The Winnie at home

Our neighbours left for a two week holiday on Thursday. We already had the Winnie booked in to try to find out why our fridge emits an odour when we are using it on gas, so we picked it up on Tuesday evening, stored it on the vacant lot nearby during the day, then in a parking bay in our street for the night.


Ken Peachy Caravans said that our fridge did not have a flue, and as there were no gas leaks, this must be why the odour was coming back into the ‘house’. They put in a flue and I tested it, there is a certainly a great improvement. However, as I was looking for a smell I was able to detect it lightly. Mike also said he would get us a quote for repairing the damage to the rear panel. It may be quite expensive and we are still waiting. When we get the quote we can work out whether it is worthwhile to claim it on our insurance.

When cleaning the windscreen yesterday I was able to confirm that a mark on the outside is in fact a small crack. These days they can be repaired without having to replace the whole windscreen, so it has gone on my list of things to do.

Having the Winnie at home gave us the opportunity to take it out for a picnic meal yesterday evening. We decided on a visit to the North Mole at Fremantle. That worked well although I did not want to take it past the section of road that has two lanes. There was a strong wind which made walking along the Mole quite challenging. It felt like my cameras were bouncing all over the place, but I still managed to get some photos that I am happy with.


A different view of Cottesloe, taken on the 70-300mm lens and using the dehaze feature in Lightroom to get some clarity. There were no clouds, but there was quite a lot of haze. The setting sun changed shape from round to square because of the haze distortion.


Stephen suggested that we watch the news whilst eating. We didn’t want to put up the TV antenna in the wind, so tried using it with it flat on the roof. The ABC din’t work well enough to watch the news, but we watched some tennis, then got involved in a movie on a commercial channel. We had a lovely meal of cold chicken, rolls and salads, followed by watermelon. I had other ‘goodies’ but we were quite full, so just had a hot drink.

We stayed until 9.00 p.m. before heading home. We were able to watch the sunset from the van, and I got some photos of yatchs and sea lit by the evening light.

This morning we had a walk before breakfast. The Sunday morning Farmers’ Market was smaller than usual. Cherry, who was having breakfast there, said there was something else on which would have attracted buyers and sellers, and would account for there being less stalls and customers. We enjoyed talking with her for awhile, then headed home for scrambled eggs, toast and coffee.

bike rack at the Farmers’ Market
our street corner

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).




We are taking advantage of the cooler weather to have a night or two away from the city. Why Jarrahdale? I was looking for a free camping site close to Perth using Geowiki and this popped up. It’s on the edge of the town, with a dump point and drinking water. When we arrived we found there was even a large concrete slab. We have parked on the edge, giving us a view down the valley to the river. There was a large bus type motorhome here, with room for a small car inside (we saw it going in), when we arrived. Later, a truck pulled up for the night and a car.

The purpose of this trip is to give Stephen some experience of driving the Winnie. He is getting used to driving again in the Subaru, but hasn’t tried this yet. When I suggested coming down this way, he asked if we were going to stay overnight. It was not my original plan, but seemed a good idea, given the cooler weather and not much on this week. I went to see Mum yesterday with the idea of getting ready today and going tomorrow. But, I was looking forward to it so much that I did some of the preparation last night. It still takes quite a lot of preparation with regard to food, even though on our plan is to stay one or two nights. We decided to use the method of packing everything into the Subaru, including an esky for the cold stuff, then driving up to pick up Winnie, packing everything onboard and heading off. Of course, the fact that we were closer to our destination by going to Roleystone was a factor.

We’ve had salad and one of our leftover meat meals for tea. As we don’t have electricity or water hookup we are using gas and 12v for everything. Works well!

Some of the bushes had snails up the stem like this
We took a walk down to the river, not very far from where we are camped
typical bush around here

This is the view from where we are parked.

There was some sunshine, although it is still cloudy. There was more rain today than we expected from the weather forecast.
There is quite a lot of explore around here. The council have a set of maps with walks and we downloaded them before we left.

We saw three kangaroos whilst we were waiting for our meal to heat up. They were moving very fast so it was better to enjoy them than try to get a photo.

Stephen is driving again…

It is 12 months today since Stephen had a seizure when we were overseas. Although he regained his licence a couple of weeks ago today was the first day that he wanted to drive. I had taken the Winnebago to Chamberlain Auto Electrics to have the radio disconnected from the ignition and re routed to running off the caravan batteries. They installed a small button to switch the radio on. Now we can use it when staying in the Winnie without risking running down the car radio and having to put our step up. I then drove home to have lunch. Later in the day, we decided to take it back to Roleystone to it’s ‘home’. As well, I wanted to go to a place where there was pretty countryside with cape lilacs along the road. It wasn’t exactly on our way, but worth the drive. As we were leaving Roleystone, Stephen asked if I would like him to drive. He said it wasn’t fun, he has become used to being driven and has come to like it very much. But, he said it was nice to feel in control again, and he certainly had no difficulty with the actual driving.




Yesterday we went into Perth (by bus, of course) to go to listen to Christmas Carols at Trinity Church. They have a very good choir, and it was great to hear them. The downside was the minister, who insisted in adding some preaching in a style that did not really suit us of the ‘church alumni’ who had come mainly for the music and to sing ourselves. The church was far from full, given the quality of the music this was strange, but perhaps his style doesn’t suit very many people either. I longed for the days of Murray Brown, with his Buddhist style of Christian discourse. Never mind, the church and arcade are very attractive, it was a cool day and very pleasant to be in the city at that time.

In the evening we met Matt at Burswood Gardens for a picnic tea. He had brought a meal with him and I was a bit alarmed when I realised that it was a’mince moist’ meal rather than pureed. He was able to eat it, but I wondered what had happened and concluded that it must have been prepared by someone who does not normally work at his house, or, it was taken from the freezer and they simply didn’t realise. He only coughed once, so I hope there will be no unpleasant effects. Matt found it a bit uncomfortable because of the strong wind. Of course, given that we had planned to be in the open air, it was a cool evening and not really suitable for a picnic. Stephen and I stayed for a BBQ and movie that had been organised by the Shire to reward people like Stephen who had contributed to focus groups. Matt was very thankful to board his taxi at about 7.15 p.m.

At least he was happy at this moment

We retrieved blankets from the car and sat huddled together watching the movie. It was a childrens’ fantasy, interesting, but not necessarily¬†enjoyable, still we wanted to stay until the end to find out what happened. It was ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’.

I spent a good deal of time on Saturday helping to organise our choir to sing at an event this coming Wednesday evening. Lots of emails and sorting out. Thankfully, Eversley also got involved and has now taken the reins. We just have to show up. I am working Wednesday evening, so we will have to make sure we get home in time for me to leave for work.


Being in Western Australia

Today we went to an exhibition of Western Australian art from the early days of European settlement. Very interesting to see how accurately the landscape was featured in the drawings and paintings. We did a tour of the exhibition, which included some history and some art technique. We had lunch beforehand at the wonderful (NOT) cafeteria at the Central Station, it was worse than usual because there was a Christmas party in the main dining room and we were stuck in room at the end of the corridor. The staff were as cheerful as ever, finding food for latecomers when possible, even if it was just desert.

We went to the Concert Hall beforehand to book tickets for the New Years Eve concert. We are looking after Mum, so he rang her and asked her if she wanted to go, and then booked the tickets. I don’t think it will go well, she is normally in bed at 9.30 p.m. when the concert starts, but we will see, maybe doing something so unusual will take her into a different place. We will have to take the car in and park underneath so that we can use the lift.

This evening we went to the Hawkers Market for tea, meeting up with Cherry and her friends. She was pleased with the video of her poem/song on Youtube, which she only found out about this morning. It was nicely stabilised by Youtube after uploading, thank goodness. We enjoyed a discussion about a number of topics, including whether there should be jelly in trifle – I think yes.

In the last couple of days I’ve watched a couple of Youtube videos featuring John Pilger. He is pretty scathing about Hilary Clinton and Obama. Not that he would choose Trump, but American imperialism is pretty scary. China’s island and military base building in the South China sea is in response to the encirclement of China by US miliatary bases with nuclear weapons trained on China. Some of them are very close indeed to mainland China. He talks about the coming ‘war on China’, note not ‘with’ China, but ‘on’ China. By a country (USA) that knows it is either surpassed, or about to be surpassed, by China as the most powerful country on earth.

Early summer – warm days

A new quilt for the Winnie made by Marie.

Yesterday we had our second last ukelele class for the year. We are also taking advantage of the Rod Evans Centre still being open to have a last couple of their delicious lunches. It may have been the large lunch, followed by concentrating for about an hour and a half that made us feel very tired.

Today Marie and I (and Miki) went to see Mum. I had a couple of things to regurn to her that we forgot when she was picked up on Monday. We also took the two ceiling fans. We made scrambled eggs for lunch and I was pleased to see Miki eating the wholemeal bread and enjoying her lunch.

We left earlier than I usually get away. Back at Marie’s I was tired again, even though she had done the driving, so I had a rest on the new quilt in the Winnie. We plugged in so that I could use the air conditioning, but then I unplugged because the solar panels keep the batteries well charged up. That way, they can¬†keep the power on for their caravan.

Stephen went down to Fremantle to see the Dirk Hartog’s plaque, which is on loan from the Netherlands. He then did some shopping and we had leftovers and some fresh salad for tea.