I had the number of Claire, the teacher whom I'd met at the end-of-festival party in Cygnet, jotted down in my book; she'd said she would be going to the folk festival in George Town, so when I got to Launceston I rang her and got invited to dinner. It was gorgeous: homemade quiche, eaten in the garden with all these amazingly right-on women who lived in the house, complete with a view of Launceston that took the breath away. Launceston – named after the town in Cornwall that also lies on a river called the Tamar – is built across a valley, and Claire's house is at the top of one side, so you can imagine the view.
One of the women at Claire's, a visiting friend called Mandy, had to go off to do a cleaning job that night, so we went along for the walk and, of course, ended up helping out. Mandy had promised a beer for helping, and if there's one carrot that shifts this donkey, that's it.
The twist was that the place we cleaned, the Laurel House, was a rape crisis centre, so men weren't allowed on the property; it felt kind of strange skulking into an empty building to clean it, knowing that if I were caught on the premises, I'd be in trouble. I sure felt I deserved that beer afterwards; a 10oz Boag's seems to be the drink up the north of the island, but it tastes just like all other Aussie beers, cold and wet. Just what the doctor ordered.