Living the dream

Or not! The roads we travel aren’t always straight forward, and don’t always take us down our chosen path.

I read a post today from Ingrid at, Live, Laugh, RV. Ingrid travels America in an RV living the life we had planned to live. Today’s post by Ingrid was tiltled, ‘Trouble with the Dream.’ In it, Ingrid outlined some of the pitfalls encountered along the way, the less desirable side of, ‘Living the Dream’.

Currently suffering a bit of post road trip blues, compounded by the life restrictions (self imposed) of training a new puppy, Ingrid’s post brought tears of self pity to my eyes.  It caused me to I reflect on how far away from the dream life we had planned for ourselves only a few short years ago we’ve come.

The roads we choose to travel sometimes have forks in them that take us in a different direction to our planned destination. Today, I’m hankering for, Living the Dream’ again, and all the trouble as outlined in Ingrid’s post that goes along with it.

The dream

Currently, Mr Tilly is hard work. He sleeps a lot through the day but awakes to follow (and mither us) if we start to try and go about any household or gardening tasks.

A line on the floor at the entrance to the kitchen which Mr Tilly is learning not to cross

His training is going very well but toilet training’s a bit hit and miss. He loves his training sessions. He’s  responding well (with the help of treats) to soft lead walking, coming when called, and we’re getting him started on grooming. Trouble is, if we’re not giving him a play, or training session,  if he’s having a nap, we can only do something seated nearby . If we wake him up trying to get on with anything that’s not a quiet, seated activity, and that activity doesn’t involve him, he occupies himself as puppies do – by getting into mischief.

Mithering the spin mop

I’m sure that once his vaccinations, have been completed and we can then take him to the beach and tire him out, things will improve remarkably. We’ve taken him on a few walks to the beach carrying him safely in arms till we get there, or walking him down the centre of the road away from the verges where other dogs will have left their marks (possibly Parvo virus contaminated).Then we’ve been keeping him almost at the water line where hopefully the water has washed away the possibility of any dangerous virus contamination. He loves it, but the restrictions of being unvaccinated mean it’s a very contained activity.

Being safely transported to the beach

A restricted romp at the water’s edge

Only a few more weeks, and we’ll be able to take him out to picnic spots, and will try and fit in a couple of short trips away in the RV to introduce him to that part of our life. The weather will be warming up. The big tidy up of the garden after five months away will be well under way, and we’ll be settling back into our summer house. Life – currently in unvaccinated puppy training limbo, will become good again. We’ll  be out and about enjoying the wonderful South West of WA, and Mr Tilly will be out and about enjoying it with us.

And won’t  that be just, ‘a pleasure’!

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Long overdue changes and updates on the way

What’s one to do at 2am when sleep’s being elusive. Last night had me perusing this blog. I know! – not the thing one’s supposed to do when sleep’s being elusive.

I started by reading the ‘about us’ page. Clearly, life has evolved. The page is now so far out of date that it doesn’t fit with where we are in life at all any longer. Sometime in the next week I’ll update that so as it fits.

Next I moved onto the ‘categories’ drop down box in the header. For some reason my side menu bar with the drop down box for ‘categories’ isn’t linking up with the header. As it’s the side menu I use when categorising posts, anyone seeking to view past posts, and using the menu from the header box won’t be finding much of anything. Clearly some administration, and a bit of a tidy up is needed.

I’ve looked at changing the header – but the fix for it is as elusive as was sleep last night. I’ve sent a call for help by way of an email to my ‘guru’ helper (Grandson – Tim). Hopefully, later this week when we take a trip up to Perth I’ll get some much needed help to get the headers, and side bars in sync.

Watch this space – I think a better format will transpire very soon…..

Free camp spots

There’s no shortage of free road side stop places when travelling around Australia. The purpose is to enable travellers to drive safe daily distances without suffering fatigue. Some have barely anything there except a place to park up, but others have some sort of toilet facilities, even if it’s just a long drop loo, and most have rubbish bins. In the eastern states there’s often water as well, but in the barren WA outback, free water isn’t readily available.

The local shires maintain the facilities in their areas, often requiring trips of many miles by their maintenance staff. Most are designated somewhere between 24 and 72 hours as the maximum stay. However, some that are particularly picturesque often entice people to outstay the designated time frame. Continue reading

Housework on the road

So, you’re a bit over housework. You’re considering exchanging your brick abode for a transportable home on wheels to get away from the repetitive grind. Think again! I’m about to burst your bubble….

A big house usually means lots of storage, so clutter can be hidden. In a caravan there isn’t a lot of storage, so the only possible way to keep on top of your clutter, is not to have any. For Paul and I, no matter how much we try to minimise our belongings, we still manage to accumulate ‘too much stuff’. The only way to be able to accommodate any new purchases is to either get rid of something, or re-organise. Re-organising is a common occurrence.

We came away with our short stemmed crystal wine glasses plus a set of water glasses. Recently found some stemless wine glasses that seem ideal as all rounder glass for caravanning, so we’ve purchased a set. This means we now have three sets of glasses on board until we get home and offload some. Two cupboards needed to be tidied and re-arranged to fit in the additional four glasses.

Caravanning means being parked often in sandy or dusty environments. One room, with roof vents, and lots of windows, most often all open, means dust finds it’s way in. Additionally, don’t forget, part of the reason you’ll be doing your road trips is to get out and enjoy what nature has on offer. More time spent enjoying nature’s bounty inevitably means you’re going to end up bringing home just a little bit more than photos. It may be sand on your feet from the beach, or it may be mud on your boots from the forest walk – whatever it is, some of it will find it’s way indoors. In a big house these little bits are hardly noticed. In the smaller confines of a caravan, without almost daily cleaning the sand and dust can become overwhelming if not kept on top of.

Your car and caravan isn’t going to have the protection of four walls and a roof to protect it from the elements. What nature drops on your rig is going to stay on your rig unless you remove it, and do what you can to stop it building up.

Some things are a constant, wherever you live. Laundry – in a caravan you’ll most likely have a small washing machine, and you won’t have an abundance of clothes with you.

Most caravans don’t have dishwasher. Without a dishwasher, and with a smaller kitchen dishes will need to be kept on top of.

In a house you most likely get away with a few daily chores, and a good weekly clean. In a caravan, you’ll most likely need to clean properly at least every other day. It won’t take you as long as a weekly clean in a house, but added up over the week you’re probably going to be spending almost an equal amount of time cleaning. No, you’re not going to escape the constant grind of cleaning, neither inside, or outside of your rig.

Here’s how we keep on top of things:

Paul will usually start his day with the ‘walk of shame’, as it’s termed in the caravan world – the emptying of the loo. We’re usually within the vicinity of some sort of proper loo at some point most days, so this job isn’t as bad as it otherwise could be. If you’ll excuse the literal expressions – the emptying of our loo is a bit of a pissy job, but it’s not a crappy job!

Laundry – we don’t have the luxury of a built in washing machine. Ours is a portable 3kg automatic Sphere which travels in our ute and is then set up under our awning. We manage to fill it with a load almost daily, sometimes even twice a day. We have our own little portable clothes line which we anchor into the ground at the rear of our van. We usually start our day by getting a small load of washing going prior to breakfast.

Our caravan interior is white powder coated aluminium. Spray window cleaner keeps it smear proof and clean. After the breakfast dishes are done, I grab a cleaning cloth and use the window cleaner to give the benches, mirrors, hand basin, and shower a bit of a clean, and attend to any marks on the walls at the same time. It all only takes a few minutes. Then a quick sweep of the floor, and a hands and knees job with a damp cloth to remove any remaining bits of dust, dirt or sand keeps on top of that.

By the time the bed’s made, the dishes are done and the caravan has had it’s daily once over, the washings ready to be hung out, then we’re done. We both share these daily tasks (except for the loo, emptying – I take care of most of the food preparation, so I figure I’m taking care of what goes into the loo, – it only seems fair than Paul should take care of it after that stage).

The outside needs to be kept on top of too, and the inside often needs a bit of deeper cleaning. So, two or three times within a four month trip, Paul will give the exterior of the car and van a good clean, sometimes even applying a coat of polish, and I’ll give the leather seating inside a good clean, and deep clean inside all the cupboards.

Polishing the car.

Telescopic ladder used for accessing the roof for cleaning.

We’re currently parked under a tree which is sometimes inhabited by bats over night. Occasionally we’ll wake to a sea mist, not often, but it creates a problem when it happens. The mist accumulates in the overhead tree foliage and drops like raindrops onto the van, bringing with it orange dust laced with dried bat droppings. Left on, the orange dust will grind into the fibreglass, and the bat droppings will eat away at the coating. So, washing it off becomes a necessity if the van is to remain looking good. A coat of polish now and again makes future occurrences easier to deal with.

It’s all just had a good clean. Neither of us are fanatical about keeping it good, but we do manage to keep on top of it. It’s not uncommon for fellow travellers to comment on our van’s finish, and they find it hard to believe it’s been on the road for almost ten years now. Yes – there’s still housework and cleaning to be done even in a caravan there’s no escape unless you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford a daily cleaner. Is it worth it though? We don’t get away from the housework, but we do get away from the winter weather, we do get out and explore, we do meet new people. To us, it’s a dream life,  so is it worth it – you betcha it is.

Newly cleaned, and polished – note portable clothes line to the rear.

The world of blogging

Recently I published a blog post titled, Words. It was the type of post I’m a little nervous about posting as it involves opinions, and I fear being labelled opinionated. However, as the post was about labelling people, or passing judgement, I posted it despite my reservations.  There were a couple of comments from a fellow blogger added to that blog that brought to mind the value of blogging.  Amanda stated that fellow bloggers tend to be supportive rather than judgemental. As Amanda rightly pointed out, the comments added to a blog post by fellow bloggers usually lack the sometimes less savoury tone that can follow thought provoking posts on Facebook.

Amanda’s comments caused me to realise how important blogging has become to me, and the reasons why. ‘The value of blogging’. Here’s what it means to me:

Firstly, it’s a big technological learning curve, and one I’ve barely started to conquer. But I’m working on it. I’m starting to learn to wrap words around pictures, but I haven’t perfected it yet. During this post I’m attempting to link previous blog posts. I won’t know if I’ve succeeded until I’ve hit publish. I’m also trying to get added comments following on from my post. Most of the blogs I follow use this format, and it works well. I’m still working on that one.

After I joined the world of blogging I started following a number of other blogs. It’s opening up my mind to whole world of different topics. My interests  are expanding, and I feel like I’m learning more than I’ve ever learnt before in my entire life.  Insprational travel stories (and a wealth of other topics) from leggypeggy.com
Some amazing photos, and photography tips from Susan Portnoy at theinsatiabletraveller.com                                                                      Thought provoking quotes from quiverquotes.com                                       And I just love forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com , in which Amanda writes about all manner of things – Scandinavia, proverbs, recipes, crafts…. There’s so much to learn from so many people.

I look forward to receiving emails alerting me to one of their new blog posts. Often after I’ve read what they’ve written questions come to mind. A recent post was on Cinque Terre in Italy. I had no idea where that was, so I looked it up,  and now I know – another little bit of knowledge accumulated.  Or sometimes a photo of a dish someone has enjoyed in a restaurant will get my taste buds tingling and have me searching the net for a recipe so as I can have a go at cooking it myself.

Originally my blog was just about letting my close friends and family know where we were, and what we were doing. I never had any intentions of expanding beyond that. However, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and when people I’ve never met started to get value out of some of my posts, expanding my topics seemed logical. And so my blog has evolved from just being about our Australian road trip, to being about absolutely anything that stimulates my desire to write. It’s recommended that blogs predominantly stick to the one theme, but I tend to be a bit eclectic, so my blogs a bit eclectic too.

I love it when something stimulates my interest enough to write about it. Take for example my post on Bower birds last year, https://lifeofrileyow.com/2016/09/14/the-spotted-bower-bird/

The lilac crest displayed on a male Spotted Bowerbird.

or my more recent post in Broome Tides, https://lifeofrileyow.com/2017/07/20/broome-tides-explained/

The tourists have arrived, and so has high tide.

I knew very little about both, but my interest had been tweaked enough that I wanted to do a blog post on each of those topics. I needed to know more though, so I spend several hours both researching, and observing. In the case of Broome tides I spend several weeks observing the ebb and flo of the tides before I could begin to write about them. Now I have a good basic knowledge.

There are times when I’ve realised I haven written anything for a while. With the realisation that I haven’t written anything comes the realisation that it’s because I’m not doing anything. That then prompts me to get motivated and do something, or to go somewhere. I’ve always loved learning, loved reading, loved writing, loved cooking, and loved my garden. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, so many things to write about. Somehow blogging keeps me motivated, keeps me stimulated, keeps me moving, keeps me learning…

So for anyone considering starting a blog, I’d thoroughly recommend it. For me it’s taken my life to a whole new level I’m sure it will be for you too.

Words

A friend recently posted on FB that she hates judgemental people. It brought to mind something I’d heard sometime ago – the minute you label someone as being judgemental, you are being exactly the same. Yes, I’m as guilty as the next person of being judgemental. I think we all are. We all have our values that we live by, and when someone does something that doesn’t sit right with our particular values, we can become judgemental.

Continue reading

Reality TV has a lot to answer for

I’ve just arrived home from Wednesday’s walk with my local walking group. The topic of conversation whilst we enjoyed our morning coffee was a further scathing restaurant review published in last weekend’s newspaper. On behalf of Amelia Park Lodge, we’ve all taken umbrage at this second review. None of us could relate to it, and we all found it to be not only completely unjustified, but cruel and malicious.

You’ll remember last week I wrote about the lovely lunch we had ALL enjoyed at Amelia Park Lodge. Our visit had followed on an unfavourable review by another local restaurant reviewer, so we hadn’t known what to expect. Not one of us could relate to that review, and now this second scathing review has us more than slightly annoyed.

In this latest review the baby Kale Caesar I had so much enjoyed had been given particular mention, the ingredients listed as an ‘improbable combination’, and given the pompous summary of, ‘Jesus wept’. The only thing that seemed to receive any sort of favourable commment in the whole review was the commercial seeded  mustard.

Reading this latest review, I’m sure,  if there is a Jesus, he would indeed be weeping. Not, however at the the menu, which John Lethlean summarised as, ‘a collection of dishes with no common thread’. I suspect Jesus would be weeping at how pompous and insensitive society is becoming.  Jesus would be weeping that people such as John Lethlean and Rob Broadfield are being paid good money to write what to all of us amounted to virtual libel. What is the world coming too! Has common decency completely gone out the window?

All of the ladies from the walking group live in the South West. We dine out regularly, including places that offer both good honest food, and fine dining amongst our choices. There’s no shortage of both in the region, and none of us are by any means country bumpkins that don’t know the difference.

Where has all this insensitivity come from? Why are these restaurant reviewers so scathing in their reviews? There was absolutely nothing any of us could relate to in either review. Even if there had been, we all agreed that a little constructive criticism would have been far more appropriate.

Reviewers seem to be following in the footsteps of the judges on reality TV shows. I think the contestants in such shows are screened, and groomed, and counselled to help them deal with possible psychological damage from the insenstivity of the judges. Sadly, nastiness seems to make for good TV ratings. The question arises in my mind as to how the chefs, staff, and restaurant owners are dealing with the maliciousness of such written attacks that are now commonplace.  Reviews such as these must surely be impacting the businesses, and the lives of all those who work there. How many people out there are in need of counselling to help them deal with the repercussions of reviews such as these.

To all the reviewers out there, please, please start to make this world a better place. You are not ‘reality TV judges’. The people suffering the repercussions of your cruel insensivety are not ‘willing contestants’ in reality TV shows. They’re just real people trying to make a living. The businesses have clientele who are being influenced by what you write. The staff of the businesses have friends and families who read these humiliating reviews. The reviews could literally spell the end for a restaurant, or the uncalled for sacking of a chef. The repercussions of both could go on to have further devastating consequences for the individuals involved, or their families. I’m not saying reviews should be dishonest, but constructive criticism would make for a far better world to live in than the destructive reviews of both Mr Lethlean and Mr Broadfield.  One Gordon Ramsay in the world is more than enough!