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).

Kiss me Kate and dinner in China Town, London

The Coliseum theatre where we had an enjoyable time seeing this old musical.

Outside the theatre.

On our way, we went to nearby Chinatown for a meal. The food was Hong Kong style and very good.

Today we took the very slow bus to a hotel near Heathrow Airport. Our flight is at 9:30 am tomorrow and we have a car booked to take us to Terminal 2 in the morning. It is the same cost as the Airport Shuttle, but faster.

We had a day of packing and finishing cleaning at the apartment, before catching the bus. It took us about 3.5 hours to get here, with wait times and Stephen going to the library to return some books.

This hotel is more of a hostel, we have a tiny room with tiny ensuite and a kettle in a nearby outdoor area if we want to make our own cups of tea. I have a cup and some teabags and plastic cutlery. There were other possibilities for an evening meal, such as pizza delivery or a nice pub on the corner, but I brought some leftover food and we had picnic tea outside, before walking down to a local shop to get money, water and ice creams.

South Bank and Covent Garden

We arrived home feeling tired last night to a broken lift and nine flights of stairs, 10 if you count going up to the upper level of our apartment. We are staying home for the morning and hope that by the time we go out this afternoon the lift will have been repaired.

Stephen’s research found that there are plays at the National Theatre for fifteen pounds a seat, relatively cheap. We went to see a play called ‘Translations’ yesterday afternoon. It was interesting to wander around the South Bank on a fine, partly cloudy day. We found the play well acted and the story line at times obscure – fortunately I had paid four pounds for the comprehensive program. The play was set in Ireland slightly before the potato famine when an attempt was being made to update Irish placenames. There were a couple of actors we have seen on TV or in films which was also interesting for us, although all of the cast were good.

Interior of National Theatre - 1

We had a hot drink afterwards, then took a bus to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden - 1 (1)

We were in time for an opera singer busking near one of the restaurants.

We accidentally caught a slow train home. It seemed to wander quite far away before eventually getting to East Croydon. We are used to getting an express with East Croydon as the first stop. Stephen read the paper and I read my book to pass the time.

When we arrived at the station we split up, with me going directly home by tram to put our dinner on and Stephen heading to the local Sainsbury for bread and wine. After enjoying a tiny bottle of Mateuse Rose the other evening we have been looking forward to another glass with our meal. He wasn’t able to get the Mateuse and we settled for a fruit rose – a bit sweeter and a bit less alcoholic. We only have about a half a small glass each.

It was when we arrived home that we discovered that the lift wasn’t working and we had to climb the stairs. We had 7 flights when we were in China, so this is further to climb.


Sunday afternoon we went for a walk to the Water Tower Park (as we call it, not the proper name) and did some shopping.

On Monday morning we were on our way early and had to stand on the train as far as Clapham Junction. We made our way to the Victoria Bus Station in good time (about an hour before our bus). Most of the people there got onto the bus before ours, so we were able to have two seats each to spread out.

The bus journey took about 2.5 hours and we enjoyed views of the countryside. We found a place for tea/coffee on arrival, then caught a bus up the hill to the hostel. Our room is nice, it has 6 beds, but because we booked an extra night he wanted to put us in one room for the four nights and it was easier for it to be the family room rather than a two bed room. The whole place is very comfortable, with an attractive self catering kitchen, a couple of dining rooms and a comfortable lounge room. We have paid for breakfasts and it’s possible to have other meals here as well.

YHAadjusted, Bath
YHA Bath

Our YHA room
Our room with windows over garden and glimpses of Bath


We unpacked, then went back down the hill to walk around. Stephen wanted to go to the Theatre Royal for a show, and we were able to book $6.00 tickets for a show that evening. We saved on the tickets, but had our meal at the Theatre restaurant, not cheap, but the food was good, so we didn’t regret it.

We saw King Charles III, described as future history. It was supposed to be a comedy sending up the royal family, but felt more like a tragedy, especially as it was in blank verse.

Theatre Royal, Bath
Theatre Royal, Bath.

The bus to our hostel is cheap (subsidised for the University of Bath), and runs 24/7, so no problem getting back late at night.

In the morning, very sad, I was quite ill with a headache and nausea. I skipped breakfast. Stephen went down to the Tourist Information Centre and to visit a museum and I was so ill that it was nice to be on my own. However, there were staff around and other guests, so not really alone. It was hard to imagine feeling better, but this evening I have been able to eat and drink and think I may be on the mend.

They saved a plate of breakfast for me. The chef was a bit worried about giving me warmed up food, but I didn’t want a lot anyway and it seemed to be fine. Stephen had one of their other dishes and desert, which he shared with me. A bottle of lemonade between us also helped.

We have stayed in the dining room because I want to write and their didn’t appear to be much room in the lounge. When Stephen got back we sat there for a couple of hours reading before dinner.

Uploading photos is rather slow, so this will do for this post.

British Museum, Sacred Harp Music and U3A China Group

Stephen in his normal research on things to do found out about a Sacred Harp Music singing group which meets in Bloomsbury at St George’s once a month on Monday night. Because we were going into the city anyway, he decided to visit the British Museum again during the afternoon.

Travelling to the British Museum by bus 38. We had our picnic lunch during the ride. There was some sunshine - sunny spells.
Travelling to the British Museum by bus 38. We had our picnic lunch during the ride. There was some sunshine – sunny spells.

We enjoyed seeing a couple of things together, then I went off to amuse myself and he did some more areas of the Museum. In the course of that, he met up with an English couple, and they treated us to afternoon tea. We found we appeared to have much in common and really enjoyed their company.

Outside the BM in sunshine


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A mask from Sutton Hoo, British Museum. The finished one is a reconstruction based on the damaged one from the site.
A mask from Sutton Hoo, British Museum. The finished one is a reconstruction based on the damaged one from the site.

I showed Stephen how to photograph the exhibits by putting the iPhone camera lens against the glass casing, which eliminates reflections.

We had a small meal at a Chinese restaurant, then went along to the church. The Sacred Harp music session was enjoyable, but it did not really appeal as something we would like to do in future. It’s easy to find out more about it using Google.

This morning, Tuesday, we went to a U3A meeting on China. It was led by someone who has a lifetime of working in China (Taiwan). His wife is from Taiwan and he says he has one English daughter and one Chinese daughter and both speak Mandarin. We were very interested in his knowledge of China and we have bought his latest book, which was available as a Kindle e-book. It is looking at the future of China  2018 РChina Goes Critical by Barnaby Powell and Alex Mackinnon.

The conversation on China took part in Barnaby’s house, with pumpkin cake and Chinese tea to follow. People were interested in what he had to say about the bilateral relationship between Britain and China and Chinese investment here. The Chinese investors want to be able to build high rise apartment blocks as they do in China. It makes sense by having the greatest number of people possible living on the one plot of land and avoids the issue of possible shrinking of the green belts. However, it is not something that the English people will necessarily embrace easily.

I was asked to speak a bit about Australia’s relationship with China. Stephen said that he asked for a pass because he couldn’t think of anything to say. I did say that our views are probably not representative because of our experiences of being in China a lot in the past few years. Still, it sparked more conversation with the group.

We walked home with a few of the other participants in the group. It was raining heavily by the time we got home and I was very glad to be using an umbrella that I found here in the house, rather than the cheap and flimsy one that I bought a couple of weeks ago.