Three Summers, starring Joshua Green and co-starring……..

What a great movie. Three Summers – an Australian romantic comedy written and directed by Ben Elton. The stars in the leading roles, Rebecca Breeds and Robert Shehan absolutely shone brightly. They were brilliant. Supported by Magda Szubanski, Michael Caton, John Waters, and debuting Joshua Green (as an extra – but as he’s my grandson, I thought his name deserved to be in the credits), the film couldn’t fail to impress.

It’s set over three years at a fictitious folk festival called Westival. Much of the filming was done at WA’s own real folk festival (Fairbridge), easily recognisable in the movie if you’ve ever attended the Fairbridge Festival.

For those of you who don’t know the history of Fairbridge, it was once used as a home for some of England’s, ‘stolen generation’. This little bit of history comes into play in the movie, with Michael Caton being a grandfather attending the festival with his granddaughter. Michael’s character, originally from England, clearly has some troublesome memories from his childhood years spent at Fairbridge.

The film, whilst being a lighthearted romantic comedy, still manages to embrace the diversity of modern Australia. Touching on the stolen generation, and juxtaposing this story against such things as today’s detention centres for asylum seekers, and Aboriginal rights and past injustices, the movie manages to be just a little thought provoking whilst at the same time providing a good laugh.

The movie’s funny, and guaranteed to give you that, feel good feeling that one gets at the end of a good romantic comedy. If you’re not keen on some of the issues it subtly raises, please don’t let that stop you from seeing a good movie. Honestly, it’s not in your face!

So, that’s a bit about the movie. Now a bit about Josh Green’s debut. Some of you may remember Josh (grandson number 2) and his group, Raksha, won a young song writer’s competion a few years ago at the Fairbridge Folk Festival. The band has attended for a slot on the program a few times since, I believe. They camp out at the festival, and as well as their slot on the program, they manage to do a bit of busking throughout the day. And here I need to digress a bit to Raksha’s roots. The founding members of group came together when they were all attending a circus school and realised they had something else in common beside juggling and acrobatics – music. Sometimes when they busk, I gather they do so as Raksha the group, and sometimes they busk doing some of their circus acts, and sometimes they combine both.

Josh juggling with fire sticks

During the filming of Three Summers, they were busking, with Josh doing a bit of juggling. They were asked if they wanted to be extras in a film and, of course, they said yes. Apparently, they didn’t even know which film they were to be in, so when the film aired, I believe it was all a bit of a surprise.

Grandson number 1, Tim Green was in Busselton earlier this year when his own short film, Bodhi, aired during the Busselton Film Festival. Having his own film in the festival meant Tim saw the previews of the other films in the festival, including, Three Summers. He had no idea he would see his brother in it. When he spied Josh juggling during the movie, he apparently couldn’t contain his excitement as he loudly proclaimed, “that’s my brother”.

I must admit, even though Josh was only on the screen for a few seconds, and of course, his name doesn’t get a mention in the credits, it was still very exciting to see him on the big screen in a full theatre of movie goers.

Tim is now 22, and Josh nearly 21. Both work part time to support themselves while giving their ‘dream careers’ a good and fair shot. It’s early days yet, so, their success in their chosen fields, (music for Josh, and film for Tim) is still a considerable way from being a realised (or not). Seeing my two grandson’s pursuing their life desires, giving it their all, and not selling out for the security of a ‘second choice job’ at this early stage of their lives – what a pleasure!

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Puppy rearing in 2017 verses puppy rearing in the 1980s

Attitudes and expectations have changed in the thirty plus years since we rescued our, little Sophie.

Sophie, a white miniature poodle, was rescued from a home nearby. We had been on the look out for a dog, but the furtherest breed on my radar would have been a poodle. Never-the-less, what’s one to do when you hear about a dog needing a new home….. And then when you go and take a look, and are greeted with a dirty, matted, flea infested bundle of something, chained up in an outside laundry with a chain heavy enough to secure a Rottweiler. Clearly, she was a dog in need of a new home.

The motley crew in 1980 – Sophie the new addition, had been bathed, but not yet clipped.

Sophie cleaned up beautifully and went on to provide great companionship for the family for around 13 years. Along with the companionship, we developed an appreciation for what owning a poodle means.

September 1982, with Paul’s mum, and Scruff (who fathered Sophie’s only litter)

Despite the 80’s upbringing of Sophie, she thrived. Being a poodle, she required regular grooming, mainly in the form of hair cuts. The tight, curly wool of a poodle isn’t easy to brush, but fortunately, cutting is usually sufficient to keep them clean and tidy. She didn’t lose any hair, didn’t get any of the odour usually associated with dogs, and the poodle intelligence meant training was a breeze.

Sophie opening her Christmas Pressie (1986)

When it came to getting another dog, the choice of breed was a no-brainer. It had to be part poodle so as to get the non-shedding coat, and to get the intelligence that would mean easier training. But it had to be a cross breed too, so as to get something a little less haughty than Sophie tended to be.

And so we chose our little Labadoodle. The choice of dog out of the way, then comes the rearing of the dog.

Sophie was feed a diet of canned dog food, a bit of kibble (but that wasn’t really the thing in the 1980s), table scraps, and left over bones from any cooked legs of lamb. We knew cooked chicken bones could be dangerous for her, but never-the-less she managed to survive many a bin raid devouring the remaining carcass of any roast chicken dinners. She was a brat for managing to open the kitchen bin, especially if she could smell chicken.

Not only did she survive eating cooked chicken, she ate her fair share of chocolate too. She survived scoldings when she did something wrong, (even if we discovered her misdemeanour many hours after the event). And she only went to the vet a few times throughout her entire life. We did our best to keep her flea and worm free with over the counter products. Her vet visits consisted of being sterilised, a couple of necessary operations to remove grass seeds from her ears, and I think there may have been a couple of vaccination shots administered over the years. We certainly never considered a yearly check up was necessary, and as far as I remember, no-one considered such a thing for their pets.

My, how things have changed.

And thanks to the wealth of information now available at our fingertips, things are no longer simple. Kibble is definitely in….. Canned food is a maybe, as is raw food. Table scraps are a definite no. Cooked bones of any sort can now cause cracked teeth or impactions that may require surgery (I wonder why that wasn’t a concern in the 1980s, and how Sophie survived all her cooked lamb bones unscathed).

Raw bones, particularly chicken necks are something to consider – depending on which vet you talk to, or which internet site you look at. Some vets say absolutely not, some seem okay with it. However, without bones, dogs teeth deteriorate at a very young age. The choices for cleaning (if raw bones aren’t fed) seems to be manufactured dental chews, and/or brushing your dogs teeth…..

One thing that has, without a doubt, changed for the better is the flea and worm treatments now available. These are now given periodically orally, and seem to do a great job. The rest of the changes though are soooo confusing!

Vet visits – Our first chosen vet was adamantly in the Kibble only diet camp. Absolutely nothing else. As we’d already done enough research to have decided raw chicken necks and wings were the way to go for dental health, we didn’t stick with her to find out how Tilly’s teeth cleaning was to be managed.

So, onto vet number two. Now, I need to digress back to our breed and breeder selection here. Once we’d decided on a Labradoodle, we needed to select our breeder. We chose a small, accredited breeder, Eungai, in Perth’s hills. Mandi, from Eungai chooses her breeding dogs carefully, given due regard to temperament, and very importantly, to hip dysplasia scores. Labrador’s, and subsequently, Labradoodles are extremely prone to hip dysplasia which can result in painful arthritis from an early age. Breeding from dogs that have good hips helps minimise the chances of this happening. So, after lots of internet research, we chose Eungai for our breeder – more on how happy we’ve been with that choice at a later stage – this post is already so lengthy that it’s almost a book!

So, vet number two – stretches Tilly’s legs out checking for signs of hip dysplasia. One leg stretches out easily, the other not so easily. The vet, being almost positive that Tilly is already showing problematic signs of hip dysplasia, advises x-rays under aesthetic. $680 later the results are back, the Penn hip scores are in. Tilly has near perfect hips…… So, thank you Mandi for the care taken in choosing your breeding dogs. The tightness in the offending leg was then put down to a sore muscle, and, wait for it – a dog physio was recommended. Hell! his muscle can’t have been that sore, he wasn’t even limping….. Anyway, we declined to go there.

We’re sticking with this vet for now – I don’t know why, but we are. Mr Tilly’s on monthly check ups until he reaches six months of age, with his next check-up next week to check his teeth are coming through correctly. What will be recommended if they’re not, I have no idea. But if, and when anything unexpected is advised, we’ll decide at the time if we’ll continue on with this path, seemingly down the road to ensure we have a perfect labradoodle specimen. A few less than perfect traits I think could sit okay with us……

I think there was dog training 30 years ago, but it wasn’t the norm. Now in 2017 not only is dog training recommended, but also puppy school, and pre-puppy school. The odd clout on the bum or snout is definitely out, even stern growling (unless its at the exact moment a mis-demeanor is discovered) is also out. All training now is to be done only with treats. Kibble diets, which seem to be the main diet recommended, need to be weighed and dogs should never be fed more than the recommended amount so as to prevent obesity.

Exercise needs to be supervised, just enough – and not to rigorous for fear skeletal damage could result. Goodness, how negligent we were with Sophie – in comparison to the dog-rearing guidelines now it seems we weren’t far ahead of the people we rescued her from.

So, with everything about as clear as mud, and totally confused, we’re going with what feels right to us.

We took Tilly to pre-puppy classes, and for now have decided to consolidate the things we’re aware he needs to learn from those lessons. We’ll probably pick up on some further dog training next year, but we decided not to continue on immediately with further formal training. Most of his training is done with treats, but he is still sometimes the recipient of some stern words, and sometimes (rarely though) even long after he’s committed a misdemeanour. Goodness, we’re only human after all, and sometimes frustration comes into play over and above common sense, and the 2017 dog rearing rules. He’ll just have to deal with his imperfect owners the best he can! Honestly,  though, he’s such a good dog, and needs little in the form of any reprimands.

The vet visits – well the juries out on where we’ll go with that in the future. Definitely, Tilly will be having his yearly vaccination boosters, and we will be administering his flea and worm medication as required. More than that I think will be on the needs of the dog, rather than the whims of the vet.

Exercise – well we walk him every day. Sometimes we let him run off the lead on the beach, but his re-call is still hit and miss, so we’re cautious with that. If, when he’s off the lead, he runs to fast, well we’re going to let him – negligent dog owners that we are!!

A cooling swim after some ‘rigourous’ beach running

Drying off after his swim – I wonder when his legs will stop growing…..

And his diet – well we’ve chosen what seems to sit right with us, and yes a good quality kibble forms the bulk of his diet. It’s such an easy way to go. We’ve opted to forbid any table scraps – mainly so as to prevent him begging for our food. The only people food we share with him is a few slices of raw apple. We feed him a few raw eggs a week, a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt over the week, and some raw meat. We mainly keep the raw meat for training treats, but most days he gets at least some. Today I’ve frozen some pieces of sheep hearts in small blocks of iced water, and I plan on using these as hot day treats that he can lick at, with meat rewards in the centre for when I’m grooming him. And every few days we give him either a raw chicken neck or a raw wing. He takes his time, chewing them thoroughly, and I know we run a risk of impactions (and resulting surgery) from the bones. We figure though that the bones are a better way to go for good dental health. Brushing a dogs teeth just seems wrong, and we’re not going there.

So, for better or for worse – that’s how we’re rearing our little Mr Tilly in 2017. It’s vastly different than the way we reared Sophie – but hey! I think Sophie did okay, and I think Till’s could have done a lot worse than to be living in our care, near the shores of  beautiful Geographe Bay.  I think come winter, when we head up to sunny Broome and beyond, he’ll be thinking he’s in ‘doggie heaven’. I can’t wait. He doesn’t know how good life can be yet –  But he will…

Meanwhile, back at the Summerhouse

We’ve been back from our winter sojourn for approximately three months now. Whilst it feels like we’ve been back forever, when I look at how much we’ve accomplished, it’s hard to believe it’s only been three months.

Some of this years Broome beach finds have been added to Paul’s home made wall plaque.

Our front rose garden has been halved. The increased paving area has made a big difference to reducing future garden maintenance times, has increased parking space, and the half circle rose bed looks much better than the previous huge rectangular shaped bed. The roses are taking a while though to recover from their transplants, but I’m sure they’ll start to flourish soon.

Our back garden has had the contrasting paving added, and subsequently a percentage of this has since been removed – what a palaver! We started by removing just a small amount and planting a grevillea tree in the middle.

Then last week-end my ‘DOn’t waIT’ mantra came into play, and the whole native garden bed has now been planted. Everything looks so small….. But by next summer it should be starting to provide a good thicket for the birds to frolic in, and will hopefully help provide a distraction from the road noise on the other side of fence.

Tiny yet, – but they’ll grow

We’ve removed plants here and there, and added new ones. The blue salvia currently in full bloom in the above photo is last years plants that have been cut back several times, They continue to reward with a bigger and brighter show after each cut back. There’s plenty of new ones also been added, and they’re about to break out into a riot of colour, along with lots of white, easy care vincas. The red petunias in the baskets on the shed are also from last years plantings. I remember our friend, Bruce, being surprised when he learned how cutting back petunias to almost nothing rewards with increased floral displays. These baskets are testament to just that – there’s barely any soil left in the baskets, and when the above photo was taken they were flowering after at least their forth cut back. Yesterday I cut them back once again, almost to seedling size. Hopefully they’ll provide me with one last show just in time for the arrival of the first of our Christmas visitors – arriving Saturday week from the UK.

Our little part time job will conclude for the long summer holidays in just under two weeks, coinciding with the arrival of Margaret and Geoff. After that, it’s possible the company will want us to assist with the cleaning of holiday homes in the area. We hope not though. The few hours we do each week provides good pocket money, and we’ll be looking forward to more of the same when school re-commences at the end of January. Until then though it’ll be nice to just sit back with our visitors, a gin and tonic in hand, watching the butterflies and bees flitting from flower to flower as they enjoy the fruits of our labour. There’s so many butterflies and bees now visiting. Tilly loves them, as do we. The flowers, the butterflies, the bees, and next year, hopefully lots of birds as well – what a pleasure!

Nomination for, The Liebster Award

What’s, ‘The Liebster Award’, I hear you ask, and I’ve asked myself the same question on a number of occasions. This time when Suzanne from http://www.globehousesitterx2.wordpress.com nominated me for the Liebster Award, I thought I’d better shake the complacent, cobwebs out of my hair, and try to do something about accepting the nomination.

I’ll start firstly by apologising to previous bloggers who have also nominated me for similar awards. On the previous occasions my technological fears and phobias took hold. I kept promising myself I’d honour the person nominating me and my blog for such an award by responding as I should have. However, time passed by, and before I knew it accepting the award, and thanking the person who had nominated me had left my radar. So, I hope I do better this time.

This time I’ve looked up what the awards all about. Did I understand it? – not really, except to say that it’s sort of an award set up by fellow bloggers to acknowledge bloggers like myself, and show a bit of recognition for what the nominated blogs do to enhance the lives of, not only the blog writers, but also of the blog followers. (Goodness, I hope I’ve understood correctly).

So, thank you Suzanne from http://www.globehousesitterx2.wordpress.com
(and thank you to the other people who have also nominated me in the past).

I think I’m supposed to provide links to Suzanne’s blog, and to the Liebster award, and to the bloggers that I’ll be nominating later in this post. And I’m afraid that’s where my inadequacies take over. I’m bloody useless at this techno stuff – and getting my head around how to add links – well, if I could be writing my blog using old fashioned pen and paper I would be. About as good as this techno stuff gets for me is to be able to type up my blog and add photos. Trying to get my head around more than that ends up leaving me almost frozen in panic, and sort of ends up as ‘white noise’ in my head. So, I’ll do the best I can to follow the rules of accepting the award, but apologies in advance for where my inadequacies get in the way.

I’m supposed to provide 10 random facts about myself. I hope you will all make do with the facts provided in the above couple of paragraphs – basically, I’m a bit of a numpty when it comes to technology. Putting that to one side though, I do love blogging. It enhances my life by getting me off my butt to do things. When I am doing, ‘stuff’, I look at what I’m doing in more detail, and better than anything – blogging connects me with other bloggers, and I get to experience a whole new world through the written words of others.

Next, I’m supposed to write a bit about my favourite blog. There’s soooo many, but I guess my stand out favourite, the one I can’t wait to open and read as soon as an email alerts me to a new post is http://www.livelaughrv.net. Oh, Ingrid – I do hope I managed to get your blog address down correctly. Ingrid has what she terms is a modest sized fifth wheeler. I think it’s 32 feet long – which by Australian standards is a whopper. You guessed it, Ingrid lives and travels throughout America. She writes beautifully, and more than anything I’ve ever read, or seen before, Ingrid’s photos, and writing has inspired me to want to see her great, big, wonderful country for myself. Thank you Ingrid – your writings are always a pleasure to read. I think Ingrid already has quite a large following, so although her blog is the one I get most excited about when I get the email alert, I haven’t included her in my ‘pay it forward’ nominations.

And now I need to answer the questions posed to me by Suzanne in my nomination, so here goes:

What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why?

America – read my paragraph above as to who and what has inspired this desire. Thank you Ingrid.

What was the most inspirational time in your life so far?

When Paul and I decided to sell up and travel full time in our fifth wheeler. The dream life didn’t last – but the planning for it was amazing. Alas – the reality of the trip itself was interrupted by family commitments. Eventually, it all became to hard and we’ve since settled back into a normal, house dwelling existence.The excitement of the commencement of ‘living our dream life’ though lives on. Would I do it again – perhaps? but I think Paul’s happier as a part time RVer, so probably part time is the way it’ll continue.

What are you passionate about?

So many things. I guess one thing I’m nostalgically passionate about is breast-feeding, and the restrictions put on people by outdated and incorrect belief systems – but that’s a whole story on it’s own.

What is your favourite book, and why?

A Town Like Alice – I just love it.

What is your favourite time of year?

Definitely anytime of year when the skies are blue, the sun’s shining and there’s water near by. Hence, when winter comes to the south west of Australia, you’ll see us hitched up and travelling north. We try to follow the sun.

What other interests do you have besides blogging?

Beaches, forests, gardening, cooking and card games.

Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

Definitely the beach, but I love forests too.

Where did you go for your most memorable holiday?

Mmmm!! that’s a hard one. I have three holidays that are all stand outs. In no particular order they are as follows:

Esperance, around 20 years ago with another two couples for ten days camping in Cape le Grande national park. 

Coral Bay with brother and sister-in-law and a few other couples to celebrate Paul’s and my 50th birthdays. We rented a house that accommodated 10 people, and had a great time – including snorkelling with the whale sharks. What a buzz that was.

Langkawi – staying at Casa del mar for Christmas a few years ago. Just Paul and I, a very, very belated honeymoon. On our first honeymoon we had both Kelvin and Alice, and Paul’s mum and dad in tow – the joys of a second marriage!

Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day?

Sunny – every time.

If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Most likely in the garden

The garden from our Duncraig house. We lived there for 13 years.


Okay, so that’s my questions out of the way. My next task is to pay it forward and nominate a few other blogs for the Liebster award, pose some questions for them to answer,  and to comment on their blog to let them know. So here goes.

These are a few of the blogs I enjoy following (there’s plenty of others, but these ones have smaller followings, and are ones that for some reason or another, I can relate to the most):

I’m sure they’d all appreciate you taking a look as to why they stand out to me, (I only hope I manage to get their blog address down correctly). In no particular order:

http://www.inpursuitofadream.com      (fellow caravaners in the UK)

http://www.weavingon.wordpress.com      (caravaners in Australia)

http://www.andaontour.wordpress.com      (world travellers – currently in my place of birth Christchurch)

http://www.caravancorrespondent.com     (Glenys travels Australia – her writings are of a professional standard – very, very good)

http://www.amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com     (always a good read)

http://www.boomingon.wordpress.com     (a writer from Canberra, and the first blog I ever followed. Provides a good insight into Australia’s capitol city and it’s surrounds)

And last but by no means least, http://www.lovingthefiftysomething.com  (I just love Sam’s writings. Sam has recently sold up and is now living on a houseboat in the UK. Please, my own UK followers – you really must connect with Sam through her blog. She’s an amazing writer and photographer who will teach you things about your home country that you never knew).

And now for some questions of my own for each of you to answer (I think there’s supposed to be ten, but five will do, and you are welcome to pick five more from the questions I’ve answered above for Suzanne):

1. Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard about the death of one of the following: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, or Princess Dianne?

2. Are you a ‘tours person’, or do you prefer your own itinerary, and why?

3. How do you prevent yourself from getting into a rut?

4. Are you a Christmas, or a New Year’s person, and why?

5. Christmas colours – traditional red and green, or other?

And I think that about wraps it up. Thanks again Suzanne for the nomination, and apologies if I didn’t quite get some of it right.

 

Busselton Skate Park – not for the faint-hearted

A couple of years ago I saw my first ever proper ‘skate park’ at Bondi Beach. Paul and I stood and watched, mesmerised – and terrified.

These parks are not for the faint-hearted, and definitely are not for me. But to watch kids, the teenagers, and even kids as young as four or five tackling the biggest of the big dippers, – gobsmacking!

Just north of Busselton’s iconic jetty, and overlooking beautiful Geographe Bay, and the jetty, Busselton boasts it’s very own skate park. And just as awesome as Sydney’s Bondi Beach Skate Park I might add. Quite a claim to fame for this quiet little back water place with it’s well above average population percentage of retirees.

 

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One of the most photographed buildings in the area – the start of Busselton Jetty

With guests not far off arriving for the Christmas period, including two youngsters of around the early teen years, I thought a sneak preview of something other than beautiful beaches in the area may be in order. So, Emma and Luka – perhaps you may consider packing your skate boards, maybe even put one in for ya dad. I think ya granddad though will probably chose to just watch and be ready to pick up the pieces should there be any mishaps.

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For the beginners…

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And the intermediate levels..

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Two teenagers checking it out

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Whoosh!!!

In my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine I ever, at any stage of my life time, could have tackled even the beginners area here. The one for the more experienced – well, me coming down that slope could only figure in the wildest of my nightmares. Even though of me whizzing down there almost brings me out in a cold sweat. But the kids do it with little fear. Surreal !!!

House living

Mmmmm, it’s been sometime since I last posted anything, and I’m realising we’re allowing ourselves to settle into mundane ‘house living’. I’ve just been through our recent photos, and the offerings are sparse indeed.

It’s not that we’ve been doing nothing. In fact, life continues to be very busy. So – why are there so few photos? Well, there’s really no excuse, just a few contributing factors. The main culprit has been the new job. What was supposed to be a two hour a day job, which we could comfortably do early in the morning, turned out to be a three hour job, which could only realistically be completed in the afternoons. We realised two weeks ago that the afternoon work was interfering too much with our ‘leisure time’, so we negotiated shorter hours. We’re now back to the two hours we wanted, 5.30am – 7.30am, then the day is our own. So far though, we still haven’t been managing to do much with it.

Next thing that’s added to this recent hump has also been related to our job. Cleaning the pre-school means working in a toddler, germ ridden environment (as anyone who has worked in a pre-school will attest). We’ve both picked up a bit of a cold virus, nothing to bad, just the sort of cold that seems to come on in the early evening so as to disturb our sleep overnight, then disappears upon rising, only to return again the next evening. We’re both tired.

We have still been managing to fit a beach walk in everyday with Mr Tilly. He’s proving to be a terrific little companion, and providing we fit a beach walk in with him sometime before mid-day he’s a well behaved little puppy for the remainder of the day. On the warmer days he’ll venture into the water, and I don’t think it’ll be long before the water will be his main focus.

Safe on the higher ground of a sand bar

He’s finished his initial puppy training, and has been quick to learn the first things a puppy should learn. So far, he sits, and lies down on command. He walks reasonably well on a loose lead, and when off the lead at the beach he comes back to us when called (most of the time). He stays reasonably near us when off the lead on the beach, and doesn’t object if we snap his lead back on when we see a need (a bigger dog approaching, or a child that we don’t want him to jump on). Generally, he’s easy to control even off the lead, but we still have a way to go before we’ll feel completely comfortable. He’s not five months old yet, so is still easily distracted.

We’ve just about finished knocking the garden into shape. The roses and annuals are all starting to flower, and soon I imagine they’ll putting on a show pretty enough to inspire Paul to get his camera out. Today while I weeded the front garden, Paul divided and repotted some of our hanging baskets.

Re-potted baskets

I love my garden, and I love having a dog. I don’t mind our little job, and I don’t mind living in a house in Busselton in the summer months. However, I do mind that we seem to have let it all descend into a bit of rut. Now that I’ve realised that’s what’s happened though, I will do something about it. So, watch this space – starting tomorrow I think we’d better get ourselves out of comfort zone and start looking for somewhere close by to explore. There’s so much in this area to see, and to do, and we’ve hardly scratched the surface.

Life gets busy, don’t it.

Have you ever heard that song, ‘Life gets Tedious, don’t it.’ Well, sometimes I wish for a bit of tedium, or at least a chance to get just a little bored. No such luck – an extra hour or two in a day, or an extra day in the week wouldn’t go astray. Not to mention what I couldn’t do with a second life time…..

Since we returned to our summer house early in September, it feels like we haven’t had time to scratch ourselves. So, what’s been occupying our time:

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Frolicking on the beach

As you know, a big part of our time is now taken up with puppy training, and puppy exercising. We take Mr Tilly to the beach most days. He loves it, and so do we. The beach is like Doggy Heaven to a puppy, and having Tilly with us as we wander along adds an extra dimension to our own walks.

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Raiding the neighbourhood Mulberry tree on the way home from daily beach walk

Then there’s been the garden to organise. We’ve removed half of the front rose garden and have had a guy in to pave that area. To get matching bricks, we removed some of the bricks from the rear paved area, and decided to add a contrasting paving to the back garden. The front garden is almost finished now with its initial tidy up – less garden to maintain, and more space for visitors to park. We’re happy with it.

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More parking space, and less garden. The annuals are planted but aren’t showing yet

The rear garden has now had the contrasting paving added. It’s only been laid for a little more than a week, but that’s been time enough to tell us our choice of contrasting pavers has been a big mistake. The ones we chose are plain coloured and show every little mark.

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New plain coloured paving – big mistake

We’ve already put plans in place for them to go….. but it probably won’t be this summer. One things for sure, by summers end we’re going to be well and truly over our contrasting cream pavers!

Never mind, what’s life without change, and now we can see clearly the solution to the disliked paving is also going to solve another problem we have.

Although we live in a quiet little estate, our house is at the entrance point. Consequently we border busy Bussell Highway with just a wide verge of natives between us and the road noise. We’ve been looking for additional  ways to either block out, or distract from the traffic noise. The wrong paving choice has shown us the way. Our intention now is to remove the pavers so as to extend the garden bed at the side of the shed, and plant the new area densely with bird attracting natives. Hopefully, the bird song will provide a pleasant noise distraction. So, next years garden job is already in the planning stages. We always seem to have a list of jobs waiting…. our own worst enemies as far as cramming goes!

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Paving which will be lifted to make way for a native garden

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Grevilleas to attract the birds, some already planted, and more to come soon

Just like our last dog, Sophie, Mr Tilly is clearly going to try and get himself into any photo we take. It’s not intentional I’m sure. He just wants to see what’s going on, so follows us around like ‘a puppy dog’.

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Just checking to see if anything’s going on

We’ve both commenced a little shared job. We’re cleaning one of the schools in town, doing the primary and pre-primary classes. It’s intense work, but is only for three hours five times a week. We can choose whichever hours suit us, any time between the end of the school day, and the commencement the next school day. Sometimes we clean in the afternoon, and sometimes we go in early the next morning. The flexibility is great, and the money helps our savings stay in tact a bit.

Then there’s the planning – we always have a multitude of plans going on. Our plans are usually lose and flexible, but extent for many years to come. Currently underway is our plans for next winter’s trip, and an updated rig to make it in. Yes, we’re marketing our much loved Travelhome. It’s a slow market, so I don’t know how long it’ll take us to find a buyer, but when we do we’ll most likely replace both our cars with just one, and it’ll be one I’m happy to drive as well. The manual Hi-lux really is very much ‘a man’s car’, so we’re thinking most likely a Ford Everest will replace it, and a smaller, normal type of caravan will replace the Travelhome.

So, that’s a bit about what we’ve been doing. Paul mentioned this morning that we’ve been back for two months now, and as yet he hasn’t had a chance to take his bike out once. Yes, we’d love to have a chance to get just a little bit bored. There’s always so much to do – the puppy, the garden, the beach, catching up with friends, and making plans for the future; we enjoy it all….. A lot of the little pleasures that make for a busy, busy life.