24 February 2013

Salamanca Market stalwarts

Hobart's Salamanca Market (Tasmania) and Eumundi Markets (Queensland) could probably be credited with the revival of the market culture in Australia.

Both started with fruit and vegetables and some local craft works targeting mainly local or district residents and occasional visitors. But both expanded to become major tourist drawcards, contributing to the revitalisation of their historic precincts in the process.

Salamanca Market recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. For about half that time my sister has been a stall holder there, selling her handmade jewellery. She uses mainly sterling silver, semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls, but in the last few years she has also incorporated some of her original crochet work to make a range of brooches and other accessories featuring fruits and flowers in a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns of her own design.

My sister's can-do partner is the engine supporting the stall's success. Hard-working and always cheerful, he builds, adapts and facilitates all that's needed to to make the operation (and their home, for that matter) run smoothly.

Both are also wonderful salespersons, well informed about all the materials they use in their jewellery and the processes by which these are produced or mined. And most importantly, they really love meeting the people who visit their stall each week. They are always ready for a chat with tourists and make it their business to be a source of useful information about all sorts of island experiences.

Salamanca Market is what market shopping should be like: local artists, artisans, crafts persons and small-scale entrepreneurs making a living doing something they enjoy. Don't miss the market if you ever visit Hobart (http://www.salamanca.com.au/salamanca_market_hours.htm). There are some 300 or so stalls, as well as dozens of small craft shops and boutiques in the neighbouring sandstone warehouses left over from the city's convict-era colonial past.

And be sure to say hello to my sister and her partner in market stall 250.

(Postscript: It's seems more than coincidence that my sister met her partner more than 10 years ago at Eumundi Markets. She was spending a couple of weeks visiting with me and rented a temporary market stall in Eumundi on two consecutive Saturdays. What began as a friendly exchange between neighbouring stallholders has now developed into a lifetime partnership.)

22 February 2013

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Nothing too unusual to report here on my fourth day of holiday in Tasmania. So how come I'm exhausted? Well let's see. My sister and I did a tour of secondhand shops earlier today - what we call "op shops". She's an expert on the local scene and I was hoping to pick up some tips on how to find the best deals.

In the end I forced myself to pass up a cashmere and wool Perry Cutten 3/4 overcoat ($10) and a camel hair great coat ($40) because... Well, after all, I live in a semi-tropical climate and rarely get to wear even a wool cardigan.

My sister's three rules for op-shopping: (1) you should love the item (not just like it) and find it near-perfect, (2) you should need the item or at least definitely plan to use or wear ear it and (3) the price should be right. Those coats failed to meet the second criterion and one of them was also one size too big (a failure in the first category).

So it was on to lunch at one of North Hobart's many ethnic eateries. Then we visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Established in 1818 and covering 13.5 hectares, the gardens include 6500 species of plants, 400 of which are Tasmanian natives.

As always when I've visited these gardens, I was transfixed. We probably walked several kilometres, admiring the sequoia, Chinese elms, alders and one magnificent white mulberry that covered a space as big as the average house block.

Below I'll share a few photos from the gardens, including one taken underneath the mulberry, though it doesn't do the old tree justice. And I'm working exclusively on my iPhone to take these photos, post them to my blog and then view the results. I won't be able to check the quality until I take time to review everything on computer later. So forgive any less-than-perfect-quality shots.

21 February 2013

A Tassie tale

I see I have managed to post from iPhone though I can't manage to place photos anywhere except at the end of each post. So here's the second part of my introduction to my current Tasmanian interlude. I hope you can match the photos to the text.

The entrance to the upstairs unit at my sister's house is via a ramp from ground level to the door, through a green tunnel. On the left is a large Japanese maple, clipped to a make a green wall in summer, but just imagine the riot of colour in autumn. And on the right is one massive clematis vine growing from a patch of garden under the ramp. Its colourful burst would occur in spring.

My sister's house is on a steeply sloping hillside so her garden is a series of terraces. Veggies are planted in sunny strips and spots here and there.

Especially delightful are the plants I remember from my cold-weather gardening days - like fuchsia and roses. And can you see that fat bumblebee on the tall balsam?

Hello Hobart

This is the first post from my iPhone and it's an experiment. I'm in Tasmania, visiting my sister. Here's the view from my bedroom window, with the Derwent River and the Eastern Shore of Hobart on the far side.

We sailed up that river yesterday, headed for the relatively new Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) that has propelled Tasmania to the No. 1 spot on Lonely Planet's list of top international destinations. More on that in another post. First let's see if this posts OK.

About me

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.