Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New office

Here is our new office. Salamanca Place! It's the tourist mecca of Hobart. It's where the tall ships berthed back in the golden whaling days of yore. There are even a couple of big trypots they used to boil whale blubber in, right out in front of our building. We are on the top floor of one of a long row of 1850s sandstone warehouses.

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It's the arts precinct - we share the building with a puppet troupe, half a dozen gallleries, a bunch of artisans of various kinds, a few artists succcessful enough to have their own shopfront, the Australian Script Centre, and many arts administrators. There are always a lot of meetings going on. Apart from the people that just buy some silver, fashion it into something then sell it; everyone else needs to do a lot of yakking before anything can happen. I guess we are no different, except I am usually spared from taking part, and hear about the decisions later.

Unlike all the spaces we've had before, here just about everybody is in one big room. Kath needs to concentrate to do her spreadsheets and whatnot so she's got an actual nook with a door, but the rest of us are all just in each other's faces. The kitchen is just a new sink screwed to the wall in the corner (plumbed to god-knows-where), plus a fridge and a small bench. The carpet is plush enough that the ergonomic chairs will hardly roll; you need thigh power to actually go anywhere.

The Arts Centre of which we are part is two warehouses joined by a built-in bridge on the first floor. To get to the toilet we need to go down two flights of checkerplate fire stairs, unlock a door, go round the corner across the bridge, do two zigs and two zags past two galleries, and there you are. Or, if you haven't got those keys on you, you go down the three flights of fire stairs to the ground, down an alley and out into Salamanca Place, past some elderly Japanese tourists and a juggler on a unicycle practising during the off season, up an arcade between some shops, out into a courtyard, and there you go, on your left. Might have to wait for a free stall, especially in the high season. Sometimes the blacksmith is out in the courtyard making fire-dogs and candelabras.

I prefer the upstairs toilets, which are less public. It is a unisex facility, which is a little alarming. The doors on the stalls are the shin-to-shoulder-height type. I am already missing my long-held role of toilet librarian, and I'm plotting ways to inveigle some kind of bookshelves into my preferred stall - which I would then stock with expendable Penguin 60s and those textbooks from long-ago courses that, although interesting, you always resent because you bought them under sufferance.

We have now all been issued with three elaborate keys each. They have those little plastic colour-code inserts that should help you tell them apart. They are all red.

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