Benefits of keeping a blog

A personal view

I’ve been keeping a blog for a few years now. I began it because although I had been documenting our life and travels for a long time Stephen pointed out that the narrative was missing. When we travelled ‘around the world’ I kept a journal in pencil in a notebook, and that has been something I treasured, but seldom read after the first few years. Just recently, I wanted to check on a couple of trips we made this year and the ability to search for key words and places is quite wonderful.

It also highlights how much we forget, especially if doing a lot of trips during the year. Stephen remembers different places and events to me, and being able to refer back to the photos and narrative means that we have a chance to relive good experiences, whilst perhaps also remembering things that were difficult and challenging.

I back up all of our photos online using Flickr, as well as Apple Photos. Having the photos in order of date taken and easily searchable allows me to relive the experiences over and over again. But it is the blog which really provides a repository of memorable adventures.

I began a blog called ‘caravanning adventures’ in September, 2013. We took our small Starcraft caravan to the Eastern States in 2014 and we have a full blog of that trip. I finished that blog in March, 2016, switching to a more photography oriented blog ‘photographyperthwa.com’. I began that blog in December, 2013, documenting our home exchange trip to San Francisco. A new blog was needed because it wasn’t about caravanning.

Future writing plans

I plan to continue writing this blog, for the rest of my life if possible. I don’t always write about travel, sometimes it is all about significant events.

We also have a family Youtube channel. This is mostly for Matthew’s benefit as he really enjoys watching movies about us. I love capturing his happy moments as we do ordinary things together and joke around. I also enjoy capturing my husband on film, whether singing or enjoying activites such as looking for wildflowers. I work my way through video editing tutorials, but only when my simple knowledge of the progrom doesn’t allow me to solve a particular problem.

When we are travelling it is easiest to write a short blog entry with photos at the end of each day. It takes some discipline, and an internet connection, but I am always glad when I take the effort. The only time it was really difficult to do was when we were with a tour group in China. I made very few entries because we were so busy and finding time to myself was difficult. I was usually too tired by the end of the evening.

I don’t plan to ‘grow’ the blog or make money from it. If people want to read it, then I’m happy, but I don’t need more readers to motivate me to write. I have 58 ‘followers’, but not many actually read the blog. Checking my Statistics page on WordPress gives this information.

I don’t plan to turn it into a book. It would take a lot of work to make the stories interesting to other people. It is enough to have a reason to blog – to help preserve memories of our life and travells.

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A visit to Dardanup on our way home

The people in a tent were woken up by a ranger at about 8.00 am. Silly them, because the other campers we suspected were not fully self contained got away early to avoid the humiliation. We had a good nights sleep and a leisurely breakfast. After a visit to the dump point we headed off for Dardanup.

Of course, we had only one thing on our minds.

But after morning tea, we walked down the street and found the visitors centre. We had a discussion with a lovely woman who grew up on a dairy farm in the area.

She told us all about the local attractions of the Ferguson Valley.

Then, it was up the Forest Highway and Freeway to home. We had a break for lunch and later a break for afternoon tea and arrived home at about 4.00 pm.

Choir in the evening. To our classes at MALA this morning.

The Winnie is unpacked, but dirty inside and out. There was a bit of sealing out of place up on the Luton peak and I went up on a ladder to push it back. Hopefully we can get by without resealing it for the time being.

We feel a bit strange to be living back in our house again. The noise of the builders seem particularly loud this morning.

School Chapel, Dardanup.

Bears who RV…

Tembo Ted (Reuben) and Caravan Ted enjoying a good seat in the RV

We were having a relaxing morning in the Jarrahdene Forest when up rocked a car and caravan to claim our spot. I didn’t realise that we had to be out by 10.00 a.m. and it was our bad luck that in a nearly empty camping area they had booked our spot. After asking us to ‘prove’ that we were legitimate the woman got on the phone to parkstays and to try to get another site and said there was a chance of a fistfight with us over the spot. Not surprisingly we saw a ranger come in a bit later. I hope this won’t result in us being banned from staying in National Parks.

We moved, of course. There was nowhere to actually park and Stephen’s idea of having a half hour walk before we left was shelved. We were at the dump station when I saw a ranger drive in. We had chosen Jarrahdene partly because of the dump point, but it is not far from Contos and we wished we had stayed there for our second night.

We stopped at Witchcliff to refuel and Stephen found that there was a little forest walk nearby. He went for a walk and I went to a cafe. Everyone happy again!

We decided to aim for Capel to stay the night. There is a dump station with potable water also available. Plus there are three RV parking spaces where we can stay the night. We weren’t sure of getting one of the three, but I located an alternative – about 18 kms away, but it sounds pretty nice with a waterfall. However, when we arrived we felt that perhaps we had travelled far enough. After filling up with water we were able to claim the second spot and another RV has since claimed the third. A full house. We are a little out of town. RVs have to be fully self contained to stay here and we have a 24 hour stay, so no pressure in the morning.

It is cloudy, a bit smoky and very windy here, not the sort of evening that we want to be outside. Fortunately we have an indoor kitchen, unlike our neighbours in the next bay. We are not sure that they qualify as fully self contained, but surely even a portable cassette toilet is enough. There is now a tent – they must be planning to get away early in the morning before the ranger comes.

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On our way here we stopped for lunch on Sue’s Road – actually on a side road (George Road). Stephen found an orchid almost immediately, and we found lots of other wildflowers too. So, as well as enjoying lunch, we walked around taking photos. The flowers had a shyness about them, it was only by walking around with our eyes on the ground that we realised what a rich diversity of flowers were within a short distance.

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Good Night

Red Gate Beach to Swallows Gallery to Jarrahdene(Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park)

Here’s the Winnie at our home for tonight at Jarrahdene Campsite.

The top image is from Red Gate Beach. We got up rather late this morning and after a walk to see some flowers we drove to Red Gate Beach. We had a good parking spot looking out over rock pools to the ocean. It was windy when we arrived, but blowing pretty much a gale by the time we left at about 2.00 pm. We walked around taking photos and had our lunch there.

Our next port of call was near Witchcliff. The gallery is owned by the illustrator of one of Stephen’s wildflower books. She has a little gallery of her illustrations in a mud brick chapel dedicated to all religions. I noticed nearby an English style garden. Pat Negus IS English though she came here when she was 23 and has lived most of her life here.

At our campsite this morning. We don’t know the name of this yet.

We bought a couple of books, one of orchids and one a children’s story about sugar possums. She likes doing all kinds of illustrations. She took us into her garden and put bird food on a beach for me to take photos of some of her ‘neighbours’.

On the way to our campsite we passed through the 100 year Forrest and couldn’t resist stopping for a walk into the trees.

All of the photos are straight from the camera to the iPad and some could do with a little editing. It has been such a lovely day with so many lovely things to experience. I’ve taken lots and lots of photos.

Red Gate Beach

And now we get to sleep in a forest! There are no other campers here, we had a little bit of noise in the evening at our precious campsite, but not enough to bother us. This time we will just have the sound of wind in the trees and bird calls.

Carbunup for wildflowers and camping at Conto Chudditch in Boranup

This is National Park camping at $14.00 per night pensioner rates for two of us. We have well maintained long drop toilets that smell fresh and there is a tap with good water pressure, I’m wondering if this is in case of wildfires. There is a campers kitchen with BBQs, standard national park conditions with an attempt at providing level sites, each with its own fire pit and picnic table. Campfires are allowed, however it started raining at 5.00 pm and there is still a light misty rain from time to time.

They provided a wifi hotspot at the entrance for people like us who hadn’t booked in advance. It was a bit tricky to navigate the booking on my phone, but we managed.

Another nice thing about Taunton Farm is that they tell you they are flexible about checkout times even before you ask. The showers looked nice enough for me to have a shower there last night. Stephen had his shower this morning. We had a relaxed morning and didn’t start packing up until 10.00 am.

We went back up the road to the bushland reserve at Carbunup. We found an abundance of flowers, but no orchids. Still, we had a good time walking through to bush observing and taking photos.

We have one bar of 3G signal here and I think this post will have only one photo.

We were looking forward to a peaceful night here, but I just heard the sound of a van door sliding. We have about 3 other campers here at Chudditch and a great swathe of tents are one of the nearby campgrounds. I think they are too far away for us to hear them unless they start singing or something.

Unexpectedly ending up at Taunton Farm

We had yet another long concert this morning. We only sang two songs, which meant we didn’t have much work, but we sat through all of the other acts. We caught up with Stuart and Annette before we left our caravan park this morning and had a nice time with Rob and Rita at the end, even providing a change room for Rita and Merilu.

We had lunch at the foreshore, followed by a bit of a nap.

We then went to the town centre to do some shopping. Stephen had information on a bushland reserve to check out before heading down to Boranup National Park and we took a pleasant route through forest and farmland and ended up at a service station where we had coffee. Stephen went off to explore the area as it wasn’t obvious how we would get into the reserve. Naturally the young staff at the service station had no idea even though the reserve is around them.

We decided it was too late in the day to look for orchids. I explored some campsites nearby on properties, but was not able to find a vacancy. Which is how we have ended up at Taunton Farm at $45 per night. It’s worth the money as it is lovely here feeling we are part of a working farm with excellent facilities. We arrived in time to see the animals being fed. Marie will note that the dam has water again.

Our plan is to go back to the bushland, can’t remember the name, in the morning and have lunch there, then head to down Boranup NP.

After we arrived here we sat outside for ‘happy hour’, with diet cola and rice crackers. We feel relaxed and at home. It’s many years since we have stayed here, not necessarily that much fun in a tent on New Years Eve. It was very noisy.

We are having another night with full hookups, feels quite a luxury. I took the induction cooktop outside to cook the sausages and onions. We had vegetables and some salad, followed by fruit and yogurt.

We contacted Matt at 6.30 and had a nice chat. We talked about looking for orchids and Hidde showed Matt what they look like by researching on his phone. We will be home next week so Matt will be able to visit us for dinner.

The Working Voices Choir. We only had a short time to have our photo taken which is why some of the choir members look a bit unprepared. I was taking the photo.

A busy day of music

We drove into town and after spending a bit of time getting as level as posssible we had a short time at a workshop before heading off for our rehearsal. Then lunch, then had our half hour gig. We stayed at that concert until it ended, then headed off for our roast dinner made by volunteers at the old Dunsborough Hall. We then took the Winnie to the school for a great evening of music. The best part was hearing Eneksis, the student choir of Edith Cowan’s Performing arts programme. Quite wonderful.

Then, back to our caravan park to enjoy a bit of quiet time before going to bed.

I took a few photos of performances, it have to fall back on one or two from yesterday for this post.

We had a red dawn this morning and the moon was red tonight, still showing the effects of the smoky atmosphere. The forecast tomorrow is for more smoke haze.

Dunsborough Songfest 2018

We’ve had a very busy few weeks leading up to getting away. The Winnie was sitting on the lawn out the front for about three and a half weeks, except for the day she went to Ken Peachy for her ‘house’ service. They were able to fix the fridge by replacing a part.

By this morning I was feeling quite relaxed. We had a good rehearsal with a small group of choir members last night which made me feel confident about our performances over this weekend. We had planned to go to our MALA lectures on flora of the south west and originals of the Middle East conflict this morning, then leave in the afternoon, but it was apparent that getting ready to travel required quite a lot of work. We managed to get away at about 11.00 and arrived her in Dunsborough at about 5:30 pm.

Annette and Stuart are our neighbours here at the caravan park and Stuart drove us into town this evening, which was very much appreciated as it wasn’t easy to find our way at night.

Today has been sunny and warm, though there was a lot of smoke about as we approached Busselton. We bypass Busselton these days on the new road and there was little warning when we arrived at the roundabout where we should have turned right, opposite the Macdonalds, but we were able to turn around and come back within a few hundred metres.

We are in a different part of the caravan park this time, near some water and a field of cows. We had a beautiful sunset with the smoke, and the cows came close to the fence.

The concert this evening was a sort of taster of many groups of singers, with some very good acts to make us look forward to the next couple of days. We met up with friends and had a good evening.

Then home to the van to have showers and go to bed. I drove all of the way here. After a good nights sleep I was feeling well, it also the road was very busy and if Stephen had driven I would have been very nervous indeed. It’s an excellent road, mostly dual carriageway, with lots of places to take breaks, but the amount of traffic was amazing.

Break 1 at the services about 40 minutes from home.
Break 2 amongst beautiful smelling pines
Nap after lunch

We had a third break in Capel for a cuppa.

Homebase

We enjoyed the evening concert and BBQ that mark the end of the Nanga Music Festival for this year. We slept in a bit on Monday morning. I asked if we could follow tradition and have breakfast at the Blue Wren Cafe. Ruth and David, who also got ready slowly, were heading there as well. We spent quite a long time catching up and discussing many things of common interest. Then it was time for everyone to get on the road.

I didn’t want to travel via Albany Highway, so we headed to Pinjarra on our way to the Forrest Highway. We dumped our tanks at the public dump point near the free camping area in town. The drive home seemed relatively easy as we could do a good speed and felt safe on the dual carriageway. We stopped at one of the service areas and had some fruit, the only thing missing from our breakfast at the Blue Wren.

Yesterday Stephen spent most of the day in bed before getting up to go to his choir. I didn’t feel up to going to my choir, which meant he could drive to the Fortress in North Perth. He was coughing overnight and only settled down when he had some Panadol. We have both been better today. I did some shopping yesterday and Stephen went today to get fruit and veggies and one or two things I had forgotten. I paid a solo visit to Mum, not a long session, and she seemed fairly bright and together today, so it was quite enjoyable.

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This is the converted bus that was parked at Nanga and made us feel better about counting our motorhome as a ‘campervan’. We also liked the expedition vehicle that was parked a bit further away. They tend to be very, very expensive, but can go absolutely anywhere.

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The Winnie is parked on the verge at the front of our units. We have to take it in for a service and to have the fridge fixed next week, and will be leaving for Dunsborough in just over two weeks, so we will probably just leave it there. It could do with a clean, but I am waiting to have the energy. The outside is quite dirty although heavy rain last night has washed away any superficial dirt and dust.