Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Girls aren't very good at keeping maps in their brains", said Edmund, "That's because we've got something in them", replied Lucy. - The Chronicles of Narnia.

Another perfect weather day in Atwell (the suburb where Kathryn and Tim live about a half hour from Perth) - does this ever get monotonous?? Somehow I don't think so. Kathryn and Tim had errands to do today, so Andrew and I decided to take off on an adventure together. We wanted to check out Perth's city centre and used the public transit to see how it all worked. We woke up at our usual time of 6 am and went for a morning walk together. It really isn't hard to head out for a walk, knowing that you're not going to get rained on and we have given up on checking the weather forecast - it doesn't change. Then we got ready and set off to catch the bus and then the train for the city.
 Pretty little/big guy (an egret) we encountered on our walk this morning.

 Interesting sculpture on a pond - again, part of our walk. We are discovering and working on getting our bearings - working well for Andrew, not so much for me!

 Another odd sculpture.

 There are so many properties that use their front lawn as a parking lot and  the driveway is empty - very curious.

This lovely calla lily grows wild here and we have seen lots of them.

We weren't sure whether we could catch the bus as we were running late, but fortunately the bus was running late as well. Kathryn and Tim gave us their PerthTransit cards to use which was so very simple - much like the Oyster card in the UK. You just tap on when you get on the bus/train and then tap off when you leave. Arriving in Perth, we just wanted to explore the city and possibly do a little shopping. We came home with a map of Perth! We soon realized that this city is much larger than we thought. Here are a few photos.
 Waiting patiently for the train - they run every 15 minutes, so a very efficient way to travel.

 Lots of construction going on in Perth. This is the Town Hall and if you look closely and see those 2 spots on the glass building behind it, window washers. Yikes, so far up!

 This mall, Carillon City,  is named after a group of 35 melodic bells that play at noon and 5 pm. Kind of neat.

 A delicious lunch at Jean-Pierre Sancho with fizzy drinks.

 His Majesty's Theatre - opened in 1904 and home to the WA opera and ballet companies - a very intricately carved building.

 There were lots of very high end stores - see my new Prada bag?? Just kidding, we didn't even step inside the door!

 The Wesley Uniting Church, in the city centre, and open to anyone for prayer and meditation. Loved the flags outside - grace, mercy, peace and truth. In the foyer there was a bookcase with Bibles in various languages that anyone could use and then return.

 This one's for Anna - found in the WA Museum - the periodic table with little vials of the actual elements attached.

"Night at the Museum" revisited - there was a lot of construction going on in the museum and Andrew and I were having difficulty finding the exit.

Just to let you all know - these blogs are taking a lot out of me - still a little jet lagged and 8 pm sounds like a great time to hit the sack. But I'm pushing myself to stay up until at least 9 pm. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy." C.S. Lewis

After a busy day yesterday, we decided this was going to be a low key, relaxing day. Andrew and I awoke early and went for another walk, this time to discover how far away the train station is and to gather some information on public transit (we're still not sure whether we want to attempt the driving on the left side yet). Looks like it is fairly inexpensive and potentially faster than driving. We are still trying to figure out which way to look when crossing the street!! Only a few pictures from our day ~

 A beautiful wattle shrub (Acacia) growing alongside the road.

 A curious ibis wanting to join in the fun at the play park.

 Grammie enjoying a morning swing with the girls.

And Grampie didn't want to miss out, either!!

We entertained Eden and Katie this morning at a local play park which we all enjoyed. There are 3 parks within walking distance of their home and the weather today was perfect. This afternoon we did a little grocery shopping and Kathryn had set up two open home appointments. They are considering another move as their landlord will not match the market value rent on the home they are in now. The average rent here is over $400. per week. It is interesting how the process works here in trying to find a home to rent. It is very expensive and they go to these open homes to look at the property. You then have to fill out an application to get to the next step. All applications are taken into consideration and if the landlord approves you for the renters, you have it. If there are multiple persons interested in the same property, it might be the difference between you offering a bit more for the rent than they are asking or as simple as not having pets. 
We are enjoying every minute we get to spend with our sweet granddaughters - reading stories, gardening and trying to keep the peace when they get overtired and a wee bit cranky. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." C.S. Lewis

When contemplating a trip halfway around the world to Australia, we thought of the cost as well as the long travel time, but also thought of our daughter and her family, who have been living there for 4 years. Family won out and planning began. The decision became easier when we realized that Andrew had enough vacation time saved for us to spend 5 weeks with them, making that long trip worthwhile. After a week of packing and figuring out just what we would need for the trip, we set out early on a Friday morning, excited and anticipating a wonderful time travelling together and being reunited with 2 of our granddaughters (Skyping doesn't fulfill that grandmotherly desire to hug and hold them close).
 Looking fairly fresh as we wait to take off from Halifax on the first leg to Toronto. I didn't take the after shot when we landed in Perth - it wasn't pretty!

 An expensive sandwich and salad in the Toronto Airport. Air Canada isn't that generous with the meals.

 On the other hand, this is the menu we received on Cathay Pacific enroute to Hong Kong. There was even choice!!

And after 25 hours of flying time, this is the greeting we received as we descended into Perth, Australia. A beautiful sunrise on Sunday morning.

Seeing our family (and our luggage) after that many hours of travel was so rewarding and 2 little smiling girls still in their jammies was so special. At 6:30 in the morning I don't think either one of us was very coherent and the grey matter was a little fuzzy. However, we were feeling pretty good, so after a hot shower and a little breakfast, we decided to join the girls at church. We arrived at a wetlands conservation centre (their venue for their church) and sitting there thinking about family and life and how very blessed we are, it just all seemed a bit surreal. We had a fairly quiet afternoon and I ended up heading for bed at 8 pm, just after the little girls went. My head hit the pillow and I don't think I moved a muscle until about 4 am. 

Today we woke up feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to try and get our bodies and brains on Australian time. Andrew and I started the day with a walkabout in Atwell and being the half of the pair that is directionally challenged, I was thankful Andrew had a local map prepared by Kathryn. This little suburb of Perth is quite sprawled out with a lot of green space to enjoy and our early walk was only enhanced by the beautiful weather.

 An Australian ring necked parrot - beautiful colouring with vivid green and bright yellow.

The front lawn decor is rather outlandish here, either that or they have storage issues.

 This is quite a common plant/shrub found here, we have seen a lot of them, a bottlebrush.

 A galah bird, very docile and did not seem threatened by our nearness. There is an expression in Australia that one can be as dull as a galah.

 A close up picture of the bottlebrush and botanist.

An interesting shot of a unique birdhouse with a white-cheeked honeyeater.

Mid morning we decided to go to King's Park, a huge park overlooking the downtown area of Perth. Kathryn packed a picnic lunch and we arrived at 10 am. This was a holiday weekend and the park was very busy with families out enjoying the weather. Andrew was in his element and thoroughly enjoyed the vast array of plants, so very different than what we grow in Canada. Here are a few photos of our day. 
 During September Kings Park was celebrating spring and some of the trees were dressed up. This one is known as "The Queen's Tree", a tree planted by Queen Elizabeth back in 1954. If you look closely you can see her crown at the top.

 This is a palm tree wrapped in fabric with 'palms' all over it. Eden was demonstrating the difference between 'palms' and 'palms'.

 The view from Kings Park - so very beautiful.

 Snack time!!

 Andrew decided to do the guided tour of the botanical gardens with this fellow named Doug. He was very impressed with his knowledge of the park and the many plant species here. The only problem was the 1.5 hour tour turned into 2 and Kathryn and I were wondering how much longer the girls would hold out.

 Another different plant (Banksia) that loves the arid climate of this country.

 This 750 year old boab tree looks dead, but is one that was uprooted in northern Western Australia to make way for a bridge that was being built. It was trucked 3200 km to Kings Park to save it.

The waxy outer coating of a eucalyptus tree. The "acorns" are called gum nuts, a favourite of cockatoos.

A great day with great company and now I must head off to neverland, hoping that tomorrow my body will start to get in sync with the time change. Thanks for reading!!