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 lotĀ 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”!

Palmers Winery

I’m so pleased I’ve joined up with a local women’s walking group. The women meet up twice a week at 8am at a local cafe near the beach path and walk for a 1/2 hour in each direction along the path overlooking beautiful Geographe Bay. There’s no better way to get to know people than walking and chatting, not to mention the hour or so after the walk spent in the local cafe having a coffee with the ladies.

Not a bad view to enjoy on our walks.

Not a bad view to enjoy on our walks.

Not only do the ladies walk twice a week with a coffee follow up, but they also go out to lunch at one of the eateries in the winery area at least once a month. I’m not only getting to know people in the local community, but am also getting local information on the better places to eat. There’s nothing like ‘local knowledge’.

A couple of weeks ago the walkers met at Palmers Winery , near Dunsborough. The meal, service and ambiance was superb, and not over pricey. So, today I went there again, this time, with Paul.

Paul had the fish of the day, a superbly cooked Red Emperor dish which he reported was excellent. I tried the Bento Box, something new to me. For those of you who don’t know what a Bento Box is, (I didn’t), it’s a Japanese meal served in a box with several different compartments. The compartments hold a selection of delectable Japanese morsels, including some raw scallops and raw tuna. A hot rock comes with the meal on which to cook the raw items to ones own liking. It was an intriguing meal, and one I wasn’t disappointed with.

We followed up by sharing a desert – also very nice. Then a walk around the dam and a visit to the cellar tasting area. Unfortunately, we forgot to take our camera, so we only managed one photo taken on the iPhone, which was badly in need of a clean, so the photo’s a bit hazy. There’s nothing quite like rows of vines with roses at either end, overlooking a beautiful lake to inspire fantasies of being in some romantic European country – perhaps Tuscany, or the South of France.

What a pleasure!

What a pleasure!

But then again, who needs to be in either Tuscany, or the South of France fighting through hoards of people when we have such delights on our own doorstep, only minus the crowds. It’s a real pleasure to be a tourist in our own neighbourhood, only with the comfort of our own bed to come back to at the day’s end.

Plodding along

It’s been a long time between posts, too long. As always with writing, if too long elapses between posts, time and life seems to all run into one big jumble with nothing standing out as being particularly news worthy. It becomes difficult to pick out the important things.

So, what have we been up to. We’ve had two week-end trips up to Perth for friends parties. Both trips and both parties went off very well. We’ve found a buyer for our beautiful white lounge suite, and we’ve bought something more suitable for the lounge.

Our comfy new Lazy-boy to fall asleep on.

Our comfy new Lazy-boy to fall asleep on.

We’ve bought new Christmas decorations and have decorated the house. It’s not up to our usual overdone Christmas decorating. This time we’ve gone with blues, greens, silver and white, rather than our usual traditional red and green. I’ve never been fond of blue for Christmas before, so I’m surprised how happy I am with this years effort.

All decorated for the silly season.

All decorated for the silly season.

Our garden is growing. The Plumbago is starting to flower, and a couple of the agapanthus have buds on that are just starting to show signs of opening.

If you look closely you can just see the first blue appearing.

If you look closely you can just see the first blue appearing.

There’s plenty of annuals filling the gaps, and most are now in bud. Still nothing much that shows up in photos, but they’re only a few weeks off providing a colourful show – maybe by Christmas. If not for Christmas, then they’ll all be in full bloom to provide a colourful welcome for Paul when he returns for chilly England in mid January.

Nothing to show yet, but soon....

Nothing to show yet, but soon….

Herbs are growing.

Herbs are growing.

The garden opposite our morning seating area.

The garden opposite our morning seating area.

I have found a little part time job as a Food Presenter. I’m only working two days a week on Friday’s and Saturdays at the Bunbury Gourmet Farmers Market. What a wonderful place that is. I’d never been there before I applied for the job. It’s massive and a real foodies paradise. Apparently it supports at least 150 local farmers from the area, and employs over 300 staff. They sell an astounding variety of the freshest of produce.

I’m presenting in the gourmet butchers section. I have a tiny little mini kitchen behind my presentation counter with a little oven, one gas hot plate, a sink and a few cupboards. I cook all manner of gourmet, restaurant quality meats for the guests and customers to sample. I’ve only worked three days so far. It’s tiring, but really enjoyable, and I’m sure there’s no job more suited to me than this one. Cooking and chatting to customers all day, what more could a girl like me want! All the staff seem happy with their jobs, which says a lot, and my immediate boss is very pleasant. I think I’m going to enjoy it there.

While there’s been nothing particularly news worthy to write about, and no trips to new places, life has never-the-less been an un-news-worthy, uneventful, pleasure!