Life after Fairbridge – Mandurah Songfest

Out for a walk (1 of 1)We had three nights at home, then set off again for Mandurah for the Songfest. It is a workshop, followed by a short concert, run by a choir in Mandurah.

We left Fairbridge on Tuesday at about midday, after most campers had left. We were really just taking our time and savouring the experience of being there. No rain the whole time meant there was lots of dust.

Coming down to Mandurah, we were surprised to find a Services stop at Baldivas, which we don’t remember seeing before. It has service stations either side, and on ours a large hall with fast food stalls, and toilets, of course. We plan to fill up with petrol and check the tires on the way home. The one on the way down is set up for trucks as well as cars, and we are hoping that the one on the way back to Perth is pretty similar.

We have stayed at the Belevedere Caravan Park in Mandurah before. It is comfortable, without being fancy. We took a short walk down to the beach last night, but didn’t get out until it was dark, so could not see very much.

Breakfast in Mandurah (1 of 1)

This morning we tried not to rush to get ready. The workshop runs from 10.00 a.m. until 7.00 p.m., and includes morning and afternoon teas and lunch. Therefore, once we leave here, we are away for a long time. We have a frozen home cooked meal to come back to, but may have a meal out if we can find somewhere inexpensive. There is a Chinese restaurant next door to the caravan park, so that is an option.

As usual, it is sunny, with 26 degree maximum predicted. It was chilly overnight, so we have been glad of the heater. Although we were comfortable at Fairbridge without electricity it seems quite magical that all of our power points actually work!

Monday 1st May, 2017

It was a very long day at the Songfest. We learned six songs and two rounds, some of which are stuck in my head, going round and round. We had some five minute breaks, a longer break for morning and afternoon tea, and about an hour for lunch. During the lunchtime break we went down to the shore front for a walk. Morning teas, lunch and afternoon teas were provided by the Mandurah Choir, which was lovely and helped to keep us going, but we also wanted to get out for a while in the bigger break.

We had an hour between the rehearsal finishing and the final performance, so went to the Dome for a sit down and coffee. At that point we were feeling completely finished, no energy left, but the break was long enough for me at least to be able to do the concert without discomfit.

Our choir director was lovely, keeping us involved and singing our best. The choir had already learned the songs, which provided a good base for the rest of us to pick up on the music.

There was a raffle, and we actually won a prize. It was heavy to carry back to the caravan park (about a kilometre away), but we were determined and managed it. We had a frozen meal and toast, quite comforting, and tried out some chocolates from our prize box. There was wine, marmalade, truffle salt(?), olives and chocolates, we had to open it to have a look when we got home.

We should have had black clothes for the concert, but choir members lent us a bit of gear so we didn’t stand out too much. Something to remember next time.

We were granted a late checkout, and woke up quite late anyway, so it would have been difficult to get ready by 10.00 a.m. By 12.00 we were ready and on the way home stopped at the Northbound version of the Baldivas service stop to fill up with deisel and check the tyres. Stephen was having a bit of difficulty and asked for help from another truck owner. He was delightful and even crawled underneath to check the spare. He is a mechanic by trade, with his own business. He said he and his employees are absolutely flat tack and can’t take any more business, but he did leave his phone number, just in case. He said our vehicle is known for being very reliable, which is why Winnebago use it as the basis for their motorhomes, and that was reassuring. And I have deliberately blanked out the child’s face, he would have been recognisable otherwise.

Baldivas Northbound (1 of 1)

An interesting week

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.

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Stephen, Miki and Roslynn. Sony A6000, 16-50mm lens

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.

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Joy and Robyne, iPhone 6s

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.

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West Coast Eagles – taking the kick. Sony A7RII and Minolta/Sony AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 (D)

 

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West Coast Eagles coming onto the ground. Sony A7RII and Sony FE 24-70mm F.4 lens

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.

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Matt on the ride home. Sony A7RII and Minolta/Sony AF 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 (D)

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.

Catching up

Friday 11th I went with Stephen to the second session of our course with Gary Sigley on China at MARLA. Mum had an ACAT assessment with the social worker and Jamie attended. I did an overnight at one of the houses.

Saturday 12th we went down to Cottesloe for the Sculpture by the Sea at about 4.30 p.m. We found out on Sunday that Matt and Hidde had been there earlier in the afternoon. We found the sun a bit overwhelming, even that late in the day. We had a snack of Indian food before walking back to where we had parked in what we think of as the Beaches carpark. We saw the sunset, which lacked interest in a way because of the lack of clouds, but the beach glowed in the sun. Afterwards we went to Camelot and saw the movie Steve Jobs. I refused to see it earlier because I had found his biography excruciating. He seemed such an unpleasant man. But the movie managed to humanise him and I liked the structure of it which allowed a ‘plot’ to unfold in intriguing vignettes. Plus, of course, it was tracing some of my history with using Apple Macs, though it didn’t mention the Mac Classic II, which was my first love.

the sun, the gull, the sea and I
The sun, the gull, the sea and I
Taking off
Not everyone was there for the artworks

On Sunday it was very hot and we stayed at home, hunkered down. Even when Matt arrived it was still very hot outside. We put his left and right switches on and when nothing else was happening he turned his chair in circles in the middle of the family room. He seems to find it very relaxing. I took a video and asked him to change directions, which he was able to do with very little fuss. His left eye was a bit red, perhaps from hitting the lefthand button, he still prefers the right hand one.

Today I worked until 1.30 p.m. I had to go out in the heat with one of the ‘individuals’. I enjoyed the experience, but it wasn’t the hottest part of the day. At 6.20 p.m. it is still about 38 degrees – very hot!

 

PIAF – Cello at UWA

Yesterday I went for a walk down to the river before breakfast. I caught the bus home. By the time I was returning the sun was very bright and it would have been uncomfortable to walk back. Besides, it is uphill! Stephen made breakfast.

In the evening we went to listen to Bach Cello concertos in the grounds of UWA. This is part of PIAF and the Chamber Music Festival. A very enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. We took our chairs, but found that they had provided enough chairs for the audience.

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Stephen sitting in the audience
PIAF Cello at UWA5
Solo Cellist

Afterwards we went to South Perth and watched the moon rise over the Darling Scarp. We had quite a good view down the river.

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Moonrise over the Scarp

We checked out the ferry service to Elizabeth Key and found that it runs into the evenings, but later on the weekend than on weekdays. Still, quite a good way for us to get to Elizabeth Key. We have it on our list of things we would like to do one evening.

The Weekend

I had arranged with Mum that I would pick her up early on Saturday morning and take her down to Mundaring for a blood test. When I rang her at about 6.55 a.m. she did not answer the phone. I continued to try to call her until about 7.20 a.m., then decided just to drive up there. When I arrived she had had a cigarette or two as well as her first coffee of the day, so no blood test possible. She said that she heard the phone, but was ‘confused’. She did seem a little out of it.

She got dressed and we sat around for awhile, then watched the movie ‘Saving Face’. I hadn’t realised there would be a gay relationship between two young women depicted. Not really her cup of tea. The film was about overcoming Chinese prejudices and conservatism, but in a way, it was a testament to Chinese values. Set in NY, but the characters mostly spoke Cantonese I think, though I could understand some words, so it could have been Mandarin, but a dialect.

We had lunch and I left at about 12.00 feeling somewhat frustrated. Mum was talking about being frightened about the incident of the man coming onto her verandah. She said it happened ‘yesterday’, but she had already told Jamie and I about it on Wednesday. Very worrying from our point of view too, as he must realise that she lives alone.

In the evening after tea we went into town for the opening concert for PIAF. Not as spectacular as the previous year with the visiting Giants, but quite good for a homegrown entertainment event on the theme of Home. Tim Minchin disappointed me by singing his terrific song ‘Imperfect’ in standard American rather than in his Australian accent. I looked at a version from 5 years ago on Youtube and he didn’t sing it in American that time. Major fail, especially as the theme of the evening was Australia as home to many different ethnic groups.

Home Concert at Langley Park (PIAF)

Today we spent most of the day at home, then went over to see Matt in the evening. We went outside with him to try out his wheelchair and managed to get him stuck. After using some cardboard and lots of muscle we managed to get him out of it, but he had had enough. I fed him his tea and Stephen played the piano for a little while. The Murrays arrived and talked about Andrew learning to use his powered chair, and the fact that it had taken some time for him, but also helped them in taking him out. Ian suggested getting in touch with Matt’s OT to have some training for Stephen and I, and perhaps his staff, as any training happens outside. Stephen felt that Matt needed structured sessions on learning how to use the controls. Ian also said that the turning circle up the street from Villa 3 was a good place to practice. Very useful. It was lovely to see them.

Matt and Stephen2

Afterwards Stephen and I went down to Brighton Beach for the sunset. We had hamburgers, chips and Pepsi Max for tea. Afterwards we wandered down to Scarborough and found a beautiful salsa session on the steps near the beach. Apparently it happens every Sunday afternoon, with free lessons from 4 – 5, then goes from 5.00 to 9.00 p.m. for $5 per go. A great ending to our evening out.

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Looking out to se
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back over the land
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Looking south

 

Stephen enjoying the sunshine

It is crispy cold today, about 1 degree we think. We walked to the local pharmacy this morning to get some more Panadol and cortisone cream (for itches). Yesterday I had a headache and felt quite woozy. As Stephen wasn’t going anywhere much either, I took the opportunity to have a day in bed. Although I still woke up with a headache this morning, it cleared when I got up to have my first cuppa.

We can’t have our tea in bed here because there is no bedhead or side tables, so we have to sit on the couch. But really, it is in the same room and not a hardship. My ‘desk’ is one of the bar stools (there is no bar), and I do at least have an office chair. We don’t have a dining table either, we just use the coffee table in front of the couch. In other words, we don’t have everything we could want, but we certainly have everything we need, so no real complaints.

Below are a few photos from today, from near our apartment building.

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Bath

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.