My daughter and family flew back to Sydney yesterday but their three and a half week visit has left us with so much more than a collection of wonderful photographs. Alongside the children’s laughter, cuddles, squabbles and playfulness, we have a whole new collection of precious memories to keep us going. There was the time, for example, when Sophie challenged a shop assistant who was dressed to the nines as a fairy. “You’re not a real fairy”, said Sophie. “Yes I am” said the lady. “Where are your wings then?” said Sophie. “Here” said the lady doing a twirl and showing Sophie her floppy sewed on fairy wings. The look of utter disgust on Sophie’s face was priceless. Then there was the time when after finding an actual creepy crawly in my hair Jenny massaged Moov Head Lice Solution into my scalp. A passerby commented how lucky I was to be being treated to a head massage by my lovely daughter – if only she knew. No requirement to visit the parlour next door which went by the interesting name of Cockburn Massage!!!
Jura coped well with the additional demands of catering for six rather than two when it came to serving up meals, toileting little people and providing shade from the scorching sun. Our visitors were less impressed by the fridge and freezer which did not keep up with the extra demands for ice cold water, beer, wine and ice cubes! The oven also played up under the very windy conditions and kept going out when Jenny was trying to roast veggies. Still, we did enjoy some great camp meals including paella, roast lamb and a delicious chicken salad. Eating out was also fun and we got to enjoy some peaceful meals when the children adopted my pastime of looking for sea glass. Fremantle had an excellent spot and the real thrill was that Sophie and Charlie each found a small piece of very rare sapphire blue sea glass that trumps anything I’ve found to date!
We travelled up the Sunset Coast and have seen some awesome sunsets. It has been good to move on again and we enjoyed the waterside vibe in Mandurah. Fremantle gave us the opportunity to visit Perth and then Rottnest Island which was a real highlight for all of us. The scenery was simply stunning. We took our electric bikes over on the ferry which made travelling round the island very pleasurable. We did feel a bit guilty though as Ben pedalled up some steep slopes dragging two little munchkins behind him! All worthwhile though to see their excitement at coming face to face with the friendly quokkas.
Putting up and taking down the two tents every couple of days was a bit of a chore for Jen and Ben but they seemed to enjoy the change of scenery after two weeks in Bunbury compound! Being together on the one site gave us a chance for some good quality time together, pair off in different groupings and share some fabulous experiences. At Burns Beach we were situated right on the sea front by a super cycle track. Yanchep National Park provided the opportunity to see kangaroos and koalas in the wild and for the McGregors to hang from the trees like monkeys. I was given responsibility for chaperoning Sophie round the two children’s courses and was amazed that such a wee person could smash it (as they say over here)!
Aside from the memories, the McGregors left us with some things they didn’t want to take home. My daughter knows how much I hate waste and so leftover conditioner, shampoo, olive oil and such like has been decanted into our bottles so as not to take up too much space. They also didn’t drink all the wine we’d bought so Mike and I can continue savouring some of the delicious wines we picked up en route. We didn’t visit Swan Valley in the end – perhaps a reason to come back over here in future. The generous thing Ben left behind was a better working knowledge of Jura. In particular he paired up my phone with the Blue Tooth radio both inside and outside the van and figured out how to switch on the LED awning lights so we can party to our heart’s content. We are set up with a new mallet and tyre pressure gauge and on future campsites we’ll be looking out for trees on which to hang the hammock.
Since saying cheerio yesterday, we have put a few kilometers between ourselves and Perth and are on the Turquoise Coast. The journey took us past many hills that looked like they were covered in snow but were actually sand dunes. We stopped in Nambung National Park and were taken aback by the sandscape which are The Pinnacles. We haven’t planned out our route for the next tranche yet but we’re now officially half way through our twelve month visa though technically not half way round. ‘Technically’ and ‘actually’ were two words the children used a lot – ahhh the memories just keep on comin’.