Friday, 23 December 2016

24th December 2016 - happy Christmas to one and all - 2XS engine fixed - Tasmanian creativity - Langkwai Duty Free tale of woe

Saturday 24th December 2016

A slither of a beautiful Hobart building
We have had many cheery messages from all around the world.  I haven’t written a Merry Xmas letter…not that I am gloomy; I just haven’t summarised the year in any meaningful way.  I am very happy to wish everyone a very happy festive season and a glorious new year.  And I can add that this is the most beautiful Christmas weather I can remember since I was small – when I was small weather was always wonderful.  Of course!

Brad the engineer rang Pete from Townsville yesterday – the engine is fixed and is ready to go go GO!  That is very good news.

Here in Tasmania we haven’t been near the water other than to zip across the bridge, or to admire the river from afar.

Everyone seems very creative, on our island.  My friends all knit and quilt and make gorgeous things.

Susan made tea cosies for her family:

Eva (8) did a drawing of her class, painstakingly copied from the yearly photo.  It is amazingly accurate and much more charming than the original.

And I have made – a herb garden!  I an inordinately proud of this.  Eva helped me create the raised bed from a flat pack and I filled the small enclosure with soil, potting mix, manure and mulch.  Everyone I know is a more experienced and better gardener than I am and…I had it pointed out to me, firmly but kindly, that having parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and coriander in a small confined space was OK.  But MAYBE not six zucchini seedlings which will take over the whole world if I let them.  So I have released them into the wild (ie Pete’s veggie bed, which is much less confined than mine – they can take over the world there.)

My sailing friend Misty from Scotland wrote a very entertaining Christmas letter – I am taking the liberty of doing a minor edit and cutting/pasting the bit about Langkawii Duty Free.  I can only imagine the anguish the new laws are causing!!

Rebak marina
We end the year with a major disappointment, occurring last month.  We are on the tiny island of Rebak,  one of 99 islands in the Langkawi archipelago, which has been duty free for some 30 years.  Alas - in order to stop smuggling Customs decided on November 1st to restrict the amount of duty-free you can buy per month.  For cigs and beer you are allowed a generous 3 cartons/slabs per person, but they've lumped Wine & Spirits together with a total allowance of 5 litres per passport per month. 

Rebak hammock - dangling just near the Beach Bar...
Being non-drinking Muslims they don't see the difference between a litre of whisky and a litre of wine, so there is panic among the fleet and Xmas partying will be severely curtailed:  'Do come on board and have a glass of bubbles........... but don't drink any of ours!'  Not quite the spirit of this time of year.  Initially the winos amongst us thought we'd just pay extra, but the powers that be want to preserve Langkawi's *Duty Free* status so there is no way to pay duty!  There are Customs officers at every till -            what a waste of manpower - and once you've had your allowance that's it.    Teetotallers have suddenly become very popular since the only thing that matters is the passport.  I've produced Peter's while he's gone back to the car, without a problem.              The lucky few with several passports are doing OK, but wine-drinkers like us are guarding our stash in a very mean and                    un-Tamoure fashion! And turning to gin. We are friends with the resort GM who kindly offered us his quota but since he's an Indian male 10 years my junior I worry that might be pushing the passport thing just a bit too far!

Rebak hornbill

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