Today, Monday, we are beginning our next Travel Australia house-sitting assignment and our first in Tasmania. By lunchtime Neil and Liz have introduced us to our three hairy canine house mates for the next 35 days, save for Mika the cat who doesn’t do introductions.
We are actually living in what used to be the residence for the general store, shortly to be restored to its former role. Upon their return, the hard work in ‘restoring the store’ Anzac Day 2015 will see the birth of a new enterprise, coffee shop, takeaway and store combination.
There are plans too for the small property next door which is home to some petrol bowsers and a small garage and this is where our elderly Nissan Urvan and trailer will live for the next month or so.
We have an early dinner with our hosts and they head off to Launceston to be ready for an early flight in the morning. An overseas holiday beckons and they are keen to hit the road.
We are here, at last.
Tuesday morning dawned on Derby and upon us, clear as crystal, the sun pouring in through the old double sash windows. The air is crisp, very much like late autumn in more northern climes, the sun is warm and we seized the chance to sit on the verandah with a freshly brewed coffee and absorb our surroundings.
We are right on the main road, so traffic can be heavy, in peak sometimes up to 1 vehicle passes per minute.
This is Tasmania, only a quarter the size of our otherwise smallest state of Victoria and for us, the fulfillment of an unrequited desideratum for 20 years since our first fleeing visit when we could afford the time and cost of travel. A bantam sample of Europe in the southern hemisphere, more in common with the South Island of New Zealand than mainland Australia, this is like visiting another country and the strict regime of quarantine does nothing to dispel the notion.