Saturday, 22 October 2011
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
We had been in Albany, which is an old whaling town south of Perth, for about an hour when there was a bit of an incident which means we'll be here for a whole lot longer than we planned.
The Gap, Albany, WA
After finding a caravan park in town we went for a drive along the coast to see the Blowhole, Gap and Natural Bridge. On the path down to the Gap, we passed some young guys heading back up to the car park after doing some fishing. Just as we started to head back up one of the guys came running down to us to see if we owned a 'gold x-trail'. As you say 'yes' to a such a question you just know it isn't going to be good news!
Natural Bridge, Albany, WA
He explained, very apologetically, how he'd only just got his license and car a few days ago and as he was backing out his car door swung open and he panicked and hit the accelerator instead of the break . . .
It must have been quite an impact because the back door of the car, bumper and back window were damaged extensively. Oh, and he also explained that he hadn't got around to getting any insurance yet.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
It's the first time I've ever been glad that a car wouldn't start!
We set off for a drive to look at more of the stunning Esperance coastline, stopping along the way at Look Outs, etc. At Observatory Beach, after a quick look, we all piled back into the car only to find that the engine wouldn't turn over. A little shocked, the car has been traveling so well and had an extensive service before we left home, we all got back out and stood looking in the engine.
Really we had no clue what was wrong - starter engine maybe Keith suggested?
A lady who had been walking her dog on the beach and was about to leave came over to see if she could help. There was no mobile reception and she was the only other person around. Very quickly she offered to take me and the children back to her house to use her phone and hang out till the Roadside Assistance man came and hopefully got the car started.
So, I took her up on her generous offer. We headed back to Deb's house, quickly covering many topics and by the time we reached her gorgeous property we felt like old friends. The kids were very excited to meet her four alpacas, including two babies.
Deb is one of those people who is always rescuing people. She's widely traveled and after settling in Esperance with her husband four years ago has created a very beautiful lifestyle based loosely on permaculture principals. There was so much to talk about, including the care of those alpacas. I'm sure we'll end up with some one day. . . Deb has even started learning to spin their fleece.
Keith arrived all too quickly. The Esperance man had been very prompt and quickly worked out that our cars battery had simply come to the end of its life. Luckily for us it chose Esperance that morning, at that beach, and not any of the few days before when we were driving across the desert!
Meeting people along the way always adds to the experience of traveling, but there was something more to meeting Deb and seeing how she lives at this particular time in my life. There were so many similarities to someone very close to me who is going through a difficult and frightening time at the moment that I was a little thrown by the whole experience. But very glad of it none the less.
Friday, 19 February 2010
So, it has been a while since I've wanted to return to my Journal here at Pretty Essential. A lot of changes have taken place over the last year. Family have moved close to us in Blackheath, I've been working a few days a week, Keith has been working like crazy around the property and of course the children have grown up a lot. My energies have been fully occupied to say the least!
Over Christmas and the New Year, I started to feel like we needed a little break to our regular routine. The end of a school year always gets me thinking like this, but this time it was different. We have always talked of taking the children out of school and doing the 'trip around Australia' but I've always felt like the time wasn't right or preferred the idea of taking them to Europe instead. But the more we thought about it the more keen we became. "Let's just do it now while we feel like it" we kept saying to each other.
So, with very little planning we set about buying a caravan, finding someone to look after the dog, talked to the school and pretty much that was it - we were ready.
At the end of January 2010 we drove out of Blackheath, NSW with a very vague plan to head west, then south and travel as far across Australia as we can in approx. 10 weeks!
Tonight, I right this from a town called Esperance in Western Australia, surely home to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. We've packed a lot in already, and there are many highlights from Victoria and South Australia. Keira and Caley are having a great time. They're keeping a daily journal of life on the road and making the most of an extended summer . . .
12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
As we travel along, seeing new places for the first time, it feels very special to have my family together like this.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
This was the third time that Keira has played in one of these concerts and I think it's the first time I have ever seen her anxious about it. The concerts are great in that they are meant to be a celebration of the hard work the students have done. They need to be dressed very smartly (lot's of boys in mini tuxes!) and they play on a grand piano in the Utzon Room which has a large wall of glass that makes you feel as though you are right in the harbour.
But, the standard is very high and Keira was worried that she would make a mistake (which many kids do and it isn't a big deal but Keira is quite tough on herself). Of course when her turn came she played beautifully and I could see that she felt good about herself afterwards.
After the concert we made a very quick dash back up the Mountains, because Keith and I had a school function at the very beautiful and historic Collits' Inn to get to.
This used to be run as a restaurant/b&b, but a family from the school bought it recently and now it is their home. They opened it up to us on Saturday night for dinner and I can't tell you how wonderful it was. We all arrived in the late afternoon when it was still light and could have a good look around. The Inn was built in 1823 and has been lovingly restored right down to the original room that the Governor would stay in when they were moving convicts through the area. In fact the previous owners who had done a huge amount of work in building up a library of the history of the place, left everything intact on the property when they left.
We had a guided walk around the cemetery before dinner, where there are 62 people buried from the area including the poet Henry Lawson's father. Apparently one of Lawson's poems is about the murder of one of the Collits' daughters (some sort of love triangle back in the 1800's!).
Then it was on to dinner which was served in the original barn and afterwards the owner and another father from school played their guitars and sang until late into the night. By then everyone was in very good form and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Sunday saw me a little tired and weary, but the weather was fantastic so I sat in the sun and watched Cal and his friend learn how to put up a tent for their first overnight camping expedition with the school this week. Listening to the patience in Keith's voice as he gave instructions from the side was a little amusing as well!
(Photos of Collits Inn from the National Trust, I of course forgot to take my camera . . .)
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Not long ago I decided to put on my sidebar a book recommendation from both Keira and Caley. Keira was raving about a book that she had just finished so I thought I'd include some of their favourites along with mine. I asked Cal for the name of a book that he had read recently and liked, and he said Samurai Kids, White Crane.
Then out of the blue we received an email from the author, Sandy Fussell. I have to say we were very excited by this! For the kids, who read and read and read, it was wonderful to have an author directly contact us like this.
But that wasn't all. Sandy very generously offered to send Cal a copy of her latest book, Polar Boy. As she put it - "its about an Inuit brother and sister - lots of whales, polar bears and Vikings". Which of course sounds just right for Cal!
The package arrived in the mail today, along with a special note from Sandy and some posters from Samurai Kids for Cal's bedroom.
Cal is a great reader, but I have had to work quite hard to get him interested in fiction. He loves his facts, on nature, history or science. He's always loved listening to the stories that I've read to them but hadn't been drawn to them for himself. So I looked for books that I thought he'd like if he gave them a chance and got far enough into them. We've built up a little library for him with books of his own in his bedroom (as opposed to reading 'Keira's' books) and over time I'm noticing that he's reading more fiction that non-fiction these days.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with reading non-fiction, and I'm sure Cal's knowledge of reptiles, the Elizabethans and Tudors, and Elvis Presley would rival most 8 year olds! It's just that I know how much pleasure reading fiction can bring and I really feel that the earlier that you 'get' it the better.
Of course, now the kids are expecting great things from my blog, and Keira keeps asking me if I've heard from the author of her book . . .
(a very big thank you Sandy!)