Domain.
A notable quarry is located near Clearys Gates and is now used by the council as a depot.  

On top of the hill are a number of sheds with radio masts. In 1911 Douglas Mawson went to the Antarctic. Prior to that he erected a 184 foot high radio mast with the aim of radio communication with Macquarie Island.
After his trip the radio operated as part of the maritime safety network.

An oak tree guards the top of the track to the botanical gardens. It is a magnificent specimen containing magical and mystical qualities. Something mysterious most have happened here at some time in the past.

Government House was built in 1855-8 and is regarded as one of the best Vice-Regal residences in the Commonwealth.  Government house is a picturesque building of brown and white sandstone surrounded by extensive gardens next to the botanical gardens.

From 1806 crops including wheat, corn, barley and vegetables were grown on the present site of Royal Botanical Gardens. The Royal Botanical Gardens were begun officially in 1818. The gardens have many plant collections, significant trees and the world’s only sub-Antarctic house.

The Domain Athletic Centre, Hobart Aquatic Centre and Domain Tennis Centre are all major sport facilities. They have all attracted major international sports people to major events. But more importantly they are very popular with locals. On many days I have seen locals battling on a tennis court, running around the athletic track or swimming laps of the pool.

Soldiers Memorial Avenue.  The first trees were planted in 1918. Since 2002 the avenue has been restored with new bronze plaques. The avenue commemorates 520 Tasmanians who died serving in WW1. In 1914 Tasmania’s population was 200,000.  Extrapolate that and today we would have 1,300 Tasmanians dying overseas in a military conflict.

Beaumaris Zoo was relocated from Battery Point in 1923. It was constructed in an old quarry which had been rehabilitated. The zoo featured tea rooms and band concerts on Sundays.  The zoo was where the haunting video of a Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) pacing his cage was taken. That tiger died in 1936. It was the last known thylacine. The zoo closed in 1937 but a lot of the enclosures remain.

The Hobart TCA cricket ground with picket fence and historical grandstands (built from 1880-1950) is spectacular with or without football and cricket contests. Greyhound racing has been held here but has long gone.

The Queens Domain is in the heart of Hobart.  It is commonly called the Domain and it assists in improving the physical, emotional and social health of the local community. It is a priceless asset, something many other cities would love to have, and in the future, I will not take it for granted.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Chapter 89 : the Queens Domain (Part 3)


Other areas of interest on the Domain

Government House. 

Built in 1855-8 and regarded as one of the best Vice-Regal residences in the Commonwealth.
Government house is a picturesque building of brown and white sandstone surrounded by extensive gardens next to the botanical gardens.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Crops including wheat, corn, barley and vegetables were grown on the site from 1806. The Royal Botanical Gardens were begun officially in 1818.
The gardens have many plant collections, significant trees and the world’s only sub-Antarctic house.
A productive area is regularly seen on Gardening Australia.

Domain Athletic Centre

An Olympic standard 400 meter oval track with all the facilities for all standard track and field events.

Hobart Aquatic Centre

Built about 20 years ago. Has hosted many major events and provides aquatic and gym facilities for the locals. 

Domain Tennis Centre

The leading tennis centre in Tasmania currently hosting a leading women’s tournament in January every year.
Began in 1964 with an exhibition match between Margret Court and Billie-Jean King who were two of the best female players in the world. Today it has a variety of courts with synthetic or artificial clay or grass. Also a bar and a string lab to repair rackets.

Soldiers Memorial Avenue

The first trees were planted in 1918. Since 2002 the avenue has been restored with new bronze plaques.
The avenue commemorates 520 Tasmanians who died serving in WW1. In 1914 Tasmania’s population was 200,000.  Extrapolate that and today we would have 1,300 Tasmanians dying overseas in a military conflict.

Beaumaris Zoo

Beaumaris Zoo was relocated from Battery Point in 1923. It was constructed in an old quarry which had been rehabilitated. The zoo featured tea rooms and band concerts on Sundays.

The zoo was where the haunting video of a Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) pacing his cage was taken. That tiger died in 1936. It was the last known thylacine. The zoo closed in 1937 but a lot of the enclosures remain.

Powder Magazine

The powder magazine was built in 1851. Its guard house was built at the same time and a short, safe distance away.  The powder magazine was used to store gunpowder for military and civil purposes. The magazine was closed in 1970.

Hobart TCA Ground

This cricket ground with picket fence and historical grandstands (built from 1880-1950) is worth a look.  It is not the cricket ground immediately below the parkrun.  It is further on down the Domain.

Colvin Stand

The Hobart regatta has been going since 1838. The Colvin stand was built in 1919-1920.

Cenotaph

A monument commemorating people who died on service in various conflicts from 1914 to today. 
A major event is held here on ANZAC DAY each year.

Boer War Memorial

A bronze statue of a soldier erected in 1905 to commemorate Tasmanians who died in Southern Africa is situated in front of the Aquatic Centre.

An estimated 860 Tasmanians and 800 Tasmanian horses served in South Africa. An estimated 39 Tasmanians lost their lives during the conflict.

The statue is in a very prominent position. It tells us two things. In 1905 the Domain was an important place in Tasmania and the Boer war was a major event in Tasmanian society. 

Chapter 88 : the Queens Domain (Part 2)


During or after your parkrun on the Queens Domain you may glimpse something of interest. I will attempt to answer the question, “What is that?”





WWII DEFENSE FORCE SITE  

Between 1939-1945 a number of defense force installations were built on the Domain. These included workshops, camps, training facilities, searchlight batteries and air raid shelters. All that remains are some concrete slabs on the east side of the hill.

Building of a searchlight and air raid shelters in Hobart shows us the way the people of Hobart at the time were thinking.



BLUESTONE CULVERTS


Roads on the Domain are present on a map from 1887. The culverts present today are of a hybrid nature. The earliest components may relate to the 19th C.

QUARRIES


There have been at least ten quarries on the Domain. Now they are visible as hollows with rock faces or rock walls.
One quarry was turned into Beaumaris Zoo.  Another became the site for the Hobart Aquatic Center. The quarries provided sandstone for construction of buildings in Hobart and dolerite for road building.  Government House, buildings in Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the powder magazine were all built with sandstone from quarries on the Domain.

A notable quarry is located near Clearys Gates and is now used by the council as a depot. This quarry began in the 1850s and 1860s.


WIRELESS STATION

On top of the hill are a number of sheds. Douglas Mawson erected a 184 foot high radio mast with the aim of radio communication with Macquarie Island. In 1911 after erecting his radio mast Douglas Mawson went to the Antarctic.
The radio operated as part of the maritime safety network until 1946. 

Cleary Gates Road

In 1853 Malcolm or Martin Cleary was transported as a convict. For stealing a watch and clothes in Ireland. In 1856 he was given a conditional pardon.  In 1865 he was appointed as policeman on the Domain.
While working on the Domain he assisted in the catching of several smugglers.  Along with most police of that time he had an extra life. In his case it involved keeping a flock of goats on the Domain, which was fenced and had a number of gates. He had the first angora goats in Tasmania. In 1884 Cleary resigned to run a hotel in Melbourne.

Max’s Infinity Loop

The official name for the parkrun track. Named after Max Cherry. He was widely respected as an athletic coach and coached for over 50 years.  He passed away in 2008. 
Max talked about a circle having no start or finish and going on forever. A circle was infinite. Max talked about how your dreams should be infinite like a circle. 



The oak tree

Is visible from the bush track part of the parkrun. It guards the top of the track to the botanical gardens. It is a magnificent specimen containing magical and mystical qualities. Something mysterious most have happened here at some time in the past.  Perhaps under a full moon.





chapter 87 : the Queens Domain (Part 1)


In 1860 the Governor (the Queen’s representative) handed the land to the people of Tasmania. There was no big announcement or handover ceremony. The people of Hobart did not change their attitude or behavior towards the Domain. They had always looked on the domain as being land owned by everyone for the benefit of everyone.

It was years later that the Governor is credited with saying, “The Queens Domain belongs to the people of Hobart.” 

We know one thing for certain.  The Queen mentioned in the name Queens Domain, Queen Victoria, never saw her Domain. It is unlikely she knew much about her Domain.

The Domain is an area of degraded native bush.  Native animals such as bandicoots, wallabies and possums have been seen but no snakes. Plants on the threatened species’ lists grow there.

It was originally inhabited by the Mouheneenner aboriginal people. Their traditional area was from here up the Derwent River. The Domain was a popular area because it was protected from extreme weather, provided plenty of game and was close to shellfish. There are many middens below the Domain along the Derwent River.

In the 19th Century the main activities on the Domain were cricket and strolling. It was also busy at regatta time.
The main public debate was how to get rid of its wild state and show it was under the control of a civilized community.  There was a lot of talk about drives, avenues, planting trees and formal gardens. The main reason we missed out on acres of formal gardens is because nobody could work out a way to pay for the landscaping.

The Domain was always seen as a place for recreation.  In the 19th C the main physical activities by the people of Hobart on the Domain were strolling or promenading.  Running on the Domain as a recreational activity was not considered.  

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Chapter 85 : I love Parkrun

I loved the fact that 400 people ran on The Queens Domain at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.

They were all at the launch of the Queens Domain Parkrun.

Parkrun is a 5 kay running event held around the world on Saturday morning on a local course. It is free and open to everybody.  Park Run is held around the world with the same basic format and local variations. Once you have registered you can run in any Parkrun around Australia or around the world. 

There is a lot to love about Parkruns. I love the way everybody does the same thing.  And everybody is different.  Everybody runs or walks 5 kays.  And everybody is a different shape or size and wearing different shorts, shirts and shoes. Everybody has a different story about why they were there. About what they are trying to achieve. What obstacles they had to overcome.  There were people there who had had hip replacements, medical problems, mental health problems, intellectual handicaps. People were there who were losing weight, stopping smoking or ceasing some drug habit.  Every possible handicap that had to be overcome existed.  And every story was unique. What they shared was an ambition to run or walk 5 kays. And in every case the significance of successfully finishing 5 kays varied.

With Parkruns I love the way there is no prize for coming first. All the competition is personal. My aim was to improve my physical, emotional and social health.  My running time is a guide to how I’m doing. My running time is only of interest to me.

Some people have the aim of reaching certain milestones. Special shirts are given to people who run 50,100,250 or 500 runs.

I love the way Parkruns improve the health of the local community. Not just physical health. Also the social and emotional health of the local community.  I love the social side to Parkrun. At the Parkrun I met people I know. The other people I plan on getting to know as we share our runs.

I love the way it has become a part of tourism. Parkruns have become are a part of our travels. We have done Parkruns in England and South Africa. The Parkruns in South Africa taught us more about South Africa than seeing a rhino or hippo. We met some of the locals, with similar interests, and experienced the local way they managed park runs.  Park Runs are similar around the world. The same recognizable procedures with local variations.  As in Tasmania your result will be put up the clouds hours after the run. You can then view all your times and so can others.

Parkrun tourism also involves welcoming visitors to our Parkruns. A lot of tourists to Tasmania make going to one of our local Parkruns a part of their Tasmanian holiday.

I love the way I have done every Parkrun with a member of my family. Either wife, child, grandchild, brother-in-law, son-in-law or else. In South Africa I met relatives I hadn’t seen for years. We celebrated by going for a park run together.  Us men bonded via sweat. The women bonded by the drink afterwards.

I love the way Parkrun is free. No fiddling around looking for a few dollars. You pay in two ways. Everybody is expected or encouraged to volunteer occasionally. When you do volunteer it gives you a different view of the event which better helps you understand it. When not volunteering it helps you become a more considerate runner.
The second way you pay is with sponsors for the event. They sponsor the event in exchange for the opportunity to tell you about what they sell. A reasonable deal. 

I love the way Parkrun makes the best of modern technology. When you register you are given an individual bar code which you have to print out. This bar code is scanned when you finish. Your result in then uploaded. You can see your result and compare it to your previous runs, other runners around the world, and other runner of the same age.  Parkrun uses this technology without being a slave to it. The run is more important than the technology.

How did Parkrun begin?

The history of Parkruns is that they began in London in 2004. They have spread throughout England and around the world. The first Parkrun in Australia was on the Gold Coast in 2011.  There are now about 270 Parkruns in Australia and 400,000 Parkrunners in Australia.  There are about 1,300 Parkruns globally and about 3,000,000 Parkrunners globally. It is impossible to give exact figures because new Parkruns and Parkrunners are being added continuously.

In 2017 the most popular Parkrun countries were the United Kingdom 484, Australia 261, South Africa (including Swaziland and Namibia) 114, Ireland 72, Poland 51, Russia 31, New Zealand 18, United States 15, Canada 12,France 8,Denmark 7, Italy 6, Germany 6,Sweden 5.  The numbers give you some idea of which countries have taken quicker to Park Run and are all now out of date. 


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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Chapter 84: Umhlanga Parkrun (F)


The day after Umhlanga Park Run South Africa

Run along road by the beach. Every 50 meters there is a runner. Coming or going. What is it about South Africans? Why do they love to run? If I understood them and if I could see into their soul I might find out why they love to run.  And I might find something out about myself. I might find out why I love to run.

At the moment I will just get out there and enjoy running.  

Happy running.



Park Run Statistics

Umhlanga Park run         23.12.2017           293 females 386 males                   679 finishers

Hobie beach Park run     16.12 2017           372 females 506 males                   878 finishers

Chapter 84: Umhlanga Parkrun (E)







Umhlanga Park Run South Africa (the finish)

I find myself running alongside another man and I attempt to talk to him about the run.
Him, “It’s a very scenic course.”
Me, “That’s the positive.”
Him, “And very flat.”
Me, “And it’s way too crowded.”

I have made a mistake. He slips behind and never speaks to me again and he dreams of Robben Island being reopened as a prison for foreigners who come over telling us what to do.
We can see in the distance the whale bone pier where the finish line is. Scanned in the usual fashion and then a table with water provides partial relief. And then a new experience. The sweat starts to sting my eyes. Many of the runners are lying lounging on grass under palm trees.

Chapter 83 : Umhlanga Parkrun (D)






Umhlanga Park Run South Africa

I hear one man beside me say, “It’s a screamer.”
I say, “You mean it’s hot.”
Him,”Yah”
Me, “How do you beat the heat?”
Him, “Drink lots of water.”
Me, “And then go for a swim.”
Him,”Yah, that’s right.”

Chapter 82 : Umhlanga Parkrun (C)






Umhlanga Park Run South Africa

The crowd becomes bigger and thicker. The start means us back runners start to walk. We walk for over a minute and I peer looking for signs of people ahead of me running. A walk morphs into halted jogging and eventually running. We are sharing a public footpath in the middle of holiday season with swimmers, surfers, walkers, prams and dogs. One lady yells to herself, “This is a public footpath. Stick to the left.”
After less than two kays we share the footpath with fast runners approaching us on the right side of the footpath.
I dodge, dawdle and intermittently run depending on what is ahead on the footpath.

Chapter 81 : Umhlanga Parkrun (B)





Umhlanga Park Run South Africa (the start)

Wake to warm humid heat. I will need to carry water. I don’t want mishaps. The run feels reassuring but my time will be slow.
At Umhlanga we drive around until suddenly we win with a parking spot a short walk to whale-bone pier. The start is a short road off the main promenade.  A man is nailing up starting times to palm trees.
I say to a runner, “That’s good.”
She says, “But people don’t follow the times. They just go anywhere.”
To me the signs are beautifully laid out suggestion.


Chapter 80 : Umhlanga Parkrun (A)




The day before Umhlanga Park Run South Africa

Today I have to think about what to do and where to do it. Tomorrow I will be comfortable safe and secure with the usual park run. It will start, run and finish in the usual fashion.

Today I think about the house we have hired. How does this microwave work? How do we lock the doors?

The man in the house next door says shut your doors or the monkeys will get in and eat your food. We comply. We walk to the shops and immediately spy troops of monkeys on the move. They are in trees and on fences. I think they will look cute until the second they take our food.
Today I have to think about the local shops. Which one sells the best coffee? 
Today I have to decide where to swim. It’s hot and humid. The heat will be an issue tomorrow. Will need to carry water.

Tomorrow will be easier than today.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Chapter 79 : Hobie Beach Parkrun (E)

The day after the day after Hobie Beach Park Run South Africa

I head inland and come to a school with a nice oval. I could do speed work and drills on the oval. The school is surrounded by an impenetrable fence. At times electric. I run on.
I come to a soccer oval. Joy of joy. No fences. I run onto the oval. The surface is uneven, pot holed and very lumpy.  It is too dangerous for speed work. I run back to our guest house.  To enter I take the key to the gate from my back pack.


We now leave behind Port Elizabeth and head north to Natal.  Everybody running in the park run seemed to benefit physically, emotional and socially from the activity.  I wish all those legs many more miles of activity.

Chapter 78 : Hobie Beach Parkrun (D)




The day after Hobie Beach Park Run South Africa

I go to leave our guest house. The gate lies open and I see the manageress outside viewing the electric fence installed yesterday.
I say,” Good morning.”
She smiles and says, “What do you think of our new fence?”
I reply,” It’s good. I’d prefer no security fences.”
She laughs, “This is South Africa.”

I can’t comment and I continue not to comment as she educates me about Jacob Zuma and the ANC.

I head off for my morning run along the promenade. It is very enjoyable. The sea on one side. The path this morning cleared of all the broken glass from the previous evening. The path winds up and down the coast and is full of runners.

Chapter 77 : Hobie Beach Parkrun (C)











Hobie Beach Park Run South Africa  (the finish)

After the rocks we reach the turnaround point. Now back to the palm tree. Hopefully I can get in with a group of runners running at my speed. Doesn’t happen. I continue to pass and dodge slower runners and walkers and members of the public out for their walk. It is a path busy with non-park runners.
I eventually run beside someone I can talk to.
Him: “Other local runs are very tough do them for endurance. This one you do for speed.”
I know South Africans love a tough course but I have to adjust my thinking. Rock hopping is now a fast course.
Me: “We are coming here tonight for the fireworks.”

We can see the finish tree in the distance. I grab my camera and take a few photos of my wife and daughter. My son has avoided the camera by finishing ahead of me. We are surrounded by coffee shops and the crowd disperses with no organised drinking.We have to hurry back to our guest house for breakfast before the staff goes.

After doing the park runs in South Africa I am now beginning to understand my wife of more than 30 years.  She was born and raised in Southern Africa.  Part of her personality and character has that South African tinge to it. 

The park runs in South Africa reflected the society in which they exist.  I learnt more about South Africa by doing the park runs than by going up Table Mountain or viewing zebras or giraffes.  The park runs showed me things I thought were good (we can learn from you) and bad (in need of improvement).

To all the South Africans I say come to Tassie. Come and do our park runs.  You may find things that are good (and that you can copy) and things were we can learn from you (tell us about them).   And while you are in Tassie go up Mt Wellington and see the Tassie devil.  We love our Tassie devil. You can see our devil on my shirt.


All the locals seemed happy. There was a large crowd of locals who seemed to enjoy being in a crowd.  A sense of belonging. I don’t know what they belonged to. The park run community or some other community.