Walkers who lunch – celebrating the royal wedding

We couldn’t let the wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry go past without our own event to help them celebrate. Jill, one of the, ‘walkers who lunch’ opened her house for a ‘ladies only’ gala event.

The royal couple

The invitations to our party included a dress code – recycled wedding attire. It could be your own wedding dress, your own mother of the bride outfit, your own bridesmaids gown, or a recycled retro wedding outfit, including of course any posh wedding guests garments. I love an excuse to play dress up for a party. It builds the anticipation for the actual event over how ever long it takes to find and get one’s outfit ready. In my case for this event, that took several weeks.

The build up to the wedding had most of us either trying on things from our own wardrobes or trunks, seeing what we could borrow, or hunting through charity shops, or retro recycling shops for something suitable to wear.

12 September 1982

I chose the charity shops, and was lucky enough to find a wedding dress that had some elements similar to my own wedding dress from 1982, (I haven’t still got my original dress, nor would it fit me anyway). The charity shop dress was made of the same butter cream satin (used as a lining in my original dress), and the bodice was adorned with pearl beading, as was mine. Importantly, it wasn’t size 10. In fact it was probably around a size 20. I could have worn it as is, and said I’d lost weight – that would have been fun, or alter it to fit. I chose the later.

From the outside it passed (just). The inside would have had the original owner mortified with the lining ripped out, and seams taken in with 5 inch seams, not cut, not neatened – just whizzed in on the machine. Taking the heavily beaded bodice in on the machine wasn’t feasible, so that was roughly tacked in. With the help of a couple of safety pins it held together.

I’d enlisted Paul to play to Chauffeur for myself a few others. Our event was to kick at 5.30pm, two hours prior to Meghan and Harry’s. Linda and Dianne were dropped off at our place at 4.30pm for a quick glass of champagne and a couple of photos prior to leaving to pick up Beth.

Linda still fits her blue wedding dress from 1982, Dianne chose a bridal negligee from a charity shop

After picking up Beth, we drove by Brian and Kayes so as we could travel in convoy. Brian and Kaye will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year. Can you believe it – she still fits into her wedding gown (and didn’t have let out the seams).

Kaye – still as gorgeous and petite as she was almost 50 years ago

Then on to the party.

Jill, our gorgeous hostess chose a hired, retro outfit – fit for a queen

A group photo of the early arrivals

Sadly, Paul left before the rest of women arrived – so apologies to the ladies who missed out being included in this group photo. I’m disappointed not to have slipped my own little camera in so as to have been able to take a bigger group photo once all the guests arrived.

We watched the wedding whilst sipping champagne, kindly poured by Jill’s partner John who appeared at intervals from an adjoining area, dressed suitably to play butler to us for the evening. Canapes` were passed around, followed by smoked salmon, and Coronation Chicken (a royal dish first created for the Queens coronation) with an asparagus salad.

We watched the wedding live on TV.  Those poor wedding guests who had to contain their looks of boredom, annoyance or amusement as the infamous sermon was delivered by American preacher, Michael Bruce Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the world watching them all. Who will ever forget that speech – to say it stole the show is an understatement…… I just wish it was in a nice way. Anyway it was certainly memorable. Hellalujah!

Elton Johns face captured by the cameras says it all

At first we laughed, then we jeered, and finally we yelled at him (on the TV) to get off – and still he went on, and on, and on…… I’m sure if we’d had some rotten tomatoes we may have flung a few his way, as I’m sure would some of the actual wedding guests (at least in our minds anyway).

Finally he finished, the ceremony finished, and we finished off our own royal dinner with the most delicious cakes, home made chocolates, and tea served in fine bone china regency cups.

It was a wonderful evening, full of love and laughter. It was a pleasure to celebrate the wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry in our little corner of the world, with our gorgeous hostess, Jill, and with the ‘the walkers who lunch’.


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!

2017 Busselton Jetty Swim

On Sunday 12 February 2017, Busselton hosted it’s 22nd Busselton Jetty Swim. I believe the Busselton Jetty swim is the 2nd biggest open water event in the state, with the Cottesloe to Rottnest swim being the largest.

The Busselton event attracts in excess of 2000 entrants with only approximately 20% of participants being local. A further 5000+ supporters and spectators line the shore and Jetty to offer their support, and to marvel at the tenacity and athletic skills of the competitors. It’s an epic event, and hats off to all the organisers. With so many additional visitors to the area, I’m sure many Busselton businesses benefit immensely from the additional revenue raised.

Paul and I arrived after the swimmers had taken to the water this year, so we missed the excitement as they made their big, joint splash at the starting line. Our friends and neighbours, Kaye and Brian told us the beginning is a real sight to behold. This year Kaye’s brother, Peter was one of the entrants.

Kaye proudly supporting her brother, Peter. Well done, Peter.

Kaye proudly supporting her brother, Peter. Well done, Peter.



Like most of the participants this year, Peter’s goal was just to complete the race. The weather was windy and the water choppy, apparently the worst conditions ever experienced for the swim to date. The participants had to swim wide of the jetty to avoid being blown into it, no doubt adding distance to the normal 3.6kms. The chop on the water was such that it was difficult for swimmers to breath without taking in seawater. The conditions were awful. Certainly not conducive to any personal bests, or record breaking speeds.

The event was supported by volunteers from St Johns Ambulance Association, Busselton Marine Rescue, and Busselton Life Saving Association. All were kept busy. There were a number of inflatable rescue boats, and jet skis ferrying swimmers to the shore when the conditions become to tough. I saw one swimmer wrapped in a silver thermal blanket, and I’m sure there would have been many more. Our water safety in Australia is constantly dependant on the many volunteers who donate their time and skills. There are so many of them. They are a wonderful group of people, and have my utmost respect.

The first Swimmer over the finishing line was Tim Hewitt, with a time of 44.56.13, approximately 2 1/2 minutes longer than last years winning time – no surprises there.

The first to finish.

The first to finish.

As the rest of the swimmers reached the shore it was clear how absolutely dreadful the conditions had been. Smiling faces were rare, and it was clear every step being taken along the sand towards the official finishing line was being taken with considerable mental effort. Some of the comments to be heard were:

“That was awful.”
“That was shit.”
“Last years swim was a doddle compared to this years”.

Walking to the finishing line  clearly took a lot of effort.

Walking to the finishing line clearly took a lot of effort.

Some of the faces were green when they reached the shore, and I believe many were horribly sick, both during the race, and at it’s completion.

I haven’t managed to track down the exact number of participants this year, nor how many actually completed the race. Accolades though to all who entered the water on such a dismal day. For those who pulled out without completing the event, congratulations on even beginning the race. You were very brave. There’s certainly no shame to be felt at withdrawing, or being rescued. For those who completed the event, I’m in awe. It was clear from all the faces as the swimmers made their way to the finishing line, there was no immediate feelings of Joy. I hope that as the pain faded, the realisation of what you accomplished kicked in. And with that realisation I hope you felt euphoria. You all deserved euphoria.

Blues at Broadbeach

My Sister-in-law, Marie, is over from NZ visiting her sister, who lives on Queensland’s Gold Coast. We hadn’t expected to be any where near close by before Marie returns to NZ on 26th May. When we realised how close we were, we decided to make an unplanned stop in at the Gold Coast to catch up.

Why unplanned? Because the Gold Coast has a reputation of being spoilt by overpopulation. After being here for 4 days staying at Tallebudgera Creek, near Burleigh Heads, we’ve formed our own opinion – Wow!!! A big, big reminder that spectacular is rarely kept a secret, and the more spectacular, the more the crowds will gather in appreciation. We’re so pleased we didn’t bi-pass the Gold Coast.

We’re very close to Broadbeach, where a four day Blues Festival is happening this week-end. Again, Wow! and it’s all free. There’s several stages in different areas with a variety of Blues artists playing. The main mall area has been closed to traffic, and a big stage erected at one end complete with a huge screen for those who aren’t close enough to get a full appreciation of the artists up close.

The biggest name there is perhaps Eric Burden and the Animals. For those of you not old enough to have instant recall of The animals biggest claims to fame, you may still have had the pleasure of have hearing their biggest song – The House of the Rising Sun. Eric Burden is playing there today, but we had other plans for today, so will miss out on seeing him.

We did however spend a very pleasurable day there yesterday. We purchased ourselves  a bus pass and headed down there early where we walked from stage area to stage area enjoying all the different artists. While meandering between stages we grazed all the way from the dozens, or more likely, hundreds of food outlets. Perhaps that doesn’t read quite right – there were lots of food stalls and restaurants, and we did graze all day, but we by no means sampled hundreds, nor dozens, but a good few all the same. There were many, so many, that despite the crowds none were crowded, and each had to compete for their share of the market. Specials abounded.

Our favourite act of yesterday was a couple of older guys singing what I’d call real Delta style Blues, Dom Turner and Phil Wiggens. They both sang, Phil played the guitar, and Dom played the mouth organ. When I say he played the mouth organ, I really mean he played the mouth organ. He almost made it talk. I could have listened to them all day.

Dom Turner and Phil Wiggens - really, really good.

Dom Turner and Phil Wiggens – really, really good.

We wandered down to the beach for some cooling breeze mid afternoon. There were craft stalls lining the grassed area to browse through, and then beach volley ball to while away fifteen minutes or so.

Volley Ball on the beach.

Volley Ball on the beach.

I saw my first ever, ‘one man band’ – Uptown Brown. I’ve heard of a one man band, but never actually seen one in the flesh. The photo we snapped doesn’t do him justice. He stamped his feet according to how he wanted the two drums on his back to beat. I couldn’t count the amount of instruments he played solo, and couldn’t work out whether his act was funny, or brilliant. It was clever, that’s for sure and really something to have seen. It looked exhausting.

Photo doesn't do justice to Uptown Brown's one man band.

Photo doesn’t do justice to Uptown Brown’s one man band.

The Gold Coasts beautiful beaches have attracted the crowds. The crowds have built their hi rise flats and the area has become densely populated. The big density population allows for such things as a four day FREE Blues festival. Ya gotta love that! I know we did.

Cheap beer, free food and Jon English

We’re a little blown away by the clubs and pubs on the east coast. It’s hard to believe we’re in the same country. Perth and the west coast are so, so different.

This afternoon we joined three others from our caravan park with whom we’ve been sharing happy hour. We phoned the local Grafton District Social Club and arranged their courtesy bus to come and pick us up at noon to take us to the club.

While there we drank $3.40 schooners of Carlton Draft (or beer of choice), and dined on free sandwiches with a choice of fillings. There was hot tender roast beef and gravy, sausages, fried eggs, and fried onions. We could have any, or all in between slices of fresh buttered bread. Not gourmet by any means, but it was all nicely cooked, plentiful, and absolutely free.

While there we had a bit of a flutter on a few races and watched the races on TV. No wins though. Then we went into the entertainment room and watched the football. There was only the five of us and one other woman there watching the football, along with tonights backing group for Jon English who were in there tuning their instruments and setting up for tonights entertainment. We’d only been in there about 15 minutes when Jon English arrived. After checking in with the band he came over to watch a bit of the footy with us and to check out how the game had progressed since he’d left his hotel. Now you wouldn’t get that in the West, you just wouldn’t.

When we were ready to leave we arranged the courtesy bus to bring us back to the caravan park. So, free transport, free food, cheap beer and a brief chat with Jon English. How good is that!!

Damn, though I wish we’d realised the concert was on tonight. We knew John English was coming there, but we’d thought it was last week when we weren’t here. We still could have got tickets at only $35 each, but being out at mid day we didn’t like our chances of lasting until nearly midnight (yes, we’re that old!!!!).

The Black Sorrows played at the club last week. Apparently well known acts are common place, and once you have purchased your ticket, it’s much like going to the movies. You sit wherever you like, and first in gets best choice of seats. It bought home to us how the isolation of the west coast contributes significantly to not being able to experience a small venue concert with a well known artist at an affordable price, and on a regular basis.