Raksha – 2017 winners of Busselton Battle of the Bands

I survived the week-end, and so did the band.

They put a lot of effort into rehearsing, even writing a new song for the finals on Sunday. It must have paid off because their performance was brilliant, and they took out first place.

Garage rehearsals.

Garage rehearsals.

Ethan on keyboard

Ethan on keyboard

Jarrod on drums.

Jarrod on drums.

Patrick and Josh on guitar

Patrick and Josh on guitar

Time out - Patrick giving the unicycle a go.

Time out – Patrick giving the unicycle a go.

And Josh showing everyone how it's done - he's multi talented that grandson of mine.

And Josh showing everyone how it’s done – he’s multi talented that grandson of mine.

I can’t usually say I enjoy the band’s performances. I don’t think that’s a reflection on them, but rather on me. Paul, who has a more versatile taste in music usually enjoys their sound. I’m still a bit stuck back with the mellow tones of Simon and Garfunkel. Psychedelic Pop rock is just a tad out of my spectrum. However, even I was blown away by their performance on Sunday night. I enjoyed it!

They were polished, and played to the audience. For Friday night’s heats they played four of their more ‘out there’ songs (my description would be screechy). However, they realised they had a better chance with this audience if they mellowed it down with some contrasting songs to show their versatility. It paid off. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy their performance, the judges did too.

Raksha in the finals.

Raksha in the finals.

They won $250, a $500 recording contract, and a gig at one of the local breweries. I’m not sure when the gig will be, or if it’ll be a paid gig, but they’ll enjoy it no matter what.

So, a great result.

The four boys who stayed with me the whole week-end were brilliant, and four was a pleasant and tolerable number in my little house. When the other two arrived, with a third (boyfriend of singer) in tow, the dynamics changed somewhat, and it tended to become a bit much. But we all survived it, and without any major dramas. I still haven’t caught up with all the laundering of bedding and towels yet though.

So, would I offer up accommodation again – yes, but with a difference. If there’s a next time, my original offer will be the only thing on offer. That is, bring their own air mattress, camp bed or swag, bedding and towel and they will be welcome to bunk down in the garage and use the little bathroom that links to it. Band practice, because they were very good, and very considerate with the volume, that’s a yes, but not three days of it. And definitely band members only. No boyfriends, (or girlfriends). If their lovers want to come with them – ‘rent a room’.

I would still supply some meals for them, but would also set up the barbecue and make sure our little drinks fridge in the garage had space for them to provide some meals for themselves as well.

Alice (Josh’s mum, and my daughter) intended to come down on Monday sometime so as to spend Tuesday, the day of her granddads funeral with me. However, with the band getting into the finals, Alice came a day earlier on the Sunday. So I had an extra person as well, but being another fully matured adult, Alice balanced out the dynamics somewhat.

After the boys went home on Monday afternoon, Alice and I shared some rare ‘girlie time’ together, having a look around the Busselton shops, and then happy hour at nearby Stilts restaurant.

The following day, we played some games of crib in honour of Glyn, then went to a local winery for lunch where we drank a toast to dad/granddad.

Alice looking stunning in a blue dress colour co-ordinated with the blue Hydrangea

Alice looking stunning in a blue dress colour co-ordinated with the blue Hydrangea

Beautiful Hydrangea at Aravina Winery Estate - beautiful meal too.

Beautiful Hydrangea at Aravina Winery Estate – beautiful meal too.

I’ve spent today getting the house back into shape. Paul is now on his way home, so tomorrow I’ll be driving up to Perth to meet him We’ll spend the night at Alice’s celebrating Josh’s 20th birthday, then home again on Friday.

So, having the band stay here and practice here, – a mixture of pleasure, and ‘how did this happen’. Certainly a pleasure to have time with Josh to get to know him and some of the people important to him in his life at the moment.

The band winning – what a pleasure!

Sharing some rare mother/daughter time with Alice – what a pleasure!

And Paul’s on his way home. It’s been a hard three weeks, for me, but much more so for Paul. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it’ll be to see him again. Can’t wait.

Goodbye to dad.

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Sadly, Paul’s dad passed away only a few days into the New Year. It was good that Paul was there at the time, and therefore managed to spend his dad’s last few days with him. I’m pleased he didn’t have to die alone. No-one should have to die alone.

His funeral was today, and currently Paul, along with dad’s other close friends and family will be at the wake celebrating dad’s life. There will be tears I’m sure, but also a lot of laughter as humorous stories are shared  of dad’s sometimes infamous pranks and anecdotes. He was a very funny man. He was a really good man. And he was a truly contented man. I loved him very, very much.

I wish I was there as dad’s last hurrah takes place. Whilst his chapter is now over, his memory will live on in our book of life until our turn comes.

Dad, you were a truly good father, father-in-law, and grandfather to Paul, myself, Alice and Kelvin. You may be gone from this earth now, but your memories will continue to enhance our lives. We’ll continue to play crib in your honour, and we’ll continue to recall and re-tell your humorous stories. We loved you dearly dad. We’ll miss you. You were a ‘good man’. And I mean it more than words can express when I say it was a real pleasure to have known you. Rest peacefully dad.

 

A housefull of teenagers (and just beyond)

I currently have grandson number 2 staying with me, along with three other members of his six member band, Raksha. So, that’s four staying, and the other two are currently visiting for the day, along with the boyfriend of the lead singer.

The band breaking for lunch.

The band breaking for lunch.

How did this come about, I hear you ask? And I’m asking myself the same question.

It went like this:

When Josh came down over Christmas I said,

“The garage would make a pretty good place for the band to stay should you ever get a gig in Busselton, all you’d need is some air mattresses or camp beds”.

The idea of band rehearsals was briefly raised. I said,

“No, we live in an oldies area, it’s a place to stay, but not practice, at least not with any noise”.

However, I think what Josh heard was,

“Look at our garage, wouldn’t it make a cool place for band rehearsals, as long as you only practice at half volume.”

At the time of the discussion Josh was staying here along with Number 1 grandson, and Alice and Paul. The caravan was offered as a place for someone to sleep at that time, but at that time was declined. Now, not much more than two weeks later The Battle of the Bands is on in Busselton, and you guessed it – Raksha entered the completion.

Josh, doing battle.

Josh, doing battle.

Along with having worked out the garage was a perfect place for rehearsals, Josh had also worked out the logistics of the sleeping arrangements for the entire band for three nights. And so, I have four of them staying here, utilising the caravan and the two spare bedrooms. Today the other two band members are visiting, along with the boyfriend of the lead singer. And, there is talk of these other three also dossing down – still to be decided!

So, here’s how it’s gone so far.

What I wanted to say was this,

“Okay, guys some basic rules:
Beds get made,
Towels get hung out to dry,
You all help with dishes,
The toilet brush is to be used should you cause a need.”

However, thinking that might clearly sound like someone speaking in tongues, I decided to only go with two, the dishes and the towels.

Dinner dishes were done last night.
Late night dishes were left for the morning (an act of consideration apparently as they may have made too much noise) – that’s cool.
Breakfast dishes were good.
Lunch dishes with three additional dinners – not a chance…… I could see it clearly didn’t cross any ones mind.
And  two towels have been hung to dry. Goodness knows where the other two are.

I’ve closed the bedroom doors, best not to look! I’ve no idea where the other two towels are, but should they be screwed up wet on a bedroom floor I’m sure the lesson will be learned when they find out this little household of only two people doesn’t have any more spare towels.

So, apart from being shell shocked as my peace and tranquility has been shattered, how else is it going? When there’s only four of them, it really is good, no problems worthy of mention really, and in fact, good company. Manners and thoughtfulness, are in evidence most of the time, and they are respectful. However, when the numbers swelled to seven I was feeling a bit like the intruder. The thoughtfulness previously in evidence diminished considerably. I guess seven people channelling all their energy into their creative talents overshadows all other thought.

They have now gone out for a few hours, so I’m enjoying the quiet, no radio, no TV and definitely no band practice in the garage. Absolute bliss. Before they left, I gave them a gentle reminder about ‘the dishes’. A couple of slightly embarrassed faces when they realised that yes, they had jumped up from the lunch table and rushed back to band practice without a thought to their plates. I think they took it on board.

Oh – and the Battle of the Bands, they had the heats last night. I tried to take some photos during the night but most turned out to blurry. My new friends and neighbours, Kay and Brian came with me. It was freezing and we only stayed long enough to give our support to Raksha. It was great to have had some company, I really appreciated it.

Kay and Brian supporting me and the band - check out the pod Kay is cocooned in against the cold - cool eh!

Kay and Brian supporting me and the band – check out the pod Kay is cocooned in against the cold – cool eh!

We came home before the finalists had been decided. It was good news when the boys came home. They’re in tomorrow nights finals along with three other acts. They seem to think the others are pretty good, so although they’re hoping to win, they know they’ve got to work hard it, and even then perhaps they may need a bit  luck on their side as well. And then if they do win, they have to hope they don’t get disqualified. The competition is open only open to residents of the South West, so they’re illegal entrants. They’re looking on the bright side, should they win, and  their Perth residency status be discovered, they could get disqualified. They’ve decided should that happen, disqualification will only serve to get them noticed even more. Gotta luv ’em.

Watch this space for tomorrow nights results. Hopefully I’ll manage to get some clearer pictures of the band on stage, which I’m sure you’ll all be eager to see.

Another year begins

2016 is done and dusted, and 2017 begins. Paul is beginning his new year in the cold of the UK again. He left on the 28th December with the intentions of being over there for 3 weeks. The intended purpose was to finalise his dads flat and all the associated direct debits.

However, only a few days after arriving his dad was taken to hospital with pneumonia. Options have been exhausted and there’s nothing more can be done except for dad to be kept comfortable. He’s been transferred to a hospice for palliative, end of life care, so now it’s just a matter of time.

The waiting is difficult. I gather that although dad is on morphine he’s not resting comfortably. Paul is tired, and struggling, and I’m feeling useless and impotent being so far away. His cousin Stephen is being very supportive, and his other cousin Margaret is due to arrive in Manchester from Portsmouth later this afternoon.

Paul and I had talked about the possibility that this may occur, and had decided it wouldn’t be sensible for me to jump on the next plane and head over there too. So, whilst it’s my instinct to do just that, I’m sticking with the intended plain. Paul’s intended three weeks is most likely going to be extended, but until his dad actually goes we don’t know how much longer will be needed. A difficult time…..

I’m here on my lonesome keeping the newly planted garden watered in the heat of summer. With reticulation restrictions in place it felt like a full time job when we went through a particularly hot spell a few days ago. Thankfully, it’s cooled down again now though, so not quite so full on.

Apart from the all consuming wait, what else has been happening in this neck of the woods. My little job that I started just before Christmas at Bunbury Farmers market was a job that felt like it had been tailor made for me, with the exception of the distance. It’s nearly an hours drive in each direction. At the end of a shift I was finding myself tired, and the drive home into the setting sun didn’t feel that safe. With the addition of losing sleep with worry about dad and Paul, it’s brought forward what was probably inevitable in light of the distance. I’ve decided it’s not practical or safe to continue, so my status of ‘semi-retired’ has reverted back to ‘retired’.

Probably just as well. Number two grandson is coming down to Busselton with all the members of his band, Raksha, next week-end for the Battle of the Bands. They are intending to be down here for three nights and want to use our place for rehearsing. I’m not sure how many are staying here. I gather some have family down here on holidays for at least part of the time, so it may not be all six every night. Josh has indicated it most likely will be all of them for some of the nights. I think it’s just as well that I’m going to be here full time to ensure the neighbours remain on speaking terms at the end of the three nights – I’ve heard the band practicing before! What Josh thinks is an acceptable volume for neighbours is somewhat different to what we think. So, next week-end I’ll be kept on my toes…

Watch this space – photos of Josh and his band coming soon…..

 

Chrstmas Day on Meelup Beach

Whilst people in the far Northern Hemisphere dream of a white Christmas with lots of snow, here in Australia we hope for a different white to enhance our Christmas days.

White caps - The Australia White Christmas dream.

White caps – The Australia White Christmas dream.

Birds doing their bit to provide a snow capped rock look alike.

Birds doing their bit to provide a snow capped rock look alike.

We had beautiful weather this year for the big day. So, Paul and I headed around to the bays north west of Dunsborough, starting at beautiful Meelup Beach. Meelup is a beautiful family beach, that usually has moderately good surf. Just up from the sandy shore there’s picnic tables and free gas barbecues under the shade of dozens of beautiful peppermint trees. We expected a few people to be there, but we hadn’t expected there would be many.

Were we surprised when we managed to find the last available car park at only 10.30am. We had misjudged the pull of the beach on a sunny Christmas day in the south west.

Families set up for the day dotting the shoreline.

Families set up for the day dotting the shoreline.

Paul putting on sun screen under our own beach shelter.

Paul putting on sun screen under our own beach shelter.

Children were trying out their new boogie boards.

Trying out the Christmas Pressies.

Trying out the Christmas Pressies.

And bigger boards for the bigger folk to try out.

And bigger boards for the bigger folk to try out.

And Surf Life saving were taking no chances on someone coming to grief on a Christmas Day. They were there in force, all donating their time to keep us safe.

Life Savers limbering up as they keep watch from up high amongst the peppermint trees.

Life Savers limbering up as they keep watch from up high amongst the peppermint trees.

Surf Life Saving Jet Ski ready for a speedy recovery should anyone get caught in a rip.

Surf Life Saving Jet Ski ready for a speedy recovery should anyone get caught in a rip.

Helicopter on shark watch.

Helicopter on shark watch.

After leaving Meelup we headed around to see some of the other beaches. All seemed to be well occupied, with an equally good Surf Life Saving Presence.

Beach goers at Bunker Bay being equally well looked after.

Beach goers at Bunker Bay being equally well looked after.

Mental note to myself – next time I see Surf Life Saving shaking a tin I must remember all the equipment in evidence this wonderful Christmas Day and donate accordingly.

I love watching families at the beach. All having fun, laughing, and just ‘doing stuff’ together. And the young lovers, holding hands and enjoying each other’s company. And the oldies (like us) people watching as we enjoy our own sedate beach activities. People, walking, swimming, surfing, eating, sun baking and just enjoying the great outdoors in perfect weather, on perfect beaches, on a perfect day. What a pleasure!

Garden staples

I’m so pleased to have asked Alice to mind my bird bath whilst we were travelling. Paul gave it to me for a Christmas Present many years ago, long before the replica piece became overly popular. It’s been the centre point of my gardens wherever we’ve lived, and this garden is now also shaping up around it.

Granadilla Street, with bird bath providing a lovely accent.

Granadilla Street, with bird bath providing a lovely accent.

I used to have a woman’s weekly garden book showing garden patterns. The stand out garden in the book for me was a large, lacy blue, plumbago surrounded by a solid border of blue agapanthus. Finally, I have a chance to re-create that pattern in a garden of my own. The Plumbago is just starting to flower, and three of the transplanted Aggies have blooms just starting to open. By next summer I’m sure it’ll be living up to my expectations, with the added bonus of being set off by my lovely bird bath.

The Birdbath now with Plumbago just starting to peep out from behind.

The Birdbath now with Plumbago just starting to peep out from behind.

While much of our new garden is slowly growing, the border of stepping stones and Sweet Alice has taken off with astounding speed. I just love it!

Sweet Alice now almost full grown softening the stepping stones.

Sweet Alice now almost full grown softening the stepping stones.

Another couple of plants I gave to Alice are still florishing. One is the Cane Begonia which I started from a cutting from our friends Bruce and Wendy’s, from their house in Churchlands. It’s still growing strong for Alice, and she’s passed a couple of cuttings back to me which are just starting to shoot. Another is the Elephants Ears which we purchased from the underground car boot sale at Warwick when we first moved into Granadilla Street in 1998. Alice managed to get me a couple of baby plants from the Elephants Ears which are now thriving in her courtyard. It’s thrilling to have plants that come with a history.

Offspring Elephants Ears many generations on from it's grand parent plant first bought in 1998

Offspring Elephants Ears many generations on from it’s grand parent plant first bought in 1998

One of the big Elephant's Ears in Granadilla Street - a distant ancestor of my new little babies.

One of the big Elephant’s Ears in Granadilla Street – a distant ancestor of my new little babies.

A Pygmy Date Palm has been a staple in many of our gardens, so Paul has again purchased one for our side tropical garden. This little side garden area is shaping up to be a quiet and cool place for our morning coffee. In fact we often eat our breakfast out there, and find opportunities to go out there to soak up the developing ambience several times at least on most days. It still has a way to go to equal our past gardens, but it’s well on the way. So far we’ve added a couple of Golden Cane Palms (last photographed in this blog when we planted them at Kelv’s up in Katherine), and an urn with a bright red geranium to add a contrasting splash of colour. The rest of the plants are ones rescued from the existing garden which have been re-potted, trimmed, and fertilised.

A new Pygmy Date Palm along side an urn with a brightly coloured Geranium

A new Pygmy Date Palm along side an urn with a brightly coloured Geranium

It won’t be long till the baby Elephants Ears are big enough to be potted up and take pride of place along the fence line, and Bruce and Wendy’s Cane Begonia’s won’t be far behind.

New Golden Cane Palms growing alongside rescued plants from the existing garden.

New Golden Cane Palms growing alongside rescued plants from the existing garden.

It’s wonderful to have a garden that has associations with years gone by. I’ve always loved my gardens, and this one is shaping up to be no exception. It brings us both a lot of pleasure!

Tourist Season is almost here

The only trouble with living in a popular tourist destination is that when tourist season hits, so do the tourists. What for most of the year is our own little tranquil beach suddenly becomes crowded as you will see from the photos I took of Paul as we went down to our little patch of beach for our daily walk.

Paul, amongst the tourist crowds on our little patch of beach.

Paul, amongst the tourist crowds on our little patch of beach.

And the same crowds spoiling our tranquility in the other direction.

And the same crowds spoiling our tranquility in the other direction.

As we walk up the beach towards Busselton there’s a few more resorts, so a few more people. But compared to photos we’ve seen of lovely beach destinations in Europe, or even the gorgeous beaches in Perth – we’re very, very spoilt, and consider ourselves soooo lucky. There’s not a day goes past as we walk up the beach that we don’t look at each other and say, “What a pleasure”!