Food Street Victoria Park

So, this has been on my mind for a little while as we have been going to the Mackie Street Centre, especially in the evenings, walking back from choir practice. There are so many food and drink options starting from near the Causeway up as far as the Shepperton Road/Albany Highway intersection. There are shops that sell Asian style drinks, Asian style bakeries, cafes, restaurants and the most amazing array of food from different countries around the world.

If you are missing overseas travel because of the different food opportunities then come to our Food Street! It is amazing.

On Sunday night we were supposed to be joining other choirs for a Christmas Concert at one of our local private schools at the invitation of our choir director, David, who is a music teacher. The Mackie Street Singers are doing wonderfully under his direction and the choir is expanding, and we even have quite a few men. Stephen and I were all prepared and drove over to the school. It had begun to rain slightly before we left and we checked our emails, but no word on cancellation.

Only when we arrived were we sadly turned away. They had cancelled so recently that some of the animals were being brought in as we left. For the Nativity section, you understand. One donkey, several sheep and a few camels. Just to liven things up. The rain was still only fairly light, but we had heavier rain later and the following morning.

There were going to be food trucks at the Christmas Concert and we were in the mood for eating out.

That’s when we had the experience of actually looking for somewhere to eat. We chose purely on the food because the nice restaurant we checked out first had only rather starchy Italian food, which we didn’t fancy. There was live music, so it was disappointing.

But then, we found a Thai restaurant and although we are not vegetarian or vegan, the aspect and prices suited us. The decorations gave it a sort of Christmassy feel, certainly the colours were Christmassy, and there was music provided by a DJ in a special section at the front. There is a private room that can take 20 people and can be booked out for a group. The food was nice, perhaps a little too healthy, but the sticky rice and mango was delicious. If we had had a group we could have added some fried entrees, but for two of us it would have made too much food.

The point was, that there were so many options in just that small section of Albany Highway that we had an abundance of choices for both main meals and deserts.

We can enjoy an incredible variety of cuisines from around the world, all within walking distance of where we live. The world comes to us.

On a more sober note…

In the 5-6 km stretch of Albany Highway there are not only at least 100 cafes and restaurants, but three older style pubs that were built as hotels approximately 100 years ago , one undistinguished more recent pub and a bright new modern pub in the apartment building behind our house. There are two small, but useful shopping centres, one with a Coles and one with a Woolworths. At the Shepparton Road junction we have an Officeworks and a smallish Bunnings (hardware). There are many small speciality shops along the street as well, including one bookshop, kitchenware shops and newsagents. There are other, smaller supermarkets, an Aldi and an IGA. And there are still quite a few car yards, just in case that’s what you were really looking for.

All of this is unusual for a Perth suburb. Subiaco, Leederville and Mt Lawley have main streets with small sections like this stretch of Albany Highway and are better known, being in what are now quite ‘posh’ areas of Perth. Victoria Park is technically an inner city suburb, but on the ‘wrong’ side of the river to be fashionable.

We have two GP surgeries, a pathology collection point and radiology within a short walk from our house. Where we live has excellent bus services and there is a train service as well.

A future project could be to document what is actually available in different sections of Albany Highway and to take lots of photos.

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).

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Days 8 & 9

Overnight near Toodyay

Back at homebase we are settling in. We watched some of the US election coverage this morning (Wednesday). It is a tight race.

After several hours at the Toodyay Bakery we went back to the van for a rest. Stephen checked with the Tourist Information Centre about a walkway along the river and it seemed interesting enough to persue. I drove to a spot further up the street from the Bakery which is one of the many access points to the river and we enjoyed a walk from close to the footbridge to one of the two road bridges across the river. It was cool with sunny spells and lots of cloud and made a perfect early evening walk.

We had our usual peaceful evening in the little overnight camping area on Toodyay Road. In the morning we saw parents dropping of school children to another car, plus the school bus.

On our way down the hill we had a short stop at the falls to give us a break before tackling the city traffic. It was midday when we arrived home and we had a cup of tea before commencing unpacking.

We went along to the Mackie Street Singers in the evening. We want to sing with the choir on Saturday night and we’ve only had a couple of previous rehearsals. We shall just have to do our best on Saturday as we don’t know the music well. Fortunately it is quite a large group of singers and has quite a few men so that Stephen doesn’t stand out any more than I do.

The Saturday night concert happens prior to an open air showing of the movie Young at Heart. We hope to have an audience of people picnicing on the grass before the movie. The original time for the sound check was 3.30 in the afternoon, but fortunately that has changed to 4.30 p.m. Stephen and I live close enough to go home afterwards until we meet for a warmup, but other choir members have been told that there will be drinks at the Bowling Club if they need a place to sit and wait.

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Days 7 & 8

The Wongan Hills Experience, a night in Goomalling and on to Toodyay

The main objective of the stargazing evening in Wongan Hills was in fact to see the full moon rise over the Wongan Hills. Despite wind, flies and cloud cover the event went ahead. We bought some steak from the local butcher to cook on the BBQ and had coleslaw salad sandwiches with it. There was quite good fellowship amongst the locals and visitors. Stephen did the cooking and was able to chat with other people over the BBQ.

When we had all cleared up we were invited to sit looking out to where the moon was rising (we couldn’t actually see it) and a local introduced the team of astronomers who had brought three telescopes and used onboard computers to align and track the moon. It turned out to be a very interesting evening as they were able to answer all of our questions (like ‘when will people next go to the moon’ and ‘when will people go to Mars’, etc. The evening had become quite chilly and we had to rug up.

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The moon shows up!

Of course, the moon eventually showed up with the clouds providing quite a lot of drama and short windows of opportunity to view it through one or other of the telescopes. Stephen was shown how to get photos on his mobile phone through the telescope, resulting in these three phoots.

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When I sat down for a bit to ease my sore feet a little girl in a dress who was not rugged up, worryingly, with bare arms, asked me ‘where is Dolly’. Her speech was a little unclear, but she and a couple of other small kids included me quite naturally in what they were doing (the little boy being rather annoying, but very cute). I put it down to them being country kids who expect all older women to be available as spare aunties and grandmothers.

Eventually we all decided to head home, leaving our astronomers to pack up the telescopes.

By then we had met Deborah a couple of times around the town and enjoyed chatting with her. She and her husband are retired farmers living in Hyden. They were on the tour we took this morning out to see the Reyoldsons Reserve to see the verticordias. We learned about the history of the area, rotational planting of crops and the history of the reserve. We have been out to this reserve a couple of times in the past, but found it very interesting to do the tour.

Then back to the community centre to look at the vintage cars on display and have our second Devonshire Tea of the weekend.

It was hot again on Saturday, but became progressively cooler during the afternoon. This morning was cloudy, which was good for our expedition to Reynoldsons Reserve as we didn’t have to contend with bright sun for photos. The bus trailed us as we walked around the reserve taking photos and enjoying the flowers. As we returned to town it began to rain and has been raining off and on for the rest of the afternoon. It’s slightly chilly as well.

We spent the night in the nearby town of Goomalling, famous for having the cheapest caravan park in Western Australia and $20 per night with electricity and water. As it’s cold and damp its comforting to have these things. We have stayed here before in our caravanning days and know it to be comfortable here with decent facilities. Not fancy, but clean. There is a large campers kitchen with all appliances.

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Monday November 2nd, 2020 at the Toodyay Bakery. Stephen reading the paper, me finishing off processing photos and adding them to this blog.

We are now about 80kms from home and doing something we have done before in spending one night near Toodyay before heading home, even though we could actually drive home today. Our re-entry into normal life will be demanding and having one more peaceful night will help.

It’s only 12 days to our next time away in the van at Folk in the Forrest in Dwellingup. There was an email this morning giving us some information on what to expect. This festival has been running for many years, but this is our first time.

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Days 5 & 6

At Wongan Hills

It’s 5.42 p.m. on Saturday 31st October, 2020. We are at the main event, the Stargazing session (with BBQ) at the Wongan Hills Airport. The sky is somewhat overcast and there’s a bit of uncertainty about what we will actually see here.

We arrived yesterday around lunchtime and hit the IGA for some basics, especially salads. We found a parking place in the shade where we had lunch, then moved to a better parking area near the pub.

It was a fairly hot day and we spent time hanging out in the library until it closed, then in a cafe within the pub, enjoying the airconditioning. We then went to the free camping area and were somewhat surprised to find that we were one of three vans there. The temperature dropped in the evening and it was touch and go as to whether we would need the fan overnight. It ended up not being necessary, but having it on the kitchen bench helped us to feel comfortable.

This morning I woke up suddenly wide awake at about 6.30 a.m. This meant we had no difficulty being ready by about 8.30 for the cooked breakfast. There were many stalls with the usual arts and crafts, and managed to find a few interesting things for gifts. Including something interesting for Matt. He’ll be so relieved to have a gift that is something other than clothing.

It was a bit warm in the morning, but we had increasing cloud cover and a coolish wind by the afternoon. We enjoyed a talk by gardening guru Sabrina who presents on the radio and is very funny as well as knowledgable about Western Australian plants. By the time we were hungry the kitchen had closed at the pub, the Bakery Cafe was closed, and the only place open was a cafe with no air conditioning. We opted for takeaway sandwiches eaten in the van with a lovely cool breeze coming through.

More later.

 

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Day 4

Greenhills to Koorda

We had a good night’s sleep and our usual morning stuff of music practice and blogging. We are waking up naturally at about 7.00 a.m. each morning as I switched off the alarm a few days ago. There was shade on the van for much of the morning, which made the case for coming to a caravan park overnight even more compelling.

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I’ve stayed in this cottage many years ago when it was owned by friends of mine.

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The new owners have made it much more homey, even just from the outside.

Our journey to Koorda was interesting as there seems to be no way to order Google Maps to avoid gravel road shortcuts. We had a couple of interesting gravel road sections before we learned to ignore Google’s instructions and just follow the road.

A brief stop in Wyalkatchem (‘strange name but beut place’, as they say of themselves) confirmed that like so many country towns the main street has been prettied up with a pleasant park across the road from the shops.

Arriving in Koorda in the late afternoon we made straight for the caravan park and settled in. It was warm most of the evening though we didn’t need the fan going when we first went to bed. I put it on later when waking up to rather humid and still conditions. As I was going to sleep I could see clouds arriving and some lighting in the distance. The clouds are still around this morning along with some very light rain – not actually wetting us very much.

We have yet to pay as it’s a council run park with no one onsite to take money. There is an honour  box, but you would need to have the right change. Stephen plans to ring the council and see if we can pay by credit card over the phone.

I’ve found it handy to have the camper’s kitchen for washing up pots and pans and have had two showers, so really taking advantage of the facilities. I also used the tub in the laundry to do some hand washing which had dried before we went to bed.

Next to the caravan park is a small woodlands where there are still wildflowers, mainly the Tall Mulla Mulla(featured image). I had a short walk around the bushland with the camera before I cooked our dinner last night, taking advantage of the evening light.

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Tall Mulla Mulla

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Koorda Caravan Park

Wongan Hills Wilflower Trip: Day 3

Beverley to Greenhills

We had a vague idea of going to York yesterday, but opted for a diversion to Greenhills instead. Greenhills has a beautiful old pub that offers the usual pub meals and free camping (with access to toilets and showers ($5 each). The thought of a nice evening meal that we didn’t have to cook or clean up after was just too tempting. Our parking spot has turned out well as we have shade this morning.

We had lunch at the camping spot in Beverley, then went into town for a few matters. We emptied our toilet and had permission to fill our water tank behind the Visitor’s Centre. Although there was a tap at the campground it was slow filling and really only suitable for getting drinking water. Stephen also did a wander around with the GoPro. It was hot in the sun and as we were parked in the shade I stayed in the van.

We enjoyed the short drive to Greenhills and checked out meals at the pub. In the evening we walked out to look at some of the plaques showing the layout of the town in it’s heyday before going in for our meal. The dining room is called the Queen’s Room and featured other royalties as well as Elizabeth. It is quite lovely. There were six other people dining besides ourselves. We tried out the ginger beer on tap and voted it very good. It is 5% alcoholic so we only had one midi each.

We went to bed quite early, even for us and enjoyed the strong wind swirling around. It was quite cool again overnight. The wind died down later, but it’s very windy outside now. Our power is a little low due to not very much driving and having to park in the shade. Stephen has suggested Koorda as our next overnight and I’ve suggested a caravan park so that we can really charge up our batteries again.

We have a good battery setup (240ah of AGM batteries) but may have to consider getting a set of folding solar panels that we can set up in the sun whilst we park in the shade for the summer months. We have a small 25ah lithium battery/300w inverter as a backup for charging devices and that is proving handy as well.

I have some more photos but we only have 1 bar of 4g, not really enough for uploading photos.

We are enjoying our little trip so far with lazy mornings and time for reading/listening to radio (which Stephen does on his phone). We will head to Wongan Hills on Friday for the beginning of the little festival. Koorda, our next stop, is fairly close to Wongan Hills which means the main driving day is today.

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Day 2

A lazy day in Beverley

We woke to a mist which took some time to clear, but we were making a late start anyway and it didn’t matter. We spent the morning in and around the van, me blogging, Stephen practising his music, doing exercises and van chores. By midday it was a bit hot and we wanted to move the van into shade. We decided to take it into the town near the railway line where there is deep shade.

Trying out the bakery for lunch seemed a good idea. It was nice, but not really special. We seem to have light appetites at the moment and didn’t try out any cakes after our ‘main course’ of hamburger and zucchini pie. The IGA is just across the road and I bought bananas to fill us up.

We spent the afternoon either resting or walking around the town. Many shops weren’t open and the Red Vault cafe only opens from Wednesday (today) so it wasn’t an option as a place to sit. Stephen found a couch at the Visitor Centre.

We drove back to our camp site in the late afternoon where we had a cup of tea. Later we took a walk in a nearby nature reserve, which was better for exercise than anything else – it was rather scrubby bushland.

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This is the best I could do to make an interesting photo.

We had a beautiful night’s sleep again last night – perhaps because of the fresh air. It seemed colder due to a breeze.

Wongan Hills Wildflower Trip: Day 1

Perth to Beverley

We made a later start to our first day of travel. Beverley is only about 1.5 hours from Perth and hot weather was forecast making a later arrival seem sensible. Let’s get the weather out of the way quickly. There was a cool breeze all day which made it seem cool even here in Beverley and the temperature dropped after sunset making it nice to snuggle under the doona for sleeping.

Our route took us along the Brookton Highway, which meant that we would pass by my sister’s house. I had to beg for us to stop and see them and we had a lovely visit catching up on family news.

We pulled into a parking bay a little way along Brookton Highway and were fortunate that we could walk a little way into the bush on tracks to see wildflowers.

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We arrived here in Beverley around 3.00 pm. Beverley provides free camping just over the bridge from the town. There are clean flushing toilets, bins and a water tap. There is a dump point in town we will take advantage of when we are leaving. We are allowed to stay here 48 hours which is ideal because it gives us a day to explore and get to know the town.

After a rest and afternoon tea we took a walk over the bridge and along the main road. There are many beautiful old buildings. Not many people about, but when we went into the hotel to buy some cider we found many of the good folk of Beverley in the beer garden.

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Back at the van we had found the TV reception a bit spotty and set up the Apple TV so we could watch the news and Australian Story via the internet. We had a meat meal already cooked and I only had to cook some pasta to make a meal. Stephen made us each a bowl of salad. This was followed by herbal teas and a chocolate.

We slept extremely well, for my part only getting up once in the night.

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We had coffee after my uncle’s funeral at this cafe. It was a sad day, but I have good memories of him.

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