Monday, September 27, 2010

First swim

Today was the first real day of the school holidays and also a public holiday.  The temperatures have been hitting the mid-twenties so we thought that was warm enough for a trip to the beach.  That is my nutjob family having their first dip in the sea for the season.

We weren't the only ones there.  There were dog-walkers and dogs,


other New Zealanders, plus some Tasmanians, Alaskans and Antarcticans.

I resisted taking a dip.  But when it is 10 degrees warmer, I'll peel off my tan-prevention outfit and get my new togs (oops, bathers) wet.  Along with the Australians.

Friday, September 24, 2010


We've been doing a bit of exploring.  Just day trips at this stage due to work and school commitments.

Bunbury is the next coastal town of any size south of here and it only takes about an hour to get there, in our case with the children giving hilariously inaccurate directions from the back seat due to a GPS loaded with out of date maps.

On paper Mandurah and Bunbury may look quite similar as they are both small, picturesque seaside cities, have recently undergone enormous growth and have dolphins coming out their ears, but to us these little cities feel quite different. I'm no expert as I've only been to Bunbury once and it was only for one day, but sometimes first impressions hold up.  So here are  some of ours.
We liked Bunbury.  It had a vibrant, humming, pedestrian-friendly city centre that reminded me of Nelson (in case you are unsure, that is a good thing). In Bunbury I effortlessly found a few things I have been unsuccessfully searching for in Mandurah for the past few months, including dishy shoes, mid century secondhand furniture and ... a dining table.

Then just to blow one of my major prejudices out of the water, my favourite thing in Bunbury is very, very pink:  behold the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries. 

The galleries are housed in a recycled convent building.  The scary ladies are long gone but many of the building's lovely features remain,

including some very covetable signs.

Oh and we enjoyed the exhibitions too.  My favourite was a textile art exhibition called Spin Cycle which consisted of many, many tea towels "artistically reinvented"  by a collective of three women who produce work under the name Virginia Cunningham.

We did escape from the gallery and Bunbury, but from the little I've seen, I know I'll be back.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Black dog

I love a good walk. When I have too much on my tiny mind, a good walk helps me to sort it all out.  In the past ten years I've had quite a few instances where I've had to deal with shabby shite hitting my fan.  (Show me the grey-haired grown-up who hasn't?)  I'm one of the lucky ones who finds that my most effective coping mechanisms are simply a good walk and a good talk (well OK, there was my Single Malt habit).

Shortly after we moved here yet another bit of shabby shite hit our fan.  My plans for getting an O-job, starting a business and buying a house are on hold until we get this latest health issue sorted.  This time around I haven't found things quite so easy to cope with because like a daft egg I stopped walking as much as I should and I'm here without you lot to talk to (plus those of you in Christchurch are now all dealing with your own rubbish situations).

Well, I love lists and I love a bit of irony.  I made a TO DO list called "Sort yourself out lady lest you should get a black dog".  One of the things on the list was to go around and meet our neighbours.  I did and I met some lovely people, including an elderly lady with ..... a black dog she is unable to take for walks anymore.  Well, my children love dogs and are desperate to get one but sadly they a) live in a no pets rental home and b) know very little about looking after dogs and c) have a mean mother who says they can only ever get a dog if it is either bald or matches our sofa (green).  So now we are fortunate enough to regularly enjoy the company of a gorgeous, big, black, hairy, beautifully-behaved and very grateful dog called Tammy.  We walk around the neighbourhood with her then take her home again. 

And as luck would have it, Tammy is also a very good listener.  Sadly her side of the conversation isn't up to the usual standard I'm used to from you lot (her jokes are rubbish), but we'll keep working on it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Small, sanity-saving tip

Wee tip here.  If you go to the excellent Peel Zoo and go inside the huge aviary, just make sure you are not wearing your favourite Starfish woollen jacket with the shiny, silver-lined hood.  Because a Galah will fly up and land in it and start, well, generally acting like a Galah.

Then another one will arrive.

Then another one.

One will wait on your head and two more on your shoulders for their turns in the hood.

Then they'll all have a go at each other and squawk and flap and scratch while they rearrange their positions in the hood/head/shoulders pecking order.

With all that pink and grey flapping around you you will look like you are in a 1980's remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".  Only your children will be laughing at you.  Well, until they find themselves fending off an overly amorous Black Cockatoo.

Those aren't the mad zoo Galahs the pictures; these ones are the very well-behaved bunch who act like Galahs as they peck around on our front lawn most mornings.

And that picture at the top of this post is of a real, limited-edition Barbie doll which is sadly now all sold out.  Mad, but good-mad, not bad-mad I reckon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Father's Day

I tend to think Father's Day is just a giant crock designed to make people buy more stuff, but somehow it is still impossible to spend the day doing ordinary things without feeling guilty.  Happily this year it also coincided with a nice outing that the father in this household wanted to do anyway.

A few days earlier he'd seen two of a series of short performances on at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.  He wanted to see another one, thought I'd enjoy both shows he'd seen, and that our children would also enjoy one of them.  Well he knows a bit about shows so we followed his recommendations, booked our tickets and set off on the train.

We went to an exhibition ant the Art Gallery of Western Australia and had a bite to eat before I went to my shows. I really enjoyed them both but the show the children joined me for was a fantastic piece of work. If you ever get the chance to see a show called 2-DIMENSIONAL LIFE OF HER by Fleur Elise Noble then go to it (and if you don't enjoy it you have no taste!). How the performance was not completely sold out is a complete mystery to me.  This is one of those shows I would have gone straight home from, got on the blower and dragged a dozen of you along to the next performance. I'll most certainly be keeping an eye on whatever work this clever cookie comes up with next.  Wee promo of the show below.

Then on the way home through Mandurah I couldn't help thinking about my father.  As we waited a few seconds at the lights as the third car of three on an otherwise deserted street, I could just hear him saying "This place gets more like London every day",

and as we drove past numerous road works and construction sites I smiled as I remembered him deadpanning "This town is really nice, but it'll be terrific when it's finished".

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A very strange day in paradise

Today it was pretty tricky to enjoy the sunshine, warm temperatures, cruisy lifestyle and stunning views.  Instead I spent the day in my jimbojams, glued to the computer and indulging in what my partner dubbed "earthquake p**n" (rhymes with corn) and thinking about all our dear people in Christchurch and what a rubbish day you have had.

By 2pm I'd finally got my head around it and needed to clear my tiny brain.  I bossed my family into coming for a walk.  We popped into my favourite gourmet shop (and got myself invited to a party), then walked along a favourite path,

stopped for a drink at a new cafe and thought about how darned lucky we are. 

Best wishes dear Christchurch friends.  I hope you and your families are OK.