Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Xmas photos

On Christmas Day, we were invited to lunch with S and G who live in the next block to us. Also there was Y, whose husband H is a chef and working in Kalgoorlie over Christmas and New Year. He is actually volunteering at a Care Home, to make sure the residents eat well over the festive period. Then S's son arrived with his partner, loads of food and a beautiful King Charles spaniel. The two young people are both twins. I almost believed them when they claimed to have met at a Twins Convention! They are getting married soon at Howard Park Winery which is on land near JL's old Group Settlement farm near Cowaramup.

Flower arrangement by Meredith
S is manager of a team of ladies who clean my house and many others in the vicinity. They have just about cornered the market around here as they are so efficient. Meredith used to have a Florist's Shop, which is why she is so good.

A few nibbles to start
Difficult to get everyone to smile at the same time!
That's better!
Christmas ham
Huge feast
S and G live on the ground floor and have a small patio outside, seen in the background here. A few weeks ago, something fell down from the top floor and hit the ground here. It was a suicide. The person had claimed to be interested in buying the top floor apartment; as soon as the agent showed him in, he went straight to the balcony and threw himself off.  How horrendous! Luckily, a member of the local fire brigade lives next door and came to organise the clean-up before S and G arrived home. The same thing happened in our block some years ago, and the people moved out next day! On another occasion, people on the ground floor were enjoying lunch on their patio when something fell on top of their table. It was a cat, a dead one!

Amazing dessert courtesy of H the Chef! A luscious trifle, unbelievably delicious!

Boxing Day at the beach
Coffee afterwards
Moonflower at Como
They only flower for one night of the year!

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Holly and the Ivy

No holly in Perth. This is what grows around here at Christmas.

E has gone to England to spend the hols over there. She was booked on the non-stop Qantas "Dreamliner" to London on Saturday night. At Perth airport 40 passengers were bumped off "due to weight restrictions". How could that be? Those flights have fewer passengers anyway, because of the need to carry extra fuel. She ended up having to fly next day.

Before leaving, she had been busy making lots of Christmas cards, one for each of the English rellies she would meet:

She says it's cold and rainy over there. It's 37 degrees here. I've just been for a swim, but the pool was full of some rowdy people drinking beer out of GLASS bottles, so I told them off!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Salt Path

Readers of this blog might conclude I'm a bit obsessed with the Camino. Like the rain in Manchester, it's either raining or going to rain (or dripping off the trees), so to speak. However, I'm now reading about another long distance footpath: the South West Coast Path, around the edges of Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

This is a gripping account of a walk by a couple in straightened circumstances, with hardly any money and hardly any food, wild camping and living on instant noodles. It's a tough "camino" with too many ascents and descents on the trail for me, but these two intrepid travellers somehow manage to do it. It's an adventure story. You want to know the ending but you don't want it to end. A bit like the Camino!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

When it's hot...

When it's hot here, you head for the beach.  My preferred one is South Beach Fremantle, where there are no big waves. Unfortunately it's half an hour's drive, but someone has to do it!

Then it's time for a coffee and a people watch.

Beach cafe

W.A. Naturalists' Club Annual BBQ at Herdsmans Lake

Paperbarks around the lake
JL enjoying a glass of red while others went on a bird walk

Paperbark shedding its "paper"
Water level is quite high

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Recently there was a letter to the paper about a boy who kept a magpie as a pet. This prompted JL to recall his pets whilst living on a Group Settlement farm with his family when they had just migrated to Australia.

In the years 1928 --1934 my sister and I lived as very young children on a
dairy farm on Miamup Rd. just west of Cowaramup. We had a cat and a dog but
also a kangaroo and a magpie as pets for much of that time. Experiments with
an owl and a 28 parrot were not so successful.

Your article about the magpie reminded us of many things about our magpie
which was simply called "bird". It never made a mess in the house and would
often sleep on its back under a sheet. In the morning it would sometimes get
up early and peck your toes if they were poking out the bottom of the bed.
(We slept out on a verandah).

"Bird" was attracted to bright shiny things such as coins and would fly off
with them into large trees not too far away where it would celebrate its
'find' with a song and of course drop the coins or whatever it had stolen.
Our mother used to have quite valuable earrings (keepers) and the magpie
used to travel around on her shoulders and keep tugging away at the earrings
until it finally did get them off. "Bird' would sing while it was doing this.
 It had different songs for different purposes but we could never teach it to talk
 as you could with a parrot.

"Bird" was very friendly with the cat and used to try to ride on the cats
back using its wings to balance. It used to get on quite well with the
kangaroo and used to perch on its head. It never attempted to pick anyone's
eyes. It would not come on to the table when everyone was eating, but would
share some food later, especially meat. Mostly he fed himself around the

The wild magpies were always trying to get him back but never succeeded.
They would attack him but never come very close to the house.
Neither "Bird" nor the kangaroo liked our chickens or big animals very much.
The kangaroo would sleep on a mat in front of the fire in winter like a dog,
and was very careful around the house, never hopping but pivoting on his
tail. He never stole anything but as a "joey" liked spent tea leaves mixed
with the chickens’ bran  and paspalum seeds.

This is our magpie/kangaroo story.  John and Ann Lewis.

We don't have a photo of the magpie and kangaroo, but the following was taken a few years later when the family had moved to Quairading.  On a very hot day, brother and sister were spraying themselves with a hose pipe!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Camino paintings


A very talented pilgrim (Wei Ho) has returned from the Camino and turned his photos into watercolours.  I wish I had his artistic skill!

St Jean Pied de Port

Near the summit in the Pyrenees
Puente la Reina
San Anton

San Juan de Ortega

Crossing the Meseta

Still on the lonely Meseta


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Last of the wildflower season

Hot weather is upon us, so Sunday was my last chance to see a few flowers this year. I decided to do the John Forrest walk again as L rushed us so much last week that I hadn't chance to see everything properly. There are several walk trails up there and we were on the Wildflower Walk, though L wasn't interested and just wanted to walk!

This is a "rails to trails" walk, following the line of the old Midland to Northam line. There is also the opportunity to go through the tunnel, but it's rather dark and stony underfoot and sometimes wet and impossible to see without a torch. There are plaques telling us about a train crash, where some carriages came uncoupled and ran backwards down the hill, killing 7 horses on board. This reminded me of another runaway train in the Pilbara recently, when the driver got out to inspect something and it set off without him, gathering speed as it went.  It had to be stopped remotely and its huge load of iron ore trucks toppled like dominoes, tearing up the track and all.

Tunnel entrance
Train crash in 1896
Having a picnic in years gone by
Maybe Grevillea thelemanniana?
Another Fringe Lily
Trigger plants
Close up of Isopogon
Isopogon showing flowers and cones

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

John Forrest N P Bushwalk

This was the last bushwalk of the season. It's now getting too hot!  This is one of my favourite walks, which I've done many times and the only one I'm confident not to get lost if I do it on my own.

Starting off
Morning tea spot - overlooking the almost dry waterfall
A thieving magpie watching us - having stolen a piece of sandwich!
Pink verticordias everywhere
One sided bottlebrush: it's been a good year for bottlebrushes
Close up of bottlebrush
Beautiful fringe lilies
Pom poms - Pilotus manglesii?
Spiked Scholtzia - Scholtzia involucrata?

Still trying to identify the last two!