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.

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The crazy gardener’s been at it again.

We’re only two weeks away from leaving, so the dilemma of what to do with the front garden before we left arose. Although we know it’s not the ideal time to prune roses, we also know any pruning is better than none at all. We had decided to prune prematurely sometime over the next two weeks. Frosts are rare here so they should be okay with the earlier hair cut.

That then left the dilemma of what to do about the seaside daisies that are popping up everywhere and look like returning with a vengence. If you remember, last year when we took possession of the house, the roses were completely buried alive under the daisies. I didn’t want to return to the same thing again.

Remember this!

We’re reducing the size of the rose bed next spring anyway, and are planning to increase the paved, parking area. We’d worked out how best to to accommodate the existing roses, minus all the pretty blue salvia which have been planted to fill up the gaps, and provide a united colour scheme.  We were going to leave the transplanting until spring.

One thing led to another, and hey presto – they’ve all been transplanted. We’ve found a spot for the red roses around the back. All the pink and creamy coloured ones have been transplanted to what will be a much smaller, colour co-ordinated, semi-circular garden bed, once the pavings finished in spring. All the annuals have been removed, and the garden now looks like a big plot of bare dirt. The seaside daisies were predominantly at the front of the garden bed where the paving is going to be, and it looks like that’s mainly where they’re hell bent on popping up again. So, any that come up while we’re away can grow to their hearts content until we get back – all the roses are safely transplanted out of their way.

From this

to this in a day

Transplanted roses now looking like twigs

It won’t be looking as pretty when we leave as it would have been looking had we stuck to our original plan. It won’t be looking pretty at all!  It will, however, look a lot better in spring when we return than if we’d stuck to our original plan (I think). And, most of the hard work is behind us. The rest is now up to the brick paver. Of course, the neighbours won’t know the reasoning behind the garden demolition – they’ll no doubt be thinking i’ve lost my marbles. It was looking pretty….

Goin’ cruisin’

 

Summer appears to have ended early this year, leaving with a bang literally last night – a cracker of a storm with claps of thunder and bolts of lightning. I do love a good storm.

Autumn is upon us. The garden’s a riot of colour. The bees are buzzing, dozens of them, and butterflies are flitting from flower to flower, seemingly enjoying the roses and salvia as much as we do.

Critters adding more life and colour.

The autumn rose show is definitely on the way.

My favourite – Julia’s Rose.

Exquisite.

and the Frangipani cuttings have definitely taken.

Paul’s begun the painting of the verandah posts, only one side completed yet with two more sides of the house still to complete. The remainder will wait now till we return from our cruise in early April.

The painting of the verandah posts has begun.

A gazebo, a new addition to the back garden.

Enjoying a well earned beer at the end of a day of painting.

My oh my! how time flies. It seems like only yesterday that Paul returned from the UK and we were finalising plans for a cruise, our first. We leave tomorrow. Our bags are packed, and my finger and toe nails have been painted. (I believe you do that sort of thing when you’re cruising.

Not sure nail varnish suits these ‘gardener’s hands’.

Firstly, a night with Alice, Paul, Tim and Josh – always a pleasure. Oh, and while I remember – Josh’s band, Raksha, won a second Battle of the Bands last night, this time in Perth. The winnings – a fist full of dollars (but between six band members it won’t amount to much each). Also, I believe the recording of a single, plus some air time on one of the local radio stations. They go from strength to strength, showing a growing maturity of sound, and are accumulating a growing amount of accolades that reflect both their talent and dedication.

Then early Friday morning a flight to Sydney, and after a night there we’ll board the Celebrity Solstice for our nine night cruise in the South Pacific. I don’t know how internet access will be on board, but will definitely let you know what I think of cruising when I return, if not before. My friend Wendy assures me I’ll love it – that only boring people don’t enjoy cruising. I hope I don’t show myself up as being ‘boring’.

 

Busy making other plans

Summer draws to a close and autumn is moving in. We’re busy making plans for our winter sojourn and I’m reminded of John Lennon’s famous quote from, Beautiful Boy – ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.’

We have two trips on the near horizon, the first is our first ever cruise. Only a nine day sampler leaving from Sydney in less than two weeks. Not sure if we’ll like cruising, but so many people seem to love it, so we thought it was about time we tried it out for ourselves. I’ll be letting you know what we think very soon.

The second is a five month road trip north to the beautiful Kimberleys, this time incorporating my number 1 bucket list destination – The Gibb River Road. We’ve repaired our second hand tent. Our super duper Black Wolf air mattresses have arrived (hopefully as comfortable as per the reviews), and our new, Camps Nine book has arrived. Since the books arrival we’ve had our nose buried in it, perusing all the new campsites between here and Kununurra. Our excitement is peaking, and we can’t wait to get going.

And that brings to mind John Lennon’s famous quote. Whilst all the plans seem to be all consuming, life is still happening in the here and now.

We have a few new toys, one needed, one bought on the spur of the moment, and one bought because we were finding it hard to live without.

The first, the needed item was a new oven. I’ve always liked wall ovens for ease of cleaning without having to kneel on the floor. To replace our antiquated and inefficient oven with a wall oven would have meant an expensive kitchen remodel. So, as a compromise we’re giving a pyrolytic, self cleaning oven a go. It cooks beautifully, and is currently in cleaning mode whilst I’m typing this. How good is that – the most dreaded of house hold chores is happening on it’s own, freeing me up to write instead.

Cooked in new oven.

Bought on the spur of the moment – a new bike. I grew up riding a bike with a back pedal brake, so when I called in – ‘just for a look’ at a cycle shop’s closing down sale, and saw bikes with back pedal brakes, and now also with gears, well what’s a girls supposed to do!

Deadly treadly.

My first ride. This back pedal brake thingie that I thought I remembered so well had been forgotten on the few occasions I rode my last bike, which had twin levered, handlebar brakes. My riding confidence was lacking and my first ride was at a snails pace, fortunately. Trying to co-ordinate the braking with putting my feet back on terra firma wasn’t easy, and down I went. After Paul realised only my ego had suffered, he couldn’t stop laughing. I did get straight back on, and have had a few rides since. Slowly, I’m gaining my bike confidence back, but at the same time thinking – ‘what was I thinking’, buying a bike at my age.

And the one thing bought because we were finding it hard to live without, a new Thermo-mix. I left my first one in Tassie with my sister for safe-keeping. Since moving back into a house though, I was missing the simplicity of having such a useful gadget permanently available and waiting for use on my bench top. Wendy’s tight budget means other priorities would be prohibitive for her to purchase one for herself. Gifting my old one to her now permanently provided the perfect excuse to purchase the new updated model for myself.

Between the new oven and the thermo-mix, cooking is once again a real pleasure! The resulting additional kilos from sampling the results not so blissful. Guess that means I’d better get those bike wheels rolling.

The Crazy Gardener

That would be me! At least, I’m sure my neighbours would say so after witnessing me cut all the beautiful flowers from our front garden. They’re probably wondering if I’m related to the Adams Family.

Because our house is at the entrance of Abbey Green Estate, our garden is both the first, and last, to be seen by anyone entering or leaving the estate. Almost all of the residents have expressed delight as they’ve seen what was an overgrown, untidy shambles slowly turn into a kaleidoscope of pretty colour.

In full bloom this morning.

In full bloom this morning.

A riot of blue.

A riot of blue.

With summer coming to an end now the roses are setting buds ready to burst into their best for the approaching autumn. However, my blue salvia, petunias and vincas were showing signs of needing a rest. So, I’ve done what many would fear to do – I’ve given all the annuals a ruthless cut back. Paul will attest to the fact that once I get a pair of secateurs in my hand, watch out. He doesn’t stand still anywhere within snipping range, fearing he may also get ‘the snip’.

And this afternoon - all gone!

And this afternoon – all gone!

Now with a good cut back, and a mega dose of fertiliser I’m sure they’ll reward me soon with a second flourish. If I’ve timed it right, when the roses are in full bloom, the salvia, petunias and vincas will have recovered their strength and will be providing a stunning final show, just in time to compliment the roses.

Also, in the garden this week we’ve planted a garden bed of ferns and palms in a shady area along our newly erected brushwood fence.

A newly planted green tropical garden against the backdrop of the brushwood fence (also new).

A newly planted green tropical garden against the backdrop of the brushwood fence (also new).

I loved our full time life on the road, but I did miss having a garden to tend. It’s been hard work making a start on the transformation of what was an unattractive jungle into an organised paradise. We’ve still a long way to go – but as I always say, “once begun, half done”. We’ve certainly begun, so certainly it’s half done. Watching it grow, and evolve now- what a pleasure!

Raindrops on Roses

The roses looked stunning this morning sending us scurrying for our camera.

Dew droplets on Double Delight.

Dew droplets on Double Delight.

Blush Ice-berg surrounding by blue salvia

Blush Ice-berg surrounding by blue salvia

An unnamed rose planted by the previous owners - now a favourite of mine.

An unnamed rose planted by the previous owners – now a favourite of mine.

No prizes for guessing which song I’ve been singing all day.

A new fishing trolley

Finally Paul and I have taken some time to throw a line in. The first time, two days ago, was on our own beach – no luck. The second time was at a small jetty nearby at the local boat launching ramp. A bit of mixed luck here, we caught a few tiddlers, enough to cause a small adrenalin rush as we wound the hooked fish in, but none big enough to keep. Back they went to live another day. Plenty of bites with our bait easily taken too many times. So, not lucky for us, but the lucky fish had a great feed at our expense.

Late yesterday we drove the seven kilometres into town to walked the length of Busselton’s iconic jetty. We tend to stick mainly to our end of Geographe bay leaving the town area near the jetty for the tourists. However, as the jetty is a huge draw for fisher people, we decided to check it out for a place to drop a line from, some time in the future.

Looking 1.8 kms back to shore .

Looking 1.8 kms back to shore .

The heritage listed jetty is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia. Construction of the original structure began in 1865, with extensions taking place over the following 90 years to eventually create a jetty 1.8kms in length. However the port officially closed in 1973 and along with the port closing, so did the jetty.

The jetty, already in a state of disrepair was further decimated when Cyclone Alby tore through the South West in April of 1978.

Between 1987 and 2003 a community organisation, the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association banded together and raised sufficient funds to replace 50% of the jetty structure, establish a train service along it’s length, and construct the iconic underwater observatory. By 2011 with additional funding contributed by the WA State government, a $27 million refurbishment was completed.

Today, the Busselton Jetty at 1.8 kilometres long stands as a monument to the spirit and dedication of the Busselton Community. Its the longest wooden piled jetty in the southern hemisphere with a small train running throughout the day to transport tourist and locals alike, backwards and forward along it’s length. 1.7kms from the start is the most wonderful underwater observatory constructed 8 metres below the waters service. From the observatory visitors are lucky enough to view what’s described as Australia’s greatest artificial reef supporting more than 300 marine species. I have been down into the Observatory a few years now since, and it’s on my list for a repeat visit soon, so watch this space for photos….

But I digress, back to the fishing story. As we wandered the length of the jetty, fisher people were finding their spot from which to throw a line as the daylight faded. We walked for much of the way with a local fisherman, Bill. We were very envious, and complimentary of his home made fishing trolley built on the frame of a three wheeled child’s pushchair, the type used by joggers. I could see Paul going into mental overdrive taking in the details so as he could source a used similar pushchair to convert for himself. Then as luck would have it, Bill said he had a second such trolley at home, already converted, but with flat tyres. We could have it for $20, the cost of the wood he used for the conversion.

Proud owner of a super, duper fishing trolley.

Proud owner of a super, duper fishing trolley.

So, today Paul went and picked it up. It gets heavy lugging all the gear to the beach, and not only that, there’s always something forgotten. With the trolley having a space for everything, a lot of fishing gear will remain stored there, minimising the chance of something being forgotten. The tyres have been pumped up, and look to be just fine. What a find. Meeting Bill, who will be 80 tomorrow, what a pleasure!