Guildford Songfest 2018

The featured image is of a heritage listed house, just close to St Matthew’s Church, Guildford.

Guildford old house2 (1 of 1)

The houses along this street back onto wetlands and the river. Very nice indeed.

WV at GuildfordSonfest 2018 (1 of 1)

We ended up with 16 of the 21 members of the choir participating in the Songfest. Two people are not actually in this photo, myself and another person who arrived a little later. We were reasonably happy with our performances, though we completely stuffed up one song on on Sunday by not getting our starting notes. We should have stopped and started the song again, but that is easy to say in retrospect, harder to always do what is best when under pressure.

Winnie parked at Guildford (1 of 1)Winnie parked at Guildford with Stephen (1 of 1)

We took the Winnie, with the idea that we might stay overnight, and even if we didn’t, it gave us a place to change in and out of our choir gear, plus we had food for our lunches. In the end, we didn’t stay overnight although we stayed for part of the evening concert. It was a particularly cold night, officially down to 2-3 degrees, and, although we have heating, Stephen was feeling under pressure as the only bass in the choir, and wanted to be sure of having a good night’s sleep. It was still worthwhile having the Winnie there during both days.

On Sunday there was a market set up near the church, which was handy for having coffee after the choir warmup at 10.00 a.m. Stephen and I walked to Guildford Grammar Chapel to hear an opera singer perform as part of the Festival. She had a constant vibrato which did not play well in a church with a lot of reverberation, but her high notes were thrilling, less vibrato and intensely beautiful. We could only stay for three songs as we had to get to back to St Matthew’s to perform, but it was worth it.

We put the fridge on gas on Saturday, despite being on a slope. We came back to the van to find the gas alarm beeping. I checked for a gas leak yesterday, and found that there was a very slow leak from the connecting valve, just needs a little tightening. I had watched someone check for gas leeks on Youtube, it is a bit messy for sure, but easy to do.

On Sunday we left the fridge on DC power, which was bad for the batteries because we were under shade, but Winnie was on a bit of a slope again and we didn’t want to risk setting off the alarm again. The level went down to 12.3 and 12.2 is the lowest they should go. When we plugged in at home later in the day the fan on the battery charger went made for a while, pushing the batteries up over 14. Eventually it settled down. 13.8 is normal for our batteries, whether from the solar or when plugged into mains.

We will have the Winnie serviced this Friday. She is running well at the moment, but the yearly service gives us peace of mind. The only other thing we should have done is to have the slide out serviced, but we have a long trip planned for next year and will probably have a complete ‘house’ service before we go.

We have booked tickets for the National Folk Festival in Canberra next year. We would leave Perth shortly after Matt’s birthday on the 19th March. We may also go to a writer’s festival in Sydney. It’s possible to camp in a national park with full hookups, walk 10 minutes to a train station and take a 20 minute train journey to the centre of the city. Neat! The only thing comparable is when we camped in a caravan park in Paris – all those long years ago when we travelled from England to Munich in a campervan. I wonder if the caravan park in Paris still exists.

Our journey would take a couple of months and we hope that G, our usual housesitter, will be available.

Wildflowers close to home

For the last two Sundays we have been exploring wildflowers near home. The first Sunday we went to Kings Park where there is the usual display of wildflowers at this time of year. We enjoyed a visit to the cafe afterwards and ran into some friends who were celebrating Father’s Day at the cafe with their two sons, partners, and grand children.

Our next expedition was to Wireless Hill, going by car this time. There is a special wildflower walk and we spent ages walking around. I was working with a macro lens, trying to capture as much as I good, whilst Stephen was just observing.

Here are some of my favourites:

Wireless Hill-flower4 (1 of 1)

Wireless Hill-flower5 (1 of 1)
I can’t identify all of the flowers, but these delightful ones are called Granny’s Bonnets
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There were heaps of donkey orchids on the walk and we liked this photo because they contrast with the bark of the tree behind
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the walk
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There were lots of Kangaroo Paws along the walk
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an orchid

Wireless Hill-flower18 (1 of 1)


Guest Post: Shakespeare Connections

Shakespeare connections made during a trip to China and England

by Stephen Hastings

Our trip began in China. When asked to think about Shakespeare connections made on the trip, when considering China, my mind registered blank.  This caused me to make a note to research how much was known by Shakespearian England about China.

On reflecting on the England part of our journey I did discovery some connections. Shakespeare was not in our minds as we planned  what we would do on this trip. On earlier trips we had visited Stratford and Bosworth  Field (August 21, 1485) and seen a very amusing Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre.

On this trip I was able to make four Shakespeare connections.

Firstly we spent a night in Monmouth, Wales. When you stand in the city centre square you will see a large statue of Charles Rolls, of Rolls Royce fame. Then let your gaze go to the town hall behind and you will see a small bust of Henry V on the wall, about first floor level. The town also has a very ruined castle where he was born.


Charles Rolls
Henry V

Secondly we had a morning tea break in Tewksbury (battle of Tewkesbury 4 may 1471, mentioned in Richard III)  on our way to the Malvern Hills and the birth place of Edward Elgar. Tewksbury is located on the River Severn and we had a delightful short walk along the river bank path, through what is referred to as the Severn Ham. The Norman period Abbey was a highlight with a stunning ceiling.  We took morning tea at the Royal Hop Pole (public house) which according to Wikipedia is mentioned in the Pickwick Papers. I found it to be a very friendly, rambling and comfortable place to enjoy a hot chocolate and I can recommend the toilets.

Norman Period Abbey

On BBC television I saw King Lear with Anthony Hopkins. The cast list included many well known British actors:

Goneril: Emma Thompson

Regan: Emily Watson

Cordelia: Florence Pugh

Earl of Gloucester: Jim Broadbent

Earl of Kent: Jim Carter

Duke of Cornwall: Tobias Menzies

Duke of Albany:  Anthony calf

Oswald : Christopher Ecclestone

I found a review on line,  by James Walton (The Spectator). Here is a short extract.

“Directed by Richard Eyre, the programme opened in what seemed to be present-day Britain under military dictatorship. After a few establishing shots of the Shard, the Gherkin and so on, the camera zoomed into a heavily guarded Tower of London where Lear was about to announce his doomed plan around a shiny conference table.

In fact, for a while, this updating seemed both half-hearted and a bit confusing. If Lear really was a military dictator, why did everyone keep calling him a king? Why were there no modern media in evidence as the country/kingdom fell apart? Why did Goneril live in a contemporary home counties mansion, but Gloucester in an old-style Tudor palace? Why, for that matter, were 21st-century people swearing ‘by Apollo’?

Gradually, though, it became apparent that these inconsistencies were a deliberate attempt to reimagine Shakespeare’s ahistorical world where realism and myth jostle together. Admittedly, even when you did appreciate this, there were some jarring moments. The refugee camp in the storm scene felt like a somewhat desperate stab at shoehorning in some ‘relevance’. The climactic hi-tech battle in the suburbs of Dover (complete with Cordelia in military fatigues) seemed like something that the original military-dictatorship conception meant that Eyre was rather stuck with. Nonetheless, the overall result definitely served to remind us of just what a strange, and at times utterly wild, play this is.”

I enjoyed it.

Lastly, we did succumb to a West End musical … Kiss me Kate. Rather banal dialogue but wonderful, wonderful Cole Porter music. The lady behind summed up the evening when she was overheard to say to her partner:  “I’m so glad you brought me, this is so much fun”.  Of course we sang “Brush Up your Shakespeare” all the way home.

Kiss Me Kate


Moora to home base

We woke up to a very cold morning, it was difficult to get out of bed. We used the heater for a while whilst we had showers. We were feeling relaxed about the journey home and didn’t feel we had to hurry to get ready.

The journey home was a bit more challenging once we were on the Great Northern Highway, with quite a lot of traffic, including trucks. New Norcia is now on a bypass and has a good parking area for tourists near the museum. There were new toilets. A young woman in a campervan asked if I would like some of her food as she had to give the van back, we scored some cooking oil, rice and peanut butter. I found a powerpoint and used it to grind some beans.

Due the bypass, we weren’t expecting the service station to be doing well, but it was looking quite smart and the cafe has been renovated. They still offer powered sites for caravans.

Back on the road we looked forward to our stop in Bindoon to visit the bakery.

Bindoon (1 of 1)

Bindoon2 (1 of 1)
We decided on takeaway soup as it was $4.00 cheaper than having it in the cafe. We also bought some bread and a cake to share.

We had another stop at a pleasant rest area where we took a short stroll.

We had another stop at Gingers to refuel, then a short distance away pulled off to have afternoon tea. The rest of the drive went smoothly and we were home by about 4.30 p.m.

We had time to do a little unpacking and have scrambled eggs on toast before going to choir. It was a small gathering, about 10 in total, but somehow it worked better for singing. No viable as we don’t make enough money to pay our choir director for the night however. We need 17 people to break even.

We are still feeling somewhat relaxed from our lovely experience. Stephen did quite a lot of the driving and I’m becoming more comfortable with him at the wheel. This will be very helpful for later trips away.

I’ve done the washing today and we finished unpacking.

Mingenew to Moora

Today has been a day of travel. We dropped in at the Mingenew bakery to buy bread, rolls and a slice to have later for morning tea. At Three Springs we had coffee and the slice, Stephen went to the Visitor Centre and I took some photos of the murals.

We went out to a community farm for lunch in Coorow, then on to Moora where we are staying the night at the RV short stay park. It’s not as conveniently located as the caravan park where we have stayed with Marie and Geoff, but it is free. It is basically a large car park with no bays marked and caravans and campervans are parked around the edges.

We enjoyed the drive through the country which is so beautiful at this time of year.

Pindar to Mingenew

We don’t really choose destination according to bakeries. We did quite a lot of sightseeing today and Mingenew was reachable setting out mid afternoon. That’s our story, anyway. Plus it has a free camping site, and a dump point with separate drinking water tap and bin.

We are with a big group tonight, but managed to snag a spot with a view. The camping site is a little way along the Mingenew-Morawa road.

view from our window this evening (1 of 1)

our spot just out of Mingenew (1 of 1)

Today has been particularly wonderful. We had a very peaceful night at Pindar and had our best night of sleep so far. The only light was moonlight. We woke up refreshed and were on our way by about 9.30 a.m., our best so far. We drove out along the road to the wreath flowers. This site is so predictable that they have signs, but also have put flags out so that people don’t just drive past. The road was gravel and quite corrugated. There was a roadwork team working and where they had been, the road was much better.

marker for wreath flowers (1 of 1)

wreath flower and Stephen (1 of 1)

wreath flower and me (1 of 1)

wreath flower detail (1 of 1)

wreath flower detail plus (1 of 1)

near wreath flowers5 (1 of 1)

wreath flower first (1 of 1)

It was sort of Caravan Centrale at the site 10 kms in. All grey nomads like us. The wreath flowers were along the verges, we were entranced by the first one we saw, then realised they were pretty thick on the ground. This morning was cloudy and cool, with intermittent sunshine, ideal for exploring the area. We stayed there, walking about, for quite a while.

Back in Pindar, we took a look at the old hotel and read some information about the area before moving down the road towards Mullewa. On the way we found a rest area ideally located where there was a big show of everlastings. This doesn’t usually happen and we spent some time there too.

old Pub Pindan2 (1 of 1)

wildflowers outside Mullewa (1 of 1)

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wildflowers outside Mullewa5 (1 of 1)

wildflowers outside Mullewa6 (1 of 1)

In Mullewa we wanted to find a cafe with home made cakes for morning tea. We found a pop up art cafe which served decent coffee and rather nice cake. We shared a piece as it was 12.00 and we wanted to have an appetite for lunch.

We went to a lookout where Stephen had been told there were orchids. We spent some time there, walking on the trail, and found two types, donkey orchids and spider orchids.

donkey orchid (1 of 1)

spider orchid (1 of 1)

Then we went down the interesting church where we parked up and had lunch and a rest, before walking around. The church was unfortunately closed because of lack of volunteers, but we were able to read the signage about Monsignor Hawes, the architect and builder. He is the one who built the church in Geraldton, as well as many others. He was much in demand because of his style and often built the churches himself.

church Mullewa (1 of 1)

church Mullewa2 (1 of 1)

We then tootled down to Mingenew enjoying the lovely scenery along the way. On arrival, we did our dumping and filling up, then drove out to this campsite. We’ve had scrambled eggs, toast and rose for tea, and sampled the new honey we bought a few stops back.

At Pindar and here we have good internet, 3/4 bars of 4g, which makes doing the blog easy. If the internet is slow I can still blog, but do it on the ipad – which can result in more spelling errors than usual.

Perenjori to Pindar

After our usual leisurely breakfast we went into town to get some information on wildflowers. We were tempted again with the promise of wreath flowers close to Pindar and decided that even if we arrive home on Thursday we can get to choir. Pindar is almost 500 kms from home.

At Morowa on the way  we were able to dump the tanks, get fresh water, refuel and do some shopping. All along the route there were patches of everlastings and other flowers. We also enjoyed the rolling landscape of green fields.

everlastings2 (1 of 1)

We made a stop at Canna, a sort of hamlet, with a volunteer run campground for caravans. For a $10 donation you have the use of a campers kitchen, flushing toilets, hot showers and power. I took advantage of 10 amp socket in the campers kitchen to grind more coffee beans. There were a few caravans there, but we wanted to push on to Pindar so that we would finish the day within 10 kms of where we would find wreath flowers.

Canna lunchtime (1 of 1)

canna wildflower walk2 (1 of 1)
we went for a short walk at Canna

Once again Wikicamps has suggested a place to stay. The area is quite large and is near another tiny hamlet, with one house and a lovely old pub that isn’t operating as a pub, but as a cafe that is only open during the day and not every day at that. It won’t be open tomorrow.

This is our first overnight stay that is not in a town.

We took a shortcut to bypass Mullewa on a gravel road for about 34 kms. It was mostly OK, but had some bad patches which made me wonder if things would fall off or be damaged. Our rugs, rubbish bin, a box and a bag of shopping that we had on the floor had moved and everything looked pretty messy when we arrived. A few minutes of sorting was all it took. And we don’t appear to have sustained any damage.

Pindar camping (1 of 1)
selfie with the Winnie at Pindar
Pindar camping2 (1 of 1)
sunset at Pindar

Wongan Hills to Perenjori

Our internet is very slow here in Perengori, but we finally feel we have arrived in wildflower country. After entering the Shire of Perenjori we began to notice patches of different coloured wildflowers along the road. We were tired and didn’t actually stop, but will check with the Visitor Centre tomorrow about good places to go.

The Visitor Centre in WH was very useful for dumping our tank and getting fresh water, and even for allowing me to grind some coffee beans in their kitchen, but wasn’t able to help with wildflowers as it is a little early in that area.

We drove to a place called Reynolds Reserve not far from WH and took a walk on the wildflower trail. There were some flowers, but the signs indicated there would be many more in a few weeks time. What we loved in the area were the lakes, which, with the yellow of canola and green of other fields made for wonderful colours in the bright sunlight.

Once again, we are parked up at a recreation centre in town. No hookups.

Perth to Wongan Hills via Toodyay

Our original plan was to drive as far north as Mullewa, but now that we are on the road and enjoying being out we may change our minds and just find places to go for walks without driving quite that far. We started out in our usual measured way, leaving home at about 10.30 and getting fuel on Great Eastern Highway as the first step.

We made Toodyay our first stop. There is good parking in the town for RVs, a good IGA (and we needed a few groceries), and, best of all, a really great bakery. It even has bread – and often in country towns a ‘bakery’ will sell pies and cakes, but not bread.


A pity we are well stocked at the moment and couldn’t actually buy any. I went for the special, a corned beef pie and coffee, Stephen had the same pie and a choc milk. We shared a black forrest donut afterwards.


We enjoyed the travelling today. There was little traffic once we left Toodyay and no trucks at all. It was sunny, with a coolish breeze. We had about three other stops on the way, apart from our lunch.

An interesting tree, Goomalling
There were lots of golden fields along the way.
Wongan Hills offers free parking for self contained RVs. It is on an old basketball court. There is a caravan park in town as well. We walked down the main street to check out the Art Deco hotel and the Visitors’ Centre which we will visit tomorrw.