This is a long-ish post – sorry but just warning you… has been over a month since I last wrote which is because we have been very busy with a range of dramas outlined here. Port Hedland was a mix. Camped at the PH golf Club, very basic, dusty and windy, much mitigated by meeting Roy Smith, artist signwriter and his partner Deidre. They travel in a bus covered in tromp l’oeil images (sic) – fabulous – funny and light. The market at the Yacht Club was a bit ordinary, a whatnot with all the uranium glass was knocked over, lost some beautiful pieces, then I had an ‘attack’, finished up in the PH hospital, not as bad as the last one and much supported by Deidre, an ex-nurse. We also didn’t sell much. So ever onwards, this time to Cleaverville – a good camp site close to the beach, good shade and composting toilets. We thought we had reached Nirvana, sat outside and enjoyed the dusk and sunsets but on the second night, there was no breeze and we were driven indoors by the sand flies, midgies they call them here. It was a hot night so we slept in the nick with coils burning and windows open. Sleep was fitful, Alan tossed and turned and complained of being itchy, we slathered ‘No Itch’ all over ourselves… In the morning Alan felt better but I had started to itch. They had come in clouds through the mosquito netting… Everyone in the camp site had a story to tell about their night with the midgies… most were on their way to another spot!
We went on to Roebourne and Wickham (sounding like Jane Austen?) . Roebourne was fascinating, the original prison with a good little museum and authentic artefacts. We were heading for an evening market at Wickham, a mining town with little to recommend it except a fabulous grassy footy field for the market and very pleasant organisers who delivered the crowds. By this time I was itching more and more, took what anti-histamines I had but was in serious discomfort. Finally went to the hospital writhing and scratching but as it was only insect bites and there were sick people waiting at A&E I had to wait. Three hours later a doctor saw me and was horrified to see the state of my skin – scalp to toes covered in large red weals! Anyway she gave me a prescription for a cortisone based medicine and a better anti histamine and I slept OK and healed.
The country was typical Pilbara – lots of red sand and all sorts of interesting trees. https://picasaweb.google.com/105183160149035139526/BroomeToPortHedlandSeptOct2014?authuser=0&feat=directlink
As usual the pictures tell a better story. We had a look at Exmouth, Al still looking for a surf but there was nothing free around there. We did find a sort of sand quarry a way off the road, wonderful yellow sand and spent a night there until someone came over to us and told us we were on private land. so we decided not to stay much longer. It was a good spot and unfortunately is in the pictures I lost. Don’t know what I did but erased a lot of lovely pictures and now in hindsight can’t remember all the places we stopped at, there is a blank in a whole leg of the trip. Sorry. And even sorrier for me. We headed for Gerraldton where we knew we could do a market.
On the way through we stopped at Bowes River, an informal spot on a cliff overlooking the beach near Horrocks. This was something of an adventure, there was a group of young people, ‘backpackers’ is their generic name but they were actually travelling in their own vehicles, they’d found each other on Gumtree. They were very jolly and invited us to join them, they dragged whole dead trees into their camp behind their 4 X 4’s for their camp fires. They liked Bella and threw sticks for her. However it was here that I actually lost the pictures.
All the pictures of wild flowers are an attempt to make up for the ones I lost but I never covered the same ground… there was one flower I particularly wanted to share, these are the links to the images
but frankly neither one does the plant justice as my pictures had done! Not bragging, a fact! Anyway I mourned that loss but had a soul filled with beauty from looking at them and hope you will enjoy my pictures of the other flowers. Eventually I will get round to naming them. It was like a ‘fynbos’ feast that went on for days and days!! My South African readers will know what I mean, the Western Cape fynbos belt is gorgeous at this time of the year and of course earlier but this is hundreds of times more extensive and even here near Perth there is much to delight the eye.
In Geraldton we stayed in the Drummond Cove caravan park. We agreed that it was the best so far, modest price, our site was close to good clean amenities and so peaceful, we were almost completely unaware of our neighbours, Bella hardly barked at all and a wonderful walk to the beach was part of the perks not to mention the quaint garden sculptures in all sorts of unexpected spots and an interesting aviary, not that I particularly love looking at birds behind bars which made taking pictures impossible. The time spent in Geraldton led to us doing two weeks of markets and selling our trusty Tardis and buying another vehicle. Alan had hankered for a 4 wheel drive and for a vehicle with more power. he found an ex-RAAF ambulance that seemed to fit the bill, a Ford F150 V8. He went to Perth to fetch it and returned excited about it. I was less excited especially when I discovered that it did 3 kms to the litre!! It was also smaller than the other one so we had to do some expensive culling of stock and other items. We bled our way to Perth and arrived at Jubb Road where we are still.
Cutting a long story short we traded the ambulance in on another ex ambulance, a sprinter this time, not 4 wheel drive but more powerful and large enough to take double what we now have to fill it. All good except that the cost is enormous. Wish we could just put it down to bi-polar moments and move on but it all has to be paid for and we are confronting that with our usual determination. So we are at Jubb Road where we are looked after by the wonderful Viv and Ray, who take the rent and an interest in our doings. They also buy stuff off us. This is 100 acres of land containing an olive orchard, a dam and lots of trees mostly jarrah, railway sleepers used to be made of this timber. We are close enough to most things and surrounded by peace. The black cockatoos come over every evening and I am challenged to get a picture of this daily migration. The 28s (Australian Ring-Necked parrots) are plentiful and too beautiful, their green is like jewels. This picture is the best for showing the glow of their plumage.
I have a picture of them too but not as good as this one. The down sides are that there are no amenities except water, so we are learning to use our portable toilet to the best advantage and our little generator is doing a good job. At first neither the TV phones nor internet worked but we have been able to upgrade the phone so now some of that is solved. It seems to work and provide internet connectivity. We have spent ages on getting the new van ready, Al has put in the shelves we need to store the tables and stuff in the front, Ray made a cargo barrier, we had to get a tow bar and yesterday the auto electrician fitted the electric braking system. We have also covered the windows with some banner fabric bought at the Tip Shop. Theoretically we are good to move on to a free spot if we can find one, but don’t really want to move, we are comfortable here and Bella roams free and is friends with the other dog on the place.
There have been some sadnesses as well which seem to hit us harder as we age and take longer to become philosophical about… our friend Esme Matshikiza lost her grandson in a car crash in Johannesburg, so sad, a lovely young man, married a year to a schoolday sweetheart and then Steve’s (our son-in-law) dad died last weekend. Never easy to lose a friend and all at such a distance so no possibilities to grieve together. Although Richard, Steve’s brother lives in Perth and we hope to see him soon when he gets back from SA.
In the meantime I have sent a first draft of my first chapter to my supervisors and anxiously await feedback and try to go on but somehow I don’t know where to go and what to do, so taking a little break and reading lots of police procedurals etc… available cheaply in op shops, then I sell them at the markets! Sorry this has been a bit long but I will try and write more regularly and often and so shorter pieces.