Eating outside comes of age

Remember when on-street dining was illegal in Launceston?

Remember when the only bagels were those a pioneering Lynne Davies got boxed and frozen, at Davies Grand Central?

You might also remember when a cute Greek guy, Perry, ran a wholefood store on Charles Street where you could ‘make’ your own peanut butter?

Like magic, he returned from a weekend in Hobart with a gorgeous Greek bride - Ritsa – who appeared behind his counter, with her denim overalls (btw denim overalls have made a fashion comeback!) and the widest of smiles.

The pair, cute-as-hard-working-buttons, began to transform their wholefood business.

First into a continental deli and small café with a particularly evil Greek vanilla slice.

CELEBRATION: Twenty-one years ago, Launceston's wonderful atmosphere was added to the menu for discerning foodies when alfresco dining was legalised.

CELEBRATION: Twenty-one years ago, Launceston's wonderful atmosphere was added to the menu for discerning foodies when alfresco dining was legalised.

Next, they commissioned a young architect and design team, Jack and Bec Birrell, to make anew, refit and light their 19th century Charles Street building building that is Elaia.

This week it’s 21 years since Elaia opened.

On-street dining pioneers, who included Perry and Ritsa, fought hard with the Launceston City Council and heritage interests who claimed streetside tables and chairs side were dangerous and would also distract from the city’s marvellous heritage values … as, of course they do in Paris and Rome?!

One pioneering/cashed-up operator spent a sizeable amount on awnings and barricades that were erected, overnight, without approval.

He cited the old ‘better to ask forgiveness than seek permission’ strategy.

They still stand and remain popular for end-of-week drinks on a sunny Friday evening.

This weekend, sitting street-side, eating cake with your affagato, look left and right and imagine our streets without kerbside dining.

So when you see Perry sweating in his kitchen or when Ritsa gives you a wide smile, be grateful, be very grateful.


Shower caps are getting smaller.

That's my excuse for wanting a hand-held shower.

“Bugger me,” said Max, “if you don't want to get your hair wet, just buy a shower cap”.

I grew up wearing shower caps, and yes, a shower cap is cheaper than a new shower rose.

HOWEVER, I'm confident that I'm not alone in my head-aching, ear-pinching experience of the modern shower cap?

Even Max, who has been known to wear such a garment, recalled catching a glimpse of himself in a hotel breakfast buffet mirror only to see the tell-tale, red zig and zag of a too-tight shower cap.

Our newish place has one of those so-called rainwater showers.

And, bugger me (again) I'm over it.


One: the water pressure is way too delicate.

Two: it's directly overhead and I can't keep my hair dry without dislocating my neck.

Three: it's impossible to appropriately clean the places I used to play.

So, off I went to the store that gives me head spins because of its scale, where the odour of BBQ sausages pervades the air and where the workforce is arguably the most diverse in Launceston.

I ordered a very sexy hand-held shower with a brand name that rhymes with morf.

Two weeks later I got the call. My morf had arrived. I'm 58. I was excited.

Sadly, great staff and sausages combined, did nothing to bring my hand-held shower dream to life when not one, but two shower heads arrived with no rail or hose?

My morf dream was totalled.

Lovely Lynda processed my refund and I headed home to stand squarely under a cold shower and spend another night of Indian summer, sleepless in Launceston.