Easter Friday was a quiet day. We went for a walk in the evening in our neighbourhood looking at a special type of gum tree with drooping branches and peeling bark. We found it was quite common in our immediate area. I wanted to go away for one night at Easter, the weekend is very busy at most places and driving on Friday and Monday is usually very fraught, so it seemed sensible to go a fairly short distance overnight so that we were driving on Saturday and Sunday.
We were pretty sure that the free camping site at Jarrahdale would have plenty of room for us, and it has, although there are a lot more campers than when we came during a cool spell in summer. Still, it is a big area, and we don’t mind the extra people. We are camped on the hard stand area, although we don’t have it to ourselves this time.
We arrived at about 12.00, checked out the camping possibilities, then drove out to Serpentine Dam. We had lunch in the Winnie, then coffee at the cafe, then walked out across the Dam. It was a lovely day, although the weather continues a recent pattern of starting out cool, then getting quite warm by late in the afternoon.
There are some lovely tall trees in the dam area, the above photo is a detail of leaves and blossom.
Standing on the Dam, it’s not possible to get near the edge because of the wide area out of bounds.
A partly cloudy day, with lots of sunshine.
It was an important day – Stephen drove the Winnie for the first time – the 9 kms back to our campsite from the dam. Well done Stephen!
On Saturday we went down to Floreat Beach and had lunch and dinner there. Stephen rang his sister and brother in law who joined us for afternoon tea and a walk. The idea was to excape the heat and it mostly worked, although in the evening the breeze dropped and it became intensely humid. The next day, Sunday, promised rain and perhaps thunderstorms, along with a few days of cooler temperatures. I took some photos close to sunset – the clouds look almost more intense in the photos than they did in reality. That evening was the first time we have had the air conditioning on at night – I found I couldn’t sleep despite our overhead fan, and switched it on at about 4.00 a.m. We have had rain for a couple of days now.
Our neighbours left for a two week holiday on Thursday. We already had the Winnie booked in to try to find out why our fridge emits an odour when we are using it on gas, so we picked it up on Tuesday evening, stored it on the vacant lot nearby during the day, then in a parking bay in our street for the night.
Ken Peachy Caravans said that our fridge did not have a flue, and as there were no gas leaks, this must be why the odour was coming back into the ‘house’. They put in a flue and I tested it, there is a certainly a great improvement. However, as I was looking for a smell I was able to detect it lightly. Mike also said he would get us a quote for repairing the damage to the rear panel. It may be quite expensive and we are still waiting. When we get the quote we can work out whether it is worthwhile to claim it on our insurance.
When cleaning the windscreen yesterday I was able to confirm that a mark on the outside is in fact a small crack. These days they can be repaired without having to replace the whole windscreen, so it has gone on my list of things to do.
Having the Winnie at home gave us the opportunity to take it out for a picnic meal yesterday evening. We decided on a visit to the North Mole at Fremantle. That worked well although I did not want to take it past the section of road that has two lanes. There was a strong wind which made walking along the Mole quite challenging. It felt like my cameras were bouncing all over the place, but I still managed to get some photos that I am happy with.
Stephen suggested that we watch the news whilst eating. We didn’t want to put up the TV antenna in the wind, so tried using it with it flat on the roof. The ABC din’t work well enough to watch the news, but we watched some tennis, then got involved in a movie on a commercial channel. We had a lovely meal of cold chicken, rolls and salads, followed by watermelon. I had other ‘goodies’ but we were quite full, so just had a hot drink.
We stayed until 9.00 p.m. before heading home. We were able to watch the sunset from the van, and I got some photos of yatchs and sea lit by the evening light.
This morning we had a walk before breakfast. The Sunday morning Farmers’ Market was smaller than usual. Cherry, who was having breakfast there, said there was something else on which would have attracted buyers and sellers, and would account for there being less stalls and customers. We enjoyed talking with her for awhile, then headed home for scrambled eggs, toast and coffee.
Today we went to an exhibition of Western Australian art from the early days of European settlement. Very interesting to see how accurately the landscape was featured in the drawings and paintings. We did a tour of the exhibition, which included some history and some art technique. We had lunch beforehand at the wonderful (NOT) cafeteria at the Central Station, it was worse than usual because there was a Christmas party in the main dining room and we were stuck in room at the end of the corridor. The staff were as cheerful as ever, finding food for latecomers when possible, even if it was just desert.
We went to the Concert Hall beforehand to book tickets for the New Years Eve concert. We are looking after Mum, so he rang her and asked her if she wanted to go, and then booked the tickets. I don’t think it will go well, she is normally in bed at 9.30 p.m. when the concert starts, but we will see, maybe doing something so unusual will take her into a different place. We will have to take the car in and park underneath so that we can use the lift.
This evening we went to the Hawkers Market for tea, meeting up with Cherry and her friends. She was pleased with the video of her poem/song on Youtube, which she only found out about this morning. It was nicely stabilised by Youtube after uploading, thank goodness. We enjoyed a discussion about a number of topics, including whether there should be jelly in trifle – I think yes.
In the last couple of days I’ve watched a couple of Youtube videos featuring John Pilger. He is pretty scathing about Hilary Clinton and Obama. Not that he would choose Trump, but American imperialism is pretty scary. China’s island and military base building in the South China sea is in response to the encirclement of China by US miliatary bases with nuclear weapons trained on China. Some of them are very close indeed to mainland China. He talks about the coming ‘war on China’, note not ‘with’ China, but ‘on’ China. By a country (USA) that knows it is either surpassed, or about to be surpassed, by China as the most powerful country on earth.
On Tuesday I dropped the car off for a service. I met Eversley and Rae for lunch, we tried the new Antz, and had some light food. Then the power went out in our section of Victoria Park, so we went to the Dome so that they could have a coffee. It was very enjoyable catching up and we made a date to watch a movie at our house before Eversley leaves for Indonesia.
Wednesday I went up to Mum’s place. We went to the bank to set up transfers to Robyne and Jamie of part of their share of a gift from Mum. The teller joked that she wanted to be one of Joy’s children as well. She suggested that the line entry read ‘love Mum’, a lovely idea. Then we did some shopping. I had a bit of a chance to talk with Jamie and Tracy about what Mum needs in the way of care. Which sort of reinforced that we had better start the process of looking for long term care.
Although, I have to say, she has been staying with us since yesterday afternoon, and not only is she eating with us, she seems far more alert and with it than when we visit and she has been alone for most of the day in her granny flat. Jamie and Tracy call in for coffee, etc., but Mum doesn’t remember when we visit her. However, she seems to be holding onto things a bit longer, though we still need to let her know things more than once.
Thursday Stephen and I went to Zenith for a workshop on the Ukulele which was very enjoyable. I was feeling tired and thought I might not participate, but Helen, Stephen’s Uke teacher invited me to come along and sit in. They had lots of coloured instruments for participants to use. We had a coffee in the Claremont Dome afterwards before catching our bus for home. It rained just as we were getting off the bus, Stephen had to protect his ukulele, and I was glad I hadn’t taken mine.
We had a good session at choir with Mike, who started to teach us a new song.
We had planned to meet with Marie Hastings and the children on Friday and were thinking of taking them to see the BFG. But Marie rang to say that both she and Alyssa had colds, so had to cancel. I had made a date with Miki to go and watch a movie at her house, so I contacted Roslyn. We went to her house. We took the ukuleles and Roslyn was able to do some chords with Stephen. Miki wasn’t too sure about this activity. She gradually got comfortable with us and we sat with popcorn, sort of watching a movie, but also reading one of her books. Ros was able to go out and do a big shop without Miki protesting. We went home feeling that we had had a very nice time with the kids. They are so well behaved, a bit shy at first. Callum’s interest in trains continues and he spent time building train tracks in his room during the music session, then joined us for the Lego movie.
On Saturday we had a slow getting up, but I was still able to get to Mum’s by about 10.30 a.m. It took us about an hour to pack. We brought her pillows and rugs for sitting outside, as much as possible wanting to recreate what she has at home. Mum was saying she felt miserable about having to go away, but she seems to be settling in well. Robyne came over in the afternoon and was good company.
Today we went with Matt to the football, Westcoast Eagles versus North Melbourne, and our team won, thank goodness. Not that any of us are normally football fans, but we still enjoying it as a family outing. I took photos, including telephoto images and a bit of video with the Minolta/Sony AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 (D). I was interested to see how it would do for sports photography – not too bad and fairly easy to get action shots, maybe thanks to the IBIS in my Sony. Of course, I wasn’t in the position of having to get critical shots and I wasn’t close enough to get really good sports action shots, but was pleased with how well it went.
Matt appeared to enjoy the outing. He liked the coffee I had made for him, but did not appear to want anything to eat (I had fruit for him). Which is a good thing as it might have spoiled his appetite. Tin was lovely as usual, getting us to and from the grounds, and making a special effort to get as close as possible considering the roads were blocked off when he came to pick us up around the end of the 3rd quarter.
Marie and Geoff came over in the morning. They took Mum out for some shopping and afternoon tea. She isn’t quite sure why she is getting all of the attention, but Marie does visit her once a week, so seeing her Sunday instead of Monday isn’t a problem for them. Marie is feeling happy ahead of her retirement date in 3 days time.
And the Liberals and Turnbull have confirmation that they can form a government, they are finally in a position to have enough seats. It’s not the sort of result that political parties like, but I like it, they will have to work very hard to get legislation through, which should curb some the extreme right wing ideas. Shorten and Turnbull are already talking about co operating to get work done. The hard right and hard left won’t like this, but we do so hope that they realise that ditching leaders all the time is not in their best interests, it just makes the major parties look like idiots. Except for getting rid of Abbot, that is.
In the end I had to do a clean install and reinstall my programs on the Macbook Pro. There things started to not work properly as well. It wasn’t too much of a strain and everything was installed by evening.
I was cursing a bit on the way home from Mum’s yesterday. The couple of times we have walked down to the river lately we haven’t had good sunsets, but last night as I was driving home the sunset was great – some really big clouds and wonderful lighting, and me driving instead of near the river with a camera.
We went to the TGIF Market last Friday evening, but did not manage to catch up with Cherry and her friend as they left whilst we were waiting for our food. On Sunday morning I had a shift in Queens Park. On my own with the 5 residents from 7.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. I had made a couple of notes on my iPhone, which helped. I tried to get all the medications and treatments done correctly. But I had some fun with them as well, I think because there were no other staff. Still, it was very tiring. Stephen cooked tea for us in the evening and I took some video which has yet to be edited. I will make a short film, with hopefully all of the funny bits included.
On Monday I woke up with headache and vertigo, so rang Marie to ask if she could give me a lift to Mum’s place. Monday is her usual day for going and we had arranged for Cheryl (as nurse) and Bluey (as himself) to witness Mum giving Marie and I joint Enduring Power of Attorney. All went well and we made scrambled eggs and toast for Marie, Geoff, Mum, Miki and me. I had caught the train to Kelscott, where I was picked up by Glenn and Marie. Then Geoff drove us to Mum’s the back way through the hills. I got to sit with Miki in the back which allowed us to connect and chat. She invited me over to her house to watch a movie and I’ve let Roslyn know – might be handy for giving her some free time one afternoon as I could babysit.
On Tuesday I caught the bus to Officeworks to get a new diary, a cash book for recording Mum’s expenditure, and a file for the receipts. I also found a monthly planner and set it up with different colours for events. This was recommended by one of her doctors. I copied the EPA so that we could all have one.
Yesterday I saw Mum and we went to the bank and then the bakery. I buy bread for Stephen and I as well. Entering receipts in the book is a bit of a nuisance, but will be useful for seeing how her expenditure goes.
Mum had some forms to sign from the settlement agent, and had to send in the title deed for her property by registered mail. So, I put it all in the envelope they provided and took it to the Post Office this morning. Now at the Western Antz having coffee and writing this journal.
We’ve organised to have the car serviced and the caravan lead checked. Basically I will get the caravan over to Ken Peachey as early as I can tomorrow morning and the car service is booked for Tuesday.
I’m feeling very uneasy about not having to worry about going to work. Stephen seems to still feel he has to take care of all the cooking and is a bit under stress about it. It will take us both a little while to settle into our new roles. With Brexit and the election looming this Saturday it is an unsettled time.
I’ve realised that Mum cannot really organise her own medications, even Panadol, because she can’t remember when we takes them. I don’t think she can remember to write them down, though we will try. I’ve discussed it with Tracy, but we are not sure how to motivate her to let us take over. Tracy’s carer pension may need to be funded by Mum as Mum’s assets mean that Centrelink won’t do it. Given how much Tracy has to do it is only fair. The pension will allow her to work fewer hours so that she is more available. I think it will be her call if Mum needs to go into care as she is the primary carer, with us girls doing the rest.
I was listening to an interview with Don Watson a few days ago about how we romanticise ‘the bush’. He has written a book about it, which I have downloaded, but not started yet. That very day my new passport had arrived, with rather lovely illustrations of Australian life, including the bush plants, etc. Even our passports illustrate his point!
I was thinking about my longing to get away in the caravan, and remembered the time when we were ‘little’ and my father tried to drive through a flooded creek. Mum and I talked about it, and she is still annoyed that when she and Dad pushed the car out of the creek she was on the ‘downstream’ side – if the car had gone, she would have gone with it, together with Marie and I who were screaming with fear in the back seat. The car doors were open so that the water would go through and we were standing or kneeling on the seat to get our feet out of the water. She still thinks he was silly to try to go through it. His illness got worse, she thinks because he was in wet clothes for so long. That was in our newish Morris Minor – Dad used mining plant equipment to get everything dried out. The car was fine, but I imagine the seats didn’t look quite so shiny and new.
As a child whenever we went out in the car I would want to go off for a long trip. We used to drive from Alice Springs to Melbourne to visit Dad’s parents. Mum still resents that it would use up all of our savings! Different perspectives here. I can remember being car sick as we used to travel in the back of a Holden Ute, cream with blue canopy. A family friend gave us some lollies one year, which made us even more sick. Dad taught us how to signal him if we had any problems, thumbs up or down.