When I’ve told people we’re moving to Ballarat, there are two comments that usually follow: ‘Why?’ and, ‘It’s cold, y’know. Like, freezing.’
To the latter, the simple answer is, y’know, coats. But the former is a bit more long winded, to do with property prices in Melbourne, and how Ballarat is as close as we could get to spitting distance of the big smoke, and how it’s got a uni and a writers’ centre and a literature festival (hey, it’s Victoria: what town doesn’t have a literature festival? or a market…), and so on. I liken it to being on the Sunshine Coast and working in Brissie, without the coast. Or the ranges, for that matter. Okay, so it’s got a train and it’s got two lanes of divided road with a respectable stretch of 110kmh in between, and it takes about same amount of time, traffic (an hour and a bit) and rail gods (90 minutes and a bit) allowing.
Ballarat’s a tidy town, brimming with neat cottages and such, and history oozing out its mine shafts. No river to speak of, but lots of culverts, and a very fine lake with swans. I’m told it has a very good Irish pub, obviously that friend’s first memory of a previous visit, and a very fine bakery, too — my friends have broad tastes, clearly. Plus — OMG — an absinthe bar!
Kirstyn and I are looking forward to exploring the place, and the surrounds — for instance, the Pyrenees wine district, which I’m told does a very drinkable shiraz, which is what I want in a wine region. Oh yes. AND we’ve spotted a cafe with a view of the cemetery from the al freso dining area — w00t!
By the end of February, we’ll be Ballaratians. Some might pronounce the former Ballah-ratt-e-ans, but I’m thinking of going for Bal-ah-ray-shuns. I guess Rats could also come up. B-Rat is just far too street. I’m stopping now.
So, a new address, our own patch of suburban dirt with a line already dotted out for a future chook pen, I believe. Excitements!
To go with the new house, new books (though the books came first, to be honest), one apiece: my outback vampire road-trippin’ blood-lettin’ romp, Blood and Dust, and Kirstyn’s dark tale of family secrets, an amazing game of make believe and how what you wish for can be a tad detrimental, Perfections. Both are available now in digital formats (all of ’em) thanks to the small but passionate team at Xoum.
There will be some kind of ceremony to mark the arrival of these two yarns into the wilds, but it’s been delayed by the move. One thing to be said for e-books — no packing!
How exciting, Jason! Ballarat is lovely. Best of luck to you both. And congratulations on the books — I’ll be buying both ASAP xx
Hope it’s a perfect haven for you and K to create many more wonderful novels, J!
Good luck with the move! And a definite ‘thumbs up’ for the intended chickens!
a plucky move 😉
Cheers, Cher; we hope to live a little quieter and be more productive on the wordage side of things … let’s see how that goes!
Bless, Paula! All funds gratefully received … by the movers etc!
Balarayshuns sounds like Belorussians. And those bloody swans, nasty buggers – had a run in with them when I was 10.
Having lived in Ballarat for the past 4 years, I’d say it has been a good move. It’s a very liveable town, great architecture, great regional art gallery, bookshops, very affordable and close enough to the big smoke. Welcome.
Thanks, Jen. We’re looking forward to making contact with the local writing community!
Congratulations on the move Jason – sounds like you’ve found a lovely part of the world.
Cheers, Mark; we’re looking forward to exploring it, for sure. A lot of bases are definitely covered!
Pingback: A Couple of Things Before We Move « Kirstyn McDermott
Errr – that there Pyrenees Wine District you mentioned…. well that’s right where we are so if you two are in the area – we could catch up for a glass or three (another one who grew up in Ballarat and ran screaming to the big smoke many many years ago 🙂 🙂 🙂
Balarayshuns – yeah. Love it.
Might just have to take you up on that, Karen!
I’ve just ordered a copy of yours and Kirstyn’s new novels — anything to support great Australian writers (even if they do both sound horrifying!). I hope you’ve survived the move. Good luck with it all xx
Thanks heaps, Paula. So sweet to face the horror! xx
Hahaha — can’t promise I’ll read them, but I’ve bought them nonetheless 🙂