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Tasmanians are friendly. They also colour code their bins. This has led to some strange interludes.

Are you intrigued?

Good. I will explain.

On Saturday, we went to Salamanca market. We were thrilled to learn that Hobart was also hosting the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which meant music, food stalls, nautical exhibits, and acres of every size shape and variety of wooden vessel.

This was a lovely piece of synchronicity for me as I got to go on a tall ship, photographing its saloon, captain’s cabin and steward’s pantry, all of which will feature in the next draft of my novel. The day before, at Port Arthur, I had likewise spent a great deal of time sitting in the reproduced steerage compartment of a convict vessel, just getting the vibe.

This is called a writer’s holiday, by the way. The mind never stops working.

But, back to the bins.

We had finished perusing the market, listened to the navy band, and wandered the wharf pointing out every manner of wooden craft, to find ourselves standing outside the folk music pavilion. I had just downed two sushi’s and a bottle of cascade ginger beer, and begun to think about disposing of the bottle.

Turning to Andrew, I said: ‘Do you remember what colour bin this bottle should go in?’

He wasn’t there.

Only big beefy security guard, with a badge and a polar fleece vest.

‘I’ll put it in, ‘he said, ‘it goes in the yellow bin.

Okay, I thought. This is odd, but I may as well go with it. I handed the bottle over. The security guard lifted the heels of his Blundstone boots, his grey eyes searching the quay. I followed his gaze. It halted on the far side of the wharf. His smile faded.

‘Perhaps, I’d better take it, after all?’ I smiled, holding out my hand.

‘Yeh, sorry.’ He reddened.

Taking the bottle, I headed towards the bin.

‘Excuse me!’ It was a woman’s voice this time. ‘Excuse me!’

I turned back. The woman was rangy and thin like string bean. She smiled, her lipstick bright, and held out an empty coke bottle.

‘Take this one too, please love. While you’re at it.’

At this point my jaw fell open. Maybe I even stared. But I took the bottle anyway. I mean why not?
Tasmanian’s are friendly – and, well, ‘different,’ in the nicest possible way. And when in Tassie, you must do as the Tasmanians do. Even if it does involve colour coded bins.

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