Fairbridge 2017

in the Chapel.jpg

We arrived here on Friday morning at about 9.20 a.m. and joined the queue. We had left home at 7.30 a.m., Stephen’s suggestion, and we made it! We had set up the Winnie in the preceding days, including getting the fridge cold using gas. I had some cereal while we were waiting. I didn’t notice the coffee van until it was too late to go and buy one. We finally started moving forward at about 10.20 a.m.

When we chose our spot the Rivergrounds Camping was fairly free. We wanted sun for the solar, so chose a good spot and set up. We put out the awning and Stephen put down the big mat. That was mainly in case it rained. We took our time setting up and stayed in the van until music sessions started.

Our first afternoon and evening were spent getting into the spirit of the festival, essentially a process that takes about a day.

This year we joined the ‘mass choir’ set up for the 25th anniversary. We enjoyed Kristina Olsen, but haven’t actually found other acts that we rush to see. Having choir rehearsals, culminating in a little concert at 5.00 last night, has kept us feeling involved. Also, we have many friends here, current and past Working Voices choir folk, to enjoy as well.

Rivergrounds campground
beside the chapel.jpg
A circus style tent for music

The Winnie gets a bit warm during the day and the the first couple of days were very humid, with possible storms forecast. But, we have had no rain and yesterday (Sunday) was more pleasant.

This year is unusual, the first year when it is a three day festival. There are fewer acts to see, but we are hoping there will still be lots of food options, etc. to make the extra day worthwhile.

We have the fridge playing up, with the flame being blown out by gusts of wind on that side of the van. But, it is has basically worked to keep our food at the correct level (1-5 degrees) to be safe. We put the awning in Saturday afternoon as the wind can be particularly strong and gusty in the early evening. We only had it out a short distance, with no ropes, so it didn’t give enough shade to make it worthwhile. Anyway, we haven’t spent very much time inside during the day.

We notice quite a few changes here, more people, no meals in the dining room, but more food kiosks, different setups with tents.

Amazingly we are able to go to sleep despite the noise. I have a two fold theory, that we are less stressed because of retirement/semi retirement and we live in quite a noisy area in Victoria Park where it is probably never completely quiet, so we are used to tuning things out. Plus getting very tired from all of the fresh air and walking we do from campsite to the main area.

Easter at Jarrahdale

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Sunset from our campsite at Jarrahdale

Easter Friday was a quiet day. We went for a walk in the evening in our neighbourhood looking at a special type of gum tree with drooping branches and peeling bark. We found it was quite common in our immediate area. I wanted to go away for one night at Easter, the weekend is very busy at most places and driving on Friday and Monday is usually very fraught, so it seemed sensible to go a fairly short distance overnight so that we were driving on Saturday and Sunday.

We were pretty sure that the free camping site at Jarrahdale would have plenty of room for us, and it has, although there are a lot more campers than when we came during a cool spell in summer. Still, it is a big area, and we don’t mind the extra people. We are camped on the hard stand area, although we don’t have it to ourselves this time.

We arrived at about 12.00, checked out the camping possibilities, then drove out to Serpentine Dam. We had lunch in the Winnie, then coffee at the cafe, then walked out across the Dam. It was a lovely day, although the weather continues a recent pattern of starting out cool, then getting quite warm by late in the afternoon.

Serpentine Dam - detail (1 of 1)

There are some lovely tall trees in the dam area, the above photo is a detail of leaves and blossom.

Serpentine Dam - No Entry (1 of 1)

Standing on the Dam, it’s not possible to get near the edge because of the wide area out of bounds.

Serpentine Dam - water2 (1 of 1)

A partly cloudy day, with lots of sunshine.

It was an important day – Stephen drove the Winnie for the first time – the 9 kms back to our campsite from the dam. Well done Stephen!

Burns Beach -Monday and Tuesday

In the afternoon on Monday, rather than sit around waiting for the day to cool off, we caught a bus to Joondalup Shopping Centre. We found an attractive Cuban Style (maybe or maybe not) cafe on the edge of the shopping centre where we shared a roll and had sweet, interesting drinks.

View into the cafe. A waitress said that the things on the shelves had been sourced through secondhand stores. I’m not sure about the inclusion of crocheted blankets, though they would be good for cold weather.

We went to the Aldi store as Stephen hadn’t been to one before. I suggested that he consider it to be a museum or art gallery – something to see, rather than a place to actually shop. We then spent some time in Dymocks.

When we got back it was somewhat cooler. After tea, Stephen suggested we bring in the awning. There was more wind than on previous days, plus there was the risk of it being wet in the morning with dew.  Afterwards we listed to a podcast on the importance of glass, quite interesting, but we didn’t listen to the end as it became a bit repetitive.

The way we had the awning we had not had a good view of the ocean from inside the Winnie and we had been looking forward to the view when we woke up on Tuesday morning. But, as is the nature of things, there was actually a heavy mist, and we couldn’t see the sea. I tried taking photos, but they don’t really show how heavy it was. Of course, it meant that everything was very moist, so it was a good thing to have the awning rolled up.

After having a shower I went down to the beach to paddle. Stephen usually takes longer than me, so he had not long been back when I returned.

The mist had cleared by this time, about 8.30, but it was still very cool and pleasant.

We had a leisurely breakfast, having negotiated a late checkout of 12.00 noon. After packing up, we went to the cafe for coffee/chai latte. It was a bit noisy inside and no shady tables available outside, so not as wonderful as it could have been, but gave us a break before the long journey home. Not that there was a long journey, just about 45 minutes!

When we woke up at home this morning, we missed the open spaces and fresh air.

Still at Burns Beach

I cooked a Thai chicken curry in the electric pressure cooker for our evening meal, using the keep warm setting so we could eat later, and we went for a walk along the beach path at about 6.30. The evening was cool and humid.

Next day we tried for a swim before breakfast. The interesting thing happening was the abolone hour, with lots of people in black suits (but apparently not wet suits) with little bags out on the rocks. A nice young policewoman was on duty, plus there was a helicopter, I guess keeping an eye on the time. People generally stopped on time and departed in cars with their catch.

We didn’t find the water actually appealing, there was a lot of seaweed, so we decided that getting down to the beach and seeing the abolone hunt was our morning outing.

Marie and Geoff arrived at about 11.00 a.m. We had a cup of tea together and the sea breeze arrived at about 12.30 p.m. We lazed about during the afternoon, then went to the cafe for spiders and a smoothie for Stephen. We sat in the shade of the Winnie until it was time to go for our evening walk. Afterwards we each had our own meals, but sat together.

They left when it was still cool this morning, at about 10.00 a.m.

Saturday evening spider
Sunday evening
Cliff near the caravan park

Burns Beach revisited

It is the March long weekend, and after a relatively cool and wet summer we are making a start on autumn with a heatwave. We discussed going to the Nannup Music Festival, but our memories of this weekend are that there is usually a heatwave, and it can be very uncomfortable. I still wanted to go away, and tried for Coogee Beach, Fremantle and Woodman Point Caravan Parks, but they were all full. So, Burns Beach it is.

It is very nice here, but very few sites have shade. We have premier views, but having put out our awning, with some help from our neighbour with his mallet and expertise on tying reef knots, we only get a view if we sit outside. Up until an hour ago, that was fine as we still had shade outside. Now, although our windows are in shade, we have the option of inside or sitting in the sun. So, we are inside.

I bought the pressure cooker with me, and have done a Thai chicken curry, very easy even if the cooker itself is rather bulky. The smell of the cooking is absolutely delicious to us and may be making our neighbours hungry as well. I started at about 4.00 as we will probably go for a walk close to sunset and I wanted to have the main cooking out of the way. We can have salad or vegetables as part of the meal. We could do some rice, but would have to cook it on the stove or in the microwave and we may not want to do that.

Our little ‘house’ looking untidy as it often does when we are in it. Not that we couldn’t make it tidy, we have the second bunk over the cab for storage. But, it doesn’t seem to matter too much.

Although we have had a cool breeze all afternoon it has been humid and about 28 degrees, so not exactly the best conditions. Still, we did need time to relax after what feels like a busy week. On Friday we went to the second session for us of ukelele class and Tai Chi at the Trinity School for Seniors. We missed last week as Stephen wasn’t well. It was a pretty hot day, so I took the time off as well. The ukelele lesson is held in the church. Joe, our instructor, focussed on learning ‘You are my Sunshine’ for the whole hour. I found that useful as we started with the chords and learning to play in time together, then sang the words at the end.

Tai Chi seemed a little easier this time, although I was worried about my left knee, so trying to be careful. Still, I really love this class and our instructor is quite special. I want to continue. Today my knee isn’t even stiff, so I can’t be doing it any harm.

In the evening we went to an event at our local library run by two musicians called ‘History of the Blues’. They mentioned ‘You are my Sunshine’ as an old blues number, which has made me more interested in learning it – oddly enough. The session was enjoyable and the library staff served wine and other drinks and some food. The Carneys were there as well.

We have next door neighbours who are leaving early in the morning, so they are doing some of their packing up now. Good news as their spot is where Marie and Geoff will be tomorrow.


Storm Clouds

On Saturday we went down to Floreat Beach and had lunch and dinner there. Stephen rang his sister and brother in law who joined us for afternoon tea and a walk. The idea was to excape the heat and it mostly worked, although in the evening the breeze dropped and it became intensely humid. The next day, Sunday, promised rain and perhaps thunderstorms, along with a few days of cooler temperatures. I took some photos close to sunset – the clouds look almost more intense in the photos than they did in reality. That evening was the first time we have had the air conditioning on at night – I found I couldn’t sleep despite our overhead fan, and switched it on at about 4.00 a.m. We have had rain for a couple of days now.