Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Point Walter

One of our favourite bush walks is along the river between Perth and Fremantle. Last Sunday was warm and sunny, so I set off on my own. I was anxious to discover my walking pace after my foot surgery, as I didn't want to join the Bushwalking Group and find myself lagging behind. I managed 3.5 kms per hour.
Point Walter is a sand spit which stretches out into the Swan River for a surprisingly long way. I walked as far out as I could without getting my feet wet. There were two kids ahead of me, a long way out and up to their knees in water:
Shots taken in the middle of the spit, looking both ways.

Flame Tree

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ells Bells Cockle Shells

Ellie is 12 today. How time has flown since she arrived in Australia aged 6 months. She was born in England on the longest day and now celebrates her birthday on the shortest.

Here are a few photos from those years:

Feeding a quokka on Rottnest

Shelling prawns with JL; In the forest; New hairstyle at Quinn's; On the farm.

City to Surf; New camera in Kings Park; "Alice" in Book Week.

(Based on an idea from Local Kiwi Alien).

Sunday, June 17, 2018


We do get some poor weather now and again in Perth (windy, rainy and chilly). It is winter after all. I've also had to rest up after my foot operation. The answer is to get out my knitting needles! I managed to finish the cardigan for C. She didn't like the fancy buttons I'd put on and insisted on changing them for plain ones. E (on the left) is wearing one I knitted for myself years ago, which doesn't fit me any more.

A gloomy day by the river. The stadium is on the top right.

The pelicans have commandeered the waterskiing ramp and fight off any other birds that try and land there:

Saturday, June 9, 2018


The following three novels about Spain are more than armchair reading. They throw light on events in a more dramatic way than most non-fiction accounts.

Guernica by Dave Boling.

On April 26 1937, the German Luftwaffe dropped bombs on the small Basque town of Guernica: a surprise attack on innocent civilians. This novel describes life in the town in the years beforehand. We come to know the characters very well, but we know that this is a story which will not have a happy ending. This terrible event is also portrayed in Picasso's huge painting of the tragedy. Together the book and the painting demonstrate the horrors of warfare. Guernica is on the Northern Coastal Camino. I haven't been there, but I've seen the Picasso in Madrid.

Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist.

There are hundreds of self published accounts by pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Most are poorly written descriptions of the highs and lows of their days, boring and predictable. This one, in the hands of two professional writers, is something else. The husband and wife team take turns in writing a chapter as they spin a yarn about two pilgrims who meet on The Way and fall in love. Alongside their budding romance are descriptions of life on the trail, which ring true but do not dominate. There is actually a plot with many twists and surprises. This is definitely not a travelogue. The Camino is just the back drop. More than half of the book is set in France, as the two pilgrims begin in Cluny, and then proceed to cross to the Northern Coastal Camino in Spain. More Caminos to put on my bucket list...

The Last Jew by Noah Gordon.

In 1492, the Catholic Monarchs ordered all Jews to leave the country. After his father and brother are killed, the young Yonah is left to fend for himself. Determined to hold onto his faith and Jewish inheritance, he travels all over Spain in disguise, somehow avoiding the long arm of the Inquisition. Last year on the Via de la Plata, I visited several medieval Jewish Quarters, including Córdoba and Hervas. This novel brought my visits to life. I was also reminded of a terrible anti Semitic episode in the history of York. In 1190, the city's entire Jewish population of about 150 took refuge in Clifford's Tower. Rather than be slaughtered by the mob outside, they killed their wives and children, set fire to the keep and committed suicide. This is one more example of religious intolerance and cruel inhumanity, for which Spain and its Inquisition was not alone.

Brass plaques on the Route of the Sefarad in Córdoba.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Other people's blogs

Every morning I have a cup of tea in bed and read other people's blogs. These are 3 of my favourites about Spain:

Trepidatious Traveller is Maggie's detailed account of her various pilgrimages. She has criss crossed the country in every direction towards Santiago, discovering and documenting little known Caminos, taking brilliant photos of flowers, animals, buildings and other pilgrims en route. She wants to assist those following after to find the way when the yellow arrows disappear. She is a walking machine - and all on a vegan diet this year.

Equus Asinus is written by an expat Brit who lives in southern Spain and keeps 4 donkeys. He was recently sacked from his job teaching Geography in an international school after attempting to mobilise the other staff to campaign for better working conditions. This week, he has been providing a running commentary about the Spanish political crisis. His colourful and outspoken comments probably need taking with a pinch of salt and some balanced reporting from The Guardian online, but his description of the crisis as a slow motion car crash is apt.

My Kitchen in Spain, written by an American expat, is full of mouth watering and authentic Spanish dishes, meticulously researched, but usually containing too many ingredients and needing too much work for the likes of me. However, a recent post on what to do with a bought roast chicken and the numerous meals that can be made with the leftovers, provides an inspiration to even the laziest cook.