Wandering around East Croydon

We find that little has changed since last year. A couple of different cafes. Fairfield Hall is still being renovated and looks awful, though it is supposed to be finished before we leave here in mid October.

Stephen is starting to think of activities for the next few days. We leave for France next Tuesday.

In general, we are adjusting well to the time difference. We slept from around 8.30 pm last night until 6.00 this morning. We rested for a while in the afternoon, but have not been too tired.

We went down town to get our English SIM cards, going with Three this time because we can use them without roaming charges in Europe. We have a bit of data, and also have a Vodafone SIM from home which has 100GB of data and can be used in England Europe for $5.00 per day. We also did a fairly large shop for food. We were amused that the young lady at the checkout thought it was a fairly healthy shop, given that we bought a bar of chocolate, a small fruit cake, and some McVities, as well as salads and fruit. We bought mince and have made a pot of spaghetti bolognese which will last us for a few meals.

We came home for lunch, a rest and some Wimbledon, then went for another walk to get our special rail pass that allows us a 30% discount on fares. We also topped up our Oyster cards.

We’ve been very fortunate in the weather so far, it is warm enough for summer clothes during the day and cool enough at night for sleeping.

We went to the library, which closed just as we arrived at 6.00 pm

Our apartment building

Time Travellers from Perth

We left Perth at about 10.30 pm last night and arrived at Gatwick Airport, London at about 12.30 pm today. As England has daylight saving we only go back in time seven hours. The featured image is a distorted version of a photo I took near Burswood, which suits our feelings of disorientation with the familiarity and strangeness of our travel.

We had a very uncomfortable 11 hour journey for the first leg, with no extra space, then a far more comfortable and enjoyable seven hour second leg. It might also be that travelling during the day is nicer. The sun rose as we were waiting to board our connecting flight in Dubai.

Our allocated seats were two next to a window, which they must have changed because it isn’t what we would choose because of being locked in by a third person. Fortunately there were spare seats and our third on the row decided to sit elsewhere. We were able to enjoy having a window and also being able to share the three seats. Much better for napping.

View of mountains with snow as we passed over Turkey. Or in that area anyway.

I think this was taken over Iraq.

We didn’t get photos of the White Cliffs of Dover because of cloud cover. The White Clouds of Dover? We are tired enough to think this is very funny.

We struggled a bit with our baggage and the train, but thanks to the kindness of various men who helped with lifting bags, we managed. Our train, the Gatwick Express, was cancelled due to a derailment, but we found that there were other trains making a first stop at East Croydon and we didn’t actually need it. There were no large baggage racks so all we travellers had to fit our baggage on a normal train. There was a bit of drama as the door wouldn’t open to let us out of the carriage at East Croydon, so I went ahead to the next available door and called out to the guard some distance away to hold the train so Stephen and another man could get our bags off.

We caught a cab from the station to our apartment building, a very short journey for him, but saved us a lot of drama. A young resident was leaving as we arrived and carried the heaviest case up the steps.

Gary has left us some basic food and has done a big cleanup of most of the stuff left here by various visitors. There are new curtains in the living room and the old iMac Stephen used on our first visit here has been restored. Stephen finds it very useful for planning our adventures.

Back to basecamp

15th June, 2018 Saturday

Yesterday morning we had a meeting with an RN from the Palliative Care Team at Regis and watched as Mum went through her end of life plan, a simple enough form, but very emotional for her (and us).

Geoff heated up pies for our lunch, very welcome as it is still quite wintry. We had a rest, then packed up the Winnie for going home. I think we arrived here at about 4.00 p.m. We now have about three weeks until we leave for England.

G, our housesitter and exchangee, has left most of his stuff here, at Stephen’s suggestion. He has put things out of the way, but the house felt alien and I retreated to the van. Not before doing three loads of washing, of course.

By not making up the bed I ensured that Stephen also spent the night in the van. We found our 10amp hookup a wee problem as we can only run one power intensive applicance at a time, but we managed. Stephen used the shower in the house and I used the one in the van. It was cold enough overnight for our down comforter to be very welcome. I thought it would be warmer here than at Roleystone, but it seemed about the same.

This morning my attitude has changed. First things first, I set up my laptop and hard drives on the dining room table to upload all of the photos from the trip to the cloud. Some uploading has happened, but I mostly disable it to preserve our data for watching movies and TV programs and listening to podcasts, as well as general internet usage.

Then, I made up our bed, bringing our down comforter to the bedroom. I’m not sure if we will need it in the house, but it’s lightness makes it very good for sleeping.

We still have a great deal to do, but have made a start. More washing is happening today, mostly linen from the van.

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Today’s photos are from our time in the Blue Mountains.

Status update

Wednesday 12th June, 2019

We have had the ‘big’ meeting re Mum’s treatment. The lovely doctor has confirmed that she is not a candidate for tests to confirm whether or not the cancer has spread, chemotherapy and an operation, but will instead take a medication which helps to shrink tumours. As well as involving us, he spoke directly with Mum, holding her hands as he told her she has cancer and that this is not a cure. Of course, she is fine about that, being philosophical about dying. She was having a good day, very on the ball, and it worked out well. We were anxious for about a month and a half about the meeting and are very grateful that it went off so smoothly. She keeps forgetting about the cancer, of course.

Stephen came along, travelling with Marie on the train. He came in handy to be in the waiting room and guiding Marie, then Robyne, on where to go. Robs had trouble getting parking, normally she is early to appointments.

The Winnie is still waiting on her spare part, which works out well for us as we haven’t had to drive down to Belmont to have her fixed. It would easier to wait until next week when we have moved back into our house so we are not concerned about the delay.

We had a successful evening with the Men of the West and the Brunswick Womens Choir last Friday night. Driving all the way back to Roleystone late at night wasn’t fun, but we got home safely. We had a few of days of getting up late and watching movies in the afternoon. We watched ‘On the basis of sex’, ‘Green Book’ and ‘The Favourite and found all of them enjoyable in different ways.

Yesterday was strenuous as we had the appointment, me driving to Regis and travelling to and from RPH in the ambulance with Mum. In the evening we went to Solidarity Park behind the Parliament building for a little memorial service for Bob Hawke. I didn’t get any photos and UnionsWA haven’t so far posted any photos of us on Facebook, though they have posted a few photos of the speakers. We had a meal at the Dome in Adelaide Terrace with Eversley and Ben, then back to Roleystone.

Today we have walked to Raeburn Orchards Cafe and confirmed that we can catch a bus back.

 

 

 

Home Again: Winnieleaks

Friday 7th June, 2019

We came home from Brookton on Wednesday morning, arriving at Iveco about 11.00 a.m. We left the van there and caught buses to our place to pick up our Working Voices stuff for the gig on Friday night, plus our car. We had lunch at the Mt Lawley Dome Cafe, then went to see Matt for a brief catchup visit. He was doing artwork, though probably not his favourite activity, yet at least its something different. We paid for four meals from his pop up bar which he will freeze and bring home on Saturday night to share.

Then we went back to pick up the van. We were assurred that all would be good, though we would only really know if we filled up the fuel tank. His words, meant in jest, echoed in my mind. We drove separately to Roly, then together up the Brookton Highway to fill up. Checking underneath, the fuel was absolutely pouring out.

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This puddle got bigger and bigger and we apologised to the service station staff.

We arranged to take the van back to Iveco in the morning, then drove back to Roly. We parked on the verge as there was still a strong leak. We had power piggy backed from Marie and Geoff’s van and spent the evening in the house, cooking tea, watching TV and having showers.

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leaked fuel under our van at Roly (on the verge)

In the morning we filled our water tank with a view to free camping in East Victoria Park overnight after choir. On arrival at Iveco our man was cross with his team for not solving the problem. We spent most of the day there, going to a nearby Gloria Jeans for lunch, but mostly sitting in their customer lounge. They worked out that the non standard fuel tank needs a special part to link it to the fuel inlet pipe. The part has been ordered and should arrive Monday about lunchtime. In the meantime, they’ve done a patch, but told us it will still leak if we refill the fuel tank.

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at Gloria Jeans

The weather was quite weired yesterday, strong, gusty winds, cloud and smog. Bush fires and a nearby fire at a plastics factory contributed.

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the sky

We stored our van at Queens Park Caravan Park last summer, and I asked if we could go there for the night, rather than free camp. I felt confident we could easily park there in the dark. We arrived after 9.00 p.m. and couldn’t work out how to access water, but connected up to power for a comfortable night. How glad we were to have filled up the water tank at Roly.

This morning the plan is to drive up to Roly and settle in. We can use our car for shopping  and going to tonight’s gig in Fremantle.

 

 

 

Day 75 – Katanning to Roley…oops! We only got as far as Brookton.

Tuesday June 4, 2019

Owing to another later start to our driving day. Unlike yesterday when we drove until shortly after sunset with the sun in our eyes, today we stopped at around 4:00 pm. This means we will have to make an early start in the morning to get to Iveco in Rivervale for the repair work.

Katanning provides free camping for fully self contained vehicles, plus a dump point. A very short walk takes you to Woollies, then a beautiful, brand new Dome Cafe in an old factory. The interior design is ‘factory’ and there is a special evening menu. It is also a hotel, which explains the luxury toilets. We shared a plate of bacon and eggs, possibly the best bacon we have ever had.

The featured photo shows an artist at work on a nearby building.

Our camping spot in Katanning

After breakfast we wandered around the town and I went to Woollies for one or two essentials.

We enjoyed our driving day on the quiet Great Southern Highway with very little traffic and no trucks.

Brookton has a small council run caravan park with full hookups, $2.00 per wash machines and en-suite style bathrooms. $26 per night concession rate.

Day 74 – Denmark to Katanning

Monday June 3rd, 2019

Sunday in Denmark was much like Saturday, listening to music in various venues, catching up for a meal with Eversley, and going home at around 8:00 pm because we couldn’t get in to listen to the group we chose and weren’t that enthused about anything else.

We booked ourselves a spot at the Rivermouth Caravan Park around midday and went to check it out. S & A we’re right next to us, and M was camped on the other side of them. These are former Working Voices Choir members who we see at festivals.

We dropped Eversley back at her accommodation, Stephen sitting in the dinette where we have seatbelts for two extra people. We enjoyed camping nearby, but emptying tanks and refilling for today is easier at a caravan park.

On arrival we met with S who invited us to join them later for drinks and singing. When A and M came home we all crowded into the big caravan and enjoyed chatting and some singing. S plays the guitar well, entirely by ear and was mostly able to work out what key we were singing in, not always if we chose something weird

We went back to our van at about midnight. We thought we would sleep in this morning, but woke up at about 7:00 and although we took it easy, we were ready to leave not long after 10.00 am.

We decided to park outside the gates and walk along the river. A and M came back from their walk just as we got ready and we were sidetracked by sharing many different travel experiences. We agreed that we are all very fortunate to have the wherewithal to travel. M has a tiny A-van and has travelled long distances in it, as well as travelling overseas.

By the time we finished we felt we only had time for a short walk, then headed for the Denmark Bakery for pies and hot drinks.

There were, of course, some sunrise photos of the estuary.

Our camp for the night in Katanning is a newly designed RV site, with marked bays and a nearby dump point. It is a short walk from the Main Street with cafes, etc. I’ll take a photo in the morning.

We shopped in Mt Barker, including buying some slightly alcoholic ginger beer at the bottle shop. Eversley gave us some fresh capsicums and S of S and A, gave us two freshly caught fish. He fishes whilst she goes to listen to music.

We made a salad with the capsicum and cooked the fish in a pot with vegetable stock on the stove top. S suggested cooking them in the oven, but we don’t have a suitable baking dish. They turned out beautifully, and I served up using a spoon, trying to avoid giving us too many bones. I’m not used to cooking whole fish, but this method works well. We don’t have a photo of the fish, but this is what we had for desert.

We have a lot of dishes to do now, but it is well worth it. As we started driving later, then shopped, then had a nap, we ended up arriving here slightly after sunset. It was a bit challenging driving into the sun at times. What a relief the Great Southern Highway is after Albany Highway. We were so glad when we turned off at Cranbrook. We had a cup of tea when we arrived. There isn’t much to do when we free camp, just switch on the gas, rearrange some bits and deploy the slide.

The photos are unedited and possibly slightly tilted, my apologies, but it’s all I can do for now.

Day 72 and 73 – Denmark Festival of Voice

Sunday June 2nd, 2019

We’ve been enjoying lots of music, good food, and communion with old friends here at the Festival. Too much to mention it all.

A highlight was attending a conducting workshop with the St George College Choir, where Stephen had a chance to conduct and be given one on one help. Then some audience members, including me, got to sing a short piece with the choir.

We are staying at the B&B with Eversley and another friend. We have the van parked up the hill on a fairly flat road from them, and eat and sleep there. I walk down in the mornings to blow dry my hair.

We have a beautiful view and as we had clear skies this morning it was good for photography, with a mist on the estuary.