Broome to Busselton via coast road in six days – Day two

Day two – Cape Keraudren to Miaree Pool (northside) 405 KMS  (5 hours driving time).

We’re early risers (around 5am).  Paul had taken Mr Tilley for a walk around the rock pools, we’d had our breakfast, our thermos was filled ready for a second cup of coffee later in the morning, and our travel mugs had our first coffee in them for the start of our journey. We set off around 8am, Miaree Pool our destination.

We must have passed by this little gem at least a dozen times in the past without stopping, or even being aware of it’s existence.  It’s located on the Maitland River, approximately 28 kms south of the Karratha turn off. Perhaps the close proximity to a big town is the reason we’ve previously overlooked this site. We stopped in Port Headland on the way for fuel.  Then one more stop at a roadside place for a coffee refill had us arriving at our destination not much after 1pm.

It’s gorgeous!

A beautiful spot

The main parking area is quite large but with only a few level sites. Then there’s tracks that run off in all directions, so we parked up while we did a quick peruse of the area to find a suitable place to park for the night. Clearly the tracks were to rugged for our van and level of four wheel drive experience,  but for those with the right rig and level of expertise there’s some magic places to park up. We did manage to find the one and only spot reasonably accessible, reasonably level, and just down from the main car park with a beautiful river view. There was no room to turn around, so it meant backing out, up the short, but steep and bumpy dirt track, but Paul was confident he’d manage that ok.

The view between the trees from our van

Parked up, we had a quick lunch before getting into our bathers (cozzie, togs,  or whatever bathing suits happen to be called in your neck of the woods – in WA it’s bathers), and headed down to the river. The first access point we came to had a rope which some children were using to swing out over the water and drop in – mmmm!! no thanks. We wondered down a bit further.

A rope for easy access (if your game)

A little further on and we found another area with a couple of people in swimming. The bank looked a bit muddy, and the river bottom looked a little squelchy, but the people already in assured us access wasn’t slippery, and the river bottom was a lot more sandy than it looked. They were correct. What a gorgeous place for a swim, not cold, and not squelchy at all.

A beautiful spot for a refreshing swim

Some people were swimming out towards the middle – I stayed close the edge

Mr Tilley loves to paddle in the waves, and will swim in the ocean but only if we carry him out of his depth.  Prior to Miaree Pool he’s never ventured out of his depth voluntarily for a swim, but with Paul and I in the water there was no way he was staying on the river banks on his lonesome. Wherever we swam to, Mr Tilley followed. He loved it.

After our swim and walk along the river banks we took a drink up to the main area and passed an hour with a gentleman who was travelling on his own, then dinner while the sun set, a few games of cards, and bed for the night.

A walk the next morning with the sun at a different angle over the water showed some lovely reflections.

Reflections in the morning sun

And more reflections

Then it was time to begin our third day of driving. I watched (holding my breath) as Paul backed, back up the bumpy hill – no trouble! He did it with such ease that I began to wonder about those other tracks for next time….. but no – I think we’ll still leave them for the dare devils. We prefer to be safe, rather than risk being sorry. There will be a next time at Miaree Pool though that’s for sure. It’s only a 24 hour free stop over place, with basic long drop toilets. But you know what – next time we may cheat and stretch our stay to a second night. Yes – it’s that good!

Coming up next – Miaree Pool to Lyndon River East. Watch this space…..

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The meeting of the cousins, first cousins once removed, second cousins etc

The silly season is over for 2017.

Our little Summer House was bursting at the seams as the year drew to a close. Our three bedrooms were full. The garage was turned into a makeshift fourth bedroom, we had a tent for two in the side garden, and two swags in the back garden. Including ourselves, we had twelve people staying here during the peak, which may not sound a lot. In a small, apartment sized house though believe me when I say, it was definitely a full, full house.

Luka and Emma’s accommodation

 

The first arrivals from the UK were the Moase Clan patriarch and matriarch – Margaret and Geoff, (Margaret is Paul’s first cousin). Next to arrive were the Aussie branch of the Moase clan. Christopher, (Paul’s first cousin once removed) with Clare and their two children, Luka and Emma, who, if my research is correct, are Paul’s cousins twice removed.

Christmas day…….

The pressies were opened

The table beautifully decorated by Margaret

The Figgy Pudding was devoured

And after Christmas dinner the obligatory charade games.

Luka acting out the fourth word

Clare acting out her bit

Then came Emma…..

And Geoff’s not so silent attempts had us all in stitches

Boxing day and the rest of the family guests started to arrive. Firstly, Alice and Paul (Green), and shortly after, number 1 grandson Tim. Number 2 grandson, Josh, couldn’t make it till the next day – (he, along with the rest of his band, Raksha,  were concluding the recording of their second EP)

With us all together, the beach seemed the obvious place for a big family day. So, with canoes, a beach shelter, chairs and a beach game loaded into the cars we headed down to Sandy Bay.

A beautiful day for a family get together

The Green family males

Alice and Josh

It was whilst we were out to dinner one night that Clare made the mistake of asking what relationship everyone was. Clare doesn’t know me well enough yet to know that such an enquiry will result in yours truly (me) researching the topic to find out. It’s very complicated…….

Alice and Christopher are (if I have this right) second cousins. Tim and Josh are, I think, third cousins to Luka and Emma. Luka and Emma are cousins twice removed to Paul (Riley), and Tim and Josh are cousins twice removed to Margaret. And if you understand all that, you’re doing damned well……

I think I speak for us all when I say we all had a wonderful time. Everyone pitched in and did their bit to help. It’s the first time the two younger generations have met, and they all seemed to enjoy getting to know each other, and seemed to get on well enough. I’m sure it won’t be the last time they get together (especially now they have had their place in the family tree explained to them….)

Tim and Josh doing their share of the washing up

The conclusion to 2017 – a hectic pleasure!

 

Christmas is coming……

And if you know the rest of that little nursery rhyme, then our little house is shortly to become the goose! Yes, very soon our house will be ‘getting fat’, in fact bursting at the seams almost,  as family arrive from near and far. By the evening of Boxing Day our little ‘Summer House’ will be almost set for a re-name. I’m thinking, ‘The Tardis’ will be perhaps be more appropriate. At least while this festive season is in progress anyway.

The first of our guests, Margaret and Geoff, arrived from the UK to join us for the Christmas festivities on the 9th December. So, if you’re wondering why I’ve been a little quiet over the past couple of weeks, it’s just that I’ve been otherwise occupied with our guests. They are occupying one of our two guest rooms.

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Geoff doing the flag removal honours at our local big ball golf course

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Margaret, and in case your wondering – no, she’s not taken up bee keeping, it’s a much needed fly-veil.

Christopher, Clare, Luka and Emma will be next to land. Flying in from Adelaide and arriving into Perth on the morning of Christmas Eve, they’ll be picking up a car at the airport and making their way down to Busselton. I should imagine they’ll be here by around mid-day.

Two of them will occupy the second spare bed-room, and the other two will either use our camping mattresses in the dining room, or in a quick put up tent at the side of the house. We’ll let them decide who’s sleeping where.

Next to arrive will be Alice, Paul, Tim and Josh. They’ll be arriving in the afternoon of Boxing Day. We had our caravan ear-marked for accommodation for Alice and Paul, but a change of circumstances means it’s no longer available. (Actually a last minute change of ownership – but more on that in a later post). So, at the eleventh hour we set up a bit of room within a room, in the garage. I’m not sure if you could really call it a room, more of an Arabian type boudoir!

We had replaced one of our spare beds a couple of months ago, and in anticipation of our Christmas festivities, we stored the replaced bed and had thought Tim or Josh would most likely have been using it. Instead, it’ll now be used by Alice and Paul, and Tim and Josh will be relegated to a camping mattress under canvas in the back garden.

There’s no way the living areas in our wee house will accommodate twelve, so we have everything crossed that the Weather Gods will favour us with fine weather and gentle breezes. All of our living and eating will be taking place under our patio in the back garden.

It’s going to be fun, fun, fun!! And I mean that absolutely literally. It’ll be like the Christmas festivities from my childhood, masses of people in a tiny house, all talking at once, lots of food, and hopefully lots of laughter. The Adelaide clan has not yet met the Green family clan (Alice and co), so it’s going to be a great opportunity for them all to get acquainted.

I’m sure it’s going to be a real pleasure – and will let you know how it all evolved in a couple of weeks. So watch this space….

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!

A tribute to mum

This week the local supermarket had pork forequarter cutlets on special for $3 a kg. How cheap is that! Would you know how to cook pork forequarter cutlets? I’ve never cooked them before, but thanks to lessons learned from my mum, I didn’t have any difficulty in working out a way to cook them that made them both tender, and tasty.

Have you heard the saying, ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’? Well, as far as cooking went, my mum could do almost exactly that. She could take the humblest of ingredients, and turn them into a very palatable, nutritious meal. In fact, my mum was pretty darned amazing at a lot of things that involved living on ‘the smell of an oily rag’ – another saying mum was fond of.

I knew mum’s  story while she lived, but I never appreciated it then. I had to grow a little myself before I could appreciate, and feel proud of how she dealt with what life threw at her, and how her difficult life helped shape me.

One thing mum appears to have passed on to most of her children is the ability to take a few cheap, basic ingredients and turn them into a decent meal. Most times, we don’t have to look up a recipe,  it’s as if we we’ve been born knowing what to do with a tough cut of meat, or how to get some flavour and nutrition out of a knuckle joint that most people would discard. Perhaps we were born to it, after all, we come from good old fashioned Comfort stock. Gladys Comfort was our mum, and this is her story.

Mums story:

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Mum’s parents emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand, early in their married life. I know very little about my grandparents apart from that they were £10 poms, and I know one of them was born in Old Kent Road.  I noticed that on either a birth or death certificate at some stage.

Mum was one of nine children, a twin, and all but one of her siblings were girls. Her twin sister was tall, slim and dark. Mum was short, chubby and fair. I gather there was a considerable amount of jealousy as they grew up, with Aunty Dorry being the popular, good looking one of the two – or at least that’s how mum saw it. Her confidence and self esteem remained low throughout her life.

My oldest brother Lindsay (now deceased) arrived in 1945, the last year of the 2nd world war. Mum wasn’t married, and I gather his biological father was an American sailor.

The war ended, leaving a shortage of men. A short, chubby woman with an illegitimate child had limited options. I’d like to be able to say mum beat the odds, and found a loving relationship in spite of her circumstances. But mums story isn’t the happy ever after fairy tale life that happens in Catherine Cookson novels.

Mum did marry. A ‘shell shocked’ farmer from the isolated west coast of NZs South Island needed a housekeeper, and mum needed a husband. A win/win for them both – or was it a lose/lose. I’ll never know. I gather they had little love for each other. Never-the-less, five children followed within the next 8 – 9 years. I was the youngest of their union.

Mum was widowed when I was only a few months old. A second marriage followed. Id like to say this one came about from undying love, but again – no such fairy tale. My step-father was certainly no prince, nor a knight in shining armour. He was a drunk, and mum was a lonely widow with six young children. I gather the shame of the illegitimate child had left a lasting legacy, and mums siblings offered little in the way of friendship or support after she was widowed. I gather friends were also nowhere to be seen. There was no birth control in 1956, and – well I guess you can work out the circumstances that prompted this next marriage. My younger sister arrived considerably less than nine months after the marriage took place.

I think there were government created opportunities at the time to get people into their own houses. By the time I was five, mum and my stepfather, Roy, had moved into a newly built three bedroomed, one bathroomed house. Along with the house came automatic life insurance that would ensure the mortgage was paid off in the event of death. All that was needed was for the insurance papers to be signed and returned. They never were.

Roy, died two years later. Mum now had seven young children, a new house on a 1/4 acre block, and a huge mortgage.

The world had moved on after the 2nd world war, and the general population was starting to become comparatively affluent. People that had been living frugally since the Great Depression no longer needed to be so thrifty. A move away from ‘real food’ was beginning. Packaged, and tinned foods were hitting the market, making housewive’s lives easier. However, these new foods cost more money than a widow with seven hungry mouths to feed could afford. Mum continued to cook the way her mother before her had cooked during the Great Depession.

And that’s why when I was growing up and my friends were eating a lot of modern meals based on packaged or canned goods, I was eating meals based on fresh vegetables picked from mums home grown vegetable garden.   We always had some sort of animal protein, usually in the form of mutton, mince, offal, or in some cases just a soup bone.

We ate well. These are some of the things I grew up eating but my friends did not:

Lambs hearts, with liver and onions (I loved the hearts, but hated the liver. I love it now)

pigs head brawn

pressed tongue

pigs hocks (used as a base for a hearty soup)

baked rice puddings (no carnation canned rice pudding for us)

sago puddings

bread ‘n butter pudding (something most housewives were happy to move away from).

A lot of women would have turned to drink in circumstances as difficult as mum found herself in. I rarely saw mum touch a drop. Instead she put her energy and love into her garden, and her children. She sewed our dresses, and knitted our jumpers. She stitched warm, woollen, patchwork quilts for our beds, and she planted and tended a massive vegetable garden to put fresh greens on our plates. She kept chooks for eggs, and she killed and plucked chickens for our Christmas dinner. And when all that was done, she planted flowers, lots and lots of flowers.

When I stayed over at friend’s houses, it was clear our humble, crowded house lacked the nice carpets and modern furniture most people were enjoying. However, that wasn’t what I noticed most. What stood out to me mostly were their bland meals, and their garden, or should I say lack of a garden.

Mum wasn’t academic, and offered little encouragement for education. It took me many years to realise she taught us non-academic things, things that have mattered to mankind over and above anything academic since the year dot. Survival! Should there ever be a total collapse to the world as we know it, it’s the life skills that mum taught me that will help me and mine survive.

She wasn’t demonstrative either. I was never welcomed home with a hug or a kiss, Her welcome, although not in the manner of physical contact, was there, clearly evident for all to see. Her welcome came in the form of pretty, scented flowers surrounding our house and the smell of something cooking in the oven. A kiss on the cheek at bedtime was never forthcoming. Her love instead shone brightly from the multi coloured, warm, woollen, patchwork quilt under which I snuggled at night.

You were no academic mum, that’s for sure, but you taught us well.  I wished I could have told you that in your living years, mum –  I’m so very, very proud to say I come from ‘Good old Comfort’ stock!

 

 

 

 

On the road again

After five nights in Perth catching up with family and friends, we’re once again back to living ‘The Life of Riley on Wheels’. And let me tell you, it feels pretty damned good.

Firstly, the five days and nights in Perth. We arrived at our favourite Perth caravan park, Karrinyup Waters around lunch time on Saturday. Time to set up and a quick retail trip before Alice called around for a coffee.

One of two lakes at Karrinyup Waters Caravan Park.

The next morning we enjoyed a pleasant walk with Alice and Tim. Up the beach path from Ocean Reef to Burns Beach, a takeaway coffee (in house dining was to busy to even contemplate), and back again to Ocean Reef. With the coffee, approximately 2 hours, without coffee, not much more than an hour – the Burns Beach Cafe gets very busy on Sunday mornings.

Sunday Night we went with the family to a cafe in Northbridge as Josh had a gig there. The lead singer, Amber, was ill. Never mind, the band managed and compensated quite well without her, even though we could clearly see they missed her as the front person. Most songs went off without a hitch. We took photos of the band, but sadly the stage wasn’t lit well enough so none are good enough to post.

Tim and his dad

Alice and her dad.

Monday, Paul’s birthday – a much needed hair appointment for me, then a visit to friends in the afternoon.

Tuesday, lunch out with friends to celebrate Bob’s 65th birthday, and retirement. We stayed the night at Bob and Di’s, along with Marina and Terry. A lovely night was had by all, drinking, eating and playing cards. We had a good laugh, as we always do. We play an assortment of card games, Pontoon, Brag, various forms of poker, and our own made up version of something that I believe is called Acey Ducey, Shoot the Pot or In-betweens..

It’s an hilarious game, but lethal. This is how our version is played.

Each of us put a dollar’s worth of poker chips in the middle to form a pot.

The first dealer is nominated and shuffles the deck. Two cards are dealt face up to the person to the dealer’s left. That person then has to place a bet against the pot that the next card dealt will fall in-between the two cards already dealt. If an Ace is dealt the player can call it high or low. The wider the gap between the cards the higher the bet is likely to be. This, I believe,  is the basic In-betweens game.

In our version though we’ve added a couple of variations. The first is that should the first two cards not allow for a card to fall in-between, e.g. two threes, or a two and three, then the player nominates that the third card will either be higher or lower than the two cards dealt. Instances when two Kings, or two twos, or a two and three, or a King and Ace (with the Ace nominated as low), most cards dealt will win. Most people will bet whatever remains in the pot.

This is where the game becomes lethal (and often hilarious – thank goodness we all have a sense of humour). In our version we have a penalty should one of the first two cards be repeated with the third card dealt – double the bet must be added to the pot.

So, this is how the first round may go:

1st player is dealt an Ace and a two and nominates the Ace as high. The only possible losing cards will be another Ace or another two. There’s six dollars in the pot, so the player bets the full pot – and is hit with another Ace. He loses $12 and the pot now holds $18.

2nd player is dealt a three and Jack, and bets $2 against the pot. A four turns up so he takes $2 out of the middle reducing the middle to $16.

3rd player is dealt a two and three. She nominates any Aces dealt will be high, which means she can only be beaten by another two or a three. With the odds stacked heavily in her favour she bets $10. A three turns up. Amidst much laughter (and cussing) she adds another $20 to the pot. It now holds $36 and the first round hasn’t even finished.

You may think the odds of this happening would be fairly rare. Let me assure you, it happens often. I’ve seen a pot increase from $6 to over $100 before two rounds are completed. Fortunately, we’re all very good friends and try to ensure none of us gets completely fleeced – we always try and leave some in the pot for any big losers to try to recoup their loses. It’s rare for any of us to end up losing more than $20 over a whole night, and we don’t play often. There’s not many places we could be entertained for so long, with so many laughs for $20 or less a person.

The dealer continues through the pack placing all played cards upside against the unplayed cards. Once through the pack the deal passes to the next player. Should the pot be completely won, all players again replenish it with another dollars worth of chips each. Once the deal passes to the last player the play continues until the pot is completely emptied. It’s a game I’d recommend only with caring friends – without a care factor it could be easy to lose the shirt off your back. With caring friends it’s fast game, and a laugh a minute.

Yesterday, our last day we enjoyed a walk through Bold Park with Alice. Bold park is a very bushy park that feels like you’re miles from civilisation, yet it’s smack bang in the middle of Perth’s expensive Western Suburbs. A wonderfully maintained track, good hills to get our heart rates up, and the occasional glorious city view peeping through the trees – it’s a gorgeous place. Then Josh met us afterwards at Clancy’s Fish pub, overlooking City Beach – good food, tasty tap beers, and a view to die for,  a lovely last day in Perth for a while.

City views from Bold Park.

And today – it’s good-bye to Perth and for approximately five months. We’re now approximately three hours north of Perth at a free camp on the banks of Lake Indoon (near Eneabba). There’s flushing toilets, hot showers, and good shelter overlooking the lake for happy hour. And as it’s now just gone five, the shelter beckons….. It’s good to be back on the road. What a pleasure!

Pelicans landing on Lake Indoon.

Eyes open, smile.

It’s difficult to get reasonable group photos, don’t you think. Firstly you have to overcome everyone’s reasons as to why they don’t want their photo taken, “I hate posed photos”, “I don’t feel like smiling today”, “I don’t like having my photo taken”, “I feel dreadful today”, “Do we have too”!, I’m sure you’ve all heard similar objections.

Today, a simple plea did it. Everyone agreed, albeit reluctantly.

Next, how to get everyone to have their eyes open at the same time. How often is an otherwise perfect group photo spoiled by one person who had their eyes closed (usually that’s me). Today I asked everyone to open their eyes on the count of three. It worked, sometimes to well. But with a bit of cropping I think I’ve managed to get some reasonable photos of us all – and all eyes are open.

Alice, Paul, Tim and Josh

Sometimes the click of the camera comes to soon after the call to ‘open eyes’. I promise Josh isn’t psycho!

Eyes wide open…

Alice and Paul

All of us.

Josh, Clint and Ethan

A day with Alice, Paul G, Tim, Josh and two of Josh’s friends. A shared alfresco lunch in the back garden, gorgeous mild sunshine – and a rare chance to snap some family photos.  What a pleasure!