Fairbridge 2017

in the Chapel.jpg

We arrived here on Friday morning at about 9.20 a.m. and joined the queue. We had left home at 7.30 a.m., Stephen’s suggestion, and we made it! We had set up the Winnie in the preceding days, including getting the fridge cold using gas. I had some cereal while we were waiting. I didn’t notice the coffee van until it was too late to go and buy one. We finally started moving forward at about 10.20 a.m.

When we chose our spot the Rivergrounds Camping was fairly free. We wanted sun for the solar, so chose a good spot and set up. We put out the awning and Stephen put down the big mat. That was mainly in case it rained. We took our time setting up and stayed in the van until music sessions started.

Our first afternoon and evening were spent getting into the spirit of the festival, essentially a process that takes about a day.

This year we joined the ‘mass choir’ set up for the 25th anniversary. We enjoyed Kristina Olsen, but haven’t actually found other acts that we rush to see. Having choir rehearsals, culminating in a little concert at 5.00 last night, has kept us feeling involved. Also, we have many friends here, current and past Working Voices choir folk, to enjoy as well.

Rivergrounds campground
beside the chapel.jpg
A circus style tent for music

The Winnie gets a bit warm during the day and the the first couple of days were very humid, with possible storms forecast. But, we have had no rain and yesterday (Sunday) was more pleasant.

This year is unusual, the first year when it is a three day festival. There are fewer acts to see, but we are hoping there will still be lots of food options, etc. to make the extra day worthwhile.

We have the fridge playing up, with the flame being blown out by gusts of wind on that side of the van. But, it is has basically worked to keep our food at the correct level (1-5 degrees) to be safe. We put the awning in Saturday afternoon as the wind can be particularly strong and gusty in the early evening. We only had it out a short distance, with no ropes, so it didn’t give enough shade to make it worthwhile. Anyway, we haven’t spent very much time inside during the day.

We notice quite a few changes here, more people, no meals in the dining room, but more food kiosks, different setups with tents.

Amazingly we are able to go to sleep despite the noise. I have a two fold theory, that we are less stressed because of retirement/semi retirement and we live in quite a noisy area in Victoria Park where it is probably never completely quiet, so we are used to tuning things out. Plus getting very tired from all of the fresh air and walking we do from campsite to the main area.

Burns Beach -Monday and Tuesday

In the afternoon on Monday, rather than sit around waiting for the day to cool off, we caught a bus to Joondalup Shopping Centre. We found an attractive Cuban Style (maybe or maybe not) cafe on the edge of the shopping centre where we shared a roll and had sweet, interesting drinks.

View into the cafe. A waitress said that the things on the shelves had been sourced through secondhand stores. I’m not sure about the inclusion of crocheted blankets, though they would be good for cold weather.

We went to the Aldi store as Stephen hadn’t been to one before. I suggested that he consider it to be a museum or art gallery – something to see, rather than a place to actually shop. We then spent some time in Dymocks.

When we got back it was somewhat cooler. After tea, Stephen suggested we bring in the awning. There was more wind than on previous days, plus there was the risk of it being wet in the morning with dew.  Afterwards we listed to a podcast on the importance of glass, quite interesting, but we didn’t listen to the end as it became a bit repetitive.

The way we had the awning we had not had a good view of the ocean from inside the Winnie and we had been looking forward to the view when we woke up on Tuesday morning. But, as is the nature of things, there was actually a heavy mist, and we couldn’t see the sea. I tried taking photos, but they don’t really show how heavy it was. Of course, it meant that everything was very moist, so it was a good thing to have the awning rolled up.

After having a shower I went down to the beach to paddle. Stephen usually takes longer than me, so he had not long been back when I returned.

The mist had cleared by this time, about 8.30, but it was still very cool and pleasant.

We had a leisurely breakfast, having negotiated a late checkout of 12.00 noon. After packing up, we went to the cafe for coffee/chai latte. It was a bit noisy inside and no shady tables available outside, so not as wonderful as it could have been, but gave us a break before the long journey home. Not that there was a long journey, just about 45 minutes!

When we woke up at home this morning, we missed the open spaces and fresh air.

Still at Burns Beach

I cooked a Thai chicken curry in the electric pressure cooker for our evening meal, using the keep warm setting so we could eat later, and we went for a walk along the beach path at about 6.30. The evening was cool and humid.

Next day we tried for a swim before breakfast. The interesting thing happening was the abolone hour, with lots of people in black suits (but apparently not wet suits) with little bags out on the rocks. A nice young policewoman was on duty, plus there was a helicopter, I guess keeping an eye on the time. People generally stopped on time and departed in cars with their catch.

We didn’t find the water actually appealing, there was a lot of seaweed, so we decided that getting down to the beach and seeing the abolone hunt was our morning outing.

Marie and Geoff arrived at about 11.00 a.m. We had a cup of tea together and the sea breeze arrived at about 12.30 p.m. We lazed about during the afternoon, then went to the cafe for spiders and a smoothie for Stephen. We sat in the shade of the Winnie until it was time to go for our evening walk. Afterwards we each had our own meals, but sat together.

They left when it was still cool this morning, at about 10.00 a.m.

Saturday evening spider
Sunday evening
Cliff near the caravan park

Burns Beach revisited

It is the March long weekend, and after a relatively cool and wet summer we are making a start on autumn with a heatwave. We discussed going to the Nannup Music Festival, but our memories of this weekend are that there is usually a heatwave, and it can be very uncomfortable. I still wanted to go away, and tried for Coogee Beach, Fremantle and Woodman Point Caravan Parks, but they were all full. So, Burns Beach it is.

It is very nice here, but very few sites have shade. We have premier views, but having put out our awning, with some help from our neighbour with his mallet and expertise on tying reef knots, we only get a view if we sit outside. Up until an hour ago, that was fine as we still had shade outside. Now, although our windows are in shade, we have the option of inside or sitting in the sun. So, we are inside.

I bought the pressure cooker with me, and have done a Thai chicken curry, very easy even if the cooker itself is rather bulky. The smell of the cooking is absolutely delicious to us and may be making our neighbours hungry as well. I started at about 4.00 as we will probably go for a walk close to sunset and I wanted to have the main cooking out of the way. We can have salad or vegetables as part of the meal. We could do some rice, but would have to cook it on the stove or in the microwave and we may not want to do that.

Our little ‘house’ looking untidy as it often does when we are in it. Not that we couldn’t make it tidy, we have the second bunk over the cab for storage. But, it doesn’t seem to matter too much.

Although we have had a cool breeze all afternoon it has been humid and about 28 degrees, so not exactly the best conditions. Still, we did need time to relax after what feels like a busy week. On Friday we went to the second session for us of ukelele class and Tai Chi at the Trinity School for Seniors. We missed last week as Stephen wasn’t well. It was a pretty hot day, so I took the time off as well. The ukelele lesson is held in the church. Joe, our instructor, focussed on learning ‘You are my Sunshine’ for the whole hour. I found that useful as we started with the chords and learning to play in time together, then sang the words at the end.

Tai Chi seemed a little easier this time, although I was worried about my left knee, so trying to be careful. Still, I really love this class and our instructor is quite special. I want to continue. Today my knee isn’t even stiff, so I can’t be doing it any harm.

In the evening we went to an event at our local library run by two musicians called ‘History of the Blues’. They mentioned ‘You are my Sunshine’ as an old blues number, which has made me more interested in learning it – oddly enough. The session was enjoyable and the library staff served wine and other drinks and some food. The Carneys were there as well.

We have next door neighbours who are leaving early in the morning, so they are doing some of their packing up now. Good news as their spot is where Marie and Geoff will be tomorrow.


More duct tape and Coogee Beach

I picked up the Winnie on Monday after travelling to Roleystone by bus. I had a talk with Marie and Geoff, and then drove home. Stephen and I went out to get the tyres checked, we were looking for the Big Wheels in Welshpool, but settled for Beaurepaires. It turned out that Big Wheels was on the opposite side of the road, but we drove up and down and hadn’t seen it. Beaiurepaires were very good and checked the tyres, but we had parked out the front at first, and when backing managed to clip an overhang. Stephen was watching lower down as I backed and hadn’t noticed. I didn’t check the damage to their place, and although someone came out, she didnt appear to be worried.

The Winnie damage was on the moulded plastic part up near the roof. It missed the light and didn’t damage the awning, thank goodness. I checked later and the lights still worked. I sought advice at Bunnings and bought a pack of very heavy duty garbage bags and a tape called Tarzan’s Grip. On Tuesday morning as we were getting things ready to leave, we put a patch over the damage. Stephen didn’t feel safe on the ladder, so he handed stuff to me. I felt OK because I took Geoff’s advice to put the ladder sideways. I had our driveway wall close by as well as the Winnie wall to hang on to.

Although we did most of the sorting out for our three nights away on Tuesday morning we still managed to be ready to leave at about 10.30 a.m. We had been doing the usual dance with our neighbours who share the driveway, thank goodness they are ready to help, and will work around our needs. During the day the Winnie is parked on a spare block of land that lots of people use as a carpark. But we dont like to leave it there overnight.

I booked the holiday here at Coogee Beach Caravan Park last year. We have stayed in Busselton during school holidays, and found it quite full of children, but this caravan park has mostly park homes, with lots of older people (walking frames, powered scooters, and bingo nights), with a few travellers. Although we have seen children, they are older and well behaved.


When we arrived on Tuesday it was warm and sunny and Coogee Beach was fairly buzzing with visitors. There are good facilities for picnics, the cafe, and the state trial of a shark net on part of the beach. We waited until later in the day for our first walk and also went out after tea to see the beach in the last light of the day.

Wednesday was also promising to be a warm day (its cooler here than further inland, of course). We started off with a swim in the shark protected area, and after a good breakfast and some time reading, etc. we caught a bus to Fremantle. We had lunch at Old Shanghai, very cheap little meals from the Japanese place, very good value we thought. We then went to the Luna SX to see La La Land. Stephen wanted to see it, and although it was very silly, the main characters were appealing and the music was enjoyable, especially the jazz.

the shark proof fence

We had a coffee at a lovely little cafe run by a woman from South China, then caught the bus home. We knew the weather was going to change, and our evening walk on the beach was made interesting with the clouds coming in and the wind building up. We put the awning away after sunset, a bit challenging with not much light, but we felt safer.

Early this morning we were woken by wind and rain. The rain was all over in about half an hour, although it has been windy, partly cloudy, and quite cool all day. Eversley had a free day as her car was in having a service, so she caught the train and bus to join us for a walk and lunch. It was good to catch up and really have time to talk. We caught the bus with her when she left for home to go to the shopping centre. We didn’t need much, but had run out of chocolate, so it was definitely time to go.

Stephen had to drag me out for the evening walk, we went north back to the shopping centre, then on to another area where there is a Dome cafe and sheltered beach area. The Port Coogee precinct is being developed with houses and apartments. The little shopping centre seems quite new and has a small range of useful shops, a Woolworths, newsagent, bakery, chemist and cafe. All within about 15 minutes walk of where we are staying. We caught the bus back, only about 2 stops, but we would have been walking into the wind, which didn’t seem like much fun.

The first couple of nights we had salad and some beef that I sort of stir fried in our electric frying pan. The meat was cut into chunks rather than strips, so took a while to cook. Tonight we went for our standby meal of tuna and rice, with salad, followed by fruit and yogurt, and, of course, the chocolate with our peppermint tea. We have started watching The Crown, I have a Netflix subscription and this is one of the shows that can be downloaded. We link the ipad to the TV, the show doesn’t play fullscreen, but occupies as smaller window. I like the small file sizes that don’t clog up the ipad.

Our first evening here
Wednesday evening, with clouds coming in
the sea went from very calm in the morning, to quite choppy by evening

It has been quite a contrast to our time at Jarrahdale. Here, we have water, power and a drain for our grey water, lots of things running off the van. It was much easier to drive the Winnie out for the day at Jarrahdale, but here we can catch buses, so don’t really need to. It’s interesting to have the contrast. On the whole, I liked camping in a more rural location best, but having the sea a short walk away is lovely too.

Snottygobble found

Yesterday we had our usual leisurely time having cups of tea in bed, then showering and dressing and having breakfast. When we were all sorted we drove to a nearby park (Langford Park), where there are a couple of walk trails.

It was very pretty, with lots of picnic areas, flushing toilets and well marked walks. We did the Ken Jones Walk, Stephen getting caught up in the variety of trees and going even more slowly than me taking lots of photos. We set off at about 11.30 and actually completed the walk in about an hour, surprising given our exploring of the trees and plant life.

We thought we had found the snottygobble trees mentioned in our guide of the walk, but later realised that the trees we thought were Snottygobbles were banksias. Something about the name, but we couldn’t let it ride, so after lunch and a rest, we went out again on the walk trail in search of the Snottygobble trees. We knew they were somewhere near the 5 marker on the trail. Stephen had looked up their details in his book and I had checked online. We knew there were two different types, and found both near the 5 marker. We spent time looking at them and photographing the leaves and flowers.

the Winnie in her natural habitat
Ken Jones Walk Lookout

We stayed there until about 5.00 p.m. then back to the RV park for drinks and nibbles. I suggested that we fill the water tank, but Stephen thought we didn’t need to. We have been taking showers and washing up using the water heater and thought we were being careful, but I checked just before having my bedtime shower and found the tank was registering nearly empty. Oddly, our grey water tank looked like it had plenty of room, but that was just a ‘read error’. We were actually adding more to the grey water tank than we were taking from the fresh water tank because of using the tap provided by the Jarrahdale shire.

In other words, we went through most of a 100 litre tank in about 24 hours. How will we last at Fairbridge, which is going to be held over four days in 2017! I’m not sure how full the toilet cassette was when I emptied it this morning, but it was heavy, which is a reason to empty it more often than necessary, when we can. We’ve been able to have washes in warm water bringing water in from the outside tap. It’s still good having the shower recess for rinsing off, it’s an area where we can splash water around and I washed my hair as well.

I had been thinking about having boiled eggs and pancakes for breakfast, fortunately after our efforts to fill the water tank trying all of our gadgets for connection to the tap and all three of our water hoses. After about 45 minutes of messing around, we moved the Winnie into a shady spot on the pad, and I had my wash first, then Stephen had his. I boiled eggs and made pancakes for breakfast, that made up for our failure with filling the water tank. Fortunately there is no actual lack of water.

The other problem is that we are getting a smell when we use the gas for the fridge. I’m not sure if it is a gas smell, or if the foam at the bottom of the fridge got wet at some stage and having the warmth of the flame sets off an odour. Anyway, when I wake up in the night and the smell is strong I’ve been switching off the fridge. It stays cold, thank goodness for nighttime temperatures of about 9 degrees, and I can put it back onto DC power when the sun is up. We will have to get it checked out before free camping again.

The cold at night has been lovely as we have been able to leave hatches and windows open and enjoy snuggling down under the doona. The temperature yesterday was ideal for our walk. It was fairly shady, I expect the sun would have been hot, but there was a cool breeze. We had parked the Winnie in the sun and it got warm, but the cool breeze kept us comfortable. Today has started out cold, though we got hot working in the sun when we were trying to get the hoses to work.

Below are some of the Snottygobble photos. You can see the captions by clicking on each photo (if interested).