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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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bike rack at the Farmers’ Market
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our street corner

The Weekend

I had arranged with Mum that I would pick her up early on Saturday morning and take her down to Mundaring for a blood test. When I rang her at about 6.55 a.m. she did not answer the phone. I continued to try to call her until about 7.20 a.m., then decided just to drive up there. When I arrived she had had a cigarette or two as well as her first coffee of the day, so no blood test possible. She said that she heard the phone, but was ‘confused’. She did seem a little out of it.

She got dressed and we sat around for awhile, then watched the movie ‘Saving Face’. I hadn’t realised there would be a gay relationship between two young women depicted. Not really her cup of tea. The film was about overcoming Chinese prejudices and conservatism, but in a way, it was a testament to Chinese values. Set in NY, but the characters mostly spoke Cantonese I think, though I could understand some words, so it could have been Mandarin, but a dialect.

We had lunch and I left at about 12.00 feeling somewhat frustrated. Mum was talking about being frightened about the incident of the man coming onto her verandah. She said it happened ‘yesterday’, but she had already told Jamie and I about it on Wednesday. Very worrying from our point of view too, as he must realise that she lives alone.

In the evening after tea we went into town for the opening concert for PIAF. Not as spectacular as the previous year with the visiting Giants, but quite good for a homegrown entertainment event on the theme of Home. Tim Minchin disappointed me by singing his terrific song ‘Imperfect’ in standard American rather than in his Australian accent. I looked at a version from 5 years ago on Youtube and he didn’t sing it in American that time. Major fail, especially as the theme of the evening was Australia as home to many different ethnic groups.

Home Concert at Langley Park (PIAF)

Today we spent most of the day at home, then went over to see Matt in the evening. We went outside with him to try out his wheelchair and managed to get him stuck. After using some cardboard and lots of muscle we managed to get him out of it, but he had had enough. I fed him his tea and Stephen played the piano for a little while. The Murrays arrived and talked about Andrew learning to use his powered chair, and the fact that it had taken some time for him, but also helped them in taking him out. Ian suggested getting in touch with Matt’s OT to have some training for Stephen and I, and perhaps his staff, as any training happens outside. Stephen felt that Matt needed structured sessions on learning how to use the controls. Ian also said that the turning circle up the street from Villa 3 was a good place to practice. Very useful. It was lovely to see them.

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Afterwards Stephen and I went down to Brighton Beach for the sunset. We had hamburgers, chips and Pepsi Max for tea. Afterwards we wandered down to Scarborough and found a beautiful salsa session on the steps near the beach. Apparently it happens every Sunday afternoon, with free lessons from 4 – 5, then goes from 5.00 to 9.00 p.m. for $5 per go. A great ending to our evening out.

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Looking out to se
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back over the land
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Looking south

 

Leaving Bath

Yesterday morning was sunny and partly cloudy, not very cold. We had a bus to catch at 12.45 p.m. and had a leisurely morning, packing up our things, having our usual full breakfast at the YHA, and then heading out for a walk in the town. We left the case at the hostel and Stephen picked it up later.

I took photos of the hostel in sunshine, some of our walk across the bridge and alongside the river, and then the street stalls in the town centre. Some of which are included in the slideshow.

The journey by bus was quite pleasant, though the heater was on full and it was quite hot in my window seat. At Heathrow we asked the bus driver to turn the heating down, which is when we found out it was stuck. Other people were also finding it too hot, so we opened the top vent.

We had a cup of tea at Victoria Station, then home to East Croydon, picking up milk and some food at Sainsbury on the way through. It reminded us that it is quite a hard slog from the station when we are tired. Having the case means that if we use the tram we have to take it up and down steps on the estate, rather than coming via ramps. I’m not sure which is harder.

In the footsteps of Bill Bryson

Today we visited Avebury, site of one of the English henges. It is quite impressive. The standing stones are mostly the result of excavation and setting in place again. We were prompted to visit by what Bill Bryson wrote in The Road to Little Dribbling although we didn’t feel, as he did, that the National Trust information was unhelpful. Maybe he didn’t concentrate when he was being told where to begin the walk. Maybe the fact that we came by train, then bus, made us more observant. We could see the stones immediately as the bus was arriving at the village.

And, we were given a little map. There was a museum showing the excavation and another showing some of the artefacts that have been recovered.

Of course, they don’t really know who built the henge or why. It dates from about 4,200 years ago. The stone used for the henge is local to the area and has been used for paving and building houses in the area. Apparently many of the standing stones were broken up and destroyed by local people. What is left is still substantial.

After we had looked in the museums and had lunch, Stephen decided to really follow Bill Bryson’s lead and walk to Silbury Hill. It is also part of the mystery – an artificial hill that has apparently been built up over a long period of time.

We bought one picnic lunch at the hostel and ate it in the cafe, alone with a lovely big pot of tea, with spare hot water.

Stephen off to Silbury Hill
Stephen sets off for Silbury Hill

In fact, he gave up after awhile. It had become very rainy and wet, and was very muddy underfoot. I had experienced it myself doing a walk partway around the circle of stones. We met up at the church. I had already been in, so he had a look, then went back to the museum for a while, whilst I retreated to the cafe.

The following are some photos from my walk in an Apple Photos slideshow. It tells a story of a rainy day, with a short burst of sun and blue sky, just before we set off on our walks.

 

 

Beautiful

We had an enjoyable afternoon yesterday, catching the train to Victoria Station, then a bus through the city to the Aldwych Theatre to see ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’.

When we went to a London theatre a few weeks ago there were no security checks. This time, there was a fairly careful check of our bags before entry, which we found most reassuring. The theatre was old and very pretty – though I did not take photos due to the press of people in the smallish foyer.

Stephen stood inside, then outside to try to sell our extra ticket. We had bought the tickets for this show thinking that Ron would come. Eventually he was able to sell it to a couple of American women. They had just flown in on the day and were looking for tickets and prepared to sit apart to save a little money. We were very pleased to get back most of the money. Ron had offered to pay for it, but we didn’t like to take money from him since he couldn’t help being ill.

The show itself was extremely well done. The music spanned the mid sixties to mid eighties and we knew all of it, though hadn’t been aware of who composed it. In fact, we didn’t remember Carole King as a singer. The storyline traced her artistic life from a 16 year old for about 15 years or so. There were a couple of groups of singer/dancers on stage as well as her mother, husband, manager and good friends. Very enjoyable both musically and emotionally – I expect because it was meaningful to people of our generation. They got a standing ovation at the end.

We walked along The Strand for a while afterwards to find somewhere to have a cup of tea. We had had our usual picnic lunch on the way to the theatre whilst sitting on the bus – and had banana and chocolate at interval. Still, we were quite hungry by the time we arrived home, in the dark as usual.

It was pretty cold, but I wore an extra jumper underneath my coat, and Stephen’s coat is made for very cold conditions, so we didn’t have any problems with the cold. It was fine and sunny in the afternoon, after snow and drizzle in the morning.

This morning is sunny as well. I took a couple of photos from the balcony for this post.

Sunny Day
View towards London
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View to the South (used the Dehaze Filter in Lightroom)

I am doing lots of little loads of washing at the moment as we are going to Bath for five nights and I like to be up to date with washing.

Friday – Oxford Day 5 – Leaving

After our meal Thursday night we arrived at the house later than usual. No-one was home and as I put the key in the lock and turned it, the key broke off. We contact Matt and he got back to us quickly. He wasn’t far away, and came home and let us in through the garage. Not too much drama. His housemate was able to extract the key stub from the lock.

In the morning we said our goodbyes and thank you to Matt. He gave us a couple of jars, one of chutney and one of the nice berry jam, the same as we had been enjoying for the four mornings we had stayed with him.

We took our cases to the Tourist Information and paid 12 pounds for them to look after them for the day. Then Stephen went off to the Ashmolean again and I went to a cafe. We had lunch together, then wandered down to Balliol College for a look around. We had afternoon tea there, which included two normal sized biscuits each, but the tea was a bit weak. Stephen went to the Museum of Science and I went to Weston Library, across the road, and part of the Bodleian Library, but in a modern building.

Then it was time to catch a bus back to London. It took quite a bit longer than the trip down as there was rush hour traffic and the bus was also pretty much full up by the time we left the Oxford area. We even caught the tram one stop to get us closer to our apartment block. We were very tired, of course, but it we had such a lovely time in Oxford that it seemed quite worth it.

We have now been away about 3 weeks, and it seems longer.

Balliol College
Balliol College
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Autumn colours at Balliol
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Garden at Balliol
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Chapel at Balliol
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Bodleian Library Reading Room
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Weston Library – opposite the Reading Room
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Red Leaves, Balliol College
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The Great Hall, Balliol College. There was only one woman depicted in the portraits around the Hall. Dame Stephanie Shirley. I did a Google and she was very interesting. She set up a tech company employing mostly women with family responsibilities, before it became illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender.

Wednesday – Oxford Day 3

Here are a few more photos from yesterday. The only processing is to resize them for posting here. They were taken in the evening before we caught the bus back to Oxford. The third photo below is my favourite of the day.

 

A view of the lake
  
A small cottage near the gate – perhaps formerly the gatekeeper’s lodge