Harbours, markets & bookshops

November 12, 2011

I’ve always liked small towns. I grew up in one and have lived in or near to them ever since. On a weekend you can walk into the High Street and know that you will meet people you know. Most small towns have markets and in general those interesting little bookshops that seem to survive in a world of online ordering and large chains by being a little different. So walking distance, a market and a bookshop and I am happy, add in a harbour and I deliriously so. I knew from a previous visit that Saturday morning in Hobart would give me the delights of Salamanca Market. A long street with a double row of stalls serving food, wine, handicrafts, tools and some of the glorious tat you can imagine. Not to mention activist stalls and the off feminist rally. I also knew that the pristine harbour, with its mix of fishing and pleasure boats, opening to the Southern Ocean would give me endless opportunities with the camera, and the start of the rock lobster season in a few weeks meant there was a lot of interesting tackle out and in various states or repair.

What I hadn’t expected was to find one of the most delightful bookshops I have been in for a long time. Opposite the Apple Store (well premium supplier) in Liverpool Street I found the Ellison Hawker Bookshop, with one of the most electric collections I have seen in a long time. The main categories are Science Fiction/Fantasy, Cult Fiction and Paranormal Romance; a nice name for the various vampire themes that have grown in recent years. The guy running the place knows his books, he seems to have read all of them and told me he only stocks books he likes; and we have very similar tastes. Half a dozen people who came in while I was browsing were helped to discover long lost series or specialists genres. Its now up there with the old Foyles (before they ruining it by organizing the books, they used to be all over the place) in my all time favorites.

Regretably, given the workload I could only spend a couple of hours walking around. But it was enough to get some great photos, some local malt whisky and a book to while away the long flight on Tuesday. Tomorrow is the one day I week I insist on taking off, so I booked a tour to see the sea cliffs and Port Arthur. Of those more tomorrow.

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