Don’t let the title put you off – the “good” accounts for over 95% of this week’s adventures here in Western Australia. Today in particular has been a really fantastic day that just kind of happened in an unplanned kind of way. The loose plan had been to visit a couple of wineries around Donnybrook – a place most Australians have never even heard of even though it lays claim to the following:
1. It is the home of the Granny Smith apple and where Lady Williams apples were developed.
2. It is famous for its sandstone which has been used to face a number of high profile buildings across the state.
3. It has the largest free fun park for children in Australia.
So here we are in this little big town killing a few days so we don’t get to our Christmas destination too quickly. Mike does his usual homework to see what cycle tracks, walking trails and producers of alcoholic beverages are within easy reach and decides today we’ll visit a couple of boutique wineries (just for a change)! We cycle up a very steep hill to Barton Jones’s Cellar Door only to find it no longer opens on a Monday. It changed hands a couple of weeks ago and the new owners have decided to only open Friday to Sunday. Never mind, says the lady owner, as soon as my husband gets here with the keys we can open up and serve you something to drink and eat if you’ll just bare with us. So glad we did. We were there for a good two hours sampling incredible wines and hearing how Preeti (an anaesthetist from Reading, Berkshire) and hubby Brad came to be owners of this amazing vineyard. The Cellar Door is literally a house built of straw bales, covered in limestone and the views outside where we sat and had lunch were lush. Lunch was quickly rustled up and included yummy local cured meats, sheep’s milk brie, home made humous, chutney, olives and extra scrummy sun dried tomatoes. We added three more bottles to our Christmas wine cellar – a white, a rose and a red!
Just prior to the weekend where it rained on and off for two whole days, we had several scorching hot days in Busselton. Strange as it may sound, for the first time ever this trip, I actually felt as though I was on holiday! Most of the time we rock up in a new place, go adventuring (!!!), do a bit of shopping and laundry and then move on. The Caravan Park we stayed at in Busselton was very quiet (no kids or pets) and it had a beautiful swimming pool with sun loungers that were all unoccupied (no Germans!!!). I spent two afternoons lolling around, taking the odd dip in the solar heated pool (it was actually too hot) and did some Christmas beading. It was wonderful. We also did a long cycle ride one day and ended up at a gorgeous beach where I stripped off and went for a swim. Don’t worry, I had my cossie with me! There was a conveniently located wooden bench for Mike which had a carved out bit with instructions to “Place Cold Beer Here” and a bottle opener fixed to the arm rest! So Aussie.
Son-in-law Ben promised us mango trees growing by the sides of the road all over Australia. No sign of that here but we are enjoying the local cherries which are a big thing out here at Christmas time and the Jacaranda trees are now in full bloom. All very pretty.
Not so pretty are the make-overs some fences and trees get whether it be underwear or soft toys. Today it was gruesome looking teddies that adorned the fence round the sandstone quarry. Why spoil this lovely countryside I ask?
The not so good story of the week was the wee problem we had with our freezer door. Mike went to get me an ice cube for my gin and tonic and he couldn’t get the door open. Sought advice from the RV dealership and Facebook Groups and in the end had to do a 300 kilometre round trip to a specialist service agent who diagnosed the problem, took over an hour to prise the freezer door open and removed the broken travel lock. A new part has been ordered and we should get this fitted in the New Year at a repair shop more local to where we’ll be staying. Meantime freezer is still working (ice cubes for me, Magnum ice creams for Mike) and gaffer tape keeps the door shut tight while we’re pootling along.