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Published: August 9th 2012
Moving nowhere fast
That's us! (that's a koala by the way - not the most exciting of animals to see!)
Howdy folks, it's been a while but we're back on the blogging scene at long last! Sorry for the delay, my fault entirely for various reasons: nothing too exciting to write about (yes we are STILL in Perth!), no internet access at times and, quite frankly, I've had more enticing things to do, such as reading, dog walking, drinking coffee, playing netball and now of course watching the Games! Since I moaned about not doing any blogs, M has foregone all responsibility and left it to me to entertain you. Will make sure he's back for the next one mind cos I don't add enough nuance apparently!
It's been nearly three months since our last blog, and in that time we've had the Jubilee celebrations, the football, the tennis and now the Olympics. Bet most of that seems like a lifetime ago now, and I must admit watching the Jubilee (and now Olympics) on TV over here created (small) pangs of regret that we weren't there to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the flag-waving and share in the pride of being British. But nevermind, there'll be another Jubilee in ten year's time (or a coronation even sooner)!
Another Oz icon ticked off the list!
At Yanchep NP, near Perth. Koala's aren't native to WA (eastern parts only) but are doing pretty well here
you're all well and enjoying the odd days/hours/minutes of summer as and when they occur! Although there has been some continuous heavy rain and grey miserable days here the weather has largely been lovely, warm and sunny, just like an English summer should be. Yet they still insist on calling it winter and wearing big coats and ugg boots, even having 'winter festivals' with ice rinks and 'Christmas in July' events so they can get a roast dinner in before it hots up again.
So, this is an update on what we have been doing since our last blog, which ended on our return to Perth after our jaunt up north. That was over three months ago, and since then, M has searched for and attempted several jobs whilst we continued staying with Leeann before, more recently, striking out on our own and doing a spell of house and pet sitting in different locations around Perth.
When we returned to Perth in early May, M spent much time and effort looking and applying for various jobs (he had a holiday-work visa and was keen to try and use it), from call centre operators (groan) to a marketing role
Hangin' out with the crew
These trees are called black boys and you can see why!
for a boutique tea company (and they were still keen after he told them he doesn't drink tea!). For a while, it wasn't looking too promising (unreliable agencies, too many others looking etc) and we were starting to make plans to leave Perth for good (yes really!) in June. However, in the space of one day, he was suddenly attending interviews, invited to other interviews and even being offered jobs!
It was suddenly all or nothing, putting us in a conundrum about whether to stay and see what happens or go as planned. The potential to earn Aussie $$ is/was always a strong draw in these expensive times, so he decided to go for the call centre job (oh no!) whilst waiting for another (more interesting) job to come up trumps. The call centre job was for a national telecommunications company contacting existing customers and asking/persuading them to upgrade their services, with commission-based pay. Totally not what anyone would want to do, but M didn't think it would be so bad, maybe not such a hard sell, and maybe even a challenge he would enjoy and excel at (the company seemed to think his English accent would be an
Who's a pretty boy then?
A ring-necked parrakeet looking for scraps
advantage over an Indian one!). So he went along for the first day of training, and after recieving a 40-page contract to sign with all sorts of clauses, he promptly changed his mind and walked out!
However, the more interesting job that he was hoping for came up trumps, delivering IT training for various employees of companies in the area. The guy who ran the training company seemed very keen and enthusiastic about the potential for lots of work. M went to a few training sessions himself to learn what it was he was gonna teach others, but unfortunately, his boss and indeed the whole operation was a bit unorganised, and what seemed at first like a promising venture, turned out to be lots of talk and little action. So after being messed around one too many times, M jacked that job in as well.
Around the same time, M had also got in contact with a house and pet sitting agency, who organise sitters, such as ourselves, to mind people's houses and beloved pets whilst they're away on holiday. We, certainly I, needed a change of scene - we'd been getting too comfortable at Leeann's and I
Looks like a dinosaur
was getting restless - M was off having fun gallavanting for jobs and I was still chief cleaner back at the ranch - so the opportunity to do some housesitting was like a breath of fresh air, providing a temporary diversion whilst figuring out when and how to leave Perth!
So in early July we started a two-week housesit in Kwinana, a suburb a few miles south of Perth, not far from the coast. We also had the use of a car, which was great, and we used it most days to take Louis, the dog we were looking after, for walkies. He was great fun and loved playing footie with his beloved Arsenal ball, of all teams! We had a great time living independently (even if it did mean spending money on provisions for the first time in ages!), going for walks each day on the beach or sports fields, having a kick around and generally doing our own thing. It was also nice to be in a proper house with everything under one roof, as opposed to staying in a caravan and having to trek across the garden for the outdoor loo, kitchen etc. There was also
Twisty at Leeann's
Him and Rosie = animal bliss!
a hot tub in the garden, so we made good use of that, and I can't decide whether tea and biccies or a glass of fizz is better in hand when taking a dip - true decadence!
This was followed by a one-week sit in an apartment in a posh part of town called Claremont, with many cafes and close to the river, looking after a 17-year old diabetic cat that required two insulin injections a day. I decided to let M take ownership of that particular task, and luckily for us, the cat held on for another week in our company, even when the owner's flight was delayed by a day due to poor weather. On her return the owner complained that the cat was underdosed and listless, which we refuted completely - every night the cat was up and about walking over our heads and keeping us awake! The housesitting agent agreed with us as she had luckily visited us and seen the cat for herself so we think the woman was trying it on and probably peed off about her delayed flights and extra money spent. It was great to be more central so we could
And an even more colourful window, at Leeann's
easily get to places like Fremantle for half-price Mexican meals and the city centre for a modern art exhibition showing the likes of Picasso and Warhol.
Lastly, we went to a historical suburb of Perth called Guildford, one of the earliest settlements founded in 1829, so quite touristy with some nice old buildings, antique shops and picturesque setting near the river. We stayed in a large old house with a lovely garden backing onto the river and meadows with just five chooks to look after - living the dream in someone else's gaff as we see it! We also had use of bikes so made sure we cycled up the nearby Swan Valley, famous for being the oldest wine region in Oz; we naturally visited a few wineries (including the famous Houghton winery) as well as a chocolate-making factory (easily the most abused place of the lot, with people taking repeated handfuls of the freebies on offer!) and a coffee roasting place also offering free tastings - certainly was a heavenly day!
After all that excitement, we're now back at Leeann's for a short while only
because I can now tell you flights have been booked to pastures
At Lesmurdie Falls, near Leeann's in the Perth Hills
Yes on 21st August we're flying to Darwin, in the tropical Top End of Oz, so leaving Western Oz altogether for the Northern Territory! We're flying mainly because it's much cheaper than driving. We liked the idea of a one-way car relocation but the deals available from Perth to Darwin didn't include a petrol allowance, so even though it might only cost $25 to hire a car for the week's drive, it'd cost $800+ in diesel, and flights are half that. Although typical now we've booked flights we got a call from the car company offering us a vehicle with petrol allowance, but still not enough to make it worthwhile.
Now is the perfect time to be in Darwin as it's the dry season, with temperatures averaging a 'mild' 30 degrees - from October it'll start getting hot and humid again. We've just about got a wwoofing placement sorted - it's peak time up there now with lots of travellers and grey nomads escaping 'the cold' down south, so many places are booked up. But we're looking forward to going territorial and having a taste of the tropics; famous Kakadu National Park is not far, and there's
Portrait of a lady?
Went along as a model for a local drawing group (Leeann's friend is the organiser), and even got paid!
every chance we'll come across a 'gator or two!
By going straight to Darwin we'll be bypassing Broome and the Kimberleys (made famous in the film 'Australia'😉, which is a shame as it's an area of Oz we would like to see as it's pretty remote and untouched, which means it's also pretty difficult to get to unless you're prepared to pay big bucks on tours or fully equipped 4WDs! And as you know spending money is not M's style so we're taking the cheaper option and missing it altogether!! In the grand scheme of things, we won't lose any sleep if we never get to see the Kimberleys, there's some high rocks an' all but nothing compared to the spectacular sights we're likely to see in New Zealand (if we ever get there!).
We've certainly been enjoying the Olympics and savouring the British Gold Rush - in fact I've watched more of the Olympics over here than ever before! Definitely wishing we had tickets to see some of the action at the velodrome or Eton Dorney for the rowing, how fantastic to cheer on the Brits as they strike gold. Unfortunately, the Oz-centric coverage of the Games
Pretty good if not a little grumpy looking!
is not so great, and has even drawn complaints from the Aussies themselves for being too biased and only showing the Aussie athletes (i.e. lots of swimming) and not much else! It has been annoying, but luckily the Aussies are in most things so we've still seen a range of sports and most of the Brits in action. They're pretty gutted that they've done so badly, and because they expected to do so well and beat the brits (even crying cos they only
got silver) we've secretly been glad whenever they've lost, though they seem to have improved over the last few days. And another thing - if they ever try and de-privatise the BBC (is that a word?) - for God's sake vote against it because we now fully appreciate how great it is to have a TV channel without adverts! How I'm wishing for uninterrupted BBC coverage, even if they do sometimes get it wrong, it's a hundred, no a thousand times, better than advert breaks every ten minutes showing the same bleeding adverts! Okay rant over, I rest my case, God save the BBC!
It'll be a little sad to leave Perth as we've met some
fantastic people here and made some good friends. Obviously Leeann is our Aussie mum and has been an absolute star, letting us come and go and treating us so well when we're here - numerous trips to coffee shops, steaks and salmon for lunch and introducing us to her wonderful friends such as the tai chi ladies that lunch every Monday! We have done our fair share of work in return for staying at hers, but she's so easy going that it hasn't been arduous in any way! We've got to know the area pretty well and had a taste of what life would be like living here, looking for work, joining netball teams and even singing with the local choir!
It really has been like a home from home so I guess it's time to move on as travelling is all about being on the move and there's much more to see.
We've managed to skype some folk back home, which is great, and would love to skype more so if you ain't got one, set up an account and search for Mike Plant Basildon so we can become 'friends' and do the deed!
Is this me?!
for your comments after each blog, we love to hear from people (and know that our blogs are being read!) so keep them coming please, especially if you haven't been in touch yet!
So next time you hear from us, we'll be in a different place and have lots of exciting things to tell you (correction: M will have lots of exciting things to tell you with added nuance!) so catch you laters 'gators!
Bye for now xx
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