TO HIS DELIGHT
My husband (H) groaned. ‘Oh, no! Where’re we going to find a park?’
Salamanca Place swarmed with the Friday night masses out for a good time.
‘You might have to not be greedy and park just here,’ I replied.
H glanced at the slot fit for a car as he whizzed past. ‘Looks a bit dodgy.’
‘It’s a construction site,’ P1 said.
‘I’m sure you could park there.’
‘I’m sure it said, “No Standing”.’ H continued the car park crawl up Salamanca Place. He pointed at the historic buildings. ‘All this’ll be blocked off and be a market tomorrow.’
I glanced at my watch. ‘It’s alright. I’m sure my aunty’ll be having trouble finding a park too. We’ll just meet when we meet.’
As if on queue, my aunty rang my mobile. She was running late and also having trouble finding a park.
‘Yeah, but there’s no parks,’ H cried.
‘Go up this next road and see if we can find a park in one of the streets of Battery Point, like we did when we went to the restaurant the other night,’ I said.
So, another tour of Battery Point with its quaint over-a-century-old cottages, narrow roads, and glimpses of the Derwent River with boats bobbing on the water. We found a park. Then as I opened the door and fumbled with my bag, the wind caught my door. It swung open. Then crunch!
‘Um, the door scraped against the footpath,’ I mumbled.
Hadn’t had a chance to look but I said, ‘Probably.’
‘You’ll have to report that,’ he said and strode down the road leading to Salamanca Place.
Ashamed and convicted as “the girl who always wrecks things”, I trotted several metres behind the K-Men. H used his mobile phone’s navigational app to find the meeting place, a Greek Restaurant my aunty had recommended.
Then he saw it. Big. Red. And moored in the harbour. ‘Hey! Look at that!’ H veered off course and strode towards it. P1 and P2 followed.
‘It’s the ice-breaker from Antarctica.’ I hung back. ‘We can get a better look at it tomorrow when we go to the Salamanca Market. I don’t think it’ll be going South just yet.’
‘Yeah, I guess so.’ H altered his course and with eyes fixed on his mobile, turned down the lane to the Greek restaurant.
We waited there for my aunty.
‘Have you booked?’ he who likes to be organised asked.
‘No,’ I replied. ‘I like to wing it.’
‘What? What if they’re full?’
‘Why don’t you see,’ I said.
‘I will.’ H strode inside the restaurant.
While he was in there, my aunty arrived and greeted P1, P2, and me.
H emerged, the corners of his mouth downturned. ‘It’s full.’
Aunty suggested we start at one end of Salamanca Place and work our way down until we found a place that looked reasonable and could accommodate the five of us.
We returned to the main strip of Salamanca Place. The historic warehouses glowed in the rays of a sun soon to set. People were everywhere, spilling out of doorways, and flooding the streets. Some art exhibition opening was in full swing, with champagne flowing. I didn’t like our chances of getting a table at a restaurant.
‘Let’s try the Ball and Chain Grill,’ my aunty said.
We stepped into this establishment, a converted nineteenth century warehouse. The furnishings and décor made us feel like we had been transported back 150 years, back to the times of Hobart’s settlement and beginnings as a penal colony. Various steaks sizzled on an open grill operated by the cooks.
A waiter approached us.
‘Would you have space for a party of five?’ my aunty asked.
‘Certainly,’ the waiter said and led us to a table.
A treat for P2 from Switzerland who enjoyed a “typical” Australian meal of grilled meat and servings of vegetables from the smorgasbord. We all enjoyed our meals, the wine and choice of vegetables or salads offered. The staff took care to cook the meat to our specifications. I was pleased to have quail. The drive back from Strahan had created an appetite and the K-Team men just had to indulge in some cheesecake. My aunty and I shared a dessert of meringue, cream and berries. As I sipped my peppermint tea, some familiar faces.
‘It’s them again,’ I whispered.
P1 turned around. ‘Who?’
‘The touring group we saw at Nive River, then at Lake St Clair, then at the Ship that Never Was…’
P1 nodded. ‘Oh, yeah, I see that guy with the glasses.’
‘It’s weird. It’s like they’re following us.’ I imagined they’d be at Salamanca Market the next morning, and then at the airport when we departed for Adelaide via Melbourne.
Saturday morning and with a good night’s sleep and the sun shining after a week of cloud and rain, the K-Team marched down the hill from Battery Point to Salamanca Market. First, though, we headed for the wharf and admired the Aurora Australis, the ice-breaker of Antarctica. H was in a good mood. He’d inspected the car door and found no damage, and what’s more, to his delight, he got to see this big ship from Antarctica.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
Photo: The Ice-Breaker From Antarctica © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016