Sunday, 20 September 2015

Another Walk and Everlasting Daisies

It's been a full-on week, a quick 40-hour trip to Sydney with my mum to escort her part of the way home to Canada, followed by a full week of work. J is in all all-weekend tennis tournament while fighting a cold and squeezing in a community Amazing Race activity.  And C2 is winging is way to the USA for a fast 5 days,  In between we caught up with friends Friday and Saturday night, phew.

It's through these busy times that I am rejuvenated by solitary runs and walks (time for a new dog?) through this spectacular place that I now call home.  The following are a few more images of a moment of calm in the middle of a busy week.
A Balga or Grasstree
While their mistress was doing yoga on the jetty, these two Labradors were performing the very clever game of "don't move in case a fish swims by".  I sat on the edge of a tinnie for 15 minutes to see if they would move - they didn't!

This woman paddled by in her kayak with her dog running on the footpath beside the river, quite distressed.  The dog finally found a path down the steep river wall about half a kilometre ahead.

Where she joined her mistress and refused to return up the path, in spite of both or our efforts.  So there was only one thing to do...

Which was of course to load the intrasigent pooch into the Kayak and carry-on...

I carried on as well through a field of Everlasting Daisies which I believe are the state flower of Western Australia.

Everlastings AND Wattle in full bloom

What a color, right?
These are my mum's favorite Australia flower: the aptly dubbed "Kangaroo Paw" which is in riotous bloom at the moment.

A single rose growing spectacularly in my front garden
Find your place of peace.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Monday Morning Run Through the Lens of my iPhone

On an early morning run today, I was distracted by the scent of wild freesia which has begun blooming during these late winter days in Perth.  The scent was so intoxicating that I decided to document some of the amazing flora in this part of Western Australia at this time of year teetering between winter and spring.  As a Canadian, I continue to be fascinated by the wide variety of Gums or Eucalyptus trees indigenous to this part of the world.

Wild Freesia

Looking down at the Swan River from the footpath

Fields of Freesia

Golden Wattle beginning to bloom

My view of the mighty Swan River

The path most definitely taken

The Scotch College boat shed where the rowers launch

A Ghost Gum

More from the boat shed

Just a pier

Tinnies tied up on the river foreshore

Peppermint Gums

Moreton Fig Tree
A Red Bottle Brush Gum

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Another Milestone in Margaret River

My gorgeous mum is back with us in Perth, on her annual sojourn across the planet to spend three months with us.  An annual sojourn she began almost a decade ago.  The big difference is this year, she turned 80.  At 80, picking up and travelling, quite literally, as far as one can possibly imagine over 2 days and including 3 flights - one of which is in excess of 15 hours - is a very big ask, but she didn't hesitate.

My brother and sister-in-law threw her a big party in Calgary a week before she arrived, we had wished we could have been there but couldn't make it work.  Instead, we've kept the party going since her arrival.

The party hit its peak in Margaret River.

Margaret River is the region about 3 hours south of Perth best known for its wine production, gourmet eating, and locally-sourced provisions.  While the Margaret River region is responsible for only around 5% of Australia's total wine production, its quality is considered premium and among the best.   Certainly, as a Canadian who knew little about Australia prior to my arrival, as an oenophile, even I knew of Margaret River.  Most wineries in the region are boutique producers with beautifully-designed, welcoming cellar doors, respect for the land, and an attachment to Western Australian traditions.

At the Laurance Winery
It is also a region of magnificent sea, surf breaks, beaches, green paddocks, wildlife, caves, and people proud to maintain the local culture and charm, shunning chain stores and over development.

Under Sharks, it also say "Grumpy Old Surfers"
We stopped in several places en route to Margaret River, to lovely terraced Yallingup, where we had lunch at the Caves House Hotel, to Cowaramup and its abundance of dairy cows and green pastures, Busselton with its astonishing kilometre-long jetty out into Geographe Bay, and beautiful coastal Dunsborough.  

For my mum's 80th, we stayed in an upscale B&B that had everything she loves: overstuffed chintz furniture, lace tablecloths, silver tea settings, sherry and port on the sideboard, fragrant roses everywhere, and Fairy Wrens and Ringnecked Parrots (known colloquially as 28s).  C2 dubbed our lovely home away from home "Doily Manor".  The electric blankets on cold mornings weren't bad either.  

C2 and J spent much father and son time exploring the network of limestone caves in the region: Ngilgi Cave where they did a 2-hour guided tour commando-crawling under ridges, squeezing between rocks, and feeling for blind isopods and centipedes using only their headlamps for light; and deep Giants Cave on their own.  While they were discovering ancient wonders, my mum and I explored modern wonders of the Margaret River shops and cafes.

At the Pierro Winery

We also visited 4 wineries: Pierro with its attentive  staff and charming cellar door, Laurance with its uniquely beautiful bottles and where J met a school mate.  They disappeared in the large grounds to play while we wine tasted and admired the art and sculptured landscapes.  Mad Fish was the third winery and one of my favorites to-date over our two trips to the region.  The final winery was the 80th birthday gift: a tour, set tasting and lunch at magnificent Voyager Estate.

Laurance Winery

Voyager Estate

We wine-tasted, J tasted the actual grape juice that went into the wine

Voyager Estate

(See last year's blog entry also about Margaret River:)

Monday, 8 June 2015

And now he is 12

Twelve, 12, douze, dodici....TWELVE!  No matter how many times I say it, it still sounds like big kid numbers and I can’t quite believe it.  I could divide it another way – 2 precious years in Canada, 5 idyllic years in Switzerland, and 5 growing-up-fast years in Australia, but I’m not sure that makes this number any easier to swallow.

Next year J will be a teenager, and he may devolve into a grunting, testosterone-fueled, hairy man-boy but for the moment, for this very last minute, and by the tips of his fingernails, he is hanging on to boy.  Boy who still loves to spend most of his time with us, who loves his stuffed animals, and is sufficiently afraid of Velociraptors that two Disney “Perry the Platapus” stand guard at his bedroom door, and a stuffed police dog, my brother gave him, stands guard on his bed.  This after a day alone at the skatepark and strolling to the shops with his mates…..fingernails I tell you.

It's a "12" and an "!"-  not too obvious from this angle

No party was the rule this year, but we had a handful of his closest mates join us for a “It’s not a party”.  The loose plan, though, was all “big kid”: an afternoon at the awesome Esplanade Youth Park skatepark in Fremantle with as many chips and soft drinks as they could consume from my endless supply, then home for a viewing of “Fast and Furious 6”.  That few of them had seen “Fast and Furious 1 through 5” was a non-issue as each is apparently sufficiently derivative of the last.  Easy on the wallet, and easy on the parental patience.


I love this kid, I don’t really expect him to turn into a grunting teenage monster.  He has made a good solid group of friends, he’s performing well in school, beginning to excel in tennis, and looking forward to starting middle school with a core group of really good boys in six months.  I know there are curves ahead, temptations to be weathered, and bad decisions to live with, but I’m looking forward to every jolt in the road, and reminding him how very special he is and how very much we love him, this leggy, lanky, shaggy-headed man-boy, hair and all.