Time out for friendship and cards.

The house is progressing. We still have loads more to do, but the first stages are almost complete.

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TV cabinet, latest Gumtree bargain – a place to display a beautiful container of shells personally gathered for us from our favourite Coral Bay beaches.

Both guest rooms have now been painted and, along with the rest of the house, have been furnished adequately with a mixture of new and Gumtree bargains.

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Guest room complete with Annie Sloan painted bed head, and up cycled curtains rescued from lounge room.

We’ve made a few mistakes that need to be rectified, the biggest one being the lounge suite which we love, but it just doesn’t work in our small lounge. That’s now re-advertised on Gumtree and when it’s sold we’ll replace it with something more size suitable.

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Love this – but it’s too big and just has to go.

It’s been a very busy three weeks to get the house looking close to acceptable. This week-end with a visit from our dear friends, Bob and Di, & Marina and Terry, it was a perfect excuse to have some down time for fun and relaxation.

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Terry parading in his night shirt….. He’s a worry!

We drank too much, ate too much and exercised too little. We played cards, till the late hours having a good laugh as we always do. Bob, the master of derogatory name tags didn’t disappoint, (another totally unmentionable name tag – but one that had us in stitches, as usual).

Saturday we took a drive to the nearby vibrant little town of Cowaramup. Cowaramup has a current population of only around a thousand people. With it’s close proximity to Margaret River the town is now being sought out as a more viable residential alternative, so the population is expected to expand considerable in the not to distant future.

There’s a quaintness to the town that Paul and I find endearing. The town has used it’s name to create an identity for itself with statues of cows adorning the streets. The local shops have taken the cow theme on board, and all manner of cow ornaments and souvenirs are available for purchase. There’s cow aprons, cow garden statues, cow place mats, cow salt and pepper shakers, cow anything and everything. The shops are delight to walk around, and the shop owners don’t seem to have any objection to people just browsing without buying.

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One of many life sized cow statues adorning the streets of Cowaramup.

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Di and the cow.

Alas, on this visit the wind was cool (bracing) and rain was threatening, so our visit to Cowaramup was rushed, and our planned visit to Canal Rocks later in the morning cancelled.

A very pleasant day is forecast for this Tuesday, and as it’s Melbourne Cup day (the race that stops a nation), we’ve decided to take another day off. We’ve moved to this wonderful area because there’s so much to see and do here, so Tuesday we’ll make a start. It’ll be fun to be a ‘tourist’, in our own back yard, only without the hefty price tag of buying a tourist bed for the night.

Our plan is to spend at least one day a week getting out and about with our camera to take photos of the wonderful south western corner of Australia. So watch this space….

Family Matters

We came back today from a two day break up in Perth for grandson number 1’s 21st birthday celebrations.

We had a number of things to do for ourselves in Perth, so the first day was mainly spent shopping for odds and ends for our new house. Amongst other purchases, Paul managed to find himself a good second hand bike. He’ll enjoy zipping up and down the Geographe Bay cycle track overlooking the bay.

Saturday, the day of the big party we put in a few hours around at Alice’s helping her with the preparations. Not that she really needed much help, she seemed to have everything mostly under control.

Then, back to our caravan to get ourselves ready and back to the party.

Tim, ready to greet his guests.

Tim, ready to greet his guests.

What a joy Tim is to be around. Accolades to both of his parents – he’s turning out to be a delightful young man. It’s an absolute pleasure to be in his company.

Alice slaving over a hot stove.

Alice slaving over a hot stove.

Alice must have spent days shopping and cooking for tonights event. Spring rolls, samosas, and home made sausage rolls went down a treat early in the evening. Then, disposable cups filled with either a vegan curry or a delicious tortellini carbonara with broccoli to ensure the booze wasn’t going into empty stomachs.

Pop with grandson 2 towering over him.

Pop with grandson 2 towering over him.

I rarely have a camera at hand when around the boys. I made the most of it while I could.

Having a drink with the 'man of the moment'.

Having a drink with the ‘man of the moment’.

Raksha, Josh's band provided entertainment for part of the night.

Raksha, Josh’s band provided entertainment for part of the night.

Raksha, Josh’s band have recently released an EP called Emerald. They’re getting a few gigs now, and are due to sign up for a three month trial with a manager. No pay for tonight’s gig though, all done in the name of brotherly love.

Proud mum and son.

Proud mum and son.

Paul and Alice

Paul and Alice

I hadn’t expected to be back in the region of Perth until next year. I’m so pleased our change of plans brought us back here earlier. Such a proud night to be with our two gorgeous grandsons.

We had been debating whether or not we should downsize our big rig for something smaller now that we’re only going to be living in it for part of the year. This short trip with an almost empty van convinced us not to even think about such a thing. Travelling and staying in an uncluttered van with room to move – absolute joy, a real pleasure!

One week on…

One week into being a home occupier again, and so far, so good – I think! A few hiccups for sure, the main one being discovering the hot water system needs replacing. We’re waiting for a second quote and hopefully will get that underway later this week.

It’s been a busy week, and we’ve made a start. As our very good friends Wendy and Craig were coming down from Perth to stay last night, we gave one of the spare rooms top priority with a coat of paint.

Brightly coloured walls.

Brightly coloured walls.

The room, by no means finished, looked a bit better, albeit still with the old curtains and the second hand dark furniture still to receive it’s Annie Sloan make over.

A slight improvement.

A slight improvement.

We’re opting for a breezy, white beach decor. Of course, we won’t remain true to any decorating style. We never do. I’m sure it’ll end up eclectic as usual, this time with a mix of a bit Hampton’s understated beach style, a bit of shabby chic, (seemingly which should never be mixed with Hampton’s style) and a bit of whatever else takes our fancy.

Breezy white curtains have been hung in the lounge.

Breezy white curtains have been hung in the lounge.

The dining room curtains are yet to be replaced.

The dining room curtains are yet to be replaced.

We had a delightful time with our first visitors, too much to eat and too much to drink as we chatted away into the wee hours while playing a Canadian game similar, but more elaborate than Newmarket.

This morning we had a typical American style breakfast of home made pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. I used to think the Americans were weird to eat such a combination – until I tried it. It’s not something I’d have often, but it really is a lot nicer than it sounds. I even went a step further and had banana with mine, North Queensland style.

After breakfast a trip down to the weekly, Sunday market, and a look at Busselton’s famous 2.2km long Jetty. Then our farewells said, Wendy and Craig headed back to Perth, promising to return as soon as we both have a free week-end.

After a welcome 24 hour break we were back to it again this afternoon. Paul started on the second spare room, while I started on the Annie Sloan make over of our second hand bedroom suite.

Paul busy changing bright to white.

Paul busy changing bright to white.

It’s been a hard week, but we’re already starting to see a bit of an improvement. I can’t speak for Paul, as I suspect he doesn’t enjoy the topsy turvy house makeovers as much I do. But for me, I’m loving it. A real pleasure.

The best time to see WA

I don’t usually post twice in a day, but before we get stuck into our latest little domestic project I thought I’d talk first about the best time of year to visit WA. In particular I want to post this for those planning to travel here from interstate with their caravans or camper vans.

At this stage you may be expecting me to say the usual thing people say, ‘anytime’s a good time’. That just isn’t the case in WA. There is definitely a good time to visit, and a good seasonal direction during which to travel. And there’s definitely a not so good time…. We meet so many people who have hated WA, and without fail, everyone of them has been here at the wrong time of year, or been travelling against the better weather patterns. So, if you’re planning a trip up or down the west coast of Australia – read on…

If you plan on coming across the Nullarbor and travelling up the coast towards Broome, be warned the wind blows, and blows, and blows in the spring and early summer And the wind can be cold, icy cold. However around late December the winds start to drop and it gets hot. Any wind after late December is welcomed as a ‘cooling breeze’. This is the time to be anywhere coastal from Esperance up towards Perth. There’s a lot to see in this little corner of WA, so you won’t be bored if you have three to four months here. If you don’t have that long, and plan to travel up the whole WA coast, plan to arrive a little later than December so as you’re not travelling north of Perth before the end of March.

From Perth up to Broome is best enjoyed from late March onwards. The winds have usually completely dropped, the ocean is warm, and the very hot, humid summer temperatures in the north are starting to cool and become pleasant.

Mid April to mid May is a perfect time to visit Coral Bay and the Exmouth Penninsula. Barn Hill and Broome is like paradise from June through to early September. From there I’d recommend travelling on to the Majestic East Kimberleys and the Northern Territory.

There’s inland places that shouldn’t be missed, not least of which is Karijini National Park. Travelling north during the months of May to September will have you in the right place and in the right season to enjoy a side trip to this wonderful area. The season will also be right if you’re wanting to do the Gibb River Road.

If however you’re planning to travel down towards Perth from the NT, I’d recommend the coastal road only up until late August. After that you’ll likely hit strong head winds that can blow all day. The water gets cold and the wind whips straight through you. However, the Great Northern Highway will keep you away from the worst of the chilly winds and will bring you through some glorious scenery in the Pilbara.

The wildflowers that WA is so famous for start in the Pilbara around mid August. So if you’re lucky enough to be travelling towards Perth from the North during the spring, I’d recommend taking it slowly with side trips off the beaten track to get in amongst the glorious wildflower colour.

So, now you have it from a seasoned WA traveller. I’m yet to meet an interstate traveller who has travelled WA in the right direction during the right seasons that hasn’t thoroughly enjoyed what they’ve seen. And I’ve yet to meet an interstate traveller who has travelled WA in the wrong direction for the seasons who hasn’t disliked the whole experience.

WA’s a very big state. It’s a lot less populated than the east coast, so it’s easy and comfortable to travel the bigger distances between fewer towns. There’s a lot here to see, and to experience,  but the weather will play a vital part in whether or not you enjoy it. Travel at the right time and I’m sure you’ll find it a pleasure! I do.

Once begun, half done!

We’re currently in a caravan park in Busselton awaiting settlement of our little Summer House. Settlement is due to take place at mid-day tomorrow, at which time we’ll get the keys.

With this years late spring, it’s cool here. Showery and blustery, so not very enticing for getting out and about, especially when we’re pre-occuppied with house plans. We arrived yesterday morning, and immediately went out and purchased paint, mops and other bits and pieces with which to clean, and start preparing the house for occupation.

With that out of the way, and with the weather the way it is, we were at a bit of a loss today as to what to do with ourselves. The house has been empty for years, so we figured it wouldn’t do any harm to go and have a bit of a look at how to sort out the driveway for the caravan, and to have a good look at the garden and formulate a plan.

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The rose arch and diosma taking up space needed for our caravan.

One thing lead to another, and before we knew it our pruners were out, and a little bit off here and there soon led to a lot off….. Paul has sorted the driveway, and tomorrow we should be able to back the caravan straight in. It’s still only temporary as all of the paving needs lifting and re-laying, with extended paving for the caravan driveway, but at least our caravan can be parked out of the way of the garage allowing easier access for our furniture when it arrives on Wednesday.

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Room now for the van.

Whilst Paul was getting the driveway sorted, I decided I’d do a light prune of the roses and lavender which are suffering from years of neglect. A bit of a light prune led to a bit of a purge on all the seaside daisies, dozens, and dozens of them. They’ve clearly been left unchecked and have been self sowing for years. I uncovered an additional four rose bushes that were literally smothering beneath them.

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The garden before I started giving it, ‘just a little trim’.

I’ve left the Margareite Daisies, geraniums, and pelagoniums for now. Eventually, I’ll probably take cuttings of the nicer ones and start them off fresh. But as with all my gardens, it’ll evolve without any definite plan into whatever it becomes. I’ll leave the roses for now and see what they all are.

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Garden’s started!!

It’s still a long way from anything that looks anything, but the front garden is now started. My philosophy has always been, ‘once begun, half done’, so using that philosophy we’re half way there. I’m sure in no time at all, it’ll all be looking as pretty as a picture.

Gardening (even though prematurely) – what a pleasure!

And what to do after the gardening – a short drive to Dunsborough  for  a pint and a serve of crispy hot chips with aioli at Occy’s brewery seemed like good idea. Ahh!! another of life’s little pleasures…..