New Zealand / Australia Diary
Thursday 3 May 2012


Hobart bicycle racks

The gentle thunder of rain on rooftop had been there all through the night and was still going strong as I arose. Not a day for bushwalking. I'd missed the Salamanca Market on Saturday but the area in which it was held had arty crafty shops all around so I thought I'd wander through and see if I could find something to bring back home with me. There were also a couple more bookshops to visit in my increasingly Grail-like search for the Mark Seymour volume, so after an even more leisurely breakfast (I was getting good at this!) we set off for Downtown Hobart.

The rain had lessened to intermittent showeriness by the time we reached the Salamanca area and we were generally able to scoot into shops to avoid the heavier downpours. The bookshops were singing the same song as yesterday but suddenly there was a breakthrough - although the shop didn't have the book itself they suggested an online secondhand book website and, when doing a quick search for me, found that there was a copy for sale! Could this be true? I decided that rather pester Peter & Krista to take me home RIGHT NOW so I could buy it I would trust that after this long it could wait another few hours. A foolish choice? All will be revealed in due time...

Krista was teaching one of her dance groups over lunchtime so Peter left with her to drive her there leaving me to check out the Art on sale. There was an interesting selection of things on sale in the various shops but not much that tickled my fancy, partly (I suspect) as I wasn't in a particularly acquisitive mood, partly as I was aware that I'd need to carry them home with me and was fearful of a Jam Incident (or similar) in my luggage on the flights to come. There was also some concern that certain foodstuffs wouldn't be allowed into Western Australia for my Perth stop, honey for example. I picked up a couple of small things but didn't manage the Shopping Frenzy that I'd anticipated.

One of the shopping areas had several silver silhouette sculptures dotted around. One of these was decorated with a bicycle security lock which I took to be an abstract form of art criticism (MONA had certainly had an effect on my thinking) but it turned out that these pieces were actually there for people to chain their bikes to. With no bikes around (it wasn't a good cycling day) they worked pretty well as Art, especially in an area crammed with galleries.


Cool car, not so sure about the parking

When Peter returned (we would meet up with Krista later) we took a stroll across the harbourfront, which turned into quite a brisk stroll when the rain came pouring down. Between deluges I enjoyed the mass of contradictory impressions - working boats, leisure yachts, touristy excursion cruisers & venerable historical vessels (the Maritime Museum has several exhibits in the harbour itself). Tastefully restored old buildings stood beside beside tacky little shops and faceless concrete office blocks, the car parks contrasted immaculate 4x4's and tidy urban runabouts with workmanlike trucks and rusty utes (open backed vans). I suppose a lot of modern harbour cities have this mixing of worlds, especially when the heavy duty cargo handling has moved out and the resulting cheap warehouse space goes from being cheap & bohemian to trendy & expensive.

On returning home I leapt into action on the books website - 13 Ton Theory was still available but the postage to Europe was more than the cost of the book itself. It was a bit late to be niggardly about the money but I thought I'd take a few minutes to look at the options. Another search revealed that the book was available in Kindle format - perfect! - but the universe was determined to keep me from it - it was only for sale in the USA and the American online store wouldn't let me set up an account with a British credit card. Gnash! In the end I ordered the (physical) book and used my Perth workshop organiser's mailing address, if it didn't arrive in time I'd leave her enough money to post it to Britain. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out.

Back home it was an afternoon of packing and helping Peter identify & catalogue dances, music and video clips. He'd judiciously filmed the group during the workshops and had captured clips of each dance, long enough to contain the complete step sequence of each. I confirmed the names, checked the spellings (seems like more than half of the dances I teach have strange accents in their names) and generally made sure that there was a reliable set of reference information for each of the dances I'd taught. It was rather satisfying, not just that my teaching had been clear (there were no mistakes) but that I was leaving something that would carry on after I'd returned home.

All being completed I went along to the dance group meeting that evening and enjoyed my final hours of Tasmanian circle dance. I reviewed a few of the dances from the weekend and joined in the others, just another dancer in the circle. Peter & Krista had one last surprise when they put on the music for a dance I'd taught there ten years ago (and hadn't done since then) but I found that my body still remembered it (more or less) and I could almost remember being here and teaching it all those years ago. A very nice way to bring my Hobart visit to a close.

With a very early start the next day (my alarm was set for 04:15) it was soon to bed, after a farewell hug with Krista (who wasn't going to be rising to see me off). Tomorrow - Western Australia!



Artful Hobart waterfront

Sober mission with whimsical angel

Grey skies over Hobart harbour

How could I resist?

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