Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dolphins, crabs...

Time to leave Mandurah and head back to hot, hot Perth. On the last morning, I went for a swim in the sea before breakfast. It was 7.00 am and already there were a few locals on the beach. I suddenly saw splashing and a fin next to another swimmer. Then the fin came perilously close to me. It was a dolphin! I found out there were two of them, probably a mother and baby which had been sighted there earlier in the week. I don’t have a photo of this encounter, but I do have one from last January:

This is C and me next to the groin, with two dolphins nearby. It was taken by a woman at the hotel swimming pool, where everyone was looking our way, with great excitement, including E who suddenly realised that it was her mother and grandmother out there!

Seashells Hotel has paintings in every room by a local artist, Emma Blyth. They depict holiday scenes around Mandurah. I find them bold and brash and “in your face”, but this one in our room is interesting. It seems to be an advertisement for the annual Mandurah Crabfest:

Someone is about to enjoy two Blue Manna Crabs and a bowl of prawns.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Evening in Mandurah

We went for a meal at Flic’s Kitchen on the foreshore. There is a very creative chef who produces many interesting vegetarian dishes. On a balmy evening, we enjoyed sitting at an outside table while wafts of dampened air floated down on us from above.

Photo from their website.

Crab croquets and Prosecco.

Gnocchi in mushroom sauce w. green pea purée.

Vegan dessert: strawberry “cheesecake” w. torched plums.

The gnocchi are a speciality which have been on the menu forever, demanded by the regular clientele.

Afterwards, we strolled along the foreshore admiring the Christmas lights:

This is a box, or a castle?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Beach access

Hot weather is forecast all week in Perth, so we have come down to Mandurah where it is not so extreme. We are staying for 4 nights at Seashells, our favourite spot right on the beach at Dolphin Cove. Because we only have a small unit for two, we are at the back with a canal view rather than a sea view. But it is marvellously cool as it gets no direct sun.

Early morning walk!

Seashells is the highest building. We have Room 505.

Norfolk Pine.

View from our balcony.

We are entertained watching the occupant of that small square “houseboat”. It appears to be home made, with solar panels on the roof and a rowing boat moored alongside. It moves around a bit: maybe it doesn’t have permission to be there.

JL about to enjoy his dinner: chicken parcels w. rice and broad beans.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Ferry across the Swan

On a sunny morning I took a ferry from South Perth across to Elizabeth Quay. The journey takes 7 minutes. When I first came to live in Perth, I did this every day on my way to work at ECU. It was my aim to mark one assignment in the 7 minutes. (In those days, we often had 80 assignments to mark, such was the popularity of our external online courses). Nowadays, I can just enjoy the trip. Elizabeth Quay is a relatively new development and it’s still not finished.

The new Ritz Carlton hotel is behind the ferry.

Looking back from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth. I used to live in the white apartment block.

Elizabeth Quay pedestrian bridge.

A boring machine which brings up mud. The hole will be replaced with concrete and steel piles for another high rise building.

Artwork on the fence surrounding the building work.

The rather grim-looking entrance to the new Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Ritz Carlton restaurant.

Trying out one of the beautifully designed chairs in the minimalist foyer. This might be the nearest I get to enjoying the Ritz Carlton luxury; at $500 per night it’s too expensive even for me!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Quinns Bushwalk

This walk attracted me because it was going to my old haunts of Quinns Rocks where we used to have a beach house. I haven’t been out with the group for months because of my gammy knee. I knew the pace would probably be too fast for me (and it was), but it was possible to turn back at any point, sit and get a coffee.

It was a lovely morning for a 7.30 am start, though very breezy and the sea was too choppy to think of going for a swim. 

Near Mindarie Marina.

Looking north.

Hundreds of kids arrived at the Surf Club for lessons.

Lovely coastline.

My friend V has recently acquired a retired greyhound. These dogs are put out for adoption when they can no longer race. (C and E wanted to do this, but their cat went beserk when one came to visit!).  V’s dog apparently won $80,000 in prize money and had 3 litters of puppies before being retired. She came for part of the walk and then got taken home before it got too hot.

She was very quiet and calm, having been properly socialised by the adoption programme and, being a fairly old dog, was placed in a household of a similar age group.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Beach or pool?

The choice is hard on these super-hot days! Perth sweltered in 40 degree heat on Saturday and some towns in WA reached 45. Cottesloe Beach is a favourite:

Our pool at Burswood is also lovely (especially if we have it to ourselves!). C and E arrived on Sunday morning with their watermelon/donut:

I didn’t try it in case I fell through the middle!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pop-up Globe

Shakespeare in Maori? Why??? The sections of the play involving Titania and Oberon, the Fairy Queen and Fairy King, were performed in Maori which was really annoying if you weren’t from NZ. It’s true that the company itself was (which we hadn’t realised and were not warned about). We needed a translation. Apart from what was in Maori, the words of Shakespeare were very familiar; I had studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream at school some 60 years ago, with an English teacher who made us learn long passages from it. He did a good job as it turned out.

The best part of the play was the “rude mechanicals” AKA  “tradies”, in modern dress with hard hats, work boots and hi-vis jackets. Towards the end, when Pyramus stabbed himself, blood flowed freely from little plastic sachets which was sprayed into the audience standing in the pit area, to the glee of everyone else.

C and E were in the pit originally (tickets were cheap there, standing room only for “groundlings” ) whilst JL and I had purchased front row seats. The problem was, our seats were in the sun, and we were boiled! They need to take a lesson from the “sol o sombra” system in Spanish bullfights where the sombra seats are sold at a premium. Fortunately one of the staff took pity on us and found us better seats in the shade. At this point, C and E appropriated our old seats:


Maori Oberon.

More traditional costumes.

Sitting in the shade during the interval. It was a hot afternoon!

Review of Perth's Pop Up Globe

Review of Sydney production

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Catching cold...feeling hot

Someone wrote recently in their blog that long haul travel is not for wimps. This wimp is feeling decidedly under the weather, having caught a cold on the packed Emirates flight from Dubai. It seems impossible to shake off, this unfamiliar bug. I am resolved to seek another airline in future! Meanwhile the temperature in Perth today reached 36 degrees, too hot to do anything except read the Sunday papers from cover to cover and then all the e-news.

The travel sections attract me.  In The Guardian J.K.Rowling has written a short piece about Porto, along with a beautiful photo (rather like one I took myself, but hers is 10 times better):

She writes:

 I fell in love with Porto and I love it still. I was enchanted by fado, the melancholy folk music that reflects the Portuguese themselves, who in my experience had a quietness and gentleness unique among Latin peoples I’d encountered so far. The city’s spectacular bridges, its vertiginous riverbanks, steep with ancient buildings, the old port houses, the wide squares: I was entranced by them all.

I've also been reading The Accidental Tour Guide the new book by Mary Moody (who ran away from home at 50 to France and published Last Tango in Toulouse, an account of a love affair with and in France). Now she writes about the sad death of her husband and his fight against cancer, as well as her new profession of leading tour groups in unlikely places (Morocco sounds interesting, but Ladakh and its altitude sickness: no way!)

My Typographia t-shirt, designed to reflect the Porto streetscape.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Seville to Madrid

...and suddenly it’s the end of my holiday!  I’ve done lots and seen lots, tired and happy and I’m now in Madrid but time has run out!

I was awake early because of the noisy aircon in my room which went on and off like a fridge. Dawn is now at 8.30 am, so as soon as I could see, I was on my way for an early morning walk to the Cathedral. I knew it would be closed, but at least I beat the crowds and could walk round the outside in peace.

The Giralda is being cleaned, as this poster demonstrates, so there is scaffolding on the east facade.

On my way back to the hotel, I stumbled upon the downtown office of Renfe, so I was able to buy my train ticket without waiting in a queue at the station. I also spotted Hotel Simon, which rang a bell, and I realised that this is one of the places that supply a Credencial for the Via de la Plata.

At Santa Justa Train Station, there is tight security getting onto the train. Tickets are checked twice and there is an X-ray for baggage.

Once underway, the high speed AVE train reached 280 kms per hour, too fast to take photos, and reached Madrid way ahead of schedule in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Final luxury: this is a SKI holiday after all.

I don’t usually do afternoon tea, but this was just delivered to my door: