It’s time to say good-bye to our little coastal cottage

We’ve loved renovating our little coastal cottage. But anyone who knows us well won’t be surprised to hear that it’s time to move on. Crazy, I know. After all that work……yes it would have been nice to enjoy the fruits of our labour for a few years yet – but the time feels right to be selling now. The markets good, and we’re finding that even though the house and garden aren’t big, it’s big enough to be a commitment that interferes with extended caravan trips. That definitely wasn’t in the plan when we made the decision to give up the life we were living as full time Grey Nomads.

We chose our agent and had an appraisal on our house prior to leaving for our Exmouth trip, and we had a look at a house in a Lifestyle village that appealed to us. With a favourable appraisal coming back, and finding the Lifestyle village, and the house available there to our liking, the decision to market our little cottage on our return was easy. We scheduled the house photography for the Tuesday after our return – which gave us two days to whip the house and garden into shape. Arrangements where made to store the caravan elsewhere whilst marketing the house, the idea being to show off the available parking for visitors. Arriving home around lunch time on Sunday, we emptied what needed to be emptied from the caravan, gave it quick clean, and quickly went through the house and cupboards removing and stowing in the caravan as much as we could so as to give the house as much of an airy, uncluttered appearance as possible. The next morning we delivered the caravan into storage.

Monday and Tuesday morning we busied ourselves moving a few bigger pieces of unnecessary furniture into the shed, dressing the beds nicely with pillows, cushions and throws, arranging potted plants both outside and in, and sorting fresh flowers into vases. The deep clean, and big garden tidy could wait until after the photographs. The photographer arrived, and expressed delight at our presentation saying it made his job much easier. We were very much impressed with the results he produced. Here are a few of the photos that went on the net.

The three bathrooms

Wednesday was spent giving the house and windows a thorough clean, and the garden a quick weed and tidy. The photos went on the net on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning the agent had two interested parties, and by Friday morning, less than 48 hours from the house being listed for market we had found our buyer.

I’d like to make a special mention here of our real agent who handled the sale. Our agent, Chris Rigoll, from Busselton Agency, has been outstanding throughout the process. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share of real estate in our lifetime, and we’ve had good (and some not so good) selling agents over the years. One agent in Perth, David Brewer, who handled a number of sales for us was in our humble opinion, ‘a bloody good agent’, in fact, we thought he couldn’t be bettered. After Chris Rigoll’s positive enthusiasm for getting the job done, his rapid success, and his attention to detail even after the contract was signed, I think David Brewer may just have lost his place in our hearts as the ‘top agent’. Both agents worked hard for us, the seller (nothing makes me madder than an agent who forgets from whom he/she gets payment, the seller.) On this occasion though, Chris has continued to work on our behalf long after the contract was signed. He’s been present for all home inspections too, (follow up from clients, pest, and building inspections), and that’s a first for us. The inspections never bothered us in the past, but after going through the horrendous experience of all of the post contract inspections in the UK when selling Paul’s dad’s house, it was really comforting to have an agent present who had our interests at heart for these inspections. So a big, big thank you to Chris.

All of the necessary inspections have now successfully been completed, and settlement is scheduled for 19 July. On to the next stage of our lives, living in a lifestyle village. I wonder how that’ll turn out…..

Snorkelling with the Manta Rays

Seeing as we are in Coral Bay this May, our shared birth month, we decided that snorkelling with Manta Rays would be cool gift to each other for an experience to celebrate. We arrived at the Coral Bay Eco Tour office on the morning of our tour at 7.50am as advised where we were provided with our fins, and the usual pre-adventure tour paper work to complete. A brief introduction to the day was given and we were on our way.

A short bus trip took us around to the jetty to board the boat. Once on board we were provided with fins, snorkels and an optional summer wet suits. The water at this time of year in Coral Bay is very pleasant so the wet suits weren’t needed for warmth, but as there was still a few Red Bell Jelly Fish around, and after Paul’s awful experience with them last week, we welcomed the protection the wet suits would provide.

Our boat for the day

We were divided into three groups of ten, with a guide for each group. First stop was a pretty part of the coral reef including a shark cleaning station. If you don’t know what a shark cleaning station is, it’s a natural phenomenon, a place where special cleaner fish await their big clients. Sharks, and other big fish arrive, and go into a sedative state while the cleaners do a thorough job of cleaning any parasites out from their gills and mouth. When we snorkelled across the station there were two rather large sharks, I think they were reef sharks, lazing on the bottom as myriads of little fish busied themselves cleaning them up. Hundreds more cleaning fish hovered nearby announcing their presence to any more big fish in need of a clean. Was it scary – well just a little. Definitely fascinating!

Fortunately this wasn’t the day we went. I think I would have been just a bit more than a little frightened to be swimming with this crowd.

A cup of hot coffee or tea awaited our return to the boat with banana loaf and biscuits. Snorkelling can use quite a lot of energy so the snack was welcomed to keep us all refuelled.

A spotter plane goes up at 11am to seek out the Manta Rays and radio their location to the boat skippers. We still had time to spare, so our skipper took us to another great little piece of the reef. On each of these reef snorkel stops we could take our time getting back on board, but we were told that when we started with the Manta Rays, we needed to keep fins, masks etc on when exiting the water, and we needed to be quick. Mmmm, I wasn’t sure how I’d go with that. Fearing I’d be to slow at exiting the water I opted out of the second reef swim. If I was to slow on the first dip in with the Mantas – well at least I’d have seen them once.

A Manta Ray had been spotted, we were off. The first group of ten entered the water, then it was our turn. We sat on the rear tail board of the boat awaiting the call from the skipper, “go” she says (yes we had a female skipper), and without thought, into the water we slid, and we were off. Having done the Whale sharks years ago, I expected the same sort of speed would be needed to keep up. However, the Manta Ray hung around underneath us, just gracefully going about his business and doing what Manta Rays do. The photographer with our tour would kick himself down, down, down, beneath the Ray and snap photos of us all snorkelling above. Oh to have such power, I can barely kick myself two metres under the water! Occasionally the Ray would roll onto his back in the water to take a look at us, usually with a succession of big, slow, graceful complete rolls in the water, only metres away from us. To get a full view of that big white underside – amazing!

Our guide gave us the signal to group together in the water to await pick up. The third group were dropped in, then the boat circled to pick us up. I managed to scramble back on board relatively quickly, not with the grace of our well practiced guides, more like the humph of a beached whale, but with enough speed not to be to embarrassed to go again. We had four amazing, magical dips in with the Manta Ray.

Back on board, wet suits and flippers off, and a welcome lunch of a chicken and salad roll, and some fresh fruit. Then a meander back into port slowing to watch Dugongs and turtles on the way. The dugongs were distant, and I can’t honestly say I saw them, but some on board managed to pick them out as they rose to the surface to breath above the dark sea grass. Apparently tiger sharks are common to see too, but none this day.

For our return trip we went upstairs in the warm sunshine. The water was clear, the sky blue, and the sun warm. We’re not usually ones to take ‘selfies’, but on this occasion a photo as a reminder of this memorable day seemed appropriate. The trip, the crew, the skipper, the Manta Rays and Ningaloo coral reef with all the gorgeous reef fish to look at – what a day, what a pleasure!

More photos from Yardie Creek

Paul was mortified at my selection of photos from Yardie Creek in my last blog post. I admit, I had tried to change them, but it became a bit of a battle between me and FRED (frikken rediculous electronic device). FRED clearly had the upper hand, so rather than getting my knickers in a twist, I conceded defeat and left the photos as they were.

Here are some better ones.

A tranquil creek at the base of towering cliffs
Paul, very colour co-ordinates with his kayak
My kayak is the better of the two, but a bit harder on the eye. It’d stand out though ever a search party is needed.
Tree roots making their way down the sheer rock face – how do they do that!
The creek isn’t that long, but there’s some inviting bends that enticed us as far as we could go

There’s lots of wild life to see if you take it slowly, Ospreys, and sea birds, reptiles, and quite a few Rock Wallabies. The Rock Wallabies blend in well to the cliffs making them hard to spot. Once spotted, they’re even more difficult to photograph as they blend right in to their surroundings. They’re awesome little creatures, and the mind boggles as to their agility. We spotted some in places I wouldn’t have credited a mountain goat with being able to reach.

It was very gentle paddling up the creek, and going slow, and quietly is highly recommended in order to spot the wildlife. At times we would just drift with the very slow current. There is a tour boat to take visitors up the creek, but we preferred our gentle kayak trip. Compared to our bracing, and foolhardy kayak trip out on Osprey Bay the day before, this trip was a gentle, relaxing, pleasure!

6 nights at Cape Range

The stark and striking contrast of the rugged, arid Cape Range alongside the sparkling white beaches, the clear, turquoise waters with the most spectacular underwater scenery of Ningaloo Reef – this is Cape Range National Park, the focal point of this trip.

There are several campsites in the National Park, none have water, electricity, or phone/internet cover. All are beautiful. Mostly when we travel we have Mr Tilly with us, and as dogs aren’t allowed in Australia’s National parks, it’s not a place we can visit very often. However as we had a house sitter booked for Mr Tilly for the month of May this year, we took advantage of the dog free time to camp in the National park and to do some kayaking and snorkelling along the magnificent Ningaloo Coral Reef. For this trip we chose Osprey camp ground, approximately 80 kms from Exmouth.

All of the camp sites are located close to the water, but Osprey is perhaps the closest. The upside of being almost camped at the waters edge is spectacular views, the downside is there’s no barrier between your campsite and the winds that this piece of coastline are infamous for, and those winds sure can blow. We arrived with our caravan water tanks full, and several jerry cans of water to top up our supply as needed. We were looking forward to nine days of off grid camping at the waters edge, nine beautiful sun rises to see over the ranges, and nine glorious sunsets to watch over the ocean at each days end. Then after the sun sets, balmy evenings to sit under the night sky watching the stars appear in the Milky Way above us. And lots of snorkelling along Ningaloo Coral reef in the daylight hours in between.

Just before the sun popped up over the range

The first two days were beautiful, a little windy, but nothing worrying. However, the winds had brought thousands of big, reddish brown jellyfish into shore. We were hot after first setting up camp, and believing these big jellyfish didn’t sting, we navigated through them and out to an area beyond where the thick of them seemed to be to enjoy a nice cooling dip. We were wrong about them stinging though, as Paul did get a small sting – nothing worrying or too troublesome though (that was to come later). We met the camp host in the evening who gave us the run down on the good places to snorkel, including two buoys anchored about a kilometre offshore for kayaks to tie up to. The buoys enable swimmers to disembark and snorkel a particularly pretty part of the Coral Reef. He assured us the Jellyfish would disappear over the next few days.

The second day we paddled out to the buoys but as the water was a little choppy we decided to leave the offshore snorkelling for another day. The snorkelling was still good in close to shore, and the jellyfish were definitely thinning out considerably. We saw some beautiful fish, and a few turtles too. On one occasion a very large turtle swam right beneath us. We followed him for quite some distance marvelling at how he wasn’t bothered by us swimming along above him as he gently went about his business. Apologies, we forgot the go-pro, so no underwater pics to show you.

The third day started out really windy and the water had a lot of chop on it. However the tides were right for us to paddle out to the buoys, snorkel for about an hour, with an anticipated return to shore made easier by the incoming tide to help us along, at least that was the plan. The wind on the previous two days had also been blowing mid morning, but dropped to a gentle breeze before midday. We were expecting similar conditions that day, and the wind was going to be behind us to help us on our outward paddle. Mmmm!! That didn’t go to plan. We set off, and in minutes the wind had taken us half way out to the buoys. The water was getting more choppy, and the winds were gathering in strength and showing no signs of calming down. We decided to turn back. It took us more than 1/2 hour of hard paddling to return to shore. I needed to rest, but any let up on paddling and the wind would have had me back out to sea in no time. I kept paddling. The camp host had seen us struggling to return and was at the shore to see we made it in safely and to help us when we came in to beach. Phew, we made it. Note to oneself, respect the ocean next time! That had been foolhardy and darned right dangerous.

That day the wind blew all day without let up, and more of the same was expected for the next day, a good opportunity to take the kayaks down to Yardey Creek for some safe, peaceful paddling.

What a contrast to the previous day. Tranquil, peaceful, and easy paddling too.

By our fifth day I’d started to think that nine nights off grid was perhaps a little to ambitious. I posed the question of an earlier departure to Paul, and he agreed. We booked into a caravan park at Exmouth for the following three nights, and decided to enjoy our last day snorkelling at a place called The Oyster Stacks. You can only snorkel this particular piece of rugged reef on a high tide. We arrived with plenty of time, and spoke to someone just leaving, “it’s a bit rough to get in, a bit choppy, a few jellyfish still around, and visibility not perfect”, she said. But she assured us there was plenty to see, and it was worth the effort. So in we went.

Yes, it was a bit choppy, in fact, quite a bit choppy. It was a little difficult to get in, and Indeed there were still a few jelly fish around. The visibility wasn’t the greatest, but yes there was still a lot to see. We were enjoying it as much as the conditions would allow, and were managing to avoid the jelly fish, that is, until Paul didn’t! He was a few metres away when I heard him calling me. Expecting him to point out something gorgeous I made my way over to him. “ I’ve been stung, I’m going in” he says. So we cut our snorkel short and headed in. Remember I said it was a little difficult to get in, well that was easy compared to getting out. Paul managed alright, but I couldn’t find my feet at all. The waves would crash me into the rocky shoreline, and just as quickly they’d drag me out again. Between a helpful bystander and Paul, and with a few minor grazes I finally managed to get to safe ground. Then I saw Paul’s back!!

He was in agony.

He had been successfully avoiding the jellyfish, but these ones caught him by surprise. We think the swell must have picked up a couple and dumped them hard onto his back, and foolishly, neither of us had worn our rash vests that day. I drove us back to camp, and we spent the rest of the day with him lying across the bed while I rotated face clothes soaked in near boiling water, wrung out and placed over the stings. Apparently he felt no pain at all as long as the face cloth stayed hot. As soon as it started to cool the agony returned. Several hours of hot compresses, several Panadol, and some powerful night time anti-histamines that treat allergic reactions to bites and stings, and he was out to it. He slept from 7pm to 7am the next day. When he awoke the pain had almost completely gone, as had one of the stings. The other sting has left an almost pain free birthmark like impression on his back, but I’m sure that will completely fade in time.

This is all that remains – miraculous

The next day we headed to Exmouth, where we’re about to spend our third night before heading to Coral Bay. I won’t tell you the type of wave we gave to the Oyster Stacks on our way passed as we were leaving the range. Another note to oneself, ‘don’t snorkel if the conditions aren’t right – give the ocean and everything in it the respect it deserves, and wear a rash vest”.

In summary – Osprey Bay is a stunning place to camp, but for us nine nights was a bit ambitious. Six was good, but remembering it’s approximately 160km round trip to Exmouth to pick up additional water, I think four nights is probably about perfect. It can blow a gale there, and when it does, the ocean needs to be respected. When the ocean”s calm the snorkelling and kayaking is fabulous, and when it isn’t calm, there’s always Yardie Creek. It’s definitely worth fitting into any dog free trip up the west coast of Australia. Perhaps for us, this will be our last opportunity as we expect Mr Tilly will be with us for the rest of kayaking/snorkelling years. For this trip the snorkelling was great, kayaking up Yardie Creek relaxing and peaceful, but I think those Jellyfish stings are going to be the memory that overshadows all the other good things from our Cape Range part of this trip. Next is Coral Bay, one of my favourite places in the whole world. I’m looking forward to that.

Red Bluff

It was Paul’s milestone birthday, a good opportunity to pack a picnic lunch and go exploring. Approximately 70 kms north of Carnarvon there’s a spectacular piece of coastline with small holes in the rocky shore through which the water from the crashing waves is forced upwards. The place is aptly named, The Blowholes. Whilst the Blowholes are exhilarating to watch, it’s the rugged coastline to which the waves crash, and then wash back into the sea that I love best.

We first visited this amazing geographical feature nearly 20 years ago. A photo of the rugged coastline was used as a screensaver on our home computer for several years after. I can see our latest photo of the same shoreline will possibly end up as another screen saver, or be elevated to a framed picture for our coastal cottage wall.

Nearby is the popular campground of Quobba. We stayed there many years ago. It lacks facilities such as power and water, and a chemical toilet is needed to camp there. The location is stunning, so it draws a hoard of campers – and in our opinion, there should be caps on the amount of people allowed there at any one time. If there’s 3 metres between campers, someone will squeeze themselves in, far to many people to cope with inadequate hygiene conditions. We tried it once, but we wouldn’t stay there again.

About 60 kms north of Quobba point is another camp site popular with the surfing fraternity, Red Bluff. We’d never ventured up the rugged road to Red Bluff before. We had time, so we set off. We weren’t checking out the place for a possible future camping spot, as we were sure what we’d likely find when we arrived, a place that would make Quobba seem pristine and clean in comparison. We hoped to find a nice spot to sit and eat our picnic lunch, and hopefully there’d be some surfers, most likely with heads full of dredlocks, riding the waves to watch while we dined.

The road there was rough and we probably should have have let our tires down to make the ride a bit softer. Never mind, no harm came of it. I could sense Paul thinking that an opportunity to check out Red Bluff wasn’t going to be worth the bone shaking journey. I jollied him along by promising I’d buy him a nice cup of coffee when we got there. He took me seriously, “is there a cafe there”? he asked hopefully. Better to let him down now I thought, “don’t be stupid”, I laughingly replied. We continued on.

It took nearly an hour to get there. A sign advised all visitors must check in at the office. Paul waited in the car while I checked us in as day visitors. “Do you have a dog with you?”, she asked. Mr Tilly’s safely at home this trip with our house sitter, so, “no” we don’t have a dog with us. A few of the attractions were pointed out to me, most of which were beyond the point where dogs are allowed. The safest place on the beach for swimming, the location of the composting toilets, and – drumroll please……

Really! “Do they sell coffee”? I asked hopefully.

Wow! Indeed they do. Check out the menu:

We ordered our coffee, and explained we hadn’t anticipated a shop would be on site, would it be ok for us to eat our picnic lunch with our coffee? Absolutely. So we sat ourselves down at what must be the most amazing view from a cafe in the middle of nowhere that we’ve ever encountered.

Not only is there a small general store/cafe at Red Bluff, but the camping is spacious, and the place is immaculately clean. There’s no water or power for the campers, and there’s only drop, composting toilets – very clean. It is gorgeous, and not at all like crowded Quobba, and not a dredlock in sight. But wait there’s more, much more…..

There’s glamping tents, and these apparently do have water, and power. There’s several dotted around, including these ones on a hill overlooking the ocean.

And if that isn’t enough luxury in the middle of nowhere, there’s even a Day Spa, truly! After a hard few hours of surfing apparently an hour long ‘ surf recovery massage’ for $85 is just the thing. Or perhaps a 2.5 hour body exfoliation, full body massage, facial, & shower for $250 would appeal if time permits. The surfing fraternity has certainly changed in the 25plus years since our son, at the time sporting a good head of dredlocks, lived for the waves.

Mind you I think I’d need one of those massages after just the walk there and back to the surf break. We walked to the end of the beach where the safest place for a dip was pointed out to be. Above us we could see keen surfers eagerly navigating the track out to the surfing point. We could see the surfers on the cliff in the far distance waiting to take their turn on the waves, and we could see surfers riding the waves. They looked like dots in the distance. If you look closely at the point in the photo below you’ll see the surfers gathered. The are surfers on the waves below but I think you’ll have to take my word for that, they’re to distant for my I-phone camera to pick up.

The water gets deep very close to shore, as can be seen by the depth of blue in the photos. Apparently soon whales will be frolicking in close to shore as they head down to Antartica for the winter. What a delight it’d be to see them.

The safe spot for taking a dip was protected by a stretch of reef close to shore. It wasn’t deep enough for a swim, but the powerful waves still made for an exhilarating dip. Sitting in the water as the powerful waves hurtling towards shore before having their momentum halted by the reef, and then washing over me was great fun. The water was pleasantly warm, and some of the waves arrived to provide me with just a gentle wash. Other waves arrived with the power of an agitator washing machine, throwing me around in water not more than 1/2 metre deep. Thank goodness for the reef, there’s no way I would have braved those waves without it.

Our expectations of Red Bluff were so wrong. The place is gorgeous, and I’d love to camp there. Unfortunately though, it’s rare for us not have Mr Tilly with us, and the point at which dogs aren’t allowed to venture passed has the best of what Red Bluff has to offer. We’re so pleased we’ve seen it though, and we’ve now been told about a place a little further along the rough road that sounds even more inviting, Gnaraloo. We’ve looked it up, and next time we’re passing this way with Mr Tills, I think we’ll be letting our tires down on the caravan and Prado, and heading up the track for a week or three at Gnaraloo. I’ll look forward to telling you about sometime. In the meantime, if you’re heading up the WA coast, and you don’t have a dog on board, bypass Quobba and head up to Red Bluff. You’ll be pleased you did.

A picture paints a thousand words

As any of my loyal followers will know, I’m not good with technology. When it’s going ok, I’m easy to live with, when it mucks up, I’m like a bear with a sore head.

For months now I’ve been ‘languishing’, I’ve had little motivation to blog, as have a few other bloggers I’m sure since this pandemic changed our world. The rare times when motivation did prompt me to attempt a blog post I ended up almost tearing my hair out in frustration as my WordPress site thwarted me at every attempt. I just couldn’t return to any drafts, only the title was saving, but no content. I felt defeated. My state of ‘languish’ would turn to anger, and then I would feel myself starting to spiral into feelings of hopelessness. I knew if I continued on I’d risk becoming truly depressed. Knowing I’m technologically inadequate, I’d think to myself, ‘what right have you to be part of this blogging world when you don’t know the first thing about the technology that runs it’. I was feeling like a fraud.

This week I felt a rare touch of motivation. I tried again. The same thing happened. I went from frustration to anger to despair many times through an afternoon of trying to get something that would save, anything at all that I could publish. Eventually I did manage to get something to save. I don’t know how. I didn’t proof read, or try to fix anything. It wasn’t formatted as I would have liked, but the words and pictures had stayed on screen. I published.

I tried again a day later. No such luck. Again nothing would save. I contacted the ‘happiness gurus’ from WordPress. My so called ‘happiness guru’ had me going down the path of browser problems. This story could turn into a book if I related all the details of our typed conversation, so I won’t detail the conversation or the links he forwarded to me. I was spiralling down, down, down as I attempted make any sense of what I was being told to do. My head was full of white noise.

Finally someone at the other end (I’ve been through a few ‘happiness gurus’ in the past few days) suggested we revert to email and I send some screen shots. Turns out this person actually deserves the title of ‘guru’, perhaps even ‘happiness guru’. I sent several screen shots, and the person receiving them actually looked at them. Turns out it was nothing at all to do with my browser. The screenshots gave her something to work with. A picture definitely paints a thousand words.

This is what was found:

M.H (Automattic) May 6, 2021, 16:07 UTC Hi Chris,Thank you for the screenshots. I see that you are starting in the WP Admin dashboard of your site: and not in the default dashboard: It’s ok to continue using the WP Admin dashboard as long as it’s available, but some features may not work as expected as they get replaced by more modern alternatives.The “Draft” dashboard widget that you are using creates content as if it was created with the Classic Editor (now deprecated). And you are viewing the content of the draft usingthe default Block Editor. 
But, as you figured out, these blocks can be fixed by converting them to “Classic Blocks”. From there you can convert them to regular blocks by clicking “Convert to blocks”. As demonstrated below:

A bit more detail was added, but then the gem came, the lightbulb piece of advice!

🔍 Please note that another quick way to start creating content is to click the “Write” button in the top right corner of your dashboard:

And presto! It works.

I have saved this post many times in draft form, and returned to it. I can’t tell you how good it feels to actually see content saved instead of just the title. If elation is the opposite of despair, then my mind set is definitely the opposite of what has been of late when attempting a blog post. Any formatting errors or spelling, or grammatical errors are definitely attributable to the writer this time. And that is most definitely my pleasure!

Officially becoming, ‘old codgers’

It’s official. Paul and I will reach official retirement age this month. I think that means we’re becoming, ‘old codgers’, or as my late father-in-law would have said, we’re now part of the ‘pink and crinkly’ set.

To celebrate this milestone birthday we’ve engaged our house sitter to mind Tills and our home, and are heading for the Cape Range National park. Our planned trip firstly involved three days in Perth. We were about an hour away from our accommodation when our Premier announced some community Covid transmission. Lockdown for the Perth/peel region was a possibility, masks a definite. So we by-passed Perth and headed for a roadside camp on the other side of the city. We can now stay mask free.

Then two nights at beautiful Coronation Beach just north of Geraldton. A windsurfing Mecca, and seemingly on the world map for this purpose. It’s a beautiful piece of coastline with the best nature can provide for those keen to practice their kite or wind surfing skills. This of course means lots of wind, so our awning didn’t go out. A look out above the campground provided the best vantage point for capturing some glorious sunset shots prior to some incoming inclement weather.

It bucketed down the next day, which wasn’t a problem for us as we used it as a travel day to head for Carnarvon. Upon arrival the caravan park roadways were pretty much running like rivers, and the rain was torrential. Paul doned his rain coat and braved the elements to get us unhitched, the power on, and the drain out. Then we hunkered down inside the van and hoped we didn’t start floating away sometime during the night.

The roadway in the caravan park (no we’re not camped on a river)

I mentioned to a friend that it was just as well we’d brought our kayaks. She promptly sent me this little gem in response.

I’m pleased to say the rain has now stopped, the sun’s shining, and there’s a lovely soft breeze blowing. The roads north of Carnarvon are currently closed, but as we won’t be heading around to the National Park until early next week, there’s plenty of time for the flood waters to recede.

We’ve checked out some local fishing spots, and will try our luck tomorrow. In the meantime thought I’d leave you with this cute little photo a young child making the most of the sunshine on the flooded caravan roadway.

A Life on our Planet

I had been toddling along without giving as much thought as I should have been to Global Warming. Late last year I read the EAT Planetary Diet guidelines, as per the findings of a group of leading scientists commissioned by Lancet. That was a light bulb moment in my life when I realised how serious things are getting. Then recently I read a book by David Attenborough, A Life on our Planet. 

Wow! If the Lancet report was a light bulb moment, then this book had the effect on me of shock therapy. This isn’t a book of prophesy, it’s a book detailing David’s life on this planet, and the changes he has actually witnessed. It’s a book supported by science, and verified by David’s observations and experiences. If anyone on this planet has the credentials to drive home the urgency needed for rapid change to prevent catastrophic carnage to our planet then surely David Attenborough has. It’s a scary book, very scary, and sadly it’s not a book of science fiction.

I had been complacently thinking I would be long gone before this world as we know it implodes in on itself. I was wrong! The world as we know it doesn’t have centuries left, it doesn’t even have decades. We have to make drastic changes NOW. Not next century, and not even next year. We have to start NOW. We all thought a global pandemic was something we’d never see, then it was upon us. Food shortages and famine, if you’re like me, you’ve probably had them categorised in your mind alongside a global pandemic – great for a sci-fi movie, but it’ll never happen. David has caused me to re-think that. I will most likely see food shortages in my lifetime, in fact very soon. That is unless some drastic changes start happening immediately.

There is something we can do, something that doesn’t rely on Governments making all the changes. We can change the way we live our individual lifestyles. We all know a lot of what we should be doing. What I hadn’t realised is how much the consumption of animal products contributes to global warming. I think that animal farming and the practices needed to support the farming, along with food wastage comes in at 2nd to the use of fossil fuels at creating CO2 emissions. I’m no expert, and I don’t profess to understand the science behind David’s book. I didn’t need to understand it though to get the gist of it. It’s time to change, not next year, and not even next week. The time is now. Yes, I hope the governments implement changes in regards to fossil fuels, but on an individual basis we also need to make some drastic changes.

I’m not going to say anymore at this point in time, except please pick up a copy of this book. Read it, and pass it on to others to read. I hope you find it as life changing as I have.

A new year begins

I’ve decided to try something a bit different this year. I’m not usually one for new year resolutions, but this year I have made a few. I’m being easy on myself, and am hoping that by not making them to strict I won’t be setting myself up for failure. In the past if I did make any resolutions I was very specific about them. Within days I had broken them and once broken I seemed to just forget all about them. I hope I succeed with these ones.

The first has been inspired by the Planetary Diet guidelines. It’s just one little positive step that I can make for the environment, with a side benefit of better health for me. I’m endeavouring to eat less animal protein, and more vegetables, including more vegetable protein. I will still be eating red meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy, just in considerably less quantities. Hence, this would be a hard one to make specific anyway. I’ll have to be careful to not slip back into a meat and three veg routine. I also want to make a conscious effort to waste less food.

Also as per the planetary dietary guidelines, water should be our preferred drink of choice. I used to drink a lot of water, but somehow my water consumption has reduced considerably in recent years. I used to drink water at room temperature poured straight from the tap. Then I started to prefer it chilled or with ice. I think that made it to much effort, and I suspect that subconsciously I must have thought if I had to put effort into making a drink I may as well make it a hot drink. Consequently i’ve been drinking more tea and coffee than I used to drink. This year my plan is to switch back to drinking several glasses of tap water throughout each day.

My third resolution is something I have to do – my exercises. The slow downward spiral into decrepitness that began many years ago has been speeding up over the years. It’s now travelling at the speed of a toboggan on an icy slope, and I know I have to go hard and fast at something to get myself back onto a solid footing. I have a set of very basic Pilates exercises I try to do often. I do them daily for a few weeks, then something happens which upsets my routine, and I miss out on exercising. Before I know it several weeks or months have gone past without me doing any exercises, and I only realise it when my sciatic nerve starts giving me jip, and when I wake up feeling more decrepit than an 80 year old. On top of that, late last year an investigation of a pain in my heel revealed multiple bone Spurs growing into my Achilles tendon, and calcification. Damn – walking is difficult. The physio has given me exercises which need doing three times a day, and the podiatrist has made me some orthotics. The podiatrist made them for me for half price as he said they are a trial for both him, and me. He’s unsure if they will help. So my third resolution is to endeavour to exercise daily when possible, and when not possible to only let a day or two go by before getting back into routine.

And last but least of my resolutions is to record daily what I’ve eaten, the glasses of water consumed, and the exercises completed.

Today is the 4th of January and I’m pleased to report I’ve done a set of my basic Pilates exercises once each day for four days, and I’ve done my prescribed ankle exercises three times daily as recommended. I’ve consumed 3 – 4 glasses of water each day, and a few less of my usual cups of tea and coffee. My breakfast each day is much the same as usual, cereal, yogurt and berries. My lunches and dinners have been a little different than what I’m used to. I cooked up a cup of French lentils and some chick peas on the first day of the year, and have had some of one or the other in all of my lunches and dinners so far. I used an egg to turn some of the lentils into patties. I added some lentils to tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, and avocado for bruschetta, with a reduced amount of Parmesan than usual.

I’ve made a chickpea, vegetable, and peanut stir fry, and I’ve made another stir fry with lentils and 1 small can of tuna. Any left overs have formed the base for a meal of some sort the following day. This is a huge reduction on my usual animal protein intake, but as you can see, it is by no means a completely vegetarian diet. I’ll make sure I add some red meat later in the week, but I’ll try to reduce the amount by about half and will try to make up the shortfall with some black beans or some other sort of pulse or legume.

Four days gone, no wastage yet, and I’ve recorded everything daily. I’m happy with what I’m eating, and I’m happy with the amount of exercise I’m doing. The meals we’re eating are different, but are definitely palatable. I’m happy!