Back to George Town

There was a marked contrast pulling into George Town for the second time. When we arrived there a few weeks ago we were exhausted, the wind was difficult and it took us a few tries to position ourselves properly at the pontoon. This time, rested from over a week on the river and with the weather benign, we tied up smoothly – greeting the same guy who was fishing on the pier.

“How’d you like Launceston?” he called to me as we tied up.

“Bit busy,” I said straight back, before even thinking about it.

He nodded. “Yep.”

It had been a bit busy – pulling us out of our tentatively new cruising existence and back to city-reality. George Town was also a bit that way, but with the buffer of being a much smaller place, where everything was closer. M saw a kayaker coming across the harbour using a tarpaulin as a sail, and was thrilled.

The Smalls and I came back to the boat after going for a walk and found said kayaker firmly ensconced on our couch. In the end I had to start making dinner and ordering Smalls into their pyjamas. They continued chatting. I banged and clattered pots, and M eventually had to say – “Sorry mate, we’ll have to call it a day so I can give Beth a hand with dinner.” The kayaker reluctantly departed.

We spent a couple of days eating our way through our remaining vegetables and fruit, waiting until we had some money in the boat-kitty to go for a big shopping trip. We needed enough supplies to get us down the east coast.

“Yes,” said M, in a captainly manner, “Shop for about three weeks of food, that should cover us…”

Small DB and I obligingly set out for the nearby supermarket. It was about 8.30am. We shopped until we dropped – it took us almost two hours. In the end the trolley was so full that we almost lost control of it along the walking track…

Meanwhile M had been doing trips to the tap with our ten litre water containers and met us as the trolley pulled us down the incline. I knew, I knew that when he’d told us to ‘shop for three weeks of food’ he had not really been thinking about the cost involved. Inside his bearlike brain, he simply had visions of huge amounts of coffee, milk, leafy greens and boxes of Weet-Bix appearing as if by magic. Wingardium levi-OH-sa.

“Hello!” I said. “We just spent $361 on the shopping!”

He gaped. “But…but…did you leave more at the shop? That’s not all of it, is it? Do you want me to go back and get the rest? You can’t of spent that much money and have everything fit into the one trolley?!?” His tone had become slightly hysterical.

I handed him the receipt. We both examined it. The most expensive thing on it were two bags of coffee – at $15 each they had been on half price sale. I hadn’t even bought wine. He totted up the items and relinquished the receipt with a sigh.

“God. OK. Fine. We won’t need to shop again until Hobart…”

“We won’t be ABLE to shop again until Hobart!”

I left him muttering to himself and coerced the Smalls into washing and drying kilos of carrots, apples and some broccoli while I stashed away epic amounts of long life milk, corn cakes and refilled containers. I try to strip packaging from everything – milk powder goes into a container, tea bags, corn cakes, flour, sugar etc – it saves us accumulating rubbish when we are underway and unable to get rid of it.

It’s kind of depressing how much packaging is involved in all the stuff we buy 🙁 – I am used to buying in bulk through a co-op, so the supermarket is a bit of a shock to the system, both financially and ecologically. I am hoping that Hobart will provide some opportunity for a bit of bulk shopping…

I didn’t buy any Weet-Bix because I fundamentally object to paying $5 for a tiny box of cereal, just because it’s gluten free. I wait for the rare half price sales and then buy 20 packets. There was no Weet-Bick sale – and thus we will be somewhere in the Tasman Sea and a cry of despair will ring out when M discovers this fact. He will have to compose a breakfast from something that is not a single packeted entity. Heartbreaking…

Oh – and in other news – Small DB lost her last front tooth – and now has a double gap at the top and a gap and a half below. And a cute lisp…

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