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Diary Entries

Saturday, 01 August 2009

Location: Perth, Australia

Saturday 1 August
Arose early for breakfast cuppa and slice of toast with honey (yum) before heading off to collect Irene. We met Marion over in Joondalup, transferred to her car and headed for the hills. The weather was perfect, warm with a gentle breeze and very pleasant for meandering around Kalamunda. We had coffee when we arrived at about 9.30 am and the market was already buzzing with buyers. After coffee we wandered over to explore the various stalls; some innovative and amusing, some ordinary – but a huge variety of different things, from home made foods, clothing, bedding etc. Irene and Marion were busy buying plants as both are upgrading their gardens. Other items of great interest were ‘sculptures’ made from metal. I bought a Koala and also a photo frame with two cute emu heads poking over the top Before we left we drove through the town and out into the surrounding countryside to a Rose Farm where we enjoyed a cuppa after viewing some of the huge variety of roses on sale. Another wonderful day.

Sunday 2 August
Avon Descent day today! This race is apparently the longest water race of its sort in the world. There are kayaks and canoes of varying sorts, either singles, doubles or teams as well as some powered craft with different engines formed into different groups that take part. It has been going for about 38 years and some folks have done it for 35 out of those 38. They must be very tough cookies!
I left home around 8.00 am for the drive to Bells Rapids. Got to where I thought the car park would be according to my map, to be relieved of $10 and told, along with loads of others, to park in a farmer’s field. Nice little earner! They were good enough to put on buses to drive us the short(ish) distance to the ‘real’ car park. This was filled with race ‘groupies’ and intrepid onlookers who’d slept the night to enable them to see the very first racers over the line. As it was I was well settled on the bridge by the time the first canoeists arrived. It was a magical event and I stayed until 1.30 after most of the motorised boats had gone through. Had to queue for some time to catch the bus back but passed the time chattering with a couple of locals who’d done the trip previously so knew the agonies these participants were enduring. Gather the river was lower than some years so it was hard for those with two per canoe and those with engines as well.
Got home exhausted by the heat, even though I was wearing my hat! Really appreciated the two cups of sweet tea I hastily made and drank relaxing whilst trying to sort out all the photos I’d taken.

Monday 3 August
Popped down to the Post Office to send Geoff and Sue’s mail to them – they are somewhere near Rockhampton, exploring the Great Barrier Reef for the next few days. After this I called into the Library before returning home. The weather was fantastic so I got the mower out to trim the back garden, not that much grass came off. I found the secateurs and got into taming the ‘balls’ outside the kitchen, which have started to grow wildly. I then sat in the sunshine reading and doing crosswords. I did some weeding as well! Will mow the front lawn sometime soon though I believe it might be raining later this week.

Tuesday 4 August
Hotfooted over to Joondalup to collect my Mah-jong book, which had arrived. Popped into the IGA and got a few food bargains before coming home. At 11.00 am I met Irene at her place and we drove into town. Went to an area called Mt Lawley and enjoyed a memorable luncheon at Queens, an old hotel, renovated so that you could still see how it was put together – ie could see the bare walls/brick in places and then the lathe and plaster was also visible in parts of the ceiling. Huge open fires were blazing as well. This area is an old stomping ground of Irene’s so she drove me around showing me some wonderful old houses on large plots = big money in this area. We had a walk around a couple of lakes in a park before driving over to see Lake Mangan which apparently usually has loads of waterfowl. Not a lot on view today – I saw one pelican and a black swan.

Wednesday 5 August
Went into Perth City today! Train journey was uneventful. Visited the riverside – not a lot going on there – just boats that plough up and down the river! Saw Perth’s small Big Wheel which sits near the Bell Tower – this place has the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields which were donated to Perth in 1988 – to commemorate Australia’s bicentenary. I visited St George’s Cathedral where there was an art display by youngsters from various schools – excellent stuff some of it and also there was a lunchtime recital which I listened to for a while. Wandered along Hay St; watched a guy do a handstand whilst I photographed him beside a statue of a man doing a handstand; found a good alley - London Court where I had coffee and bought some great post cards; walked some more – found Elizabeth’s second hand book store where I bought 3 books and then found a nice café for lunch. I wandered a bit more and then caught the train home.

Thursday 5 August 2009
Had some heavy rain over night and the sky was decidedly grey when I got up. It did brighten later, but lots of fluffy clouds hung around!
Games On today in Joondalup Library. Tried to play Backgammon with Irene but we could not really fathom out how to play properly so abandoned it for Boggle. After the games we went to the shops to get some nibbles for luncheon and for tomorrows bring a plate. Went back to Irene’s place to eat but I left early to get to the Library – today is their last day before they move to their new improved position.
Very dull weather tonight with no real sunset to speak of!

Thursday 6 August 2009
Game On! in Joondalup today – tried playing Backgammon, but as the rules were not clear and nobody else there seemed to know how to play we abandoned this and started a Boggle game – got looked at sideways as this does make a bit of noise when shuffling the dice! Most enjoyable morning. Weather is being a bit more changeable with some heavy rain overnight and clouds everywhere during the day. It is much warmer though. Did my ‘final’ visit to the Library today as they close tonight for their move to the new Library, re-opening on 31 August.

Friday 7 August
Early start today to get to EasyBeat by 9.00 am. Today, after the exercise we played skittles again. During our tea break a couple, who are going to do the complete Bibbulmun Trail, one of the longest in Oz, showed us all their gear and how much they could pack into their rucksacks etc. It is going to take them over 2 months to do the complete walk. Quite some feat. Did a quick recce after the meeting to see where the next available Library is, somewhere called Clarkson, but did not go far enough up the coast. Got to Burns Beach and turned right – should have gone onto Quinns. Oh well next week. Tried to assist Irene with her hands free car system but we could not get it to work very loudly.

Saturday and Sunday
Had a lazy weekend around the house. Did my shopping and bought a paper before coming home and doing some more weeding. Need to get out and do some in the front as well this coming week. On Sunday I had some parakeets on my feeder and also 4 galahs came into the garden – so gradually they are visiting. Shame about the lens – or lack of; having to set it up in the back bedroom and of course there is not much light so can’t do fast shutter speeds! Oh well, eventually the sun will shine and I will get some shots! Sent my pictures over for the competition tomorrow and started thinking about the next one which is to do with creating an advert! On Sunday I went to a local swap meet = car boot sale and bought some books. It was not a very big one so not a lot of choice; mostly kids clothing and toys and many plants. This was down on the Wanneroo showground – a place I had not seen. There is a skate park as well as football fields etc.

Everyone here brings happiness;
Some by arriving, some by leaving!

The above was a sign in shop on Stephen Fry’s film about America – in New York’s Queens.

Sunday – 9th August – 4 years since Julie and Tony were killed.

Monday 10 August
Did some ‘house work’ – ie laundry, made lunch for the U3A and went off in good time. Had an enjoyable Wine Tasting session and good chatter. Later there was a talk on who named Australia from a 90-year-old gent - quite interesting if a bit long winded.
At the camera club tonight I got 2 merits, one for the Lilac Breasted Roller (open PI) and one for the Dish washer (Indian girl – subject Water’s Edge). Sat next to Lyn, another new member, and hope that she comes again, as she might be a good one to shoot with.

Tuesday 11 August
Met up with Irene and we drove on down to Perth – went to Matilda Bay which is near the University of Western Australia – I recognised the building from photos I’d seen last night at the camera club. Had a wander along the seashore chattering and then went for lunch at Matilda’s café – Thai fishcakes and squid along with shared wedges - very tasty nibbles. Afterwards we drove around Subiaco looking at the lovely old houses. This is a very wealthy area with some great houses.

Wednesday 12 August
Another wet and windy day. Had a morning at home and then walked down to the pool for another Nifty Fifty session. This is a great exercise class for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it; had a chat and cuppa with some of the swimmers afterwards.

Thursday 13 August
Off to Mah-jong today; played with Irene, Ben and another woman from Joondalup. As I have my ‘book’ now I am finding ‘favourites’ that seem to be easier ones to obtain. Twice got to fishing stage, but not quite winners. Went off to Clarkson afterwards and then called into Drovers to review some of their wonderful stock; ordered the cats throw for Y&D. Funnily enough – Irene was there as well chattering to Kim one of the women who work there whom we have befriended. Went back to Irene and played scrabble until 4.30 pm.

Friday 14 August
Got up early today to get to Joondalup to bag a parking space. Amazingly there were only two spaces left even that early! Ridiculous situation when so many people now use the trains to get to their workplaces. Caught the train around 7.15 am and then another from Perth on to Fremantle. Found a café to have coffee and croissant for breakfast before wandering up to the prison where I found Rob setting up for the day’s session. There were 7 of us at this session. It was a technical day of blurb showing how cameras should work when set up correctly and I hope some of it sank in! We were there from 10 until gone 5 pm so had a good day. In the afternoon a young girl, model, appeared and we had a session using lighting. Sadly we could not go outside as it was windy and chilly which would not have been pleasant for the model. Have to say the poor brain was well exercised by the time I got home at 7.30! Had an enjoyable journey from Perth to Joondalup in the company of two builders, who’d obviously been on the beer; one was originally from Swansea and the other from Ireland. We were jabbering so much the Welshman missed his station!

Saturday 15 August
Had a lie in this morning before I got up to go to Joondalup for a session with the camera! BUT had forgotten that I’d taken out the disc the night before to view the photos of the day. So irritating! Went and bought the paper and off home. Sorted out some recipes to make for the freezer when Irene phoned and suggested we went out for lunch at a very pleasant, cheap, place she’d come across on Thursday. We ordered two meals and shared. The chilli chicken was soooo good; the curry was probably also very good but after the chilli it tasted a bit bland! Should have eaten that first I think as it was a mild coconut creamy dish. Each dish was $8.90 which is about £4.50. Thereafter we went for a walk at Neil Hawkins Park – I took a few shots with the ‘little’ camera to try and stitch when I got home – but then it began to rain so we ducked back to the car! Dropped Irene off and came on home.

Sunday 16 August
Awoke to another dull dreary day with heavy clouds and no sun. It was a bit chillier this morning. Had a lazy day at home! Went for a quick half hour walk around the block later on to get the daily exercise!

Monday 17 August
Got up to yet another dull dreary day. Mooched around after breakfast until it was time to go off to Joondalup to catch the train to Perth. Left around 11.00 am and got to Perth just before 12; waited at the appointed place until Irene appeared and we went to a Food Mall between Murray and Hay Malls for a sandwich and chat. Lovely lady and we enjoyed the hour chattering until she had to get back to work. I wandered around a little and then caught the train home. Did some weeding and mowed the front lawn. Chatted with Ray next door when he got back from work. It was very hot out there this afternoon so goodness knows what it will be like in December!

Tuesday 18 August
My 59th Birthday! Wow!
Went over to Irene’s house; waited there for Marion to arrive and then drove down to the Ten Pin Bowling Alley near the Warwick Shopping Centre. We’d booked two games so there was a lane for us luckily as a school appeared and filled most of the others. This is the very first time that Marion has ever played and it took a few throws before she got her eye in. Irene has played before, a long time ago, and of course I played with the U3A. Luckily I was able on my birthday to do quite well, and managed to win both games! Yippee, lucky birthday girl, with results of 71 and 79. Can’t remember what my highest scores were with the U3A but not far off my best results today I don’t think. After coffee and chat we went back to Irene – she’d done a lovely luncheon with pate, pizza and cheese. We could have had wine, but declined due to both Marion and myself having to drive home, and one glass is not enough!!

Wednesday 19 August
Another dull dreary day! Irene called in for a chat and cuppa and then later I went to the nifty fifty group. Karen worked us very hard today – I certainly feel as if I have done some exercise!

Thursday 20 August 2009
Had a very amusing and interesting day today. I went with Irene to an auction – she was trying to buy some stuff cheapish for her stall. Sadly for her there were two or three others there competing for the same stock so she got some, but not as much as she’d hoped for and possibly not as cheap as she would have liked. But having said that she was very pleased with what she did get and hopes to at least double her spend so that is great. Bought some farm fresh eggs and some superb strawberries en route home.
When we came back we played Mah-jongg; a bit more difficult with just two but good for us to continue trying to learn new ‘games’ etc. Bliss, her cat, is slowly getting used to me and did come out and eat even though I was sitting at the table. Probably by the time I leave he will allow me to cuddle him!! He looks a lot like our Scratch.
It has rained almost all day today. A very English weather day sadly and I have to say rather chilly again.

Friday 21 August 2009
Got up to make sandwiches for EasyBeat – used some of the yummy eggs I bought from the farm yesterday and they certainly looked fantastic – a nice rich yellow – not pale and wan. It has been raining again – but held off for us to go walking before the exercise class. Marion and Irene were both there today so went walkabout with them. After exercise I played table tennis for a while and then we had our usual delicious selection of nibbles. Thereafter I went off to Clarkson to try and use the internet – really is a pain not having broadband here at the house. Hey Ho! Such is life and it is not the end of the world all things considered. Stopped off at Drovers en route home to fetch a gift I’d found for Y&D in SA. Sat and read this afternoon as it was too dull to do anything and kept showering everywhere!
Saturday 22 August
Went back to Clarkson and returned the CD which did not work (bought yesterday) and revisited the Library. Then found a Supa IGA and bought meat to make the mousakka chilli and bobotie.
Spent the best part of the day cooking it all up. Hung the washing out – indoors as it is damp and dreary outside and with frequent showers laundry will never dry!
Also made a fruit oatie to take to the camera club on Monday night for the shoot out.
Sunday 23 August
34th Anniversary of my wedding day! Sat and ate camembert followed by strawberries and cream – with a glass of red wine! Delicious. Had a rather lazy day as the weather was miserable again. Read the papers, played with the camera, read my book etc. Keith Wright’s birthday today.
Monday 24 August
U3A day today – another wine tasting session. A really good white wine and one nice red – the other was a bit rough on the back of the throat! Met a really nice woman today, Kari, who invited me to go into the country with her to see a friend who lives on a farm – this Thursday/Friday so have had to put Pam’s lunch off until next week and will miss Mah-jongg and Easy Beat, but still…. Can’t pass up this opportunity.
Camera Club Shootout this evening – an interesting concept similar to our 3B’s battle, except there are only two clubs involved. Each club was given 13 subject titles a few months ago and planned photographs to fit each category – for example, Live by the sword was one of the titles; these photos were then sent to be judged by two different folks who chose the best and that club gained the point. Some of the pictures were astoundingly good, some took the subject matter literally and some were quirky but interesting. As it turned out NEPG did win on the final shot! We enjoyed a wonderful snack meal afterwards prepared by all club members. I’d made some fruit oaties none of which were left – luckily I’d kept one back to taste!
Tuesday 25 August
Irene called round for me at 9.00 am and we motored into Perth to the Zoo! What an amazing experience that was. The Zoo is built in what appears to be a Botanical Garden – there are some magnificent walkways through rainforests with huge trees. Most of the animals are housed in great spaces and I was especially impressed with the orang-utans ‘cages’; very modern with loads of ropes etc to encourage playing. Food was hidden in boxes as was water, so the animals have to really search for their nourishment, which is great for them. Saw a numbat – Western Australia’s mammalian emblem. The Numbat is a marsupial but does not have a pouch like true marsupials.
Weather was perfect for walking around the zoo and we both took several photographs; me still over exposing in this bright light! Will need to go back alone and spend concentrated time sorting this out – so annoying! We had luncheon at the zoo and continued walking until about 3.30 pm by which time we were both knackered! I will admit knees and hips were giving me plenty of trouble and sitting in the car home was a wonderful relief. Irene stayed for a quick cup of tea and a bite of my camera oatie before she headed home. She has a busy day tomorrow.
Wednesday 26 August
Had an early morning (late night in the UK) call from Sue P to say she has finally arranged Maurice’s funeral – 5 September - and Lee needs to get him out the garage, but is not answering his phone! I emailed him straight away so hope he picks it up and gets on with getting M to her! About time he was laid to rest poor fellow.
Knees/Hips were still sore this morning but I did some gardening – getting out more weeds and then found some edge cutters and trimmed the back garden’s edges. Quite hard work in the rather warm sunshine, but it does look a lot better. Just got to get out into the front sometime!
I did force myself to go swimming and thoroughly enjoyed it once I had wandered down there! When I got back Irene had phoned so I popped over there and we played Mah-jongg – four games - I did different runs each time so am starting to learn how to sort the tiles etc as I managed to win 3 even though I did not have a ‘red spot’.
Thursday 27 August
Keri picked me up around 9.00 am and we began our journey to Moora. We stopped off en route to buy some fresh veggies and then again to get some strawberries from a farm (pre-picked luckily) and took the Great Northern Highway towards New Norcia. We went through some stunningly beautiful country – the rape seed (canola) is in full flower now so there is this bright yellow in the fields; if the sky had been blue it would have made a stunning photograph, but instead I got grey clouds – so also dramatic but in a different way! We stopped along the roadside a couple of times to see small clumps of wild flowers which are now starting to show – saw some cute little donkey orchids (big lobes = ears) as well as some splendid blue flowers (name gone). Keri also showed me some ‘pink’ gums or Salmon gums whose trunks have a distinctive pink hue. Beautiful things they are with their greyish leaves alongside the pinkish trunks. We came across a farmer with a sense of humour – there was a dunny and also a bath with shower over, standing out in a field. In the bath was a mannequin dressed in black leather (plastic probably) with a lovely blonde wig, chained to the shower pipe! Looked so incongruous out there in the wilds we did a double take and had to stop the car to take a shot! We got to New Norcia, which is famous for having a Benedictine monastery, founded in 1846 and still working, as one of the focal points. The monks opened a school and tried to teach the local aboriginal folk as well as teaching them Christian behaviour. The whole town is a sort of museum having several notable buildings including the New Norcia Hotel where we had lunch. This pub really had an air of decrepit respectability and needs so much money spent on it to bring it up to modern standards that I am sure this will never happen. It is really stuck in the 1950’s somewhere and such a delight to visit! For lunch we had soup, which was so tasty, but instead of the normal nice bread roll we were given two small pieces of Melba toast. Obviously trying to give an air of gentility to the proceedings! We did not have time to do any of the tours on offer so I might go back with Kay if she is interested.
We drove n to Moora through several other small country towns – blink and you’ve gone past – with a few homesteads in between. Very, very rural area with huge tracts of land under wheat or rape. Moora is a slightly bigger town and boasts a Public Art Walk; we went into one shop and saw the work of one artist – she melts waste plastic, colours it and arranges it on large boards of varying shapes. Most intriguing and colourful – but not for me I don’t think!
We got to the farm, which is about 5 minutes out of the town to be greeted by Doug and Margaret, friends of Keri’s, and their dogs! Doug comes from Shropshire way back when and is a quiet Englishman with a dry sense of humour! Margaret is quite the opposite, bubbly and very chatty. A real live wire! As the sun went down I wandered around the farm looking for interesting things to photograph and then enjoyed a lovely lamb roast with them. The following morning I got up and again wandered around outside – it was overcast and very moody and I also found a rainbow to shoot!
We left here after breakfast and drove back to Perth another way – via Cervantes where I could then see the Pinnacles. The journey to Cervantes threw up quite different flora, which was beautiful to see, and we saw different wild flowers en route as well. In a few weeks it is going to be so colourful up there I must take Kay! We lunched in Cervantes, which is by the sea and then went to the Pinnacles. Again the weather was unkind and it started to rain! Did manage to get some dramatic shots of the limestone pinnacles – amazing things which were buried under the dunes but for whatever reason became uncovered over the millennia.
It was an amazingly interesting couple of days. I saw so much of the countryside and am amazed how different it all is. We saw some wild kangaroos and emus as well which was a bonus. I am really glad that Keri invited me to go with her – it was such fun!
We got back to Perth at 5.00 pm – just time enough to have a shower and change before going off to collect Irene for our dinner at the Thai restaurant with the EasyBeat group!
The diners were divided into two tables – spicy and non-spicy so Marion was on the other table sadly. We had a really delicious selection of food – 4 different dishes along with plain white rice. There were 2 chicken dishes, one beef and one with prawn and they were all delicious. Would certainly go back there again.
Slept well!
Saturday 29 August
Another dull day – no rain but just very overcast and a bit chilly. Took my library books back to Clarkson and got some more photography books out. Spent an hour on the internet before going back, buying a paper and relaxing!
Went through all the photographs of the trip and put a few on Facebook for friends to see. It was a cold night tonight so needed the hot water bottle and the oat bag in bed!
Sunday 30 August
Wow! Almost another month gone. Time is certainly flying here – must be as I am keeping myself so busy!
Another dull dreary day – I had thought about going to Kings Park, but as it was so dull decided against it. Will see what the weather is like during the week.
Had a lazy day at the house reading and eating and watching tv – well it was on in the background whilst I did other things!

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Recent Messages

From Pen
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Birthday Girl!!! Hope you are having a wonderful day and celebrating in suitable style! Thinking of you and looking forward to reading more about your adventures - sent an email as well. Even though you are being missed I shouldn't hurry, back weather suicidal - enjoy!! Many, many happy returns and lots of love Pen XXXXX
From Paddy
Hi Sue this is sounds wonderful. Just to let you know Claire and I won (beat them holler!) at whist last week AFTER Sandra saying it isn't really fair that the two novices play together!!! Dan got engaged last Monday and is very excited with everything. That is all our news. Tipping it down here every other day but not cold. x x
Response: It is wonderfully warm here in spite of it being winter.... Very pleasant at the moment - off to Botswana on Tuesday! No time for relaxation - just different driving arenas! Should be fun though!
From liz
Hi Sue, Glad to hear you arrived safely and the wedding was a success. Just as well it wasn't here, nothing but rain although it's reasonibly warm. Life is going on, coffee and cakes with as little housework as possible. Did you know that Fred had been ill, local hospital and Exeter, but Julie will probably tell you all about it. Suffice to say he's home now and feeling like a limp lettuce! Emma has been "carried away" and bought a half share in a horse, picking it up sometime next week, named Woody, I ask you what a name! She seems very keen might go and have a look at him after our visitors have been and gone. Forcast gales for Sunday and we are suppose to be bbq ing on monday, oh well that's life. Look after yourself and enjoy. Love Liz
Response: Oh dear - poor Fred (and Julie) - have not heard so hope he is okay now......
Woody sounds interesting... hope he is not wooden! If she can not have a new house why not a different horse hey?
From sandra
Just read your blog - so interesting! Am waiting for Paddy and Brian to arrive for cards and Scrabble - Claire will sit in for you for whist. Naturally we'll be talking about you! North Devon show today - dry until 5 now wet - very windy but warm. Will look forward to your next blog!
Response: Glad to hear things are the same at home! All change here obviously!
From Lyn
Hi Sue! You sound as though you`re having an exciting time - loved reading about it! Not missing much here weather-wise - grey skies and drizzle with lots more to come! Typical British August in fact! Not sure how much more I can put in this so will cut it short but keep the travelog going - wish I was there but not sure I could handle the river paddling!! Lyn xx
Response: Am about to leve for Botswana and the river - so will let you know if I survive. Not a lot of water in the Limpopo so hope the same in Okavango!
From sue plummer
love reading your travelogue - keep it coming. i could do one about getting down to the library and back via chanters the bakers.
watch out for creepy crawlies when you camp on the river bank - keep safe - love sue p.
Response: It worked - thanks. Hope you enjoy the next bit. No creepy crawlies encountered yet!
From Pen
Hope all is well - that you arrived safe and the wedding went well - trust the evening do wasn't too much of a pain or better still that you were able to retire with smelling salts and a headache!! Not much news from this end - am recovering after the physical and mental onslaught of little Ted and Cameron and Co - bless them!!!!! Waiting to hear from Peter to fix a date for the photo marathon! Seeing Edwina on Wednesday.
Hope you manage to retrieve this and I look forward to hearing what you've been up to. Take care and have lots of fun - P
Wedding went well and was most enjoyable. Managed to escape reasonably early with others from Yvonne's home village!