Our normal life

We made our way back to the Como Ukelele group on Saturday. We caught up with Helen, who ran a group at the Rod Evans Centre when it was operating, plus people that now attend Trinity School for Seniors. I found the beginners half hour quite easy, checking my chords via the person next to me who had a ‘cheat sheet’ on her lap. After that, it was hit or miss. We didn’t find the afternoon tea as fabulous as in the past, but the catching up with friends was worth going for and we left after the break.

We have one set of exchangees coming in mid April. They mentioned that their daughter has a show in the Perth Fringe Festival, and we went along, partly as a courtesy and partly because it gave a focus to checking out the festival atmosphere. It was a one woman show, with poetry and story telling, very clever in having overlapping funny and serious parts which could have been difficult to keep track of, but she gave us help. I think she is very talented as an actor and the 50 minute stint showed extraordinary stamina on her part. We didn’t go to anything else, but wandered back to catch our bus. As we passed through the station we ran into Bernard and Eleanor who were also sampling the Fringe. They had friends from England with them.

We had a bit of a wait for our bus, and it was interesting that after Northbridge, Wellington Street was compartively quiet with only a few people about, one or two of whom were quite noisy.

I took a few photos, but should have used a faster lens as the photos were blurry due to slow shutter speeds. Next time…

We had a lovely evening with Matt. His wheelchair isn’t working properly and I sent an email suggesting it needed work. Glenda, who must sit on her phone, got back to say that it is booked in tomorrow for repairs. She also included an email from someone from Matt’s house who said she always gives Matt a chance to drive his chair and finds him very keen, despite the difficulty.

When Matt was trying to switch on the dishwasher I came in and offered to help. Suddenly, he was able to do it on his own, almost as if he had been playing with us. We gave him lots of praise.

I asked his taxi driver whether he could drive Matt to Roleystone, and he said he would be willing to do it. Matt’s concession fare would work for most of the journey, with a bit of a top up. Good to know as we will be houseless in a few weeks when our exchangees come to stay here.

This morning we went down to South Beach for a swim and breakfast. It was partly cloudy and about 23 degrees, not usually good beach weather, but somehow the whole experience was lovely. After our swim (cold at first, but we acclimatized), we ordered a Beach Breakfast and two plates. Even for two people it was a big breakfast, but it was 10.00 a.m. so we were quite hungry. We walked along the path for a little while before driving home. It’s very close to Fremantle town and port, yet is very peaceful, even on a busy Sunday morning.

South Beach (1 of 1)

If you look closely you can see Stephen in the water. We took turns so that someone could keep an eye on our stuff.

Stephen all at sea (1 of 1)

The white cliff on Garden Island was lit up through a break in the clouds.

White cliff (1 of 1)

South Beach 3 (1 of 1)

South Beach 4 (1 of 1)

We could see people walking their dogs.

After Matt left we watched ‘Search for the Wildepeople’ on SBS On Demand. They kept adverts to a minimum and it was a pleasure to watch. A gentle ‘feel good’ movie that kept us totally involved throughout.

I remembered to switch the camera setting to catch a summary of the day. Very shaky video unfortunately. The bit at the end is Stephen crushing a cool drink bottle to put into recycling.




Thursday and Friday

Yesterday I went to see Mum with Marie. We stayed until lunchtime. I tried to show her some of the photos from our trip south, thinking she might be interested in places like Esperance, where she had family holidays when she was a child, and Ravensthorpe where her parents lived for a few years. I didn’t have the attachments to link the iPad to her TV and must make sure I can do it next time. She was interested and she remembered staying in Esperance at a boarding house and how beautiful it was with cliffs and ocean.

In the evening we went to the Vic Park Hawkers Market. There were fewer stalls, but enough to be enjoyable. One couple in our party had grandchildren with them and they spent time at the little animal farm and bouncy castle. After sunset it was chilly, with people putting on cardigans and jumpers.

This morning we went to East Perth where we gather every year for a sausage sizzle breakfast in the park with Jeff Carroll and as many friends as he can rustle up. It is his birthday, this year the 75th, and one of his sisters organised a birthday cake. We enjoyed talking with some of the people we meet there each year.

I dressed in coverup gear, jeans, shoes and socks, and a long sleeved cotton shirt, and felt confident of being in the open air without worrying about the UV. Mind you, the trees are gradually providing more and more shade each year as we go there.

I felt like staying in the open air afterwards, so Stephen suggested we go to the Kent Street Weir for a coffee. So, we did. They were only open until 12.00, and gave away muffins for us to take with us, I suppose as a sort of apology for closing early. But I don’t think anyone minded as the staff had been there since early morning and it would give them a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Some photos from Kent Street Weir. There is a new weir, it looks very strong indeed, almost as though they imagine a strong river that occasionally floods.

There is a reasonable flow of water.

We always have a photo with Stephen in it.

Canoeing is popular here.

My camera has a little trick, similar to Live Photos on the iPhone, where it takes a small amount of video before capturing the still photo, then compiles a little video of the day’s photos. The camera has to be set to automatic and it only captures JPEG, not RAW. It seems like a good idea for when we are travelling as it would make a summary of the day of sightseeing. It will help if I hold the camera steady! I’ve found the digital level which can displayed onscreen when taking photos and video which may help me with taking level shots.

Repair list for Winnie

The featured image is from our trip south, one of the many photos I took from our walks in the Stirling Ranges National Park. Remembering.

We dropped the Winnie off with Ken Peachy this morning. They were unable to quickly release the deadlock on the door. The following is my list of things for them to look at:


With paint chips on the bonnet, Jason said he will contact a friend down the road to come to have a look and give us a quote. The grey water hose and loose screw on the top panel are easily fixed, but we may have to wait for a new deadlock for the door. I asked about getting rid of some stains on the body of the Winnie, which are still there after our cleaning. Jason said that it is safe to use cream cleanser.


I haven’t yet cleaned the interior of the Winnie, apart from a quick clean I did at our last stopover on the road. We have had various tasks in the mornings, which are usually the only time when it is cool enough to work in the Winnie. I could use the airconditioner, but would rather work with windows and doors open.

We went for a swim yesterday morning, which made an excellent start to the day, though Stephen felt pretty tired afterwards, and didn’t go to choir in the evening. We are trying to schedule a regular day, Mondays will work until Trinity School for Seniors starts in a couple of weeks. It also depends on whether Stepher is going to try to work on two languages at once, German and Mandarin. If he drops the German we can continue to go Monday mornings which has worked out in previous years as being a good choice.

I posted 6 tins of level 4 milk formula to China for Yaxuan and bought a new sunscreeen for the Subaru. Our old one has been gradually falling apart.

Stephen has been sorting out his study and has a few bags of stuff to take to Good Sammies. I added a few things this morning. I still have lots of sorting to do. I’ve made a list this morning, but probably need to break it down into smaller steps. Otherwise, its hard to get started.

I’m keeping the sewing machine set up ready to go in my study, but haven’t yet done my next task, which is to take up the hems on my jeans. That is on my list of tasks as well.



Summer evening outings

Yesterday we went to St George’s Cathedral at 5.00 to hear a special summer school choir performing at Evensong. Before the service, I noticed that the modern stained glass windows were throwing coloured light onto the walls and ironwork.

Stained glass 2

Stained glass windows St Georges

Although it was quite a warm day it wasn’t too bad in the church. We have been there after a day of 40 degrees and it can be horrible, but there was a slight cool breeze in the city. We were easily able to park in Hay Street near to the walkway through to the cathedral. The square now has picnic tables set up and it is a very attractive area.

The music was lovely and the service lasted just one hour, as it should. There was a sermon (groan), but it was short and really just helped with some background to the bible readings. We were heading up to Kings Park to go to the Moonlight Cinema afterwards and didn’t have time to stay for supper.

We went to a Subway on the way back to the car to pick up a foot long sub to eat at the cinema. I received an email saying that there would be no hot food at the venue, but in fact, there was simple food being served.

Eversley had gathered a few of us there to celebrate her birthday and see the film ‘Sweet Country’. We had our low chairs and brought along some chocolate to share. Other people also brought some food. The movie was very serious, but well done and I felt made a worthy contribution to a birthday celebration. We had an Aboriginal elder with us, but he left quickly at the end before we had a chance to ask him what he thought. It was less gruelling for us to watch than we had feared, but we didn’t know how it would be for him.

evening kings park.jpg
the Moonlight Cinema is close to the Zamia Cafe and children’s playground
bean bag culture
there are bean bags for hire in case you want to stretch out
Eversley and friends.jpg
Eversley and some of her friends

This morning we woke a bit late to go for a swim, so decided to start on cleaning the outside of the Winnie. We did two sides in the morning and the other two this evening after Matt arrived. He was quite happy to watch, and stayed outside with Stephen whilst I finished off preparing our meal. We had our first fast slow cooker meal this evening, very tasty as usual. I made the mistake of not taking the cooker when we went away. It is quite bulky and I thought of it a being a short trip, and not really necessary. I forgot that it really makes cooking very easy and doesn’t result in splatter in the kitchen. Note to self: always take it with us, even if for a few days.

We did our first shopping today as well, Monday seems to be a good day for shopping with very well stocked shelves. We were even able to get Matt’s Despicable Me Mousse.

When we were planning the three weeks away, with my wish to visit Esperance, the Stirlings and the Porongerups, I was a bit worried that it would feel rushed and that we might not get to go everywhere. In fact, we had time to stay and enjoy places we were visiting and even go to Denmark for three nights. The three weeks holiday felt like quite a long time.

Of course, I love being away from the city, but Stephen always likes to get back to all of his city life activities. He always seems to have so much energy, as for example, going to church before going to the movie last night, packing things in. We were far more relaxed when we were away. Ie was glad to get back for the wedding, to meet up with Marie and Geoff, and to celebrate Eversley’s birthday. Seeing Matt again feels really good.

I also enjoy our neighbourhood. If we have to live in the city, this is a good place to be. The only thing that would make it better would be to have our very own driveway so that we could keep the Winnie parked at home. Our neighbours are still away at the moment and it is so convenient to have it parked outside our house where we can get things done.

We have finished off the evening with fruit and icecream, peppermint teas and chocolate.

A family wedding

We had a quiet day, thinking about what would be happening in the afternoon and evening. The forecast was for a warm day of 34 degrees, and we were hoping for a sea breeze in Baldivas where the wedding was to be help. There was a breeze, but with chairs for guests located in the sun, only the brave sat down. It was an unplugged wedding, which meant we could all enjoy the ceremony and leave the photography up to the two photographers.

After family photos Marie and Geoff came back to our place. We discussed what would be happening when our first exchangees come in mid March, including Glenn’s routine. The plan is that we will stay and keep him company whilst Marie and Geoff go off for a few days. The routine sounds complicated when you haven’t done it, but Marie will write it out and I think it will come naturally as we do it. Glenn will be able to keep us up to scratch as well.

We met up with old acquaintances, Robyne’s friends and Chris’s family, as well a some of Adrian’s family. Turns out that that Vicki from Quaranup days, who is his Aunt. We sat with Vicki and Rob and it was lovely to have an old and new connection with them. Guests were seated to split up family groups, but we did some wandering around between speeches and courses to catch up with each other.

The featured photo is of the sunset from the entry to the Pagoda Ballroom where the reception took place. Marie went out to take a look and then got me as she thought I would want to see/photograph it.

I was impressed with Robyne in her role as sole parent for the ceremony, walking Caitie down the aisle, making the speech, and having the first dance with her daughter. The speech by the bridesmaid in chief was also very good, witty. A few goals for the women’s team indeed! I was imagining that it also made Cait and Robyne very aware of Chris’s absence on the day.

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One little photo of the bride and groom entering the restaurant. I’m looking forward to seeing their wedding album.


Stephen talking with Richard, Cait’s uncle on her father’s side.

Geoff took these photos, first of the aunties in rather similar colours, then of us with Robyne, the three sisters. Thank you Geoff.

Adrian’s brothers had roles in MCing and organising the music. There was a ‘wishing well’ and I put our card and the envelope with our gift of money as separate items into it, to make the actual amount anonymous. I don’t know if other people did this. We also took photos of ourselves in an instant camera, put the photos in an album, and wrote messages, as a way of having a record of who came to the reception.

We did a little dancing at the end. We left when things still seemed to be in full swing. We weren’t tired then, but I knew I would be tired when I got home. I went straight to bed, whereas Stephen read for a while. I’ve felt under the weather today, I had more to drink than usual just by sipping throughout the evening, and suspect I have a hangover. Still, it was a special occasion, and worth it.

Adrian’s grandmother was at the wedding and reception and stayed until quite late. Good stamina and showing us younger folk the way. I imagine that of everyone Cait and Adrian must be the most tired today.

First full day at home

We have felt a bit strange today, getting used to being back in the house. Stephen and I both had the same thought, to try sleeping in the van on our own to see if it felt luxurious to have the double bed to ourselves. I was the one who actually did it last night. I didn’t have to deal with the room feeling stuffy compared to being in a room with roof hatches and windows on two sides which makes it very airy. I didn’t really feel I had a great deal more room in the bed sleeping on my own, I still prefer to have Stephen there. I was woken up by the machinery next door. They are still digging and getting rid of huge amounts of earth which is taken away in trucks.

We’ve taken all of the food, including stuff like tea bags, out of the van because of the hot weather ahead. I’ve washed all of the linen and our clothes. Stephen spent time sorting out his study and I put away my camera gear. We haven’t done much, but I feel that a few things have been accomplished that I can tick off the list!

We went over to the Hawkers Market in the evening. Our friend from the choir has introduced us to her friends who live locally and often come on Fridays. She wasn’t there, but we were able to join the group and enjoyed catching up. It is a nice way to feel connected with our local community.

It’s always interesting to go around to the stalls and choose different types of food. It’s very much a family evening, with a bouncy castle and DJ playing music, a bit too loud at times and lots of kids.

I wore this post late at night, and have had to go back and edit in the morning.

South: Brookton to home base

We took time on our way from Brookton to Roleystone to stop at a couple of places. The first was the Jelcobine Rest Area, a large area that may be used for free camping.

Jelcobine Rest Area

The second was Christmas Tree Well which is day use only. By the time we got there the cloud had broken up with some sunny spells.

Christmas Tree Well

We called in to see Marie and Geoff in Roleystone. They read the blog, so know our news, it was a chance to see how they were going. We stayed for a couple of hours, then drove home.

We can keep the Winnie on the driveway for another week until our neighbours return. We have it booked in to have the lock repaired on Wednesday next week. We will also get them to look at our latest water leak – grey water – which we noticed this morning in Brookton.

We have done some sorting out, but we are tired and not working very hard😀

South: Cuballing to Brookton

This place is our launching pad for the last day of travel. G, our house sitter, was kind enough to stay an extra night as we had originally planned to arrive home last night. We’ve been enjoying the journey and the small villages on this Great Southern Highway. It is so quiet compared with Albany Highway, without the anger and pushiness of drivers there.

The humidity was very high when we arrived and we used the airconditioning for a while. We walked around the oval admiring the clouds.

Overnight things shifted and we switched off the fan, closed the window next to the bed and brought out the doona. It’s quite cool this morning.

The caravan park is a council run park, with a discount for seniors, so we only paid $26 for the night for water and power, plus the ensuite style showers. Very nice! We can go back to free camping when the weather is cooler. There are quite a few options down this highway.

South: Cranbrook to Wagin for the night, then on to Cuballing for lunch

Yesterday was a peaceful day of travelling. We had morning tea in Katanning in a coffee lounge. Katanning has some beautiful old buildings, but somehow the overall effect is messy and ugly. Very interesting, in fact. We stopped for lunch in the village of Broomhill, our usual cheese sandwich.

We spent the night at the Wagin Showgrounds. They have a section for travelling RVs, and we had power and water for $12.00. A local man came to look at our tires and ended up talking with Stephen for approximately an hour. He unlocked the toilets and a shower for us to use. We looked him up and he is a local farmer and preacher who has contributed hugely to his community and won many awards.

It was very humid with a possible storm threatening and we used the air conditioning for a while. For the first time we couldn’t sleep under the doona, and had to use the sheet. I got up at one stage and put the airconditioning on for a short time, then used our fantastic fan to bring in cool air from outside as well as our normal fan to circulate the air. There was no breeze at all.

We had a less spectacular sunset despite the storm clouds around.

This morning we made a slow start, having showers in the van and lingering over breakfast. We have someone organising our Pre choir tour travel in China, and trying to get the price down. We are not used to paying $200 per night for hotels and buying the most expensive train tickets. More negotiating to happen before we sign off.

We stopped at Highbury to use the toilets and confirmed that overnight stays are possible. It is very pretty and the toilets are clean.

We arrived in Cuballing at lunchtime and turned into a side street to have a look at the beautiful little pub. We’ve ended up having lunch here.

There are at least three other restored old buildings here. Following are some photos inside the pub, including the ladies toilet, which made me gasp when I first walked in, it was so different to what I was expecting.

The photos don’t do it justice.