Food Street Victoria Park

So, this has been on my mind for a little while as we have been going to the Mackie Street Centre, especially in the evenings, walking back from choir practice. There are so many food and drink options starting from near the Causeway up as far as the Shepperton Road/Albany Highway intersection. There are shops that sell Asian style drinks, Asian style bakeries, cafes, restaurants and the most amazing array of food from different countries around the world.

If you are missing overseas travel because of the different food opportunities then come to our Food Street! It is amazing.

On Sunday night we were supposed to be joining other choirs for a Christmas Concert at one of our local private schools at the invitation of our choir director, David, who is a music teacher. The Mackie Street Singers are doing wonderfully under his direction and the choir is expanding, and we even have quite a few men. Stephen and I were all prepared and drove over to the school. It had begun to rain slightly before we left and we checked our emails, but no word on cancellation.

Only when we arrived were we sadly turned away. They had cancelled so recently that some of the animals were being brought in as we left. For the Nativity section, you understand. One donkey, several sheep and a few camels. Just to liven things up. The rain was still only fairly light, but we had heavier rain later and the following morning.

There were going to be food trucks at the Christmas Concert and we were in the mood for eating out.

That’s when we had the experience of actually looking for somewhere to eat. We chose purely on the food because the nice restaurant we checked out first had only rather starchy Italian food, which we didn’t fancy. There was live music, so it was disappointing.

But then, we found a Thai restaurant and although we are not vegetarian or vegan, the aspect and prices suited us. The decorations gave it a sort of Christmassy feel, certainly the colours were Christmassy, and there was music provided by a DJ in a special section at the front. There is a private room that can take 20 people and can be booked out for a group. The food was nice, perhaps a little too healthy, but the sticky rice and mango was delicious. If we had had a group we could have added some fried entrees, but for two of us it would have made too much food.

The point was, that there were so many options in just that small section of Albany Highway that we had an abundance of choices for both main meals and deserts.

We can enjoy an incredible variety of cuisines from around the world, all within walking distance of where we live. The world comes to us.

On a more sober note…

In the 5-6 km stretch of Albany Highway there are not only at least 100 cafes and restaurants, but three older style pubs that were built as hotels approximately 100 years ago , one undistinguished more recent pub and a bright new modern pub in the apartment building behind our house. There are two small, but useful shopping centres, one with a Coles and one with a Woolworths. At the Shepparton Road junction we have an Officeworks and a smallish Bunnings (hardware). There are many small speciality shops along the street as well, including one bookshop, kitchenware shops and newsagents. There are other, smaller supermarkets, an Aldi and an IGA. And there are still quite a few car yards, just in case that’s what you were really looking for.

All of this is unusual for a Perth suburb. Subiaco, Leederville and Mt Lawley have main streets with small sections like this stretch of Albany Highway and are better known, being in what are now quite ‘posh’ areas of Perth. Victoria Park is technically an inner city suburb, but on the ‘wrong’ side of the river to be fashionable.

We have two GP surgeries, a pathology collection point and radiology within a short walk from our house. Where we live has excellent bus services and there is a train service as well.

A future project could be to document what is actually available in different sections of Albany Highway and to take lots of photos.

Little Folk in the Forest 2020

We were delighted to be able to attend a small music festival in Dwellingup. Although they said they had a COVID-safe plan there was no social distancing and it’s the last time I can be with a group of people indoors feeling that there is little to no risk for us.

We started out on Thursday as we had a plan for Thursday evening. Stephen wanted to attend a Wildlower society meeting in Armadale and checked to see if we could stay in the car park overnight after the meeting. Being assured that it wasn’t specifically prohibited, we packed for the weekend and set out late on Thursday afternoon. Although the meeting room (on the edge of Settlers’ Common in Bedforddale) is just off Albany Highway we found it was a large gravel carpark with enough bush around to make it a pleasant environment.

The meeting included a presentation by a speaker who muffled his words, about orchid propagation. It was actually interesting so we were prepared to persevere with listening hard. The local Wildflower Society was made up of mostly older people and they had a sort of ‘show and tell’ of their latest finds in the bush.

There was also a supper and Stephen became so immersed in talking with someone that he forgot to get his warm jacket when he was leaving. I had left a few minutes earlier to walk the short distance ‘home’. Our host, the chairman of the group, told us that homeless people often stayed nearby. Throughout the meeting a radio was blaring across the carpark from what appeared to be a camping set up near some picnic tables.

I put in my ear plugs and turned on the fan to block out the noise to sleep. Pretty much straight away the radio was turned off and they weren’t needed. We actually had a very good night’s sleep and as we had plenty to time to get to Dwellingup we enjoyed a leisurely morning enjoying being in the setting and waiting for our host to come and open up so that Stephen could get his warm coat.

Apparently last year at the Folk in the Forest festival it was 45 degrees during the day. The rain started on Friday night and continued off and on for the rest of the weekend. Although we got quite muddy in the carpark Friday morning at Bedfordale, we were able to camp on leaves at Banksiadale which meant we only brought in lots of leaf matter, no so much mud. It wasn’t really cold, but cool enough that it was a good thing that Stephen had his warm jacket to wear.

There were about 14 current and former Working Voices Choir members at the festival and we got together to Bernard and Eleanor to sing a couple of Bernard’s songs during the blackboard session on Saturday afternoon. I found it a very emotional experience and feel very glad we were able to sing together again. Apart from that, there were other people we knew amongst the 120 people attending so it was a very comfortable experience in that sense.

There was a food truck and a bar, but we also ate our own food to keep costs down. We enjoyed spending a good deal of the time with Eversley who was staying in a backpacker’s room at the caravan park about 1.4 kilometres away. The gems of the concerts and presentations were not always what we expected. There was only one concert venue and we didn’t get a chance to look around much as we attended everything, including the bonfire Friday evening which blazed wonderfully despite the rain.

On Sunday we left late morning as Stephen had a dress rehearsal in the evening for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society Concert. We stopped for lunch at the North Dandalup Dam and were home in good time for him to get ready. We still hadn’t quite worked out how to fit the collar on his sailor suit, hence looking a bit odd in the photo.

I had a short Facetime session with Matt Sunday evening where we arranged to have a longer session with Dad tonight (Monday night).

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Days 8 & 9

Overnight near Toodyay

Back at homebase we are settling in. We watched some of the US election coverage this morning (Wednesday). It is a tight race.

After several hours at the Toodyay Bakery we went back to the van for a rest. Stephen checked with the Tourist Information Centre about a walkway along the river and it seemed interesting enough to persue. I drove to a spot further up the street from the Bakery which is one of the many access points to the river and we enjoyed a walk from close to the footbridge to one of the two road bridges across the river. It was cool with sunny spells and lots of cloud and made a perfect early evening walk.

We had our usual peaceful evening in the little overnight camping area on Toodyay Road. In the morning we saw parents dropping of school children to another car, plus the school bus.

On our way down the hill we had a short stop at the falls to give us a break before tackling the city traffic. It was midday when we arrived home and we had a cup of tea before commencing unpacking.

We went along to the Mackie Street Singers in the evening. We want to sing with the choir on Saturday night and we’ve only had a couple of previous rehearsals. We shall just have to do our best on Saturday as we don’t know the music well. Fortunately it is quite a large group of singers and has quite a few men so that Stephen doesn’t stand out any more than I do.

The Saturday night concert happens prior to an open air showing of the movie Young at Heart. We hope to have an audience of people picnicing on the grass before the movie. The original time for the sound check was 3.30 in the afternoon, but fortunately that has changed to 4.30 p.m. Stephen and I live close enough to go home afterwards until we meet for a warmup, but other choir members have been told that there will be drinks at the Bowling Club if they need a place to sit and wait.

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Days 7 & 8

The Wongan Hills Experience, a night in Goomalling and on to Toodyay

The main objective of the stargazing evening in Wongan Hills was in fact to see the full moon rise over the Wongan Hills. Despite wind, flies and cloud cover the event went ahead. We bought some steak from the local butcher to cook on the BBQ and had coleslaw salad sandwiches with it. There was quite good fellowship amongst the locals and visitors. Stephen did the cooking and was able to chat with other people over the BBQ.

When we had all cleared up we were invited to sit looking out to where the moon was rising (we couldn’t actually see it) and a local introduced the team of astronomers who had brought three telescopes and used onboard computers to align and track the moon. It turned out to be a very interesting evening as they were able to answer all of our questions (like ‘when will people next go to the moon’ and ‘when will people go to Mars’, etc. The evening had become quite chilly and we had to rug up.

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The moon shows up!

Of course, the moon eventually showed up with the clouds providing quite a lot of drama and short windows of opportunity to view it through one or other of the telescopes. Stephen was shown how to get photos on his mobile phone through the telescope, resulting in these three phoots.

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When I sat down for a bit to ease my sore feet a little girl in a dress who was not rugged up, worryingly, with bare arms, asked me ‘where is Dolly’. Her speech was a little unclear, but she and a couple of other small kids included me quite naturally in what they were doing (the little boy being rather annoying, but very cute). I put it down to them being country kids who expect all older women to be available as spare aunties and grandmothers.

Eventually we all decided to head home, leaving our astronomers to pack up the telescopes.

By then we had met Deborah a couple of times around the town and enjoyed chatting with her. She and her husband are retired farmers living in Hyden. They were on the tour we took this morning out to see the Reyoldsons Reserve to see the verticordias. We learned about the history of the area, rotational planting of crops and the history of the reserve. We have been out to this reserve a couple of times in the past, but found it very interesting to do the tour.

Then back to the community centre to look at the vintage cars on display and have our second Devonshire Tea of the weekend.

It was hot again on Saturday, but became progressively cooler during the afternoon. This morning was cloudy, which was good for our expedition to Reynoldsons Reserve as we didn’t have to contend with bright sun for photos. The bus trailed us as we walked around the reserve taking photos and enjoying the flowers. As we returned to town it began to rain and has been raining off and on for the rest of the afternoon. It’s slightly chilly as well.

We spent the night in the nearby town of Goomalling, famous for having the cheapest caravan park in Western Australia and $20 per night with electricity and water. As it’s cold and damp its comforting to have these things. We have stayed here before in our caravanning days and know it to be comfortable here with decent facilities. Not fancy, but clean. There is a large campers kitchen with all appliances.

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Monday November 2nd, 2020 at the Toodyay Bakery. Stephen reading the paper, me finishing off processing photos and adding them to this blog.

We are now about 80kms from home and doing something we have done before in spending one night near Toodyay before heading home, even though we could actually drive home today. Our re-entry into normal life will be demanding and having one more peaceful night will help.

It’s only 12 days to our next time away in the van at Folk in the Forrest in Dwellingup. There was an email this morning giving us some information on what to expect. This festival has been running for many years, but this is our first time.