Autumn in Perth

Over Easter we went and camped in our caravan at Mum’s. We had thought that Jamie and Tracy would be away, but in fact, they were home. The weather was the problem, rain and storms were forecast. It  rained pretty steadily all Saturday. We saw some lightning, but it did not come close to us. After Friday, the weather was cool and cloudy, much better for sleeping.

Mum appeared to enjoy having us there. Robyne came and stayed Friday night as well. I didn’t go for any walks, being rather taken up with cooking, etc. It was just rather busy. We watched movies in the afternoons.

On Monday we returned home in time to have Matt for tea. Stephen and Matt went out to get the pizza. We had different drivers, organised by Tin, and that worked quite well.

On Tuesday we had breakfast with David and Lesley. She is still recovering and not able to do her normal activities, but they are looking forward to their trip overseas.

Yesterday I saw Mum again. Jamie came over and we discussed a possible date for her to move into the granny flat. Mum is finding it stressful, even though she will not be actually doing any of the packing/unpacking. But of course, moving house and leaving the lovely cottage is going to be hard for her. Based on the weekend we spent with her I think she will enjoy having more people about. By Wednesday she had pretty much forgotten that she had Robyne to stay with her, so even quite frequent visits get ‘lost’. I have thought of keeping a diary of our visits and what happens. Note to self: buy a diary.

After breakfast at Floreat Beach we went to Cottesloe. Stephen wanted to have a fruit smoothie and I was happy to stay near the sea for a while longer. The featured photo is Cottesloe Beach.

More days slip by

Nothing too remarkable about this time with only a little time available for photography. We celebrated Matt’s birthday on Sunday by going over to his house. Francis and Hidde organised dinner, with a birthday cake afterwards. It was a very pleasant time with Matt’s co residents and staff. I was feeling very stressed because of decisions to make about care for my mother and it was probably showing in my face, but Hidde said when he asked Matt later if he enjoyed the evening he had a big smile to indicate ‘yes’.

I had an afternoon shift on Friday and cancelled the booked shift on Sunday so that we could have a family meeting. It went quite well and I have been gradually feeling a little calmer since then.

Yesterday I worked a ‘swing shift’, starting at 12.00 and finishing at 6.00 p.m. Once again I did the cooking and a lot of washing up. We had an extra staff member who was doing an induction, which was helpful.

Today we didn’t go for a swim as we both found it difficult to get up early, but had a walk in the neighbourhood before a cooked breakfast at home. Very nice, with both of us in the kitchen.

On Wednesday 23rd Stephen came with me to see Mum. I dropped him in Mundaring to return a library book, then picked her up to do some banking and shopping in Mundaring and took Stephen back for lunch. We watched a movie in the afternoon and left at approximately 4.30 p.m.

Marie had mentioned about taking some photos of the interior of Mum’s house, which I did, but notice that the rooms were not particularly tidy. However, the overall lovely feel of the house means that it looks comfortably homelike.

Della sent me an email to ask how Stephen is going, so I sent her an update.

Catching up

Friday 11th I went with Stephen to the second session of our course with Gary Sigley on China at MARLA. Mum had an ACAT assessment with the social worker and Jamie attended. I did an overnight at one of the houses.

Saturday 12th we went down to Cottesloe for the Sculpture by the Sea at about 4.30 p.m. We found out on Sunday that Matt and Hidde had been there earlier in the afternoon. We found the sun a bit overwhelming, even that late in the day. We had a snack of Indian food before walking back to where we had parked in what we think of as the Beaches carpark. We saw the sunset, which lacked interest in a way because of the lack of clouds, but the beach glowed in the sun. Afterwards we went to Camelot and saw the movie Steve Jobs. I refused to see it earlier because I had found his biography excruciating. He seemed such an unpleasant man. But the movie managed to humanise him and I liked the structure of it which allowed a ‘plot’ to unfold in intriguing vignettes. Plus, of course, it was tracing some of my history with using Apple Macs, though it didn’t mention the Mac Classic II, which was my first love.

the sun, the gull, the sea and I
The sun, the gull, the sea and I
Taking off
Not everyone was there for the artworks

On Sunday it was very hot and we stayed at home, hunkered down. Even when Matt arrived it was still very hot outside. We put his left and right switches on and when nothing else was happening he turned his chair in circles in the middle of the family room. He seems to find it very relaxing. I took a video and asked him to change directions, which he was able to do with very little fuss. His left eye was a bit red, perhaps from hitting the lefthand button, he still prefers the right hand one.

Today I worked until 1.30 p.m. I had to go out in the heat with one of the ‘individuals’. I enjoyed the experience, but it wasn’t the hottest part of the day. At 6.20 p.m. it is still about 38 degrees – very hot!


Busy, but not that interesting

On Monday evening we took a walk around the neighbourhood. The photos aren’t that interesting, but show the character of our area. For example, we live in a street with trees, but they are a bit stubby.There are old houses, often weatherboard. The Post Office is an old building that has been restored. The addition of the creatures makes it a little more interesting.

Victoria Park leafy tree lined street (1 of 1)
Not the Western Suburbs
Victoria Park Post Office (1 of 1)
Black Swan, Red Kangaroo

On Tuesday I saw Mum. Jamie was there and we swapped stories until she was hungry. Jamie went home and we had frozen meals for lunch. After our rest we watched a movie. In the evening I dropped Stephen off at the station so he could catch a train to choir, then picked him up afterwards.

Wednesday I worked a new shift for me 12.00 noon to 6.00 p.m. It was at a house where I have worked a few times, but don’t know the routines all that well. I cooked the evening meal, and with help from the other person, worked a bit with the residents. They are all fairly easy. The shift is normally a 10.00 – 6.00 p.m., but being casual I was only offered the 6 hours. I have to say that it suited me well, thank goodness, as I have another one booked. Stephen cooked tea.

Today is not predicted to be as hot, but it is hazy and humid, which means we are only comfortable with air conditioning. Unfortunately March and April can be like this, we really can only rely on getting more comfortable weather in May.

The Wild Duck

Last night we went to the State Theatre to see an unusual version of the play. It was actually very enjoyable as it really focussed the vital elements of the play whilst giving it a contemporary Australian background and references. I love the theatre with it’s interesting lighting and spaces and rather intimate feeling auditorium.

We were going to catch the train in, but maintenance work was being done on our line, so we caught the replacement bus service. Quite interesting to see how it weaves around covering the stations. East Perth and McIver were covered without the bus actually going to the stations, but Victoria Park is well served with the bus running alongside the further side from the little car park. As before, we drove to the station. Stephen has registered his travel card to pay for parking, but we found that parking is free on the weekends anyway.

On Thursday I did a first shift at Spencer. It was relatively relaxed and I was delighted to find I was working until 8.30 p.m., not 9.30 as booked. Putting residents to bed is quite tiring, but that was the only really busy time. It was good to catch up with some of the great long term staff and residents.

On Friday I went up to Mum’s quite early and we went to St John of God, Midland for her appointment at the Aged Care falls clinic. She saw a nurse first of all to be weighed, etc., then we were offered cups of tea or coffee, which we accepted. She brought us biscuits as well, then some tuna sandwiches, so we were well fed and watered by the time we saw the doctor. He did a very comprehensive assessment of Mum’s circumstances and physical abilities. He was young, and tried to engage Mum in everything. She coped well even though the appointment went on for about an hour and she had a headache by the end. He made sure she had water and was able to take some headache tablets.

She was also to have blood tests, followed by a CT scan and chest X-Ray. Again, she coped really well considering she was tired. We then had a light lunch and went home. I had a sleep and when I got up, Jamie was there and told me that Mum came over on Thursday and asked if she could move into the granny flat as soon as possible. She did not mention this when we were speaking with the doctor at the hospital, which was a bit frustrating for me. Jamie has also arranged for a real estate agent to see the house and give a valuation with a view to selling it. Again, moving fast, and he did not discuss this with the rest of us first.

Anyway, it does solve the problem of Mum living on her own. Marie plans to see her tomorrow, Monday, and may be there when the agent comes to do the valuation.

Today I’ve had a headache all day and stayed in bed, mostly sleeping. But Matt is coming to tea, so time to get up and be ready for him. Stephen will cook spaghetti for tea, his special dish for about 40 years as we found out from Jane.

The featured image is of Stephen on the balcony at the State Theatre showing the Horseshoe Bridge and roof of the station.


Tuesday and Wednesday

Yesterday we went for a swim in the morning, then had breakfast at the Riverton Bridge cafe. We often think of Stephen’s father when we are there as he came to the old version of the cafe, before all the upgrading. It was a very attractive place to have coffee even then.

We did some shopping on the way home. Stephen went to WASO Chorus in the evening. Although he is thinking of pulling out of the concert (rather than risk having a fit on stage), he wants to continue with the chorus until he has the assessment for this year. It is done in small groups and the more people take the assessment, the better it is for those who take it. I picked him up at 9.30 p.m.

This morning we tried to ring Mum before I left, then Stephen tried at 9.30 a.m. when I was on my way. She is now going to the back area to have her cigararettes and I think she doesn’t hear the phone. Anyway, she was cross that I was late to take her to the appointment and I was cross that she hadn’t cross checked her little weather station which gives the day and date with her calendar, which would have let her know that it was only Wednesday and the appointment is not until this Friday. I also found that she was not wearing the personal alarm that I set up for her last week.

After some cross words we decided to put it behind us and went out to get petrol and something tasty for lunch. We watched the movie ‘Cast Away’ and enjoyed the drama and suspense of our hero living on a desert island.

It’s not clear to me whether Mum will actually wear the personal alarm. I am also wondering what will happen on Friday morning, whether she will actually get herself ready.

The featured image was taken on my iPhone and processed into B&W using a Lightroom filter. I love this sign, so quirky and so Victoria Park!

At the writers festival recently I went to a talk about writing crime fiction.  I decided to give all the writers a tryout by reading one of their books. There was a trilogy on offer by Peter May, and after beginning the book I was completely taken over and read very quickly through the first and onto the second. I also found out about his book of photos from the Outer Hebrides (not taken by him, but giving his experiences on the islands and using photos by one of his former colleagues). It was a long download even on our fast NBN because of the high quality photos.

Thanks to Peter Croft, I know how to export my WordPress blog as a word document, which I can then use as the basis for a book. Peter May’s book gives me some ideas for how to go about creating something that is interesting and visually stunning. My own photos may not match, but I think the story of our journey and many of the places we visited are also very interesting if presented well. I’m planning on giving it a go, using iBooks Author to create digital book.