Back in the day when Hobart had just the one astroturf, the coach of my U17 hockey team decreed that trainings would be twice a week at 6:00 in the morning, presumably to prepare us for the humid 30 degree conditions we would be experiencing at the tournament in Darwin. My mother helpfully suggested that the extra exercise gained from making my own way there would be an added bonus to my fitness level.
This meant at approximately ten past 5, I would drag myself out of bed, grab my hockey stick (I slept in my shorts and t-shirt for that glorious extra minute’s sleep) and head off down the hill from Mount Stuart in the middle of winter. Anyone who has experienced Hobart at ten past five in the middle of winter will probably concur that it can be quite bleak, but if there’s no wind and it’s not raining, it’s actually quite a nice time to go for a run, as you’ve definitely got the place to yourself.
The jerry fog is a thick blanket of cotton wool that rolls down the Derwent on winter mornings and sometimes it spreads over the whole city. One morning, with snow on the mountain and the air as still as if time had stopped, I was jogging down Elphinstone road with my body slowly disappearing from the feet up as I descended into the jerry and I clearly remember thinking “this is pretty great”. You probably had to be there. And be 16.
Anyway, mum was kind enough to pick me up after training and drive me to school, where as usual I fell asleep during maths at 11 o’clock and dreamt of climbing a beanstalk out of the fog instead of learning about algebra, just going to prove that you can use what you learned during algebra class after high school.
Prints and originals from Dark Hobart available from the Phone Box Gallery.
We got a call from the school the other day “Oskar’s covered in mud, could you bring some more clothes down?” They really weren’t joking; unless the world under 6 bog snorkelling championships were in town, Oskar was at that point without doubt the muddiest boy in Hobart.
Oskar used to be quite a fastidious chap, but now he’s started playing soccer his relationship with mud has come along in leaps and bounds, and spectacular dives, which he seems to have picked up from watching the World Cup.
People often say Hobart’s got the second lowest rainfall of all the capital cities, but in winter we do seem to have more than our fair share of mud, and most of it’s on Oskar. I went to Mount Stuart Primary where it was a statutory offence to play anything but hockey and have fond memories of ten metre slide tackles through the muddy slush at Wentworth Park on rainy Saturday mornings, sometimes using the hockey stick more as a spade to find the ball, both teams finishing the game in utterly indistinguishable uniforms, so I can’t really complain.
Prints and originals available from the Phone Box Gallery.