Ok, first of all, no whinging about how long this post has been in coming. I've been a bit busy! Secondly, there's a lot to cover so I'll have to do several posts to cover everything so just bear with me. Thirdly, there will be lots of photos which will either be a blessing or a curse depending on how fast your internet connection is ;-)
So, where to begin? Sunday the 5th of October is probably as good a place as any.
I was extremely excited when I got up that morning because I'd been looking forward to this visit for over two years! I'd really missed Boo and Mouse and couldn't wait to see them again.
I'd had a bit of last minute cleaning to take care of but really, all I was trying to do was bide my time until they arrived. Barb came round to help stop me from going stir crazy and eventually the morning passed and it was time to go to the airport.
I met Smerk at the airport and we didn't have long to wait as the plane Boo and Matt were on arrived about ten minutes early. There was lots of hugging and jumping up and down and 'oh God, I can't believe your/I'm here!'s (Looking back it was bit odd to see Matt so excited ;-) lol). We all headed back to my house for dinner and before long it was time to go back to the airport to pick up Mouse and Chris. Smerk had to give this a miss as she had to work the following day so it was just Boo and I as the greeting party.
There was a slight hiccough on the way as the airport was blocked off (apparently there was a fire but as yet we have found no evidence of this and seen no news reports) but it was opened soon after and we got there with plenty of time to spare.
Mouse and Chris arrived, tired after a day spent sightseeing in Sydney and there was yet more hugging and jumping up and down and so forth.
Being dark Mouse and Chris didn't get to see much of the scenery on the way home but since almost every airport in the world is set in dodgy looking industrial type of areas, Perth being no exception, they weren't really missing much.
When we got home, Christian and Matt were playing guitar hero and would you believe my rude husband finished his song first before meeting them??? Trust me, there were words later on that night!
The following day we'd had planned to go to Caversham Wildlife Park but decided against this as everyone was a bit tired and decided that the park could wait until later on in the week. Instead we went and visited Barb, who was very excited at meeting the gang, and then we did a bit of shopping. There was much hat buying with Matt finally finding a hat that would squeeze onto his abnormally large head and Boo and I bought matching black hats from the mens department of Big W.
After shopping we headed home for a traditional Aussie barbie which included sun, flies and sausages as opposed to a Scottish barbie which is cold, wet and windy.
At this point I realised I'd taken hardly any photos and made us girls pose for a shot.
With everyone rested and starting to aclimatise we decided to catch the train into the city and have a looksie around. First up we went to the museum and did all the normal museumy things and then we went to Red Stripe Clothing where the boys all sat around looking awkward and bored while we girls drooled over shoes and clothes that none of us could afford.
We grabbed some lunch and headed down to the Supreme Court Gardens to eat and get some photos with the roos there and to have a look at the Gumnut Baby garden.
This is Boo and I with the mummy roo and her joey.
Matt riding a roo.
Afterwards we walked down and had a look at the Bell Tower (which was extremely different to what the Scots thought it would be), walked up through London Court (aka Diagon Alley) and then Mouse and I headed off to do some girly shopping for shoes and Boo joined the boys for a look around. After finishing up the day in Freaks and Geeks we hopped back on the train and headed home.
When I went to Edinburgh my Mum had come with me and although she only stayed two nights there (she spent the rest of the time in Ireland) she became very fond of Boo and Mouse. So we had planned to go and look around my beloved hills and to visit my Mum on Wednesday.
First stop was Jacoby Park where we jumped the pipeline, climbed up through the pine forest and walked up to North Ledge where there is a wonderful view of the weir and the surrounding bushland. The best view of the bush is to be had from atop some great big granite rocks and Mouse and I were brave enough to clamber up onto them (although I must say Christian was really nervous about me climbing up so high when I'm not known for my grace and balance).
This is Mouse peering over the edge.
Boo and Matt climbed up onto some lower rocks while Christian and Chris preferred to stay on solid ground.
I don't know what Boo and Matt were pointing at when I took this photo...
After North Ledge we headed down to the actual weir and wandered down to the weir wall. This photo was taken in the middle of the wall at the pump station which can also be seen behind Boo in the next photo.
Boo, like me is a little bit scared of heights and so this is to prove just how brave she was, walking out over the scary wooden walkway bit of the wall.
Mouse and Matt are not scared of heights and so they have a good peer over the edge.
We looked around the weir for roos (proper ones that are alive, not bronze ones) but couldn't find any and so we headed over to my Mum's place. Mum was almost as excited as I had been to see Boo and Mouse and really enjoyed catching up with them. We took a drive out to Lake Leschenaultia and walked right around the lake and the Scots liked it so much we decided then to return the next day to have bbq and go canoeing.
We headed back to Mum's place and had a heap of fun playing on the trampoline.
Apparently not everyone there that day had been on one before and so we had a great laugh. After a while we ended up playing a game where one person was on the trampoline and the rest of us would stand outside throwing balls at that person. Considering our collective skill level at throwing balls compared to any animal that lacks opposable thumbs, the person on the trampoline pretty much had the advantage. Until that is Mum handed my her gym ball. 40cm of bright pick plastic. Oh yeah! Any advantage gained was rapidly lost!
That night Mum insisted on shouting us all pizza for dinner from Little Caesars, a local pizza shop that has won awards at the World Pizza Championships in New York (and completely different to the pizza franchise in the US). We all ate way too much pizza but really made ourselves sick with the dessert pizzas. I'm drooling just now at the thought of an upside down lemon cheesecake pizza or a honey-mud chocolate pizza :-D
After dinner, Mum made it her mission for the gang to see some roos. So we took off, Mouse and Chris in Mum's car, Boo and Matt with me (Christian stayed home since he was tired and full and has seen heaps of roos) and drove around streets of Mt Helena, trying to catch sight of some wildlife.
We drove around for probably 40 minutes and after a while we lost track of where Mum had gotten to. We didn't see anything although we may have been involved in a hit-and-run with Kermit. I tried my best to serve to miss him but the little guy was leaping periliously close to my tyres...
After returning to Mum's we discovered that they had had no luck either with the roo sightings and I think at that point the Scots may have started to think that we had been making the whole thing up and that roos didn't really exist! I tried to assure them that we Aussies haven't been playin an elaborate joke on the rest of the world for over two hundred years but I don't think I had much luck...
Thursday morning started off pretty crap. Christian's Mum rang and informed us that Christian's Nonno was in hospital and that there was a good chance he wouldn't survive much longer, especially since he had complications with a hip replacement. Christian booked a flight to Adeleiade for that afternoon and would be gone all weekend. I have only met Nonno a few times but he's the sweetest man. It was a very sad morning for Christian and I.
Christian insisted we still go to the lake that day for a bbq even though he couldn't make it and so the five of us crammed into my car and we set off. Thus began four days of squished car trips. My car is a Corolla GTi and it's not really made to fit five fully grown adults comfortably. Let' just say that tempers became slightly frayed at the edges over those few days.
It was a nice warm day and the Scots were looking forward to going for a swim. It was warm but no where near hot enough for me to swim but we all wanted to go canoeing. We got there just in time to hire a canoe before they closed up for the day and so we all headed out for a turn. First out was an all girl affair as we paddled across the lake, hopeless at steering and wandering everywhere but where we wanted to go.
We came back in and Boo and Matt had a go.
Then Mouse and Chris ventured out.
With all the dramas of the morning we'd ended up getting to the lake rather late and so our bbq was an early dinner type of affair. We finished up there about 5pm and dusk was not far away. I was hellbent on seeing some roos in their natural habitat and so I bullied everyone into getting out of the water and into the car so we could head back to the weir. Dawn and dusk is when most of our native animals are the most active and I knew we'd have a pretty good chance of seeing some roos on the main lawn at the weir.
Boy did we ever! There were heaps of them! And almost every single one we saw had a joey in it's pouch! Even though lots of people go to the weir to see the roos, they're still wild animals and are quite timid around people. We managed to stay quiet enough to get within several metres of them and we got some great photos. This one is my favourite.
While we were at Mum's on Wednesday we'd come to the conclusion that if we didn't make a proper itinerary we were just not going to get everything done that we wanted too. Most of the things on the list were slotted in on random days, it not being important when we did them, just that we did. Some things however had been decided upon before anyone had even set foot on a plane. Spending time with Smerk was one of those things. Since Smerk had wasted her precious holidays gallivanting off to the US to spend time with her furure fiance (I know, can you believe it? We're so much more important than Acci!) we had to make sure that we did all of our catching up with Smerk on the weekends. So we had planned to go out to dinner on Friday night and then head out to the casino afterwards.
Nothing much had been planned for Friday morning or arvo and so we just did a bit of taking it easy. After taking Boo and Matt on a much needed bank run, I spent the afternoon going hiking with Mouse and Chris. We went on the hike I do quite regularly which heads up the hill, up through John Forrest National Park to the falls and then back along the heritage trail that runs through the old train tunnel.
This is the view of the brook from one point along the trail.
It was quite a warm day and Mouse and I managed to get quite spectacularly sunburnt. I posted a photo of us over on facebook but I don't think Mouse was too happy with that (even though I think she looks cute) so I won't risk life and limb by reposting it here ;-P
I will post the one I took of her and Chris at the base of the falls. Although 'falls' isn't the best way to describe them at that point in time. We'd had a very dry winter and so there really wasn't much water flowing over them then. It rained the entire time I was in Canada and since I've been back I've gone on the hike and I must say the falls look much better now.
We risked the walk through the tunnel (you can go around but where's the fun?) and managed to make it in one piece to the other side.
We got back home and us girls went into a frenzy of preparation. We'd all decided on a bit of a goth theme for the evening and so there were lots of corsets and big shoes and pretty skirts. We met up with Smerk at The Olive Tree restaurant and had the yummiest dinner, I just love it there. It's quite a nice place and I noticed when we went in that we got a few funny looks from a large table near the door, most likely because of the way we dressed. As the evening wore on I also noticed that they became rowdy and rude whereas we were quiet and awfully polite. Just goes to show doesn't it?
After dinner we headed to the cas but really, it was quite crap. They've 'revamped' it and now it's just pokies, pokies, pokies. There's no fun in that. Matt had a go on one (because there was nothing else to have a go on) and managed to win two bucks. Success! Before the house became mad at us with our huge winnings we decided to scarper but not before getting a photo in the lobby.
And I shall leave it at this for now my dears. I will let this marinate for a suitable time and then will dazzel you with my next installment.