All the best-laid plans…

Easter in the south west of WA started out dismally on the weather front. Cold, windy and raining, not ideal weather for the picnic we’ve been promising ourselves.

Today, after a chilly start to the day, the sky’s now blue and the sun’s shining. Yet still our picnic basket sits empty at the bottom of the wardrobe, despite our plans to take both the picnic basket and ourselves somewhere into the great outdoors.

A tooth abscess, now accompanied by a red face all swollen and puffy from cellulitis has me sitting on the couch dosed up with anti-biotics and feeling sorry myself. Oh well, you know what they say about the best laid plans – perhaps tomorrow!

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What’s life without a project, or two, or three

Do you ever find yourself feeling time poor. That’s me at the moment. I know one has to have a project, but seriously – I’m not sure if I could count how many projects we’re currently in the middle of.

My  blog posts have been consistently a little to close to home over recent weeks. We have so much happening on  the home front that we’re finding it difficult to spread our wings and get out exploring. 

We’re in the midst of a garden overhaul, all well and truly started now, but at that messy stage in between the old and the new. Our verandah has had two metal supports engineered to take the weight of the roof, and these have allowed the posts to be moved. This will allow our verandah to work as an entertainment patio, but guess what. We started off with plans for one support, this quickly changed to two. The two are now up, and we’ve decided a third is needed! 

Only when all the supports are in place can that project be finished off. The paving will need re-laying. The fence will need decorating, and potted plants will need to be selected and carefully placed. In the meantime, that area too is in a bit of a mess awaiting completion.

The inside is ok, but soon that the bedroom window treatments are being changed. We’ve had them measured for plantation shutters, but they take a couple of months to be made.

All these jobs require waiting in for tradesman to come to measure up, doing our bit to get things ready, and being in when the tradesmen are here. We couldn’t possibly leave them to cope with one pesky puppy without us being here, plus I like to provide snacks and drinks as required.

As well as our projects in and around the house, we both do a bit of volunteering at an aged care place near by. We live only five minutes walk away, so when they’re stuck there, I think we’ve become the logical  couple to call on. We do say no sometimes, but we help out if we can. We enjoy it, but when we have a lot going on at home, it adds to that feeling of being time poor.

I’ve promised myself that sometime between now and this time next week I’m getting out somewhere for a picnic. And I’ve promised myself no more blog posts on the home front until I’ve had a good day out further afield to tell you about. 

Mind you, we did spend this past week end up in Perth visiting friends and family. While we were there Paul went to the footie with his friend Bob, while my friend Di and I went to the casino. That’s a rarity for me, and when I do go, I have a flutter, and usually lose. I had a pleasant surprise this time with a bit  of a win. That’ll help buy some plants for the new garden. 

Thats the joy of blogging – you get to reflect on what you’ve been getting up to. I’m sure there’s many bloggers just like me, who from time to time realise their blog posts are reflecting a bit of rut is developing. Time to adjust our busy home based schedule and stretch our legs somewhere in the great outdoors. Watch this space….

Grandson number two


Thought I’d share these fabulous photos of Josh Green, grandson number two, and his gorgeous girlfriend, Amber. Josh and Amber are currently in Melbourne for the wedding of Kaye Bradshaw and Ro Allen.

Paul owned a blue velvet jacket when I first met him 39 years ago. When I heard Josh had bought a red velvet jacket for the wedding – well I just had to ask for a photo.

Two people, both as gorgeous as they look. They scrubbed up pretty well don’t you think! I hope they didn’t outshine the wedding party!

Autumn colour

The Chinese Tallow

You may remember on 13 March, only 27 days ago, I posted a few photos of changes we’re making in the garden. We’d just planted a Chinese Tallow Tree. The Tallow is a reasonably small back yard tree with gorgeous autumn colour. Autumn colour is rare in Western Australia.

The tree, in only 27 days has changed from summer green (the photo on the left) to a little display of autumn red (the photo on the right). We look forward to the tree maturing in yearsto come, and providing a more significant reminder that winter’s on the way. It’ll be nice to see it burst into renewed life come spring too.

The greens are growing too

We hadn’t even finished erecting our three raised vegetable gardens on 13th March.

one raised garden bed partially filled with soil and manure – two to go yet. By the week-end we should be ready to start planting.

A few days later we’d finished the three garden beds and planted some seedlings. When we returned from our four day break away, some of the greens looked to have grown with the speed of Jack’s Beanstalk. We’ve been picking baby leaves of mixed lettuce for our lunch almost daily now, and have had a few small meals of nice, young silver beet.

Mixed lettuce and silver beet only about three weeks since it was planted.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had our own vege garden. We’ve planted strawberries, brocolli, mixed lettuce, silver beet, celery, parsley, leeks , garlic, turnips and rhubarb. So far we’re only eating the lettuce, silverbeet and parsley. I wonder if we’ll get any strawberries before winter sets in. They have flowers, so fingers crossed. In the meantime though, what a pleasure it is to be adding freshly picked, young greens to our plate.

Theme change

You’ve possibly noticed the look of my website has changed. Last week when I tried to publish this post https://lifeofrileyow.com/2019/04/05/bunbury-farmers-market/, I had trouble loading it. It was quite a colourful post, with lots of pictures. I contacted WordPress and it seems my existing theme was a bit antiquated, and an updated theme might help in the future with lengthy posts!

As a result I’ve been playing around with new themes, and have decided to go with this one. I’m surprised how easy it was with WordPress to change it over. Not that it’s going to be without any hiccups, I’ve already come up against a few, but I’m working through them. I hope you’ll bear with me while I get used to the new format.

You’ll notice the Broome sunset photo has now replaced our previous photo of our rig overlooking the Great Australian Bite.

The old rig from an old life

Not before time – we sold that rig at the end of 2017. Not only that, the blog has long since evolved from a diary of our ‘life of Riley on wheels’. The blog now is about anything and everything, a real eclectic mix. Hence the ‘OW’ following life of Riley has evolved to be ‘on whatever’, instead of, ‘on wheels’.

I’ve thought long and hard about which photo to use instead, and finally settled on a sunset. Not another sunset I hear you moan! Haven’t we all thought that when being presented with yet another sunset, only to find it’s completely different to all the other thousands of pictures of sunsets. That’s the beauty of sunsets. They’re completely eclectic, with no two the same. I kinda think that suits this blog that jumps from travel, to Mr Tilly, and everything and anything else that sparks my interest to write about.

One of my favourite of Paul’s photos

Next I’m going to try and do something with the categories. They are a mess, absolutely all over the place, with far to many, and double ups that make little sense. WordPress tells me that if I delete a category, all the posts in that category will revert to uncategorised. I hope they’re right. I’m hoping to delete several categories and re-categorise a lot of the posts more suitably.

That’s the plan anyway. Wish me luck!

I’d appreciate any feedback, good or bad on this new format too. So please don’t be shy about leaving a comment below. And in anticipation of a few frustrations as I go through a bit of learning curve – thank you for your patience.

Mr Tilly gets a bath

Mr Tilly’s  not fond of being brushed, in fact he dislikes it with a vengeance.  I’ve tried treats, coaxing, scolding, and barely touching him with the brush. It makes no difference, he’s OCD about the brush, any brush, and won’t have a bar of it. Consequently we try to keep him quite short.  He usually gets a hair cut every 2 – 3 weeks to keep him Matt free.

We left him a bit longer for our Albany trip. It can be cold down there, and then we were a bit to busy for the first week after we returned. With nearly four weeks between cuts he was getting a bit long and scruffy.

scruffy and overdue for a haircut

Paul uses the clippers on him, and I do the scissoring. He’s ok with it all as long as he gets his special grooming treats – peanut paste smeared over our fingertips which he gets to lick off. Two treats in one, he loves to lick and he loves peanut paste. His peanut paste jar only comes out at grooming time, and the only time he’s allowed to lick me is when I have peanut paste on my fingertips.

Yum, peanut paste, and getting to lick mums fingers
a bit of peanut paste on his nose
Who’s a pretty boy then!

Next came the bath. He goes to the beach almost every day and we hose him off when we get home. He doesn’t mind being hosed off, even lifting his back leg so as we can easily hose the sand and salt off his belly. Because he gets such a regular hose down he doesn’t seem to get very dirty. Consequently he doesn’t get a bath every time he gets a cut, and when he does he’s not that keen.

drowned rat

Almost done. We rub him down with a towel and then leave him indoors to dry naturally.

He can see out of those eyes now

He’s not quite finished yet. He still has to have the fleece between his paws clipped out, his nails trimmed, his tail scissored, a bit more off his face and ears, and around his ‘whizzer’ done. But that was enough for today. The rest will wait until tomorrow. It’s a big job, especially when we’ve let him go too long between clips.

A little bit more about our Mr Tilly. He’ll be two in July, and currently weighs just under 12kgs. I think that’s about the weight he’ll stay. He gets a chicken bone each day, most times a raw wing, and other than that he gets cooked roo meat with pumpkin and spinach, a few table scraps if there are any, and dry food if he hasn’t had enough. He’s not fond of dry food, but will eat it if he’s really hungry.

Carrying his. Cow around
Tug – his favourite game

He’s still very much a puppy when it comes to games. He carries his squeaky cow around with him all the time. He’s had the same cow since he first arrived home with us, and would you believe, it’s still got it’s squeak. He’s very gentle with his cow. Tug’s his favourite game though, and he’s not so gentle with his tug toys. I’m sure he imagines he has the big husky by the throat when playing tug. (He was attacked once by a husky). He loves his ball too, but doesn’t quite understand that he has to give it back to us before we can throw it again for him. He tries, even putting it into our hand. But as soon as our fingers move to clasp it, he snatches it away again. He has me in hysterics – perhaps he enjoys teasing more than chasing. He has the ‘tease’ off to fine art.

He still sleeps on our bed, staying at the end of the bed on warmer nights, or snuggling between us on the cooler nights (on top of the covers). He’s a delight to have, and we’ve never regretted our decision to add a canine to our household. He does restrict our freedom to visit national parks, and a few other places when we’re in the caravan, but he gives us enough pleasure to compensate for any pleasures lost. He’s a joy to have around.

And now for summat different, Nowt Pie

Don’t you just love some dialects. The Yorkshire/Lancashire dialect has some beauties. Paul, coming from across the Pennines in Lancashire, uses a few of the words and sayings from time to time.  He won’t appreciate me linking the two dialects together though. He thinks they’re completely different – I think there’s so many similarities that it’s ok to link them. Without the accent these don’t sound quite ‘reet’ (right). Hopefully you’ll be able to hear them in your mind with the correct accent while reading them. Here’s a few I love:

Nowt – nothing.  My mother-in-law told me once about a relative that used to make Nowt Pie. It consisted of pastry, spread with butter and a sprinkle of sugar and spice, and topped with more pastry. When asked what was in the pie her answer was “nowt, there’s nowt in it, that’s why it’s called nowt pie.” I wonder what the dieticians would say about that one. We do have our own updated version though.

Today’s dietician’s nightmare – cinnamon palmier (nowt pie just a different shape)

Summat – something.  Is there summat wrong lass?

Nine while five.  This one had me perplexed once when at a job interview I was asked if, ‘nine while five’ suited. He meant, 9am till 5pm.

Eeh, by gum – an exclamation similar to, ‘oh my God’.

Ow do – hello

Ta-rah – good-bye

Mither – worry.  When Paul was out as a lad his mum used to lay awake mithering until she heard him arrive home.

Perhaps my favourite though is, “there’s nowt so queer as folk”. Do you remember the movie, The Full Monty. The red haired guy was spotted climbing out the window of one of the other guy’s bedroom early one morning (clearly the two had formed a gay relationship). One old guy looked at the other and said in an accent so broad many watching the film wouldn’t have understood a word he said, “there’s nowt so queer as folk”. Then realising in this case there was a double meaning to the word, ‘queer’ they both cracked up into laughter. It was a scene in the movie that would have sailed over the head of anyone not familiar with the saying. I loved that scene, I loved that movie.

I saw this movie at a premier before there was any hype. I’ve never laughed so much in my life…..

For such a small land mass the UK has an astonishing number of dialects, and localised slang. Some can be endearing, some can be grating. Do you have any you love, or any you really dislike?

Bunbury Farmer’s Market

Bunbury Farmer’s Market is no ordinary farmer’s market. It’s my favourite place to shop, and without doubt, the best of it’s kind that I’ve ever come across.

I’ll let the pictures show you why:

They sell just about everything

They support our local farmers, and pay them a fair price

A great selection of lunch food at the coffee shop

Or  cake to have with a coffee

Everyday items, very fresh and reasonably priced

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Some produce that’s less than usual

And the exotic

Once past the fresh vegetable section we come to the gourmet butchers.

Adam the butcher takes great pride in his work

Today Mary was cooking some of Adam’s lamb creations for us to sample

There are sampling stations throughout the market. The samples are generous, and there’s no pressure to buy. The market owners believe in giving the customers a good shopping experience, without pressure. It must be working. This place is always busy, and is well known throughout the south west. We prefer to do the 130 km round trip fortnightly for our fresh produce than to use our local supermarket. The vegetables are fresher after we’ve had them for a week than they are when we first buy them at the local supermarket.

I had the privelege of doing Mary’s job for a short time a couple of years ago. I say privelege because I enjoyed it more than I’ve enjoyed any other job. Cooking, great quality food, and talking to people – now anyone who knows me knows for me that’s not work, it’s all pleasure. So why did I leave? At the end of the day I had a 60 km drive with the sun strobing through the trees on high speed country roads. I didn’t feel safe. I’ve hoped Paul would spark some interest in working there too with corresponding days. He’s a confident, and competent driver in that sort of situation. Alas – he hasn’t shown any interest. Never mind. It was good while it lasted.

Check out those tomahawk steaks

There’s always something special from the butchers counter. Fantastic in-house made sausages, gourmet meat filled pastries, and special cuts of top quality meats. Today they had some Wagyu rump steak on special for $33 a kg. They also had some wagyu scotch fillets for closer to $100 kg. We treated ourselves to a piece of the rump. The wagyu scotch fillet can wait for a special occasion treat (like winning the lotto).

After the gourmet meat counter there’s the normal meats and chickens. All the chicken is free range, and you can get thigh cutlets or breast fillets with the skin off, or on if you’d prefer it. I love the skin on my chicken and am frustrated when the supermarkets only sell skinless.

Next the deli counter

The best selection of cold meats

This cabinet full of pastries, all made in house – including their own melt in your mouth puff pastry – and there’s soups, and olives, and pates’ and pickles and sauces….. there’s just about everthing

Then to the cheese section. Their demonstrators at the cheese counter have taught me loads of things about cheese. They really know their stuff

Today on the sample table a delectable imported washed rind, oozy soft cheese. Just the way I like a soft cheese to be

Local cheddars, cheeses from all around Australia, Greek feta, italian parmesans, and some wonderful imported French cheeses. Cheeses green with sage, orange cheeses, blue cheeses, white and yellow. The best selection for a colourful cheeseboard

And what would cheese be without bread – Rolls and loaves

Gluten free too

There’s even a florist section

This was this week’s  shop which includes cupboard staples like condensed milk, golden syrup, and caraway seeds, and fridge staples like fresh milk, yogurt,  cream and butter

If you stick the items you’d normally buy from your local supermarket you’ll go home with fresher produce, and you’ll  pay less than you will most likely be paying at you supermarket. That’s if you stick to the normal items. When it comes to a quality, washed rind, imported cheese, or one of their in house made vanilla slices, well I can’t resist. Could you?  But believe me, the treats on offer at the Bunbury Farmer’s Market are worth ever cent spent, and every calorie consumed. Those vanilla slices, eating them slowly and savouring every mouthful of creamy custard and melt in your mouth butter pastry – what a pleasure!













 

 

The sun sets on another holiday

We had a fabulous few days away with our good friends, Kaye and Brian.

Great company

The first three days in Albany served as a great reminder of how much Albany has going for it. We’ve all promised ourselves a return visit.

So much to do in Albany, gorgeous walks, stunning beaches, and much, much more

For our final night we moved on to a farm stay, Ayr Sailean, approximately half way between Denmark and Walpole. At $23 for a powered site it was considerably cheaper than the nearby caravan parks, and is well located for sightseeing around the Denmark/Walpole area.

Farm stay camp ground

There were plenty of friendly farm animals. My Tilly enjoyed touching noses with the small pony, but then he wanted to do the ‘rear end sniff thing’.

The pony was happy to have Mr Tilly check him out, they almost rubbed noses

I was a bit worried the pony may have given him a bit of kick for his effort.

Why do dogs insist on the rear end sniff!

The sun-set for our final night was gorgeous.

The sun sets on another holiday

And after the sun set came the fire pit.

A red wine or two around the campfire to finish off

Don’t you just love a camp fire!

Damn, we forgot the marshmallows

A fabulous mini break, and time spent with a fabulous couple – a great reminder of just what a pleasure life can be.