Farm Gate Market and the Night Owl.

The Farm Gate market was on my to-do list before I got down here, for a few reasons. I wanted to stop buying so much from the Big Guys and try to get fresh things from the Little Guys, and the best way to do that seems to be at the farmers markets, where you can get the Little Guys’ fresh things from the Little Guys themselves. Also, who doesn’t love a market?

On my first Sunday here, my mum and I walked down to the corner of Elizabeth and Melville streets with our canvas shopping bags in hand. There was a slight issue with the plan in that without my things from Brisbane, my kitchen is currently very empty, so there’s not much to actually cook with. We ended up getting some delicious fresh dips, some honey (for my tea), and incredible sausage rolls for breakfast from the Urban Bounty stall.

I’ve been back each Sunday since, and this Sunday just gone was actually Farm Gate Market’s third birthday! Woo! Happy birthday, Market! What a beautiful day for it, too. My first market was overcast, my second market was smattered with rain, but my third market (and their third birthday) was a beautiful cool and sunny day.

Hobart's Farm Gate Markets

Madi rings the bell, Urban Bounty sells the sausage rolls.

One of my favourite things about Farm Gate is that it doesn’t officially kick off until 9am, when the bell is rung (top right photo!). You can still get a sneaky coffee from the Farm Gate stall, and it’s a very good coffee at that, but the rest of the stalls will still be setting up and be grumpy if you try to buy their things. Look, just enjoy your Sunday sleep-in and get there after 9am and you won’t have any problems.

So what you want to do next is get a sausage roll from Urban Bounty’s stall for breakfast, because the free-range pork, quince and apple sausage roll is one of the better things about my current life, and with UB’s own tomato relish, too? Just kill me, I’ve reached the pinnacle. There’s nothing much better than sitting down and scoffing my sausage roll and coffee before attacking the market stalls.

Farm Gate Markets

Farm Gate Market’s 3rd Birthday!

This dude in an apple suit was walking around on Sunday and cracking me up. I don’t know if it was a special birthday treat, because I’ve not seen ol’ apple suit before, but maybe that’s just been my timing. There are always some buskers at the market, here and there dotted around corners, but this Sunday’s were particularly good. It was so nice sitting down and enjoying a coffee and listening to some smooth jazz, baby.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another new friend! When I first got here, I looked through twitter to find some charming locals to follow. One of those charming locals was Snuva! She, her husband and their ridiculously cute baby have a standing Sunday breakfast date at the markets, so we arranged to meet up on Sunday to say hello in person. It was lovely to meet them and yet again I forgot to take any photos. I swear these people I’m meeting are real.

The final photo in the little collection above is a lovely segue into my other topic for this post, because I just so happened to ride my shiny new bicycle down to the markets on Sunday (where it was closely guarded by some gorgeous puppies). It was my first proper ride, apart from the short and terrifying ride home on it when I picked it up on Friday. You know the phrase, “it’s just like riding a bike”? It’s true. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, and I was VERY nervous when I realised I’d actually have to ride my bike home! I ended up walking it a few blocks away from the shop (and the CBD) before hopping on and wobbling for a block or so before getting wigged out and walking it for another block or so, lather/rinse/repeat. Oh, Friday. You were such a weird day.

THE NIGHT OWL.

The Electra Night Owl. Ridiculous. I am delighted.

SUNDAY, though… Sunday was awesome. Look at this ridiculous bike. I spent a good couple of days tossing up whether to get a plain cruiser or this Electra fashion cruiser. I was concerned that maybe in a couple of years I’ll get sick of the design, or grow out of the owl print, or whatever. Clearly, in the end I got over those concerns, and I think that’s probably fair. I’m a bit twee, I think this bike and I are going to be very happy together.

I got the bike from Bike Ride on Liverpool street. They didn’t have any Electras in stock, but I’d been sent Bike Ride’s way after spotting one in the window of a store a couple of blocks away, and Mark was happy to take the time to go through Electra’s catalogue with me and answer all my stupid questions. The service was awesome enough for me to leave a glowing five-star review on Yelp.

So on Sunday I rode the Night Owl down to the Farm Gate Market and home again, with a basket laden with goodies, and as I pulled up in the driveway, I thought, my life is a bit wonderful right now.

Sunday morning bliss.

Am I right?

Human company and fortnightly flowers.

This weekend was a real treat. I guess it all started when my neighbour caught me yelling at the clouds in disbelief on Friday, because to be honest, they were ridiculous.

Is that you, heaven?

Perhaps I didn’t need to be standing on my front doorstep and yelling, “CLOUDS! SHUT THE HELL UP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? YOU ARE NOT REAL! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS, CLOUDS! JUST SHUT UP!” and perhaps my neighbour was right to be looking a little confused when I finally realised she was within earshot, but she did a very fine job of taking it all with a grain of salt and waving hello. We’ve not properly met yet.

It was after that happened that I realised I needed some form of in-person social interaction, so I managed to bribe two new acquaintances into coming over for afternoon tea on Saturday. I’m kidding! I didn’t even have to bribe them! They invited themselves! Of course, my house was still almost empty because I am still waiting on my things to arrive from Brisbane (let’s talk backloads and movers in another post) but I did the best I could with what I could and I think I like my new little makeshift coffee table so much that I may just keep it as is.

Suitcases from Archer & Archer (facebook), wooden serving tray made by my grandad.

So I don’t actually have any photos of the lovely ladies that I kept company with on Saturday afternoon, but I’m hoping you’ll meet them in the future in any case. The important thing you need to know about Emma and Liz is that they are both crazy for cats, so we had a lot of cat things to talk about. We also talked about other things. It was a lovely afternoon, and I’m only sad that I didn’t see my neighbour hanging around outside her house at all to notice that I was keeping human company.

And aren’t those flowers beautiful? They’re my second batch of flowers. I’m going to try to keep up a habit of getting some new flowers every fortnight from the Farm Gate market, which I’ll tell you some more about in my next post. My mum bought the first bunch for me as a housewarming gift on our first market voyage; they were calla lilies and bluebells. This time around I got some leucadendrons, irises and… those droopy guys whose name I’ve forgotten. Sorry, droopy guys.

fortnightly flowers! and cat.

Flowers, Jellyfish, flowers, flowers.

#7: Hobart.

With some fairly wonderful timing, Lonely Planet has just released their 2013 list of top cities to visit in the world, and guess what? Hobart’s at number seven. Yes, okay, so I’m not just visiting here, I moved here—but it may be further incentive to put my guest room to good use.

Ever the hipster, I visited Hobart (and numerous other parts of Tasmania) in 2011, so whatever. (Just joking about the ‘whatever’.) I don’t find it a huge surprise for Lonely Planet pointing the finger at Hobart (and no other city in Australia in 2013). I had a fair idea there was something special going on down here, and I wanted to be a part of it.

A large part of Hobart’s ranking has been attributed to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and TMAG (the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), and their current collaborative exhibition, “Theatre of the World“, at MONA until April 2013. TMAG itself is closing for a couple of months as of November, and I have to admit I haven’t been there yet, but I can vouch for MONA. I’m not really an art gallery person. I don’t have the attention span for wandering around quiet spaces and I hate not being able to photograph things. MONA isn’t a traditional art gallery, though…

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

No joke, we had a spare day at the end of our motorhome adventure and both of us voted for a return to MONA. MONA wasn’t solely what made me want to come to Tasmania (either to visit or live), but it was certainly a bonus. There’s also a lot of culinary goodness to be had down here, as well as beautiful architecture and scenery, and a heckload of markets.

I’ve already seen a few locals make comments about not finding Hobart worthy. Someone said something like, “I would much rather visit Paris than Hobart”. I think the important thing to note is that Lonely Planet’s list is an annual list. Every year there are ten cities on it. I haven’t looked at previous years, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want to just list the same ten cities every year. Yes, I want to go to Paris, but has it done anything lately to make it worthy of a visit in 2013? Amsterdam is on the list for 2013 because there are a bunch of anniversary celebrations going on that is going to make it one big celebration for the whole year. Heck yes, I wanna visit there! (And maybe stay on Ben and Miranda’s couch.) It’s also sad to hear that some locals aren’t keen to give their city big reps. The impression I got from my visit to Tasmania last year was that Tasmanians were so proud of being Tasmanians. I suppose there will always be differing opinions…

I am so proud of Hobart for making Lonely Planet’s 2013 list and I am so excited to have friends and family come for a visit to see this amazing corner of the world. Oh, Hobart! Well done, you!

Answering the question.

Oh, right. Why Tasmania? I guess I didn’t actually mention that in my first post, even after giving it that title. I’ll explain my reasons—there are a lot of them, and some have more weight than others, but they’re all important enough to mention.

I think it’s probably a good idea to have a lot of reasons, or at least a couple of pretty big reasons, before you do something huge like move to the other end of the country, away from all your friends and basically the entire life you’ve known. I’m a couple of months shy of turning 29 (I’m not afraid so don’t sass me) and up until a week ago, I’d only ever lived in Queensland. A born and bred northerner, I was born in Emerald (don’t remember that bit), spent a couple of years in Longreach (don’t remember those), went from there to Browns Plains (memory kicks in around here), to Beaudesert, to Rockhampton, back to Beaudesert, and then into Brisbane not long after I turned 18. I’ve spent the last ten years jumping around the suburbs of Brisbane, with a number of interstate travels for work and play, and a couple of big play trips overseas, but nothing permanent. Because change is scary.

But sometimes scary is good.

It had probably been building subconsciously for a while, but I still remember the moment I thought, “I’m going to move to Hobart”. From that moment, it was a done deal. I’d been to Tasmania in the winter of 2011 for a holiday, but even back then, my friend and I declared that Tasmania would be somewhere perfect to retire. It wasn’t until that moment earlier this year that I realised I didn’t need to wait until retirement; Tasmania was perfect for me right now.

And with that… here are my answers to “Why Tasmania?”.

TL;DR — AKA click here to read the rest.

Why Tasmania?

I’ve heard this question so many times in the last two months. Has it really only been a little more than two months since I announced my intention to move from Brisbane, Queensland to Hobart, Tasmania for no better reason than “why not”?

Looking back, I should have started this blog back then, but to be honest it took a while to sink in that it was really happening—that I was really moving. I couldn’t tell you the exact moment, though a few spring to mind.

  • The moment I handed over the keys of my lovely rental house in West End to my dear friend and newly ex-housemate a couple of weeks ago?
  • The night before I set off on my roadtrip down to Tasmania, when my mum and I were finished playing life-object tetris to fit everything in my car?
  • About halfway into twenty-three hours of driving in three days, listening to the mix CD my friend Liz made for me, with every second song being a farewell track that made me tear up?
  • Driving down the Midland Highway from Devonport to go pick up the keys to my (fingers crossed) adorable new rental property, a place for me to call home in Hobart?
  • The moment I looked out the window of said rental property and saw Hobart in front of me, just outside?

All these moments played a part in me acknowledging that it’s real. This has happened. This is happening still! That’s the truth to it; this is happening still. I have been here a week today (happy weekiversary, Hobart) and even this afternoon as I drove out to New Norfolk, I had a moment of confusion where I knew I was driving my car, and I knew I was driving through a beautiful stretch of scenery, but I couldn’t get those two dots to connect. I was driving MY car in TASMANIA? But HOW? Oh, yeah…

I decided to start this blog for a couple of reasons. One of them is that I don’t have any friends in Hobart (yet? Please let the full statement end in “yet”) and writing blog posts may be a more sensible time-waster than online shopping (have I mentioned I’m currently funemployed? That money’s gotta run out someday—later rather than sooner would be nice) or just staring at the internet/my computer screen.

The other reason is so that the next time somebody asks me, “Why Tasmania?” I can reply with, “Why don’t you check out my blog?”

12 October 2012, or Zero:

I am woken up by a polite but loud voice over the speakers telling me that the Spirit of Tasmania is about to dock in Devonport. Mum and I quickly pack up and head to the waiting zone and then the car, where I am glad to find my cat still alive and somewhat happy to see me, too. We are lucky to be one of the first to drive off the ferry.

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After a quick pitstop at Maccas we hit the highway toward Hobart. The fields we pass are so green and beautiful, and I can’t stop smiling. Jellyfish decides to finally make an attempt to break out of her travel crate and spends a little while exploring the packed-full car, then a longer while splayed across my lap and sooking. When we arrive in Hobart we have two immediate tasks: firstly to pick up the keys to my rental property, and secondly to purchase two single mattresses for mum and me to sleep on, as my furniture won’t arrive for another three weeks.

Dinner is hilarious, with two orange crates for seats and the couple of boxes I’ve brought down in the car serving as a table. Couches became my next priority, and I spend the rest of the evening doing some furious gumtree searching. (Great success follows tomorrow, just so I don’t leave you on a cliffhanger.)

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