To, too or two

Do you have a problem with which witch is which, or which two is too? I know I do. No wonder English is considered one of the most difficult languages to master. It’s hard enough as a first language, imagine what it must be like for someone to learn it as a second language.

I’ve sorted out Principal (the pal at the end indicates a person – so that one’s the head of the school). That means the other principle is the one associated with morals.

I know that stationery with an ‘e’, we’ll there’s an ‘e’ in ‘pen’, so that’s how I remind myself how to spell that one. That means the other stationary with the ‘a’ means remaining in one place.

And as an aside, I know that we’ll should be well, (as in, ‘we’ll there’s an ‘e’ in pen in the above paragraph.) That’s the result of auto-correct, and auto-correct often gets it wrong. I’ve deliberately left that one in to demonstrate. Another frequent one auto-correct often gets wrong is we’re as opposed to were. Agreed though, I should proof read those ones and correct them. Only trouble is when I proof read I tend to read what I think is there.

I can give you good advice (rhymes with mice, a noun), or I can advise you (to make you wise – also rhymes).

I know the apostrophe in, ‘it’s’ replaces the ‘i’ from the is.  I know the apostrophe in their’s signifies that something belongs the them. But should I have put a comma after ‘their’s’ in that sentence?

When I write a blog post I tend to often put commas where I pause to think. I try to proof read everything before I hit publish, but invariably after I’ve hit the publish button there’ll still be at least a few spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Sometimes there’ll be more than a few….

I have a friend who has a good knowledge of written English. Wendy no doubt cringes when she reads some of my blog posts full of incorrect spelling, commas that shouldn’t be there, we’ll that should be well, and we’re that should be were.  Tentatively she broached the subject with me after my last blog post on momentum on the home front. I re-read the post, which I’d already proof read a number of times – and it was a nightmare of inappropriate commas and spelling errors. I’ve tried to assure Wendy that I’m definitely not to old to learn, and will be happy to have her as my teacher. So, yes please Wendy – I’ll appreciate feedback on my spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

I read other blog posts and am in awe as to how well they’ve been written. Not only is the content amazing, but the spelling, grammar and punctuation seems to flow from thought to written word perfectly. Kudos to all of you who get it right. I’m not sure I ever will – but I’m not beyond trying to learn. Thank you to all of you who have read my posts, cringing at the assault on the written English, and still you’ve returned to read the next post. Hugs to all of you.

Oh – and despite my opening sentence, I do know that two is the number, and I know which witch is which. I get mixed up on the other two to(s), and, I’m just not sure how many commas should be in the middle of that sentence!



Having two feet on the ground

It’s good to be able to shower without a plastic bag

My plaster was removed almost a week ago and I’m in a moonboot now for the next five weeks. The good news is I’m allowed to put tolerable weight on my foot. The bad news is I have to leave the boot on for most of the day and night. I can take it off for showering, but have to leave it on the rest of the time, including while sleeping.

So, sleeping’s not so great, but what a pleasure it is to have both feet on the ground again, even though ones not exactly firmly planted. Only four weeks to go now…..

Walking boot gives new freedom



What to do when you can’t do anything else

I thought I’d stockpiled plenty to keep me occupied during my two weeks of forced total rest (leg in plaster and must be kept elevated). I’d deliberately left dozens of posts from blogs I follow unread – I caught up with all of them in the first three days.

Yacht anchored overnight at Cape Leveque

Although I’ve written extensively on our recent trips to the Kimberleys over the past few years, there were a few experiences we had in the Kimberleys during our pre-blog days that had created great memories. I’d earmarked a few of them to write posts on – now all done. It was great to write them up, I almost felt like I was re-living the original experiences.

I’ve read a novel that had been recommended. ‘Our souls at Night’ by Kent Haruf. It’s only a short little novel, but a great read, and just little bit sad…..If you haven’t already read it, I’d recommend it.

I’ve accustomed Mr Tilly to being brushed a little more, and I’ve managed to sneak in clipping his nails. He’s always been reasonably tolerant of having a hair cut (with scissors only though, no clippers, and not around his face), but he’s not been tolerant of being brushed, or having his nails clipped. During my forced rest he spends a lot of time snuggled next to me on the couch, so I’ve used the time to good advantage. He’s getting a bit more tolerant now when he sees the brush in my hand – a way to go yet though.

Good company, snuggling next to me on the couch

I’ve begun researching a camper van trip to New Zealand’s South Island for early next year. I have two brothers who live in Christchurch, and one will turn 70 in February 2019.  All going well, we’ll coincide his birthday celebrations with this long awaited camper van trip.

We’ve done our research for our replacement caravan, and have decided to go with a new one. We’ve chosen a 16ft, Prado friendly (weights are suitable), New Age, Manta Ray. All finishings have been chosen. Would you believe it, the sales manager drove down here from Perth with all the samples so as we could get our order finalised for the earliest possible delivery. That’s a 6 hour driving day, plus almost two hours here. Now that’s what I call service! The van should be delivered by no later than 1st June.

I’m now starting to research this years caravan trip. This one is going to be whole new experience for us. With Mr Tilly being a new addition to our household,  he’ll be coming along for the ride. One thing I’m finding is that most of the on-line information on travelling with dogs doesn’t quite seem to fit our scenario. There’s lots of basic sort of information, what to take, and how to secure your animal for safer car travel, and there’s quite a bit of information on travelling with a dog and children together. There doesn’t seem to be anything much that actually gives a running account of how a triip taken by Grey Nomads with a dog goes. If anyone is aware of any, please let me know.

I’ll be starting a whole new set of categories. These will include preparing for a trip with a dog. And a week by week, or day by day account of any trips we take. These will no doubt commence soon.

I revisit the surgeon after two more sleeps (yes, I’m counting down the sleeps), and hopefully the plaster will come off and be replaced with a moonboot. I think that means I’ll still be considerably incapacitated for some time to come yet, so most of my posts are likely to be research based rather than based on actual experiences. And being sat on my bum, with plenty of time on my hands, I’m likely to have lots of time to put into research. Apologies if I get a bit boring!



Where do you keep your friends phone numbers

We’ve just shared a sausage sizzle with friends (Bruce and Wendy) and their four grandchildren who are camping nearby.

During the course of the afternoon Bruce shared the sad news that he has to return to Perth on Friday for a funeral. One of his friends passed away unexpectedly last week. He was only 62.

So – what has that to do with phone numbers….. Well the son of the deceased friend felt he should contact some of his dad’s friends with the sad news. However, all of the friends contact details are stored in his dad’s mobile phone, and he has no idea of the password to gain entry. Luckily the friends son is also face book friends with Bruce and Wendy’s son, and so contact with at least one friend was initiated, and from there further contacts have been found.

Our conversation today included a few, ‘what ifs’. What if we get killed together in an accident – do our families have access to our ‘contacts’. There was a time when we all either had an address book, or a teledex to list our friends and relatives contact details. Now,  if you’re like me, your address book will hold very little information, and your friends and relatives will all be listed in your mobile phone. A secret password will be needed to gain entry.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely letting my children know my phone’s password…..


An era ends

Just prior to Christmas we sold our rig, ending an era in our lives.

An era ends. We bid farewell to our beloved Travelhome

With the photo of the rig heading my blog since it’s inception, I feel as if I’ve lost my on line identity. However, in retrospect, and despite the intentions of what the blog set out to be, it twisted and turned, as did we, in all manner of directions. In reality both the blog, and Paul and I, had moved a long way from where we were heading in the beginning. Reality check, – perhaps that part of my identity never really eventuated, or existed.

Originally, the blog, was set up to record and represent the life we’d set out to have – the life of Riley on wheels, the wheels being our beloved Travelhome. However, life seemed to take us down an alternate path, and as you’re probably aware, last year we took ownership of a little house in Busselton. Our full time travel ended.

The blog continued throughout the often erratic times that led to the abandonment of the original plan. Whilst it didn’t remain true to it’s intention of recording ‘our life on wheels’, it never-the-less recorded the often erratic and always eclectic, Life of the Rileys, whether on wheels, or not.

Our rig will be replaced. We’ve bought half of it – a Prado, which will now be our only car. The other half of our rig will most definitely be replaced with a much smaller version. With our travel now likely to only be for a few months during the winter, and perhaps an occasional short summer trip, only a small van will be needed. We have our eye on a New Age Manta Ray 16ft, but that’s not yet confirmed. Whatever we end up with needs to be well within the legal weights allowable for a Prado tow.

With the departure of our rig we’ve been in need of a new blog identity. Not wanting to change the web address, we needed something more appropriate for the OW to represent. I searched my brain for something using OW that seemed to represent the eclectic direction our blog posts  have taken. Finally,  ‘On Whatever’ came to mind. However, I’d no sooner thought of it, and it had gone again. I was blank. I told Paul I was searching my brain for something for the OW to represent, and within a second he spat out ‘On Whatever’. So, ‘life of Riley – on whatever’, it is. Now all I have to do is find a photo for the cover page. I have a few in mind. Do any seem to reflect our often erratic, and always eclectic way of life? Or do I need to keep searching, perhaps wait for the new rig to arrive? What do you think?

Taken on our Gibb River trip last year

A rock window at Entrance point, Broome

having fun in the setting sun on Cable Beach

Feeding the birds at Port Stephens

In front of Mitchell Falls

Driving across Drysdale River

Perhaps there’s another photo already posted that you think would be appropriate. Let me know if there’s one stands out to you that I’ve overlooked.


Puppy rearing in 2017 verses puppy rearing in the 1980s

Attitudes and expectations have changed in the thirty plus years since we rescued our, little Sophie.

Sophie, a white miniature poodle, was rescued from a home nearby. We had been on the look out for a dog, but the furtherest breed on my radar would have been a poodle. Never-the-less, what’s one to do when you hear about a dog needing a new home….. And then when you go and take a look, and are greeted with a dirty, matted, flea infested bundle of something, chained up in an outside laundry with a chain heavy enough to secure a Rottweiler. Clearly, she was a dog in need of a new home.

The motley crew in 1980 – Sophie the new addition, had been bathed, but not yet clipped.

Sophie cleaned up beautifully and went on to provide great companionship for the family for around 13 years. Along with the companionship, we developed an appreciation for what owning a poodle means.

September 1982, with Paul’s mum, and Scruff (who fathered Sophie’s only litter)

Despite the 80’s upbringing of Sophie, she thrived. Being a poodle, she required regular grooming, mainly in the form of hair cuts. The tight, curly wool of a poodle isn’t easy to brush, but fortunately, cutting is usually sufficient to keep them clean and tidy. She didn’t lose any hair, didn’t get any of the odour usually associated with dogs, and the poodle intelligence meant training was a breeze.

Sophie opening her Christmas Pressie (1986)

When it came to getting another dog, the choice of breed was a no-brainer. It had to be part poodle so as to get the non-shedding coat, and to get the intelligence that would mean easier training. But it had to be a cross breed too, so as to get something a little less haughty than Sophie tended to be.

And so we chose our little Labadoodle. The choice of dog out of the way, then comes the rearing of the dog.

Sophie was feed a diet of canned dog food, a bit of kibble (but that wasn’t really the thing in the 1980s), table scraps, and left over bones from any cooked legs of lamb. We knew cooked chicken bones could be dangerous for her, but never-the-less she managed to survive many a bin raid devouring the remaining carcass of any roast chicken dinners. She was a brat for managing to open the kitchen bin, especially if she could smell chicken.

Not only did she survive eating cooked chicken, she ate her fair share of chocolate too. She survived scoldings when she did something wrong, (even if we discovered her misdemeanour many hours after the event). And she only went to the vet a few times throughout her entire life. We did our best to keep her flea and worm free with over the counter products. Her vet visits consisted of being sterilised, a couple of necessary operations to remove grass seeds from her ears, and I think there may have been a couple of vaccination shots administered over the years. We certainly never considered a yearly check up was necessary, and as far as I remember, no-one considered such a thing for their pets.

My, how things have changed.

And thanks to the wealth of information now available at our fingertips, things are no longer simple. Kibble is definitely in….. Canned food is a maybe, as is raw food. Table scraps are a definite no. Cooked bones of any sort can now cause cracked teeth or impactions that may require surgery (I wonder why that wasn’t a concern in the 1980s, and how Sophie survived all her cooked lamb bones unscathed).

Raw bones, particularly chicken necks are something to consider – depending on which vet you talk to, or which internet site you look at. Some vets say absolutely not, some seem okay with it. However, without bones, dogs teeth deteriorate at a very young age. The choices for cleaning (if raw bones aren’t fed) seems to be manufactured dental chews, and/or brushing your dogs teeth…..

One thing that has, without a doubt, changed for the better is the flea and worm treatments now available. These are now given periodically orally, and seem to do a great job. The rest of the changes though are soooo confusing!

Vet visits – Our first chosen vet was adamantly in the Kibble only diet camp. Absolutely nothing else. As we’d already done enough research to have decided raw chicken necks and wings were the way to go for dental health, we didn’t stick with her to find out how Tilly’s teeth cleaning was to be managed.

So, onto vet number two. Now, I need to digress back to our breed and breeder selection here. Once we’d decided on a Labradoodle, we needed to select our breeder. We chose a small, accredited breeder, Eungai, in Perth’s hills. Mandi, from Eungai chooses her breeding dogs carefully, given due regard to temperament, and very importantly, to hip dysplasia scores. Labrador’s, and subsequently, Labradoodles are extremely prone to hip dysplasia which can result in painful arthritis from an early age. Breeding from dogs that have good hips helps minimise the chances of this happening. So, after lots of internet research, we chose Eungai for our breeder – more on how happy we’ve been with that choice at a later stage – this post is already so lengthy that it’s almost a book!

So, vet number two – stretches Tilly’s legs out checking for signs of hip dysplasia. One leg stretches out easily, the other not so easily. The vet, being almost positive that Tilly is already showing problematic signs of hip dysplasia, advises x-rays under aesthetic. $680 later the results are back, the Penn hip scores are in. Tilly has near perfect hips…… So, thank you Mandi for the care taken in choosing your breeding dogs. The tightness in the offending leg was then put down to a sore muscle, and, wait for it – a dog physio was recommended. Hell! his muscle can’t have been that sore, he wasn’t even limping….. Anyway, we declined to go there.

We’re sticking with this vet for now – I don’t know why, but we are. Mr Tilly’s on monthly check ups until he reaches six months of age, with his next check-up next week to check his teeth are coming through correctly. What will be recommended if they’re not, I have no idea. But if, and when anything unexpected is advised, we’ll decide at the time if we’ll continue on with this path, seemingly down the road to ensure we have a perfect labradoodle specimen. A few less than perfect traits I think could sit okay with us……

I think there was dog training 30 years ago, but it wasn’t the norm. Now in 2017 not only is dog training recommended, but also puppy school, and pre-puppy school. The odd clout on the bum or snout is definitely out, even stern growling (unless its at the exact moment a mis-demeanor is discovered) is also out. All training now is to be done only with treats. Kibble diets, which seem to be the main diet recommended, need to be weighed and dogs should never be fed more than the recommended amount so as to prevent obesity.

Exercise needs to be supervised, just enough – and not to rigorous for fear skeletal damage could result. Goodness, how negligent we were with Sophie – in comparison to the dog-rearing guidelines now it seems we weren’t far ahead of the people we rescued her from.

So, with everything about as clear as mud, and totally confused, we’re going with what feels right to us.

We took Tilly to pre-puppy classes, and for now have decided to consolidate the things we’re aware he needs to learn from those lessons. We’ll probably pick up on some further dog training next year, but we decided not to continue on immediately with further formal training. Most of his training is done with treats, but he is still sometimes the recipient of some stern words, and sometimes (rarely though) even long after he’s committed a misdemeanour. Goodness, we’re only human after all, and sometimes frustration comes into play over and above common sense, and the 2017 dog rearing rules. He’ll just have to deal with his imperfect owners the best he can! Honestly,  though, he’s such a good dog, and needs little in the form of any reprimands.

The vet visits – well the juries out on where we’ll go with that in the future. Definitely, Tilly will be having his yearly vaccination boosters, and we will be administering his flea and worm medication as required. More than that I think will be on the needs of the dog, rather than the whims of the vet.

Exercise – well we walk him every day. Sometimes we let him run off the lead on the beach, but his re-call is still hit and miss, so we’re cautious with that. If, when he’s off the lead, he runs to fast, well we’re going to let him – negligent dog owners that we are!!

A cooling swim after some ‘rigourous’ beach running

Drying off after his swim – I wonder when his legs will stop growing…..

And his diet – well we’ve chosen what seems to sit right with us, and yes a good quality kibble forms the bulk of his diet. It’s such an easy way to go. We’ve opted to forbid any table scraps – mainly so as to prevent him begging for our food. The only people food we share with him is a few slices of raw apple. We feed him a few raw eggs a week, a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt over the week, and some raw meat. We mainly keep the raw meat for training treats, but most days he gets at least some. Today I’ve frozen some pieces of sheep hearts in small blocks of iced water, and I plan on using these as hot day treats that he can lick at, with meat rewards in the centre for when I’m grooming him. And every few days we give him either a raw chicken neck or a raw wing. He takes his time, chewing them thoroughly, and I know we run a risk of impactions (and resulting surgery) from the bones. We figure though that the bones are a better way to go for good dental health. Brushing a dogs teeth just seems wrong, and we’re not going there.

So, for better or for worse – that’s how we’re rearing our little Mr Tilly in 2017. It’s vastly different than the way we reared Sophie – but hey! I think Sophie did okay, and I think Till’s could have done a lot worse than to be living in our care, near the shores of  beautiful Geographe Bay.  I think come winter, when we head up to sunny Broome and beyond, he’ll be thinking he’s in ‘doggie heaven’. I can’t wait. He doesn’t know how good life can be yet –  But he will…


Nomination for, The Liebster Award

What’s, ‘The Liebster Award’, I hear you ask, and I’ve asked myself the same question on a number of occasions. This time when Suzanne from nominated me for the Liebster Award, I thought I’d better shake the complacent, cobwebs out of my hair, and try to do something about accepting the nomination.

I’ll start firstly by apologising to previous bloggers who have also nominated me for similar awards. On the previous occasions my technological fears and phobias took hold. I kept promising myself I’d honour the person nominating me and my blog for such an award by responding as I should have. However, time passed by, and before I knew it accepting the award, and thanking the person who had nominated me had left my radar. So, I hope I do better this time.

This time I’ve looked up what the awards all about. Did I understand it? – not really, except to say that it’s sort of an award set up by fellow bloggers to acknowledge bloggers like myself, and show a bit of recognition for what the nominated blogs do to enhance the lives of, not only the blog writers, but also of the blog followers. (Goodness, I hope I’ve understood correctly).

So, thank you Suzanne from
(and thank you to the other people who have also nominated me in the past).

I think I’m supposed to provide links to Suzanne’s blog, and to the Liebster award, and to the bloggers that I’ll be nominating later in this post. And I’m afraid that’s where my inadequacies take over. I’m bloody useless at this techno stuff – and getting my head around how to add links – well, if I could be writing my blog using old fashioned pen and paper I would be. About as good as this techno stuff gets for me is to be able to type up my blog and add photos. Trying to get my head around more than that ends up leaving me almost frozen in panic, and sort of ends up as ‘white noise’ in my head. So, I’ll do the best I can to follow the rules of accepting the award, but apologies in advance for where my inadequacies get in the way.

I’m supposed to provide 10 random facts about myself. I hope you will all make do with the facts provided in the above couple of paragraphs – basically, I’m a bit of a numpty when it comes to technology. Putting that to one side though, I do love blogging. It enhances my life by getting me off my butt to do things. When I am doing, ‘stuff’, I look at what I’m doing in more detail, and better than anything – blogging connects me with other bloggers, and I get to experience a whole new world through the written words of others.

Next, I’m supposed to write a bit about my favourite blog. There’s soooo many, but I guess my stand out favourite, the one I can’t wait to open and read as soon as an email alerts me to a new post is Oh, Ingrid – I do hope I managed to get your blog address down correctly. Ingrid has what she terms is a modest sized fifth wheeler. I think it’s 32 feet long – which by Australian standards is a whopper. You guessed it, Ingrid lives and travels throughout America. She writes beautifully, and more than anything I’ve ever read, or seen before, Ingrid’s photos, and writing has inspired me to want to see her great, big, wonderful country for myself. Thank you Ingrid – your writings are always a pleasure to read. I think Ingrid already has quite a large following, so although her blog is the one I get most excited about when I get the email alert, I haven’t included her in my ‘pay it forward’ nominations.

And now I need to answer the questions posed to me by Suzanne in my nomination, so here goes:

What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why?

America – read my paragraph above as to who and what has inspired this desire. Thank you Ingrid.

What was the most inspirational time in your life so far?

When Paul and I decided to sell up and travel full time in our fifth wheeler. The dream life didn’t last – but the planning for it was amazing. Alas – the reality of the trip itself was interrupted by family commitments. Eventually, it all became to hard and we’ve since settled back into a normal, house dwelling existence.The excitement of the commencement of ‘living our dream life’ though lives on. Would I do it again – perhaps? but I think Paul’s happier as a part time RVer, so probably part time is the way it’ll continue.

What are you passionate about?

So many things. I guess one thing I’m nostalgically passionate about is breast-feeding, and the restrictions put on people by outdated and incorrect belief systems – but that’s a whole story on it’s own.

What is your favourite book, and why?

A Town Like Alice – I just love it.

What is your favourite time of year?

Definitely anytime of year when the skies are blue, the sun’s shining and there’s water near by. Hence, when winter comes to the south west of Australia, you’ll see us hitched up and travelling north. We try to follow the sun.

What other interests do you have besides blogging?

Beaches, forests, gardening, cooking and card games.

Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

Definitely the beach, but I love forests too.

Where did you go for your most memorable holiday?

Mmmm!! that’s a hard one. I have three holidays that are all stand outs. In no particular order they are as follows:

Esperance, around 20 years ago with another two couples for ten days camping in Cape le Grande national park. 

Coral Bay with brother and sister-in-law and a few other couples to celebrate Paul’s and my 50th birthdays. We rented a house that accommodated 10 people, and had a great time – including snorkelling with the whale sharks. What a buzz that was.

Langkawi – staying at Casa del mar for Christmas a few years ago. Just Paul and I, a very, very belated honeymoon. On our first honeymoon we had both Kelvin and Alice, and Paul’s mum and dad in tow – the joys of a second marriage!

Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day?

Sunny – every time.

If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Most likely in the garden

The garden from our Duncraig house. We lived there for 13 years.

Okay, so that’s my questions out of the way. My next task is to pay it forward and nominate a few other blogs for the Liebster award, pose some questions for them to answer,  and to comment on their blog to let them know. So here goes.

These are a few of the blogs I enjoy following (there’s plenty of others, but these ones have smaller followings, and are ones that for some reason or another, I can relate to the most):

I’m sure they’d all appreciate you taking a look as to why they stand out to me, (I only hope I manage to get their blog address down correctly). In no particular order:      (fellow caravaners in the UK)      (caravaners in Australia)      (world travellers – currently in my place of birth Christchurch)     (Glenys travels Australia – her writings are of a professional standard – very, very good)     (always a good read)     (a writer from Canberra, and the first blog I ever followed. Provides a good insight into Australia’s capitol city and it’s surrounds)

And last but by no means least,  (I just love Sam’s writings. Sam has recently sold up and is now living on a houseboat in the UK. Please, my own UK followers – you really must connect with Sam through her blog. She’s an amazing writer and photographer who will teach you things about your home country that you never knew).

And now for some questions of my own for each of you to answer (I think there’s supposed to be ten, but five will do, and you are welcome to pick five more from the questions I’ve answered above for Suzanne):

1. Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard about the death of one of the following: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, or Princess Dianne?

2. Are you a ‘tours person’, or do you prefer your own itinerary, and why?

3. How do you prevent yourself from getting into a rut?

4. Are you a Christmas, or a New Year’s person, and why?

5. Christmas colours – traditional red and green, or other?

And I think that about wraps it up. Thanks again Suzanne for the nomination, and apologies if I didn’t quite get some of it right.