I set off at ‘sparrows’ to Hobart last Tuesday with a Cooper-boot full of novels, CDs, bookmarks and t-shirts – plus, of course, a modest overnight bag.
I had plans.
Despite negotiating myriad roadworks that began on the highway at Perth, the journey took a sprightly four hours. Traversing the Midland Highway is going to be the better for all the hard work, and minor inconvenience to commuters and tourists travelling from one end of the island to the other … when it has been completed … it’s been a while now …
Once I made it into Hobart and had settled into my apartment on the top floor of the fantastic Galleria Salamanca (with a great window view), I began the late morning with coffee and laptop just down the road at Zum Cafe, where I continued on a sideline journey of old Ned Brandscombe. We learn a little about Ned in my novel, The Tramp.
‘Old Ned’s Secret’ is planned to be a short story, just a few thousand words, and given away free to anyone who has enjoyed the tale of The Tramp enough to tell me so. Let’s wait and see where old Ned takes us!
Of course I know — well, I think I know …
With an hour to kill before my first appointment, I found a quiet spot on Collins Street for a cup of tea and sandwich (and laptop and Ned), before embarking on the reason for returning to Hobart; one of my favourite places.
The last official call of the day found me climbing the wide, theatre-like stairs of Salamanca Arts Centre for my meeting with Marion at the Tasmanian Writer’s Centre. An hour’s fact-finding-chin-wag, where I donated a copy of both novel and CD to the centre’s library, after receiving plenty of advice and assistance in return, had inspired another coffee. I positioned myself on an outside pew at Maldini Cafe Restaurant, with a great view of my laptop and bustle of Salamanca Place, and discovered a little more of old Ned and a young Samantha Brookes.
A few hours later I met up with special friends Keith and Kate, from Adelaide, who coincidentally were in Hobart for their 20th wedding anniversary. First a beer at Irish Murphy’s, where strangely, I didn’t have Guinness, but a pint of Kilkenny. We then mooched twenty paces south to Watermans Beer Market, where we imbibed a pint of local craft each, although Kate preferred a refined glass of local red.
After hearty deliberation, we decided on Maldini for dinner, where Kate chose pasta and Keith and I settled on prosciutto wrapped eye fillet (on separate plates). Both blokes agreed it was the best steak we have ever had.
Mind you we are men, and the last meal is usually the best meal men have ever had.
Leaving the two ‘K’s to the remainder of their celebration, and after a refreshing night’s sleep at Galleria Salamanca / hearty breakfast (again at Maldini), I headed off north, making a pit stop at Campbell Town for a chat with Michael from The Book Cellar, and to buy my lovely wife a gift from the wonderful leather shop: Lake Leather.
I consider the trip south to be a success, and am proud to announce that ‘The Tramp’ is now available at the following great establishments :
Fullers Book Shop: 131 Collins St, Hobart
Dymocks Book Shop: 70 Murray Street, Hobart
Hobart Bookshop: 22 Salamanca Square, Hobart
Just Tassie Books at The Book Cellar: 132 High St, Campbell Town
Go on, do yourself a favour!