A first night in China

Today confirmed for us that flying internationally is a special kind of awfulness. Long waits in queues, uncomfortable economy seats and lack of sleep- just a normal day. But it does feel worth it now that we are finally here.

I rang Matt to let him know we had arrived. We had a rather nice taxi driver coming in from the airport, Stephen and he talked using his smattering of English and Stephen’s first ventures in speaking Chinese here. He’s much braver than me.

I’m not sure why WordPress is working tonight, but it is another nice thing that has happened. Our hotel is a short walk from the main train station, but our agent said we had to go to the other one to pick up our tickets for tomorrow. The receptionist suggested we try this station first and it worked.

So, being very tired we were grateful that it was so relatively easy. We had dinner at a rather grand restaurant here at the hotel. The meal was simple and not expensive and we were the only guests.

We bought a little pack of milk to go with tea bags brought from home for my cuppa in the morning. We also brought herbal tea bags with us and a little pack of Oreos from the shop meant we could enjoy a very nice supper.

I think we will sleep well. Our train leaves at 10.00 am tomorrow, but we are supposed to get there an hour early, which means we will have to get up early to get there. Unfortunately is the further station where we catch our train to Qufu. My brain isn’t working very well tonight.

Out of Home Adventures: back to base

Monday April 6, 2018

Our night at the beach was interesting. We had a couple of drunk/drug affected young women having a verbal fight outside. At one point, one of them banged with her hand on the van, demanding that we call the police. I asked what was wrong, and they took the fight further away. At one stage, I saw the woman from the other motorhome approach one girl as she was preparing to go down to the beach. She was trying to encourage her to not sleep on the beach. We noticed in the morning that they had an air mattress and lots of rugs, so not really roughing it, though the evening was quite cool.

One of the girls settled down in her car to sleep again in the morning, just as well as she still did not appear to be in a condition to drive. When I spoke with the neighbour she said there were three of them, one male, intending to sleep on the beach. We didn’t know that people did that sort of thing.

Another van came in before we went to bed, then another later, so that meant there were four vans spending the night in that car park. It was fairly hopping at 7.00 a.m., with surfers, fisherfolk, walkers – some with dogs and some with prams.

morning light (1 of 1)

I noticed that some were carrying coffees, and went to get one for myself.

We took our time having breakfast and packing up. By the time we were ready to leave at about 10.00 a.m. we were fortunate to have two small cars either side. Getting out was tricky, but it would have been impossible in the small carpark with larger cars beside us. There is a turn around loop, which also makes it easier for cars and vans to exit.

sunrise over the Winnie (1 of 1)

Arriving home always feels an anticlimax. The house felt strange, with an unfamiliar smell. A giant crane was looming in the sky in the building site behind the house. We could see it from quite a distance as we were coming in to land.


We spent yesterday unloading most of our stuff. Although we are going to Fairbridge on Friday this week we won’t need most of the food, etc. I want to start fresh, with clean floor rugs, etc.

Today we did shopping and I sent six tins of formula to Della in China. I had purchased four already, in two lots of two, and only needed two more. We also had some more unloading to do.

This evening Matt came to tea. He didn’t seem to care for the main course, but I had bought a sort of mousse trifle from Coles, and he ate most of the tub, with Stephen and I having small tasters. Here he is, full of mousse – especially since he had a couple of small tubs of mousse as well – just to fill in the cracks.


I put a clean clothes protector on after he finished eating. I’m quite proud of the two I have made, although it is very easy using hand towells and left over cloth from tilda workshops cut on the bias for the neck and ties.

Out of Home Adventures: Day 27

Saturday 14th April, 2018

The gig on Friday night went well. Eversley realised that it was less about homelessness and more about a music assignment for UWA students. It made it more enjoyable to think about it that way.

This little group of musicians look like students. The different instrumental and choir groups were at separate stations along a route from Hay Street Mall, along Barrack Street, then via Murray Street and down to the staging area at Forrest Place.

There was quite a cold wind and we remained rugged up well whilst we waited.

Pam’s generic protest bag, good for all rallies!

Bernard Carney suggested we go for a drink and a meal afterwards and Rob recommended a little underground pub on the corner of Hay and Barrack Street that was perfect. Eversley, Stephen, myself, Rob and Rita and Mike and Lesley joined the Carney’s.

We had made our way into town by bus, had lunch at a food hall and did some shopping. Whilst we were having afternoon tea at the gallery cafe we met up with Pam, accidentally. Everyone in our little group went home by train, just on different lines. Eversley had bought her car to the station car park and drove us home.

This morning we got up late and had a late checkout. It has been sunny and cool. We did some shopping at Farmer Jacks in Gwelup before coming to Trigg Beach for lunch. We decided to stay for the sunset and had dinner here. As we were about to leave to go back to our safe spot in Victoria Park we were approached by a couple from Queensland. They were planning to free camp in our parking area. We decided to join them, and if we were kicked out, at least we would have company. There is quite a lot of street lighting and CCTV cameras. There are toilets nearby, very basic, but will do for number 2s if necessary. I really like the idea of waking up at the beach tomorrow morning. The waves are quite loud at the moment.

Good fishing here, I guess.

Out of Home Adventures: Day 26

Friday 13th April – Gwelup

We enjoyed having Matt visit us at Roleystone on Sunday again. Tin, unfortunately, forgot we were at Roleystone and took him to Merton Street. No one was there, and we told Matt that if our guests had been home he would have been in for a treat as Michael is a very good cook. Still, he enjoyed his dinner – or at least, ate all of it – might have been just hunger!

We asked Marie and Geoff if we could stay a bit longer, and they agreed. Stephen had worked out the bus/train details for getting to the doctor’s surgery for more bandage changes and getting to choir. It was also easier for me to go with Marie to see Mum on Wednesday, rather than packing up the Winnie to drive to Greenmount.

Yesterday morning it was very wet, and after we had packed up we had to wait about half an hour for the rain to stop so that Stephen could do the umbilicals (power, water and waste water hoses). We managed to get away at about 12.00 and took the highways to Gwelup, rather than going via Graham Farmer Freeway. Our GPS took us down a nearby street, and as Eversley was picking us up, it would have been good of me to let her know as her GPS took her that way as well. We found a little vegetarian place near where the choir now rehearse in Hay Street. They will add a little beef or chicken to the dishes for extra money.

We still have a lot of chocolate left over from our travels and took some along as a small contribution to the supper. We are once again in a Union building, and although there are teething problems, it is a very good location for Stephen and I and we would would happy for it to continue. The union have said that we can use their tea/coffee, biccies and milk if we like. Our supper person will be away next Thursday and she suggested that instead of someone taking over, we should just use what is there. In our usual democratic way, we all thought this sounded a good idea.

The caravan park is fairly discretely hidden behind a wall. This suburb is really going ahead with lots of two story houses on small blocks, yet there is the lovely stretch of lakes and wetlands, and a large golf course, providing lots of green. The caravan park itself is leafy and green with a couple of small ponds and lots of birdlife. The pitches are reasonably well spaced and we have a large one where we have parked on an angle to try to get level.

pond (1 of 1)

We got to choose our spot and could have been overlooking the pond, but we chose to be a bit further away because of the nearby children’s playground. There is a large camper’s kitchen and some ensuite toilets/showers a short walk away. There are three dump points and we are fortunately located quite close to one of them.

We have had some sunshine this morning, but it is mostly cloudy. Staff are using leaf blowers at the moment, so after putting out the washing to dry I brought it back and put it out of the way in the shower recess. The things are mostly dry, just feel a bit cold.

We are nearly at the end of this adventure and I would be feeling very sad, except that we will be setting off next Friday to go to Fairbridge. We will keep the Winnie at home until after Fairbridge, then take her up to Roleystone for a two month rest.

We had our first choir rehearsal with Working Voices last night with Mike and Lesley. It was really enjoyable to have Mike conducting us again. He is being paid for Thursday nights, but refused to let us pay for his extra time when they went to the Wednesday night rehearsal at UWA, and for going with us to the Homless rally tonight. Horrible to feel that we are just not that comfortable with Raelene even though she has been with us for a couple of years now. She is already objecting, via email, to the choir’s choice of songs for Mayday, yet it is our choir and we know what our audience likes. The Mayday event isn’t a concert for us to perform at, we are there to provide support for the unions in their fight for workers’ rights.

We had a lovely time staying with Marie and Geoff and really enjoyed our time of being ‘carers’ for Glenn. He was on absolutely his best behaviour, even when I reminded him about tablets and injections, etc. We went out to the nearby Chinese restaurant on our last night, and although having him with us meant we would need to leave the restaurant more or less immediately after the meal, we still wanted him to be a part of the farewell. We had Banquet No. 2 and had enough leftovers for a little box each. Stephen and I had ours for lunch yesterday. We were very hungry and it was good to have a have meal easily prepared shortly after we arrived.

We feel that we could easily do it again – we really only had three days without Marie and Geoff being there for at least part of the time. As parents of a man with disabilities who has trouble communicating, having an able bodied man with good communication skills felt relatively easy. However, his schedule of outings is complicated, with different money needs each day, and there is still a lot of work involved in his care for Marie and Geoff. They also take him away for holidays with them quite often. Having diabetes is an added layer of complexity.

We also have Mum’s problems adding to our stress. Of course, it is relatively easy now that she is in care, but because we see her often we are still affected by her unhappiness and anti social behaviour in the nursing home. She is paying a lot of money to being in care, so we should feel justified in letting them manage the problems.

Today we plan to go into town during the afternoon by bus and train, and Eversley will take her car to the train parking area so that we don’t have to worry about getting home again. The public transport is much better at the Ascott caravan park, but we wanted to experience being in the Gwelup area and it gives us a chance to catch up with Eversley.

We are having quite a lazy morning, with time for a bit of music practice and for me to catch up on this blog.

We’ve had an updated itinerary, which is still a draft, for the choir tour in China and I am getting quite excited to be going. We are mostly going where we have been before, but as we have done quite a bit of travel in China that is perhaps inevitable. Still, I am looking forward to going to those places again.

I’ve decided on a very light camera/lens combination which will be easy to carry, and have still to make up my mind about which laptop to take. I’ve got a very light, rather under powered one, that puts me into dongle hell as it only has one port, or there is my old 13″, with two USB ports, a HDMI port, and an SD card reader, in other words, with lots of lovely ports. It is a little heavier, but less complicated. The older laptop is a late 2012 model, but has a beautiful screen and is pretty fast due to the 1 TB SSD upgrade we did a few years ago.

I could, of course, just use my ipad with an external keyboard – but I know I will want to have an actual computer, especially once we are in England and staying in an apartment.

Best to publish this now, I am rambling and getting rather boring!




Out of Home Adventures: Day 20

Saturday in Roleystone

Glenn really looked forward to his outing on Friday night. He spent the afternoon listening to music and getting in the mood. When he came home he was still ‘up’, but we couldn’t hear him once we went over to the Winnie to go to bed.

This morning we did some shopping for cold meat and salad, which we had tonight for tea, and some food to cook for tomorrow night when we have Matt. About 3:30 pm I looked up local attractions and found a dam (Churchman Brook Dam) about 10 minutes drive from here. Stephen can’t walk very far, but we enjoyed the views and walking around the picnic area. Glenn had been out trekking around in the morning and didn’t feel like coming with us.

At tea time I set up the salads and he was able to choose what he liked of the cold meat and salads. We had some potatoes, taking advantage of the big bag he brought home on Wednesday.

The best thing about the outing was when I overshot our destination and as we were searching for a place to turn around we came across an echidna. It checked that we were definitely stopped before walking delicately across the road. I couldn’t take a photo as I was the driver.

Out of Home Adventures: Day 19

Friday at the Dome

Marie and Geoff left on Wednesday as planned. We had a nice evening with Glenn as he came over to remind us about the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and we watched it together. He had soup and bread for tea, we had scrambled eggs and salad (his choice).

Stephen was having some problems with his foot and dropped in to see his GP on Wednesday. He was given some advice and ointment and anti histamines. Yesterday morning his foot was swollen up, very puffy underneath. We applied peas (frozen), which helped a bit, but he decided he needed to go back to the GP. I wanted to pick up a lens in the city, so we parked in Victoria Park where I caught the bus and he went to the appointment.

They discovered a blister, possibly caused by one toe folding over the other. He hobbled out with a bandage and antibiotics. We went to a cafe so that he could eat, then went home. I had let Glenn know what we were doing and we went out after he returned from his morning outing. He apparently spent the afternoon resting and watching cartoons.

In the evening I cooked savoury mince in the big frying pan, using a chicken noodle soup as the flavouring. Stephen liked it and Glenn said it was quite good.

Glenn went off this morning early to have breakfast. We have been locking up the house overnight and I opened up when I heard him, apparently talking to himself. We were awake, but having our first cup of tea in bed.

We locked up and came down to Gosnells so that Stephen could catch the 220 bus, the only bus that goes through to Victoria Park on Albany Highway. The dressing will either be changed or taken off today at the clinic.

The featured photo was taken around sunset (in Roleystone) at ISO 2000. Attractive even if it isn’t very sharp. It was processed in Snapseed on the ipad.


Out of Home Adventures: Day 13

Easter Monday

We enjoyed meeting up with our exchangees at our home for a meal. They are very interesting. They are appreciative of what Perth has to offer and have been out riding bikes, even in the heat. Michael is an excellent cook and it was interesting to see what someone had made of our kitchen facilities. We hope to get the recipte for the desert, a sort of fruit tart, with interesting and complex flavours and textures.

We stayed in the same place near the railway line overnight, and were easily able to persuade ourselves to have a swim in the morning. There are no parking restrictions on Saturday and we stayed a bit longer than last time. The weather was cool when we first got down to Perth on Friday evening. We parked up in the Carlisle shopping area and went for a walk to enjoy the sunset and moonrise. There was less of a breeze later in the evening, but once we switched off the lights and opened the curtains there was enough of a breeze to be comfortable sleeping.

We went shopping at the Swansea Street Markets, then went to McCallum Park to have lunch and a rest. At about 3.00 p.m. we rang the house, and went to see Matt. Hidde was there, and we sat outside with most of the residents, enjoying chatting and relaxing. Matt was relaxed, sitting with his legs crossed and holding my hand. We left as they were having the evening meal. We ran into Scott who was working at another house and who was interested in the Winnie. It meant we were a bit later getting back to Roleystone, and probably took a bit of a risk (roos) coming up the hill.

We have been going a slightly different route, and followed this on the way home. Unfortunately it meant stopping on a steep slope at a give way sign. This is where I found it impossible to do a hill start. This is the first time it has happened, but perhaps we have not been on such a steep slope. The Winnie makes a slow start normally, building up to being quite powerful in due course.

We put the hazard warning lights on so that cars would go around us and I rolled the Winnie back down the hill. Another driver came beside us to see what the problem was, and offered to help us get through the intersection by waving us through. A good samaritan indeed. I had to keep going and feel I didn’t thank him properly, but we made it home safely. I panicked a bit when we were having problems, but rolling back down the hill solved the problem and if I hadn’t had help I would have turned around and gone back to our normal route.

Sunday morning I did quite a lot of washing and as it was a fine, sunny day, was even able to get some sheets washed and dry on the outside line. I have lots of airers with clean clothes on them. It will be a task for tomorrow to put them away.

We went for a walk Sunday evening and I took three photos. This morning I went with Marie and Glenn to Armadale shopping centre. I bought a new induction cooktop to trial, the Phillips one I have is very difficult to control and I end up with water everywhere or burning cabbage – it gets too hot and won’t let me take charge. We had lunch at a Spanish cafe in the big shopping centre. Our waitress knows Glenn as he sometimes goes there with someone from his agency.

flowers (1 of 1)

nuts (1 of 1)