And again, the sun sets on Cable Beach

Our guests, Dianne and Bob, left yesterday after spending a fortnight with us. We had a blast – we swam, we beach combed, we tried to catch some fish (unsuccessfully). We did some sight seeing, we went on some tours, we watched the full moon rise (staircase to the moon), and we watched the sun set over the ocean – many times.

And now the time has come for us to be leaving too. We’ve spent today packing up, and tomorrow will begin our journey for home.

We’ve enjoyed so many glorious sun sets on Cable Beach. Here’s a few of my favourites from this trip:

Sunset enjoyed whilst having drinks with Kaye and Brian at Sunset Bar.

And who could forget the sun turning pink as it dropped through the smoke haze.

We played around with some silhouette photography.

Wendy and I

Father and son enjoying the sunset camel train.

We drove down onto the beach taking sunset drinks with us often. A few times we also took a simple dinner down to enjoy as we watched the sun sink over the horizon.

We had a particularly memorable dinner on the beach one Friday night. Our Friday tradition is to have finger food only – no knives or forks allowed. This was something we started years ago so as to get our week-ends off to a good start after the working week. It’s a tradition we enjoyed so much, that even now, four years after retirement, we still try and stick to it. Last Friday night with Dianne and Bob, we took the small gas burner down to the beach along with some chorizo, Halloumi, crackers, and sliced salad ingredients. What a treat to be sitting in our beach chairs on the damp sands of Cable Beach eating our finger food as the sun’s afterglow lit up the darkening sky.

Cooking dinner for Friday night finger food.

Bob and Paul wandered down to the water’s edge, and clearly found something worth pointing out.

Bob and Paul talking ‘man’s talk’.

As the sun darkened further, a flock of seagulls took flight.

Seagulls flying into the sunset

We stayed long after most people had left the beach. With the beach to ourselves it seemed like a good opportunity to have some silly fun in front of the camera, knowing full well our faces wouldn’t show up.

Trying to make a heart.

A great laugh.

We’ve been up here for the better part of three months, and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The weather has been perfect with daytime temperatures of 28 – 33 degrees most days, dropping to 13 – 18 degrees overnight – perfect for sleeping. We haven’t had a drop of rain the whole time we’ve been here. The beaches have been delightful, but we found there’s a lot, lot more to Broome than just beaches. What a pleasure it’s been to be here.

And now I just hope some of the sun follows us home.

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You can have house guests in a caravan

Our second lot of guests, Di and Bob, arrived earlier this week. In case you’re wondering how one can have house guests in a caravan it’s easy. Just bring a tent and a couple of air mattresses. We hadn’t thought of it before, but having brought the tent with us for the Gibb River, we put the invite out there, and had two lots of takers.

Flying up to Broome, with a tent for accommodation and sharing our site, car etc makes for an affordable winter escape for our guests. And we all get to spend some quality holiday friendship time together – how good is that.  I think the tent may become a permanent fixture in our caravan boot.

Di and Bob’s arrival corresponded beautifully with Broome’s famous ‘staircase to the Moon’. During the winter months as the full moon rises over Roebuck Bay at low tide, the reflections on the ripples in the damp mudflats creates a stunning staircase effect. It usually happens for three nights over the full moon period.

We took drinks and chairs down to Town Beach and settled down to watch the moon rise on the first night. The second night saw us at the Mangrove Hotel for a few drinks and some dinner, and to again watch the moon rise. Both showed off the staircase beautifully, but each with a totally different atmosphere.

Sipping cocktails at the Mangrove whilst waiting for the moon to rise.

Staircase to the moon.

Town Beach has night markets on Staircase nights, so there’s a market place, mardi gras type atmosphere. At the Mangrove, we sipped cocktails while waiting for the moon to rise – a far more sophisticated experience. The the lights dim heralding the start of the moon’s ascent over the damp, glistening mud flats. A didgeridoo playing accompanies the whole experience creating a haunting, almost spiritual experience. Both very different nights – both memorable in their own way.

We’ve spent a bit of time at the beaches, either walking and beach combing, fishing, or just sitting watching the waves, with a bit of a dip to cool off. The ‘glow in the dark’ skin colour they both arrived with is gradually fading. Di, with the help of carefully applied sun screen is now a creamy light brown. Bob’s sun screen application looks to have been a bit hit and miss, and he’s looking a bit more pie-bald in colour – a nice mix of creamy tan ,with some not so lovely beetroot red patches….. whoops! A bit of unwelcome sun burn, and sadly, still no fish!!

The skin colour shows up the newcomer.

Planned for next week we have a couple of days at the races. Tuesday is ladies day – so we’ll put on our glad rags and head down to the race track for that one. Then next Saturday is the Broome Cup, a huge event in Broome, so the glad rags will be out again for that one. Hope we have more luck at the races than we’ve had with the fishing rods.

Looking at the weather forecast is a daily occurrence. The rain continues to fall in Perth, while the sun continues to shine in Broome. A frequent comment whilst sitting under the beach umbrella looking out at the turquoise waters of Cable Beach continues to be, “What a pleasure”!

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.

New Friends

Last year’s plan was to purchase a house in Busselton and rent it out for a few years whilst we continued our full time travel. However, the house we unexpectedly found saw us at a fork in the road wondering which path was best to take. Should we move in straight away and use it as a ‘summer house’? After all, Busselton is a perfect place to spend summers. Or should we rent it out as planned?

Influenced by the small house size, located only a short walk to the beach, and with room to park the caravan, we decided the ‘summer house’ was the way to go.

Before we moved in our neighbours, Kaye and Brian had introduced themselves and welcomed us to the area. Kaye mentioned a women’s walking group I might be interested in after we settled in. Kaye and Brian further welcomed us with an invite for drinks one Saturday night after we moved in. Another couple, Beth and Ken from just around the road were also invited.

Gorgeous Kaye.

Gorgeous Kaye.

Beth and Ken

And gorgeous Beth with Ken in the background.

Fast forward four months. Kaye, Brian, Beth and Ken are now friends. I’m walking with the walking group twice weekly . And from the walking group, further new friendships are being formed. The walking group doesn’t stop at walks. They are a lovely, social group of ladies, each with various other interests, yoga, croquet, travel, cycling, swimming….. lots of different interests amongst the group. We have our hour long walk twice weekly, and follow with a coffee and chat. With everyones interests keeping them well occupied between walks there’s always so much to talk about. The coffee and chat usually lasts for at least an hour.

The group doesn’t stop at walks. There’s lunches and dinners too, sometimes just the ladies, sometimes the men are also included. Last week one of the ladies had a few couples (and singles) over for a barbecue, a swim, and some games. A most enjoyable afternoon .

New Friends

Gorgeous new friends.

And our lovely host, Cathy with husband Dave in the background.

Our lovely host, Cathy with husband Dave in the background.

A group of newly found friends, all living life to the fullest.

A group of newly found friends, all living life to the fullest.

Sometimes when you come to a fork in the road, you wonder whether or not you’ve chosen the right path. The path we took when we chose to live in our Busselton house immediately rather than rent it out is, without a doubt, is one of best life paths we’ve ever taken. Thank you Kaye and Brian, Beth and Ken, and all the other ladies, and their husbands who have welcomed us so warmly. We’ve only been here a little over four months and I can say with absolute sincerity – What a joy it is to be here, what an absolute pleasure!

Old Friends

We’ve just spent a delightful three days enjoying a visit from two of our Perth friends, Di and Bob. We’ve been friends with Di and Bob for more years than I can count, so when I say ‘old friends’, I’m referring to the length of time we’ve been friends rather than their (or our) ages. We’re not quite ‘old’ in years yet, getting close for sure, but still not quite there – and I’m sure Di and Bob will give anyone a swift clip around the ears who says otherwise.

We’ve had a wonderful time, eating too much, drinking too much, laughing a lot, and having a good old catch up. We all had a go at fishing the first night. Not a lot happening, although between us we managed four little herring which provided a little pre-barbecue taste. Di was the fisher person of the hour, catching two of the herring, plus an undersized flounder that went back to live another day.

The day after they arrived, Di and I headed out to a high tea at The Deck. The Deck is a restaurant, bar and function centre built overlooking the canals in the suburb of Geographe, (at the Eastern end of Busselton). The high tea was a little different to any i’ve been to before. The food was served buffet style rather than on tiered plates sitting on individual tables. I’m not much of a fan of buffets, so had I known in advance I may have opted out. However, the other difference was that this high tea had surprise entertainment. Two of Perth’s Drag Queens put on a bit of a show.

Check out Katya's amazing blue eyes.

Check out Katya’s amazing blue eyes.

So, had I opted out, I wouldn’t  have had the chance to meet, and chat with these charming two ladies – stage names, Scarlett and Katya. I can’t remember Scarlett’s stage sir name, but Katya’s is a wonderful play on words, Kokov. You have to say that fast, Katya Kokov. I think Katya was a little tentative about telling us her full stage name, but when we roared with laughter, I think she relaxed a little, and spent a considerable amount of time chatting with us. As always, I tend to be forthright with questions, so I hope I didn’t overstep any mark and offend. The main question I should have asked, and didn’t, is how on earth can they dance around so energetically, getting hot and sweaty, yet their make-up stays perfectly in place. I only have to get slightly warm to have any make-up I’m wearing looking absolutely awful.

Apparently, they do shows at a couple of the Gay Nightclubs in Perth, where I’m sure the speaker and sound systems do a lot more justice to their act than our little venue did. They were mesmerising to watch, as is the case with most Drag Queen acts I’m sure, not that I’ve seen that many to judge. They performed a few song and dance routines, miming in what looked like perfect time to the recorded songs. Under stage lights, in a darkened night venue with powerful speakers surrounding them and belting out the music, I’m sure, that although the acts would still be clearly mimed, it would have had a better blend of artist to music. Never-the-less we did enjoy their little numbers, and even more, enjoyed chatting with them. They are both beautiful and charming young ladies in their stage personas, and I’m sure are equally as lovely and charming young men when not performing.

Whilst we were enjoying our high tea, Bob and Paul had some quality male bonding time on the Par 3 golf course, followed by a cycle up to our little local for a refreshing drink or two.

Yesterday, their last day here, we went to Aravina Winery for lunch. We had almost finished our meals when the approach of three helicopters, although destroying the peaceful ambience, added a certain amount of intrigue and excitement for all the diners, including ourselves. We had thought perhaps our homeward bound transport had arrived – but alas it was only some of Perth’s socialites arriving down from Perth for a birthday celebratory lunch. How the other half lives eh!! But no complaints from me on that score. We may not be wealthy enough to have helicopters as our means of transport, but we still have the good taste, and the funds to appreciate at least one of the finer things in life that they enjoy – a very enjoyable lunch at Aravina.

Thought our ride may have arrived....

Thought our ride may have arrived….

Di and Bob left this morning. I hope they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs. It was a lovely few days.  Two of our other friends, Robyn and Keith arrive in Busselton tomorrow. Although Robyn and Keith aren’t staying with us, I’m sure we’ll be catching up several times whilst they’re camping near by. February is shaping up to be a busy month and a month where we’re going to be enjoying the company of both newly found friends, and old friends. What a pleasure

Time out for friendship and cards.

The house is progressing. We still have loads more to do, but the first stages are almost complete.

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TV cabinet, latest Gumtree bargain – a place to display a beautiful container of shells personally gathered for us from our favourite Coral Bay beaches.

Both guest rooms have now been painted and, along with the rest of the house, have been furnished adequately with a mixture of new and Gumtree bargains.

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Guest room complete with Annie Sloan painted bed head, and up cycled curtains rescued from lounge room.

We’ve made a few mistakes that need to be rectified, the biggest one being the lounge suite which we love, but it just doesn’t work in our small lounge. That’s now re-advertised on Gumtree and when it’s sold we’ll replace it with something more size suitable.

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Love this – but it’s too big and just has to go.

It’s been a very busy three weeks to get the house looking close to acceptable. This week-end with a visit from our dear friends, Bob and Di, & Marina and Terry, it was a perfect excuse to have some down time for fun and relaxation.

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Terry parading in his night shirt….. He’s a worry!

We drank too much, ate too much and exercised too little. We played cards, till the late hours having a good laugh as we always do. Bob, the master of derogatory name tags didn’t disappoint, (another totally unmentionable name tag – but one that had us in stitches, as usual).

Saturday we took a drive to the nearby vibrant little town of Cowaramup. Cowaramup has a current population of only around a thousand people. With it’s close proximity to Margaret River the town is now being sought out as a more viable residential alternative, so the population is expected to expand considerable in the not to distant future.

There’s a quaintness to the town that Paul and I find endearing. The town has used it’s name to create an identity for itself with statues of cows adorning the streets. The local shops have taken the cow theme on board, and all manner of cow ornaments and souvenirs are available for purchase. There’s cow aprons, cow garden statues, cow place mats, cow salt and pepper shakers, cow anything and everything. The shops are delight to walk around, and the shop owners don’t seem to have any objection to people just browsing without buying.

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One of many life sized cow statues adorning the streets of Cowaramup.

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Di and the cow.

Alas, on this visit the wind was cool (bracing) and rain was threatening, so our visit to Cowaramup was rushed, and our planned visit to Canal Rocks later in the morning cancelled.

A very pleasant day is forecast for this Tuesday, and as it’s Melbourne Cup day (the race that stops a nation), we’ve decided to take another day off. We’ve moved to this wonderful area because there’s so much to see and do here, so Tuesday we’ll make a start. It’ll be fun to be a ‘tourist’, in our own back yard, only without the hefty price tag of buying a tourist bed for the night.

Our plan is to spend at least one day a week getting out and about with our camera to take photos of the wonderful south western corner of Australia. So watch this space….

Catching up with friends

It’s been sometime since I’ve written here. We’ve been busy catching up with friends, and I hadn’t realised how long it’s been since I last wrote until a good friend from England let me know yesterday. Apologies to anyone who has been wondering where we are, and what we’re doing.

We spent close to two weeks down at Magra. Our friends from Perth, Marina and Terry’s son, Iain, has a few acres in Magra with their house, and a chalet on it. Marina and Terry are currently staying in the chalet, so we plugged our van in next door to them. We had a great time, eating too much and drinking more than we usually drink – but hey, that’s what happens when you’re catching up with friends.

Iain and Barbara’s place is amazing (but what isn’t amazing on this little Island). Magra is in a valley and is completely surrounded by hills. Although it’s summer, the nights were often cold with mist shrouding the hills in the morning, very, very pretty. Iains property has a vege garden, chooks and abundant fruit trees laden with fruit. We had the sweetest plums picked fresh from the trees each morning on our cereal, feasted on apricots during the day, ate eggs with the most orange yolks I’ve ever seen in eggs, and herbs, squash and zucchini from the garden were frequent additions to our meals.

I hate to prattle on about food, but it seems every where you go on this little island you see fruit trees with branches almost weighed down to the ground  with more fruit than any one family could possibly eat , and lots of people have veges growing in their gardens. We don’t know many people here, but frequently we’re being given fresh produce from someones garden. Even the owners of the caravan park we’re currently staying in invited us to their house for morning tea last week-end and we came home with a big bag of fresh nectarines from their garden. But I digress…. What did we do, and where did we go while we down in Magra.

In the first few days we visited Peta, an old friend from Perth who now lives here in Tassie. Peta re-married a few years ago, and this was the first time we’ve had an opportunity to meet her husband Ron. Peta and Ron left Perth a few years ago in a yacht to sail the seas, which they did for a little over a year. They sailed into a little place at the south of Tassie, loved it, and decided to make a new home for themselves there – not an unusual occurrence here – we hear similar stories from people where ever we go. It seems this place understandably captures many people’s hearts.

Anyway, we had a lovely lunch with Peta and Ron, and enjoyed catching up immensely at their property down in Middleton. Their house is amazing, also on a small acreage. They overlook Middleton Beach, although their view is a little obscured by a few too many trees lining the beach. Peta tells me every time there’s a strong wind she hopes it will take out a couple of the trees.

Marina and Terry took us to Richmond which is one of the many heritage listed villages in Tassie. It’s a lovely place, and we can’t wait to visit it again. It’s sometimes hard to do justice to a new place when you’re visiting with people who have been there before. It’s not easy to get the balance between doing justice to our own visit without it all becoming a total bore for the people with you that have seen it all before. We found the best way was to have a quick look with a mental note to re-visit at another time.

Marina had her birthday while we down there, so we shared the costs of a unit in a little place called Eagle Hawks Neck to celebrate her birthday in style. Eagle Hawks Neck is the narrow strip of land between most of Tasmania and Port Arthur. Port Arthur was a penal colony when Australia was first settled, and is now probably one of the most visited tourist destination in Tassie. As the neck is such a narrow area, they confined the prisoners in Port Arthur with a row of guard dogs across the neck.

Sitting on the balcony of our unit at Eagle Hawks Neck.

Sitting on the balcony of our unit at Eagle Hawks Neck.

We spent a few hours there, and purchased a two year pass to enable further visits. There’s far to much to see on just one visit.

Sadly though, Port Arthur is also the place of the infamous Port Arthur massacre which took place less than two decades ago and made news all over the world. The site of the massacre was a sobering place for silent reflection on the senselessness of it all. There are no words to describe what it felt like to realise we were in the same place dozens of people had been such a short time ago, doing the same things they were doing only to have their lives mercilessly cut short by some crazy gun man. No words at all….

I’m sure Marina and Terry had probably had enough of us by the time we left.We’re now back up in the north of the state staying at a little place called Longford.

Today we picked up my sister Wendy and we went up the Tamar river to a place called Beauty Point and again had lunch with Peta and Ron, who are moored there for a few nights in their yacht. They’re currently on a six week sail around the Island. How celubrious that was, sitting on the deck of their yacht, Finesse, sipping wine and eating lunch moored on the picturesque Tamar River. We’re hoping to catch up with Peta and Ron again in a few weeks when they reach Strahan. Strahan is another favourite place in Tassie for locals and tourists alike, so having a reason to get there soon is something we’re really looking forward to.

More news. Our son Kelv is currently on his way to Tassie. He’s booked onto the ferry to come across on Sunday night, so Monday we’ll be catching up again. How exciting is that!!!  It’s hard to imagine that life could get any better.

Apologies for the lack of photos – we’re having a little trouble dropping photos into the blog. Where is our grand son, Tim when we need him! He’d have it sorted for us in no time at all, and I’m sure he’d also show us how to enlarge the photos we do manage to drop in so as to show them full sized. One day…..