Week one of the tour for A Changing Land is over and it was with exhaustion that I arrived in Sydney on friday night. I was fortunate to visit some beautiful coastal areas of NSW last week-Port Macquarie, Taree, Foster and Tuncurry to name a few. Green surrounded me on both sides. The country side looks lush, the cattle fat and if it wasn’t for the conversations of woe I had with a number of local dairy farmers one would think some parts of regional Australia were thriving. Compared to last year’s tour I have certainly found people just as welcoming and regional libraries grateful for support. Closer to Sydney and the weekend newspapers spoke of an increase in theft-parents stealing food items to feed their families. At Erina Fair-a massive shopping centre near Gosford one bookseller revealed that the lay-bying of books is not uncommon. Suddenly worrying about my broken down car and the cost of the avis rental I’m using seemed unimportant. Wagga was vibrant, busy and green when I arrived there on saturday for lunch. It has been raining there every saturday since christmas apparently and the locals are loving their English countryside summer. Today it’s been stock signings and yesterday a return to Concord Library. They have a varied and interesting line up of guest authors appearing there over the next 18 months and the events are run very smoothly by the lib coordinator, Claude. On the bookseller front I’m indebted to the indie’s for their great enthusiasm, the regional A&R franchise businesses who are pretty much business as usual despite the corporate problems, and of course Dymocks and Collins who as always are so genuinely pleased to have an author drop by. It makes the kilometre’s worth while!