I have to say we are quite settled now and that would be expected after 7 months. As much as we've tried to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, at best, I can say we’ve created a very attractive sow's ear!!!
Having said that living in the Swan Valley is a joy and if I look out the eastern windows of the bus I can see the foothills and Walyunga National Park beyond the fence of the yard, which are beautiful and we are surrounded by big gum trees and fruit trees which attract a huge diversity of birds.
I’m loving eating the oranges fresh off the trees right now. The same can’t be said looking out the western windows which look straight into the "house" that is on the block, but thankfully the house cuts out the view (and most of the noise) from the Great Northern Highway. I wasn’t sure that I would ever get used to the noise of the trucks thundering up and down the Highway 24/7, but happy to say I have.
Kimbo has settled into the routine of working out of Perth spending lots of nights away in his truck (and loving it) and being flown to Broome several times, (he tells me it’s not glamorous even though he gets to stay in lovely accommodation) as clearly they can’t do without him up there!! I have settled back into my one great working love, as a contract medical transcriptionist and my world seems to revolve around geriatric medicine (dementia, medications and incontinence), so the future based on all this looks less than exciting and paediatrics (makes me grateful that I wasn’t a parent). The common thread between these two specialties are bowels.........coming into and leaving this mortal coil....bowels are the biggest interest point in the medical profession......eek!!! Enough said about all that.
My favourite topic………..the weather…….could not have been more diverse in the time we’ve been here. We had blistering heat in January and February with days continuously over 40 and dry as a chip, with the occasional thunder storm and downpour of rain, to this week where our lowest minimum was 0.5 degrees.
Rain has been a regular occurrence, I’d forgotten that Perth actually does have good dumpings of rain. In fact the yard has varied from a dust bowl to a quagmire, so there is no constant there. I have been reminded on more than one occasion, by more than one person, that I wanted a change in weather, and it has certainly been that.
We invested in a fire pit when the weather started to turn in April and what fun we’ve had sitting around that at night, eating veges cooked in the coals and all sorts of jaffles and it gives us a sense that we still travelling around.
We’ve had visitors pop in on their way to or from a holiday or who were in Perth for not such pleasant reasons, and the drivers are always a constant as they come down from Broome weekly. Such a diverse lot and some very "interesting" conversations are had around the fire. It’s fun to see most of them but for some it’s fun to see them head back to Broome.
I was lucky enough to watch the Crows beat West Coast when Janny came across from Adelaide in June to watch the game. We stayed with Robyn (a very unhappy West Coast Eagles supporter), which I don’t understand as both Janny and I were very reserved in our excitement at the come from behind win, that not too many “experts” gave us a chance of winning. We rounded off the weekend having a celebratory lunch at the Henley Brook Tavern and Kimbo happily came along as the token bloke!
Due to the unpredictability of Kimbo’s job it’s very hard to organise anything social, something I wasn’t aware of when we made the decision to come down here, but for the most part we haven’t missed out on all that much. We’ve had the opportunity to catch up with friends in and around Perth and to get away for the odd night or two.
Easter was spent in Albany with Michael and Jacky and as is typical with the Albany weather, it was unpredictable! Saturday saw us ducking for cover as the rain that was bucketing down as we attempted to get involved in the “Festival of the Sea” and it was cold. We watched in amazement as many hardy souls attempted to race their plywood boats that they’d built during the afternoon - almost all of them ended up sinking into the freezing water of Princess Royal Harbour! We were lucky to find some warm and dry establishments where we could have a quiet bevvy and something to eat!
On Sunday the weather was just glorious and we spent a fantastic day at Willoughby Wines, trying to keep out of the sun! The boys in particular had way too much fun!
On Monday we, together with what seemed like the entire population of Perth made our way home. Perth has great highways and feeder roads, but they are always clogged with traffic, any time of the day or night. The population and city has exploded since we were here 20+ years ago.
June long weekend we made a last minute decision to take our new car for a drive up the coast. Not surprisingly we were not the only ones who’d made that decision and we were lucky to find overnight accommodation. We didn’t know what our final destination would be when we left, and decided that Cervantes would do nicely (about 200km north and the gateway to the Pinnacles). We met a lovely couple Sue and Andrew in the pub, who are travelling up the coast, and the four of us enjoyed freshly caught crayfish for dinner.
On Sunday we stopped at Lancelin (the windsurfing capital of Australia) for brunch – and yes it was windy – and joined the throngs of people who watched on in amazement as two guys attempted to extricate their bogged Nissan 4WD and boat on trailer on the beach, it was one of those situations where you didn’t want to look, but just couldn’t look away. By the time they were pulled out their embarrassment as they disappeared was apparent. Lots of people fishing off the jetty and a trawler unloading their crayfish haul.
We were shocked when we stopped at Seabird (I just love the name of this little fishing town) that there is a huge seawall being built to stop the terrible erosion that is occurring. Roads and houses are disappearing into the Indian Ocean, but sadly it looks like a hopeless task.
As most of you would know we made the decision to upgrade our much loved 20th century Suzuki for a 21st century model. It is very flash and is full of bells and whistles, in Kimbo’s view, there’s just more things electronically that can go wrong.
We’ve found lots of nice eateries and drinking places in and around the Swan Valley, but try to stay away from them on the weekends as the Valley is a magnet for Perthites and they are packed. We are spoilt for choice. Kimbo was on the hunt for the best Devonshire tea establishment, but happy to say, he seems to have gone off that idea for the present. Mind you the hunt did take us as far as Toodyay on the banks of the now flowing Avon River (best so far) (150km round trip) as part of a Sunday arvo drive. The things he will do for a scone! :)
We haven’t had the opportunity to see as much live music as we would have liked, but did manage to see Black Sabbath in April and they were fabulous, Ozzie did a great job shuffling around.
Saturday night we were thoroughly entertained at Fly By Night Musicians Club In Fremantle to watch, listen and be involved in “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” the story of Bon Scott on what would have been his 70th birthday. We were taken back via music to the days of The Valentines, Fraternity and ofcourse the halcyon days of AC/DC - lots of head banging at both events!
I’ve joined a new Rotary Club and enjoy our weekly meetings and events – that’s enough routine for me. Walking around the local area is always interesting, during summer the vineyards are full of fruit, now its citrus laden trees and horses, sheep (including lambs) and kangaroos.
The backdrop to that is the The Vines Golf Course, which I am astonished to say Kimbo has not hit a ball on yet, nor any other course to date!
Until next time…………..resist routine if you can! :-)