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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Here we go again

Hmm, remember those ideas I was talking about? Well, here we go. A little over 4 months of returning to Scotland Mollie and I find ourselves on the plane returning to Perth having made the decision I never thought I could or would take; to leave Scotland, to leave family and fab friends and take up a position in Perth WA. But what was the alternative? The alternative was returning to Scotland and trying to start afresh  in the area I moved to with Graham as a teenager and built our future together for nearly 16 years. Even after 6 months away,  upon returning I discovered that memories can still hurt and so the  alternative is not an option.  So how did it all happen?  About two  weeks before returning to Scotland I replied to an  email from a teaching agency which I had signed up for which had teaching positions advertised. I received a reply the following morning asking where was I and could I attend an interview? I had already planned two road trips; one to Margaret River and one to Exmouth.  So an interview was scheduled on the Monday before flying home Tuesday.  The position was working as a Teacher of the Deaf in two mainstream schools on the fringes of Perth.  As I flew home I was uncertain as to what would come out of the interview but felt confident that our future was back in Scotland with friends. On Friday 30th March I woke to an email offering me the position with a starting date of 6-8 weeks! There have been a few hiccups along the way even turning the position down after asking for more time which was denied.  That's when the 'alternative' sinks in and despite the love and support of friends I realise that the alternative would be harder to live than the complete unknown in another country. So here we are. On a one way ticket to Perth.  The past few weeks have been far from easy and many a time I wondered what on earth I was doing.  I wasn't enjoying my job at Lossie so that went. Once I had been freed up from that it made it easier to organise things. A list was made. Removal companies for quotes, start getting rid of items I didn't want to take, decide what to do with house, cancel direct debits, get rid os items that would be surplus in Oz etc etc  The house has been one of the hardest things to sort out. Trying to make decisions on something that is very emotional resulted in me changing my mind about Perth many a time. Our family home that was to be our forever family home, where we returned to after sneaking off to get married :-) where we brought mollie back to after being born. The decision I came to eventually was to sell but the current climate doesn't mean that my house will sell any time soon so it is now up for rent. It took me a while to reach that point. I felt ready to let the house go but it wasn't so keen to let go of me.   Towards the end, once the removal men had been in and taken all of my furniture I continued to stay in the house which I wish I hadn't. It didn't feel right and I really didn't like it.  So for the last week I have been saying goodbye to friends. The hardest thing in the world. Friends that I have come to rely on over the two years and who have done so much for us. It wasn't easy making the decision to leave them behind and start all over again. But new friends and new adventures await. Plus, I'm sure we will become a very popular holiday destination in the next few years with friends and family.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The End.........

The End..........

WOW!!!!! Can it be? Are you sure?

I tried unsuccessfully to try & round this up yesterday before we left but our last day i asked Mollie what she wanted to do. I actually gave her 2 options; the beach at Rockingham or the Armadale Lizard place. Lizards and snakes won which  didn't surprise me. I can't remember if I have mentioned this place before but it is pretty cool & only 15 minutes along the road. We have visited it in total 4 times including yesterday and I still haven't tired of it. Just as well it's only $15 to get in. Mollie isn't free!! We got a really nice surprise yesterday when we arrived. The staff know us because Mollie and I are always there for so long. Anyway, one member of staff, an older guy called Chris who volunteers two times a week, in fact most of the staff give up their own time. Firstly when we arrived I was told we didn't need to pay because we were Chris's friends (I put a donation in the box instead) and then Chris appeared with a book that he had been holding onto to give to Mollie. He said he'd been carrying it around for the best part of a month hoping that we would come back!! The book is 'Animals of Western Australia' including snakes and lizards of course. Mollie loves it and I was so touched by it. The book has his name in it. He was given it by someone special but I'm going to keep that to myself. He now thought Mollie would enjoy it.  Chris spent ages with Mollie and I pulling out another snake for Mollie to hold, I declined on this occasion. After feeding a few lizards some little baby boy chucks, grass to Zorro the pony and the three musketeer donkeys, patting Rebel the dingo and handling the snake we left. It was quite sad to think we wouldn't go back. 

It all feels a bit surreal now as I sit on the plane heading back. I know what Mollie and I have grown accustomed to over the last 6 months and its been good. We have thoroughly enjoyed the hot sunny days, discovering new an different places, revisiting old places with fond memories of Graham, swimming in the ocean and listening to the shrieks of cockatoos, Gullahs and lorikeets. I keep thinking of all the places we have been to and still feel quite amazed. Many an Australian has said to me that we have been to more places than many locals. The excursions we have been on including the Great Barrier Reef (Ningaloo I hate to say is better!!) Australia Zoo, The Whitsunday's and of course getting to watch Andy Murray play. The people we have met have been fab and no doubt have made the trip. It could have been a very lonely trip but instead Mollie and I have encountered nothing but generosity and genuine friendliness from everyone we have met.

I know I have changed over the last 6 months. A lot more determined and alot more confident. Some of my bounce is returning and I can see Mollie changing too because of it. I've enjoyed the time with her and showing her a stunning part of the world and watching her face on many occasion as she takes things in but on the other hand laughing as she appears non plussed upon seeing The Sydney Opera House from a very nice hotel suite or being in South Bank, Melbourne during the Australian Open. 

I'm ready to make some decisions about our future and what I think is best. I couldn't have done that before. I would be lying if I said I don't have a few ideas up my sleeve but you will just have to wait and see how they materialise, nothing set in stone yet.

I hope you have enjoyed your glimpse of Australia because you have been with us all the way round. I'll be well chuffed if you have lasted this long. I know there is lots that I haven't written down in here but I look forward to catching up and sharing it with you over a large glass of red or white (it has to be from Margaret River or Australian at the very least!) 

We have just under two hours flight time and then I have a car booked to make the final part back up north. Only a 3 hour drive north, that's not even Coffs Harbour to Surfers.......Hmm no surfer dudes either.


We've done it! 

"Pennie And Mollies Big Adventure" is now over.
Xxx

Friday, 23 March 2012

Are you sitting comfortably (part 2)

For the first time in nearly 60 days since arriving in Perth I have woken up this morning and it isn't sunny!!! Ooooh we might get a storm :-)

So much for the next night and part 2! 

I thought I would take the opportunity to sneak on here whilst Mollie was asleep and try to finish off the last of our trips. I reiterate - are you comfy???

Where did I finish off? Oh yes, Albany.

Tripadviser has been really good at delivering lovely wee places that you would never expect to stay in as they aren't in the brochure or they are too small that they go unmentioned. However, there is a lovely wee B&B down on the beach in Albany which is run by an older couple. They were just fab. I got a deal on the room as it was a last minute thing, they recommended a resteraunt in town and even offered to give us a lift in so I could have a glass of vino which I didn't. Breakfast in the morning is cooked by the couple. Mollie was given freshly squeezed apple juice and pancakes which she asked for with fresh strawberries! Lovely. Had it not been for a certain cat called Cubby and  meeting some of George and Ritas friends out at Serpentine then I would have stayed for another night.
The main thing in Albany to do seems to be to visit the Whale World. This isn't a zoo type place with lots of lovely whale types, nope it is the remains of the last whaling station in Australia!! It took ages for Mollie and I to get there but it was well worth it. We took the guided tour around the place (which is set on the most gorgeous beach I may add) which lasted nearly an hour. You are then free to do the film shows and revisit some of the exhibits that were on display. One of the exhibits includes the full skeleton of one of the last whales caught by the men of the station. The film show was really informative about Whales and what happened. I watched Mollies wee face as she realised that people used to kill whales and that some countries still do. The actually place still has all the machinary in place so people can see how things were done. It is well worth a visit if you are passing lol!

We ended up staying at the Whale World for longer than I anticipated as it was soo good and Mollie was obviously enjoying all the artefacts and information that was on display. We also took a wee walk down to the stunning beach at the side of the building. I can't get over how gorgeous the beaches are here. People do look after them.

Right, on the road again from Albany and it is a straight - very straight and long VERY long journey back to Byford on the Albany Highway. In fact in some parts I can see at least 5 miles in front of me, probably more. The neighbour had given me a DVD palyer for Mollie which I think was the one thing that kept us both sane on the drive back. The towns are few and far between on the road. I stopped at one for a rest and to get a bite to eat but there wasn't much on offer to be honest. I checked my phone which has a wee navigation tool on it to see roughly how far I still ahd to go. No reception! I only got receptuion back 30 kilometres from Byford. So, back to the road again. For a long time I passed barely 2 cars. It sort of gives you the feeling that if the car broke down, with no reception and very few passing cars or fuel stops you could be stuck for a while! Hmm, not a nice thought. I eventually pulled back in to Byford at just after 7pm absolutely shattered.

George and Rita have friends about 20mins drive away who are both teachers and so I had arranged to go out and see them - oh and they also had horses which was the main reason. They were just lovely. Chris and Robyn Brown. Mollie and I went initially just for coffee but ended up staying for lunch. They had a collection of horses, chickens, quails, ducks and a rooster which Mollie loved feeding. Hmm, she will be doing something to do with animals when she is older, I can jsut see it.We had a fantastic time there and guess what? More new friends lol

I already had flights booked for Exmouth which is up in the northwest of WA. Towards the end of the week after Margaret River trip a cyclone appears to be heading for North West! Noooooo! Fortunately Cyclone Lua decides to stay up by Broome and then head inland. as a result when I am boarding the plane with Mollie on Sunday 18th March along with 30 other men!!! I ask the stewardess if I'm on the wrong flight (or the right flight?!) and she laughs and say that the cyclone prevented the guys being flown offshore so they were all heading up to Exmouth for chopper flights now. Ahhh!

The flight up to Exmouth is nothing less than spectacular. We fly over turquoise blue water and fire red ground below. I've taken loads of pictures of it so I won't forget but I don't think I will ever forget this.

As we land at the airport which is a tin shed with two doors. Through one doors is arrivals and the other departures. A partition splits the two sides! Anyway, it is roasting hot and I run to get another bottle of water. I try to hire a car with no luck so the wee shuttle bus it is. I have booked The Novotel for 4 nights for Mollie and I which is our last bit of relaxation before the journey home. The hotel is situated right on the beach but also has two pools and views of the sunrise in the morning.
Check in goes smoothly and we are taken up to our room. Before we even get there Mollie spots a lizard. Not a wee 5 cm skink think but a .5m  lizard. I hear "coooool, mum did you see that?!" coming from her. It's already late afternoon and 38 degrees so I need to cool down as does Mollie. Pool it is.
Monday we meet a German / Swiss couple who also have a 4 year old daughter called Ella. Their English is perfect unlike the daughter who doesn't speak or understand a word. We get chatting and before we know it we are all heading to Lakeside Beach which is round in the Cape Range National Park which is full of rugged limestone ranges and 50km of beaches! There is heaps of wildlife including wild emus, lizards and snakes. Don't go wandering off in to the bush is the warning.
The beach itself is gorgeous. Lakeside is one of the flatter ones and doesn't have as much of a rip as some of the others do. The reef is also within 5 mins swimming so we can all go and see it. Mollie has her won wee snorkel set and is delighted to see a ray, nemos, angel fish and other delights. A fab day. Remember what I said about Ella not speaking English? Artilla (husband) and the girls go looking for crabs in the rocks beside us. I watch them trying to work out how to share the bucket. They don't argue as they know they can't understand each other!! So that was Monday. Tuesday was a glass bottom boat out on to Ningaloo Reef. Mollie doesn't snorkel as the cyclone has left the sea quite rough and even I find it quite tiring. There is a strong current too so she stays in the boat with a couple of the guides but she loves watching all the fishes through the glass. She also gets to see some of the photos that the owner, Alek has taken and compiled on his undersea folder. I get a chance to snorkel. The reef is utterly amazing and I would go as far as to say better than the Great Barrier. There are loads of fish, the coral isn't damaged and the colours coming from them are spectacular. But it comes to an end all too quickly.  The afternoon is spent beside the pool where Mollie displays more of her swimming capabilities with dives in and swimming down to touch the bottom of the pool although it is only just over a metre deep.
Wednesday I at last am able to get hold of a car for the day. The comopany gives you "100km free" I laugh as when I drive back round to the Cape National Park to visit some of the other beaches including Turquoise Beach I have already travelled 70kms by the time I reach them. I did look at a place called Coral Bay but that was 150kms south and I didn't come here to drive. It can wait for another time. Turquoise Beach / Bay is a lovely beach with tropical blue water the temperature of a bath! the coral is even closer than Lakeside Beach we were on and to the delight of Mollie we found little holes coming out of the sand. The last of the baby turtles had been making their bid for freedom that morning. We could see the little flipper tracks heading down to the water. If I had been on the ball we should have pitched up earlier and we might ahve seen them. Nevermind. Another fab day on the beach which I may add was nearly empty.

Exmouth is famous for the Whale sharks that come in each year and I did mention them before. When we arrived at the hotel there was a big board at the entrance stating that indeed the whale sharks had been spotted and were in the area. My first thought was "book it!" However, after speaking to the receptionists and some other people I decided against it. A few reasons. The boat has to go quite far out to find them and it can get really rough. With the cyclone passing through the sea was even more choppy. I would be allowed to get in the water but Mollie wouldn't and I felt that I would be too stressed thinking about her on the boat to really think about enjoying the moment. They were also wanting to charge over $200 for her to sit in the boat! So for the moment it's one experience that will have to go on the bucket list and hopefully it won't be there for too long. We will definitely be returning to Ningaloo and if you are ever in Oz I thing you should visit it too!

Well guess what? The sun has finally appeared. The weathr did say that some sort of trough was bringing rain and storms Yippeeeeee! In all the time we have travelled round Oz I ahven't seen a decent storm. I might yet!

Anyway, with 3 days to go packing and cleaning is beckoning. I think I still have it in me and time to do one more posting before we return. But the adventure is nearly at it's end.............................

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Are you sitting comfortably? (part l)

Are you sitting comfortably?? (part 1) 

This is going to be a long un!!! 

I'm aware i have neglected the blog over the last couple of weeks and its not that we havent done anything, the complete opposite. We have been up to loads but time is galloping on. It's hard to believe as I sit on the balcony of the Novotel Ningaloo, looking out onto the Indian Ocean, in 28 degree heat (it was 38 during the day)  but this time next week Mollie and I will be sitting on a plane Scotland bound. I don't think I ever believed that this week would come. but it has and Mollie and I just need to make the most of the last few days we have..........

So, what's been happening? Well I decided to go on a little road trip to a place called Margaret River. The place is a hidden gem!!! It has over 200 wineries with frequent wine tastings and live gigs attracting locals and many from further afield. We headed down on the Monday holiday, Labour day which was a good call. My side of the road heading south was empty but the other side heading north - nose to tail!!!!! Aussies really like heading to this place for a break and I'm not surprised. The area is in the bottom south west of Australia and stretches from Bussleton to Augusta and then along the coast to Albany. I had planned to do a wee circuit which was to follow the road round to Margaret River with a stop in Dunsborough and then Margaret River and then onto Albany. 
The drive down to Dunsborough was fine with the exception of temporarily losing Pob! Mollie left him in a Tourist Info place. Eeeeeeek. A quick turnaround and he was rescued. I don't know who was more upset, Mollie or me. Graham gave Mollie Pob (Pooh Bear) and Tigger when she was born and I suppose it feels as if he is here.

Bussleton has the longest Jetty in Australia I think. We bypassed it due to the Pob incident and headed to Dunsborough. It was no more than three hours driving to get there from Byford which in Scotland can get you to Edinburgh from us (oh yes it can!!!!! Lol) I'm getting used to the fact that to get anywhere here you either fly or drive and be prepared to drive long distances. I found us some accommodation in a reasonable motel and then headed out to have a look. The first thing you notice is that the beaches are STUNNING and the water is just gorgeous. Clear blue, warm and teaming with life. There was even a wee boy fishing off the beach with his mum. Mollie was dying to see what was in his bucket. 
A wee play in the park and then a  nice bistro dinner in the pub next door(The Pour House) Beautiful! 

The drive between Dunsborough and Margaret River is full of things to do. the wineries really kick in but there are also caves, light house, mazes, cheese factory and chocolate factory. Some deserve more time and attention than others of course but we did do it all. I did initially want to just stay for one night at Margaret river but we didn't get a chance to do everything on the drive down so a quick change of plan and we now have an extra night in Margaret River. On the Tuesday after leaving Dunsborough we headed for Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse which Mollie loved. There was a tour that you could do so we did it. We got to go to the top and got to check out the workings of it. It was good. You could see for miles. 
The lighthouse looked down on to a stunning beach called Bunker Bay which again was just beautiful. The temperature, after leaving the lighthouse was climbing so we had a quick bite to eat and then onto the stunning Bunker Bay Beach. There was a bit of a wave which Mollie had great fun on. I didn't want to leave but we had to get a move on. 

The ticket we had for the lighthouse allowed us to get discount into the Ngilgi caves so we departed e lighthouse and headed for there. Its only a 20 minute drive. These caves are awesome. You can decend down to around 30 odd metres down though, at it's deepest it's 50 odd but the public doesn't go that far. The guide explained all the formations we were looking at. They also have a 'fairy' cave which Mollie thought was brill. The deeper down you go your breathing becomes very laboured due to the decreasing oxygen that far down. I got lots of pictures so maybe you Geography types can maybe explain to me again what I was looking at. 

The day was disappearing and I was desperate to find somewhere to stay. We hadn't done any of the play areas, the maze, chocolate factory etc so I was going to have to return to them the following day. I had seen a motel in trip adviser with a good write up so that was it - sorted. So Tuesday had been pretty full on. Wednesday was much the same. We managed to squeeze in; a morning at a maze place. Fab! We got lost!.........a cheese factory, a winery and the Margaret River chocolate factory. I did do tastings as we went round each. I felt ill by the end of Wednesday. I must have done them in the wrong order!!! Anyway, another packed day. Oh, we finished off each day, Tues & Wednesday with a trip to the beach. It's about 15minute drive from Margaret River but again it had powder soft sand and clear blue seas. It got better and better. The drive to the beach is fine except for all the black bare trees. Back in November there was a big bush fire which ran through those parts. It devastated a whole area of bush, shrubbery and trees. It's quite sad. Mollie asked lots of questions about it so it must have affected her too. She did remember about the bush fires in Queensland too.

The drive from Margaret River to Albany is a long one.It took nearly 6 hours and that was with a quick pit stop for fuel and a tree top walk called Valley of the Giants, which was gorgeous but very scary!!! what happens to your fear when you are younger? You have none!!!! As you get older you certainly believe that the metal walkway way above the trees will fall and you with it!!! Hmm, maybe not but it's worth bearing in mind. Back in the car and off to Albany. Alot of the beaches on the coast were actually closed due to the threat of or previous fires that had occurred in the area. 

Eventually we hit Albany. It is a loooooong road. Again no accommodation booked but trip adviser helped us out. A nice b&b down by the beach. 


I'm off to bed so part ll is tomorrow x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Itchy Feet!

I was emailing someone the other day and the reply I got surprised me a little - I was told I had been a bit quiet! lol Maybe I haven't posted as much as when we were on the Eastern coast but then things have also slowed down here.
Evelyn came and I think had a really good time. I took her to some of the places that Mollie and I had already visited including Fremantle, Perth, Armadale, and Rockingham as well as a few places we hadn't. One place  I sort of stumbled upon was  Swan Valley which is nothing short of food heaven (2nd to Margaret River!) It's about an hour north east from Byford and is 30km or so of wineries, cheese places, a chocolate factory, a bee hive place which sold all sorts of different honey and candles and even more wineries. The land gives way to mainly farms and so most of them also sell watermelons, grapes, corn etc from the front of the house. The wineries (have I mentioned them?????) are in abundance!  We stopped in at one called Lancaster and you do literally pitch up, have a few tastings and then decide whether or not you want to buy any. There is no pressure if you don't. You just walk away and roll I mean walk on to the next which is 50m down the road. The travel companies do wine tours and you spend the afternoon walking from one to the next. I did a small tasting of a couple and then bought a couple of gorgeous bottles. BUT I wasn't too bothered as tomorrow Mollie and I are heading off on another wee road trip. I've got itchy feet to get on the road again and realloy to see some decent things you need to be able to do that. So, tomorrow we are heading off to Margaret River which has an abundance of wineries, the main chocolate factory of the Margaret River Chocolate company. there is also beaches in abundance, the Bussleton Jetty which is nearly a mile long (Seriously!! Google it) and lots of other stuff to do so here we go again on our mini adventure.
there is loads to do here but I'm now down to my final three weeks and finances are scraping the barrel so I have had to be select with where we go. I have booked a trip up to a place called Ningaloo Reef where the Whale Sharks come in to feed from March onwards. I'm really hoping that they will be there but the tour guide did say it can be in to April before they arrive. Watch this space. Mollie will just be so excited. She seems to be thriving on an appetite on anything to do with marine life. I did look at driving up to Exmouth but then thought better of it. Had this side of the country been on the first part of our journey no doubt I would have been driving to Broome or Darwin (not actually recommended by the way!) As daring as I am I'm not that daft and besides we are near the end of our trip and I don't fancy 15 hours on a dusty, dry road up north. Flights are booked and we head there in two weeks time.

Today was a lazy day down at Rockingham Beach which was packed with families which was lovely to watch. No jelly fish which made it even nicer. The families all gather down on the grassy area behind the beach with their eskies and picnic hampers and fold away chairs and get settled for the day. It's a holiday tomorrow, Labour day (they get countless holidays here) and so many families tend to get together and enjoy beach  and BBQ time and make a family gathering out of it. This is one of the last holidays before heading in to Autumn / Winter time. I did laugh when I saw the winter stock hitting the shops the other day. Leggings, woolly jumpers, hats all in the windows of the shops. The minimum it normally gets to here is 12 degrees. Last time I heard it was something like that in Scotland and most folk were out with short sleeved tops on! It's still a while off  before the temps drop here anyway. It was a balmy 35 degrees today and tomorrow I think it's to get warmer.
I'm quite looking forward to our little trip down south. Do me a favour. Next time you go to the wine section in Asda or Tescos try and find some wine from either Swan Valley or Margaret River. You won't regret it  - promise.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Changes

It has hit me today that in 5 weeks time Mollie and I will be on a plane back to the UK and I hate to say but..........I don't want to!

I'm aware that I haven't written for a wee while. I'm not sure what has prompted me to do so but things have slightly changed from my original plans. We have still to hit the Margaret River region but that is on the cards next week for sure. The weather will hopefully be somewhat cooler than it has been. We also have someone staying with us at the moment, my mother in law Evelyn. I invited her out to show her some of the sights here as I knew she had never been this far and I suppose to show her what life has been like for Mollie and I and how happy we are. Sadly there is now a tinge of regret as it's not going as well as I hoped but then what did I expect?

Anyway, Mollie and I have still had the opportunity of exploring lots of places. We have had quite a few beach days at Rockingham, Cottesloe and Mandurah. The beaches here are stunning but I think I have already said they are some distance away. But Mollie and I have had some fantastic free days on them so that makes them worthwhile. Oh! Remember that snarky thing I mentioned before? Well it's still there!!!! I couldn't swim 300m out to a small pontoon raft which was anchored just off of the beach! I'm not sure if I'm paranoid or over cautious! But then the wee shark lookout helicopter flew overhead so I was happy to think I can try it another day.......Maybe!

We have also headed into Perth on three occasions now. It doesnt have the same vibe that Melbourne does but it is an up and coming city with expansion constantly happening. The city is lovely as it sits on the Swan River. If you look at a map you will see that the river looks exactly like the shape of a swan hence the name. I took Mollie to a park the other day within the Kings Park called Synergy Park. It was fab with loads of climbing things and swings and walking things to do. As I looked around people were actually holding their kids parties in the park. The free BBQ facilities which the council provide make it so easy to do. (Don't think the Moray Council budget would entertain that idea this year) anyway, a fab time there and today we visited Fremantle on the train. It took a bit of time getting there and maybe I should have taken the car but Fremantle doesn't make it easy for you to park. It is hideously expensive and limited spaces. So it's less hassle to take the train. Fremantle is full of coffee shops, boutiques, side streets oh and the most fantastic shop if you are the mother of a small girl!!!! We came across a shop called The Pickled Fairy. It was fab! Full of fairy dresses, glitter, wands, wings, tiaras, sparkly slippers. There was even a lucky dip bag where you could pay $2 and receive a little prize! We will return to Fremantle very soon and I suspect a fairy dress might be making it's way back to Scotland. Anyway, google it and see what you think.

I know we still have 5 weeks to go but I'm aware that it will pass in no time - just like the last four and a half months have. I can't believe it. Mollie has changed so much and grown. She talks ALL THE TIME!! She is definitely not shy now! Me? I've changed too! A bit more confident and a bit more able to take on what life can throw at me but mostly I've started to enjoy life again. I haven't done that for a while. So, we still have a road trip to do and then possibly a wee return trip to Melbourne!!! We shall see! One thing is for sure. We will be cramming as much as we can into the next 5 weeks. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Perth

We have now landed in Perth and have been for a little over a week and so thought I would expand a bit on where we are and what our plans are for the next wee while.

We left Melbourne on Saturday 28th January (where on earth did January go to? This has been the quickest January EVER!) on a flight at 6.15am. With the flight time and the time difference we actually landed in Perth at 7.05 am! It was going to be a long day!

The reason we are in Perth is another home exchange but this time the people are actually coming to Scotland!! The owners, George and Rita, we have gotten to know fairly well over the last few months. They are a lovely couple. Originally from Liverpool but left back in the 70s to head here. when we met them at the airport I swore they had just stepped off a plane from England! their accents haven't changed!!

A quick run down of the house and the area. We are staying in an area south east of Perth city called Byford. Armadale seems to be the next biggest town to here. There is nothing really in Byford, it is classed as rural but not bush! You have to go another hour inland to be 'bush' The house is in a quiet and fairly new development. Prior to the houses being built the area was just vast open fields filled with kangaroos! Guess what? the kangaroos are still here ! When we arrived George had around 6 in his garden quite happily munching on his shrubs. The house has a lovely verandah out the back which looks on to the remainder of the field. I think George said something about it being developed for an old folks home which will be a shame. Every day so far Mollie and I have loved watching them hopping around. they are quite cheeky as you can see them in peoples gardens or hopping over the fences. I am unsure as to how to upload pictures on this otherwise I would get a few up. Anyway, they are very cute to watch as they sunbathe under the trees.

The house as I said is lovely. Open plan living with bedrooms off to the sides of the house. The verandah at the back of the house looks on to Georges immaculate garden with Frangipanis and Honeysuckle type flowers. As I sat on the big comfy chair I was hit with all the tropical smells. Lush! they also have a swinging chair in the garden which is lovely to sit and read in mid afternoon. The temperatures when Mollie and I arrived were actually up in to the high 30s thankfully for the last few days it has come down to high 20s though this week I see it is starting to climb again.

Since we have arrived Mollie and I have already been invited to a couple of BBQs with the neighbours and been asked to stand in on a volleyball game!!  I have been looking at things to do and places to see in this area and sadly the things to see and do are huge distances away so Mollie and I are going to hit the road again for a few days - not right now but soon! In the south there is an area called Margaret River region which has an abundance of wineries and food type places. It's also very pretty. Then there is the North and a place called Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef where you can snorkel with the Whale Sharks! Unfortunately we have missed them but the reef still looks fab. the distance to get there though is pretty big. No bigger than anything I have already tackled but not sure if I'm up for another monster drive. So I don't know. Margaret River is a must and we can do that in a 3-4 day round trip. Hmm but Shark Bay does look pretty cool!

We do have a charge to look after! A ragdoll cat called Cubby who is just lovely. He prefers to sleep in the bathroom sink all curled up. He isn't getting much peace at the moment with Mollie trying to give him lots of cuddles. He did a disappearing act yesterday which did cause me to panic! Eeeeek! I knew this trip was going too smoothly! But thankfully he did turn up today. I have spoken with George and Rita and they seem to have settled in well to Scotland. The heating is working (phew!) and the wine rack is fully stocked. They will be fine.

So this is our last stop before we head back to Glasgow. I really can't believe where the time has gone BUT that is still 7 weeks away. Lots of time to do lots of exploring and wine tasting. Oh if you are ever looking for a good wine you won't go wrong with a Sauv Blanc from Marlborough Region (NZ)  or the Margaret River region. (WA) I wonder if I can sneak a few celler door type bottles in my bag?
Right, I promised Mollie a beach day tomorrow so I'm off to get the bag ready. Enjoy the snow folks
Pennie
xxx