This was our main destination for yesterday and did not disappoint. It was about 90 kms from Western Flora and we had one stop on the way at Eneabba for fuel. Nevertheless, we arrived at the parking area to explore the park after 12.00. It was bright and sunny and we didn’t want to walk too far in the middle of the day.
There are gravel roads leading into the park, but the road to the top is bituminised, probably to avoid erosion. A gravel road would take a lot of maintenance. There were pullouts with interpretive signs on the way, but we were focussed on getting to the top and only stopped once.
We had lunch, despite a severe tilt in the van due to a parking area that was all slopes. It was beautiful and the air was especially fresh. We enjoyed the little bit of walking and there is a paved, wheelchair friendly path to the first lookout.
On the way out of the park we stopped at a wooded gully with a bridge over a dry creek. There are many walking trails in the park and two of them start here.
We had decided against the national park camping area as there is no phone signal. We stayed overnight at Banksia Reserve, the least pretty of our bush camps this trip, but we had a quiet night and a short walk up the hill around sunset meant we could see the sea in the distance at Cervantes.
Stephen wants to go to the wildflower Farm at Moora before we go home. We will stay at Dandaragan for one night on the way because the camping place sounds so nice, then stay at the free campsite in Moora on Sunday night.
After afternoon tea on Monday we walked along the sea front as far as we could until we were under the cliff. There are a couple of museums for Stephen to explore.
We walked back into the Old Town and found an Elizabethan style pub where we had the two together steak special. The steaks were beautifully cooked to our specification and the meal as a whole well presented and tasty. There were chips, but not used to cover up bad cooking, as sometimes happens. We were so happy with our first dinner Monday night that we went there for our evening meal last night as well, choosing the fish and chips special this time.
When we were walking Monday evening we saw a place, Pam’s Cafe that serves breakfasts. We chose it partly because we would be able to see the sea from the windows. However, it turned out to be a bad choice – the only choice was fried everything and they didn’t do real coffee. I took my laptop and planned to blog whilst enjoying coffee, but the table was sticky and I didn’t like to bring it out. So, we consider that a fail. The sea was grey, with a grey sky. After breakfast we walked back to the house to pack our things for the day out.
Our plan was to visit Bodian Castle, a bus ride away from the town. I was trying to buy a real coffee, but the Costas at the bus station/train station reported a malfunctioning coffee machine. After walking around a bit, I found a sort of funky pub that did take away coffee. Thank goodness as it was getting close to midday.
The bus ride was interesting as it took us through a part of the town which is hilly and we probably wouldn’t have chosen to walk that way. Bodian Castle is a National Trust property and located just near the bus stop – which made it ideal from the logisics point of view.
Apart from that, it is the most beautiful castle. It is a ruin, but the outside is well kept and there is enough intact inside to get a feel for what it was like to live there. The man that built it came from an ordinary manor house and he and his wife had the challenge of making a castle as comfortable as their former home. The castle has featured in documentaries, but I don’t remember seeing it before.
It was partly sunny and quite warm by the time we reached Bodian. It was a delightful experience to walk inside and around the grounds. They had the usual National Trust shop and cafe, and we made good use of both. I took lots of photos, but also bought some postcards of the castle in snow and in evening light. If we ever build a castle I want it to be just like Bodian. Below are some photos.
It’s been an odd experience as we walk around the town to seeing Hastings on signs everywhere. The was also a Carlisle hotel and I took a photo of it for Matt.
After arriving back in town at about 3.30, we went to Jempsons for our afternoon cuppa. We resisted cakes and it paid off with having a good appetite for our dinner. We walked along the sea front in the other direction after leaving Jempsons, then walked back to the Old Town to our favourite pub.
By the time we got home we had done the most steps of any day on our trip so far, about 16,929 – about 12 kms. We slept very well indeed, though we had energy for listening to a couple of Desert Island Disk podcasts. If you haven’t been listening to Desert Island Disks it’s worth while checking them out. They have interviews stretching back 30 years. Sometimes there are interviews of the same person at vastly different stages of their life.
I needed a new book shortly before we left and chose ‘The Conqueror’ by Georgette Heyer. Her books are now available as ebooks and the connection with Hastings makes it the idea choice for reading here. The hero is William the Conqueror. I’m not sure I want to bring it up with the locals, they speak of the Civil War as if it happened a few years ago instead of centuries. Being overtaken by the Normans might be a bit sensitive for them, depending on their ancestry and loyalties.
Stephen likes to strike up conversations with other elderly men as we are catching buses. This can lead to very interesting local information.
We see very little of our hostess who is a shift worker. Hopefully we will see her when we go back to the house to pack up and we can clarify the pick up time for our bags.
But first, getting up to date. On Saturday evening we went to a concert at the Croydon Minster. The choir members do not audition and the choral singing was a little fuzzy – not up to WASO chorus standards. But the young soloists were excellent and the Rossini mass is very easy to listen to.
When we came out it was still light, with a cold breeze. Stephen had his thick coat (I had been using it in the church to try to get comfortable), but I had my denim jacket only. A brisk walk home was the best we could do to get warm.
On Sunday we did nothing very much – we talked with Matt and Hidde on Facetime at 11.30 a.m. Matt continues to look well and happy. In the later afternoon we went out for afternoon tea and shopping. We had pork pies for lunch, mostly so that we could tell Hidde that we had them, rather than because we thought they would be great. They were nice at the time, but have a strong taste of pork which seems to be haunting me still. Perhaps I need a Chinese meal or something to overpower the taste.
This morning we got up in good time to pack for our little trip. In fact, our train didn’t leave until 1.00 p.m., but we wanted to get to the station early to pick up our tickets. We were thinking of just taking my duffle bag for both of us, but I filled it up with my stuff, so Stephen has had to bring the other duffle for his clothes. We still felt we were lightly packed compared with when we went away with the car for a week.
We haven’t bought any food with us as it would have been extra to carry. We can prepare food at our AirBNB, but will probably just have meals out for the couple of days we are here. We have two nights, and are leaving at 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday, which gives us a couple of days here, more or less. We have a room on the ground floor, just down three steps, rather than up many steps, with our own private bathroom. It’s very inexpensive compared with most of the places available here, $103 for two nights including AirBNB fees. Breakfast isn’t included, but there are many options to buy breakfast nearby.
It was cloudy and dull when we woke up this morning, then fined up by the time we left home. We arrived here in sunshine, which tends to make a good impression. There is a coolish breeze, so we need jackets. We really enjoyed the train ride. Obviously when we were travelling along near the sea Stephen put away his paper to look out the window.
Stephen didn’t do any preparation in terms of looking up the attractions of this area before we came. Whilst I am tapping away at the blog he is doing some research for the next couple of days.
Stephen was joking (I hope) with the waitress that we should get a discount because our name is Hastings. She confided that the manager had said to only charge us for one tea cake, not two – we were already being given a discount. I think we will come back to this cafe.
On Sunday we took the car back, no problems, and we will be refund the 200 pounds deposit. It was still tricky driving in traffic and we got beeped one last time, just in case we were missing it! We caught the bus back and did some shopping. We finally found the exit that takes us to the tram stop from inside the Whitgift shopping centre under the busy road.
Yesterday I did a lot of washing, catching up with towells and linen. In the afternoon we walked downtown and Stephen went to the library, then joined me at Neros for afternoon tea. It was a pleasant, sunny day, a bit too warm in the sun even at 3.00ish.
It is grey today, with temperatures 12-18 degrees. At 2.20 p.m. it’s about 17 degrees. When I check Vic Park weather the nights are a bit colder, but daytime temperatures about the same for this week. Odd!
Today we are visiting Wimbledon where there are tours of the grounds and courts, plus a museum, shop and cafe. I’ve been looking for something to take home for Matt, and found a nice sports jacket. The young people we’ve seen wearing them look pretty snazzy. I think Matt will as well.
Stephen did a full 1.5 hour tour, where I chose to have a quick look at Centre Court and tour the museum.
They have a VR presentation which is pretty sensational. They have started taking 360 degree video of the competition and it makes for an amazing experience. They have a trained hawk that acts to scare birds away from the courts during matches, and part of the presentation had the hawk landing just in front of you, I could have reached out and touched it. You can turn your head to see the Royal Box, such is the magic of VR.
The museum is very well done and covers the game from early days of Real Tennis played by Henry VIII and others to the present day. I liked seeing the dresses women used to wear when playing.
It’s easy to get here (Wimbledon) from our place, a tram ride to Wimbledon central from outside our housing complex, then a bus ride that took us just outside the gate.
Today we had news of the outcome of the Trump/Kim summit. Insulting the Canadian Prime Minister, blowing off the other heads of state of traditional allies at the G7, and cozying up to a dictator. Giving said dictator legitimacy despite his human rights record and nuclear capacity. I don’t think anyone really believes that Kim will give up his nuclear weapons. No wonder a Fox News host got a bit muddled and accidently described them as ‘two dictators’ – that is on Trump’s own fan channel. Are we impressed – not likely. It seems that he has played directly into Kim’s hands.
Gareth Evans said in an interview we saw on the ABC that with international diplomacy you have to be prepared to talk with ‘the worst of the worse’ in order to achieve peaceful ends. However, a wise leader would not think it meant having to flatter Kim and fly US flags alongside North Korean flags.
We understand Kim’s motivation, having proved his nuclear capacity he must improve conditions economically in order to hold on to power in North Korea. However, it is obvious that he has to keep the nuclear capacity as much as possible whilst doing just enough to have sanctions lifted.
Everyone has been willing to talk with Kim Jong Un since the full crazyness of the Trump administration has become clear. The fear that the madman in the Whitehouse would start a nuclear war for purely selfish and egotisical reasons was the motivation.