Image

Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit.  There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife.  Yes.  That is me.  Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out.  But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs.  I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb.  Preparation – apparently not my thing.

IMG_8087

However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike.  The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll.  My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

IMG_8090

The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo – they are just gorgeous).

IMG_8085IMG_8088IMG_8086

Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked.  But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning).  The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed.  Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous.  I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about.  I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

IMG_8089

All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia.  Worth a look 🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers – your support is very much appreciated! x

Image

Bells Rapids Hike

In my effort to lose weight, get fit, and be healthier, I have been taking part in some hikes recently.  I have always enjoyed walking, especially if it’s somewhere with nice scenery, and having a group of friends to go with is even nicer.  Makes it feel less like exercise and more like an enjoyable, good-for-the-soul activity.  If you can follow it up with a delicious brunch somewhere, all the better 🙂

I recently went on a lovely 5.5km hike with some friends (one of my friends, SR, is VERY good at organising things and puts me to shame because she MAKES THINGS HAPPEN, unlike me who procrastinates and can’t make decisions) around Bells Rapids, located in Brigadoon, about 45 minutes from Perth City.  A great spot to view the white water rapids of the Avon River while surrounded by beautiful bushland. Plenty of quiet, shady spots to take a rest, with trails for walking – some of them very steep and rocky – and glorious views.  Sitting by the rock pools was lovely and calming, especially after the vigorous hike up the hill.  I don’t have the greatest balance at the best of times, so I found it as bit treacherous at times, trying to keep my footing amid all the loose rocks and gravel.  Still fun though 🙂

There is plenty of parking and dogs are welcome.  Camping is not allowed, but you can certainly have a picnic there or hang out for the day.  The weekends are a popular time, but it isn’t crowded with people.  Room for everyone!  In the Winter months, the rock pools become swirling, white-water rapids, and (crazy) people come from miles around to take part in the annual Avon Descent.

Anyway, I will let my photos illustrate how lovely a spot it was.
I will definitely be back.

Hope you will stop in again here too 🙂

IMG_7596IMG_7593IMG_7598IMG_7612IMG_7610IMG_7609IMG_7608IMG_7601IMG_7600IMG_7599IMG_7594

Image

Sculpture by the Sea 2017

Last night, after work, I was invited by a colleague to see the beachside exhibit, Sculpture by the Sea.  I wasn’t really in the mood to go, but I’m so glad I did.  My friend was late and I nearly went home instead of waiting, but I sat in my car, huddled against the cold (what IS going on with our seasons?) and listened to the ocean while I waited for her.  Eventually she turned up and we wandered up and down the beach, looking at all the amazing sculptures, with the setting sun as a beautiful backdrop.  Seriously, the sky was a bit of a distraction – I couldn’t stop taking photos of it – it was SO gorgeous.  The stormy weather only added to the dramatic quality of the sea and the crashing waves.

It was hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.  The sky was a million different colours and provided a perfect setting for the sculptures, which ranged from objects made of bronze to a chair made out of feathers.

I have to say, this photo (below) turned out so nicely.  Except for the people who just started walking through the shot (bottom right corner).  I think it looks like a 70s rock album cover.  Can’t you just see it accompanying a Pink Floyd song?  And that seagull flying through, just as I snapped the photo?  Perfect!

IMG_6538
1km Tower by Song Jianshu

I really, really like this shot too.  It looks like something you’d see in an episode of Dr Who or something.  Like a portal to another world, with that setting sun aglow behind it.

IMG_6539
The Window of the Future, by Sang-Sug Kim

This one reminded me of something Tim Burton would design…

IMG_6540
Spoke II, by Kevin Draper

LOVED this one.  Probably because it has dogs in it.  But, again, the sky…seriously!

IMG_6541
Loyalty, by Ayad Alqaragholli

Sharks are a common visitor at Cottesloe…not usually made out of steel though…

IMG_6549
The Great Hammerhead, by Jordan Sprigg

I think this was probably one of the most popular sculptures.  I didn’t get a great photo of it – if I’d waited until later I might have gotten a much better shot, with nicer colours around and behind it.  But it’s still pretty.  Wonder if I could go back and steal it for my garden?  Don’t you think it would like nice there? 🙂

IMG_6551
Horizon, by Lucy Humphrey

Now THAT’S a big piece of litter!

IMG_6552
Cansumerism, by Hayley Bahr

I could imagine this one with lots of succulents growing out of it…

IMG_6554
Infrastructure 5, by Oliver Stretton-Pow

Took us ages to see the face in this one.  You have to be looking at just the right angle…

IMG_6555
Luke, by Tony Cragg

These sculptures were pretty awesome.  They were like giant alien weeds…

IMG_6557
Aqua Fauna, by Britt Mikkelsen

This one reminded me of licorice allsorts, which is probably not
what the artist had in mind…

IMG_6548
Mega Pixel Power Tower, by Tom de Munk-Kerkmeer

So, a very worthwhile visit.  I am possibly going back on the weekend to see the sculptures I didn’t get around to viewing.  There’s also a “small sculptures” section which I want to see as well.  If you’re in the vicinity, go and check it all out.  It’s on until the 19th March.

Thanks for dropping by 🙂

Image

Bandy-Cute

Hello, everyone 🙂  I meant to post this a few weeks back but got sidetracked… My Mum turned 70 in November and she had several little get-togethers to celebrate.  On the Sunday afternoon, we met my brother and his family for afternoon tea at a large garden nursery, which also has a delightful cafe and children’s playground.  It’s a very popular spot and can get very busy so we were lucky to get a table for all of us in a nice sunny spot.

As we drank our tea and baby-cinos (obligatory for the four munchkins) and scoffed cake, we were joined by another guest – a Southern Brown Bandicoot  (or Quenda).  These little guys are normally quite shy and tend to come out at dusk, to forage.  Our visitor is was well known to nursery staff, apparently making guest appearances on a regular basis, in order to pick up any table scraps and crumbs left by lunching customers.

img_4257He (I’m going with “he” for now) was happy to wander around our table, under our feet and chairs, and wasn’t the least bit disturbed by the children or my attempts to take photos of him.  I even got to stroke him, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.

img_4252

He was wiry to the touch, and very solid (he eats well :)) and about the size of a small cat (with albeit shorter legs).  Bandicoots have long claws, used for digging out underground food items (they are omnivores and will eat insects, fruit, lizards, seeds, mice – pretty much anything they can get their paws on!) and are marsupials (meaning they have a pouch that they carry their babies in).  They live alone, rather than in social groups, and have a running style described as a “gallop” rather than a hop or a scurry.

img_4253

We were delighted to have his company and hope to see him again if we visit the nursery. It’s so nice to see wildlife, of any kind, and I’m always very grateful to be able to experience them close up and in a non-captive way.  I guess these little guys are learning to adapt to being part of our community and losing some of their shy ways.  Survival is survival, after all.  I just hope that this particular fellow is healthy and protected and doesn’t come to any harm, being around human beings so much.  He seemed happy enough though – very fat and not stressed at all.  He’s probably living the dream and wondering why other bandicoots are bothering to hunt for their own food in the bush.  As his “people” are solitary creatures, it’s unlikely he’s going to let anyone else in on the action.  This territory is his and his alone!

img_4261

Have you had any close encounters with a wild critter lately?  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

img_4255

Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Final post in my series on “Flowers and Plants I Don’t Really Know Anything About”.  Our trip to Kings Park was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t say educational because I forgot to learn anything about the plants themselves and their names.  I was going to take photos and then take a pic of any info next to the plant.  But I did that only once.  And then forgot for all the others.  So I’m just guessing from here on in.  Except for the first picture 🙂

IMG_1900

IMG_1901

The Wooly Banksia. It was indeed wooly like a little sheep.  It looked like one of those microphone things news crews are always waving about in outside interviews.

IMG_1955

Kangaroo Paw.  If I got this one wrong, I would be in trouble.  And possibly not Australian.

IMG_1943

This is West Australian Edelweiss.  No, it isn’t – I am making that up.  It’s very dainty and pretty though.  You could sing about it in the Alps, I’m sure.  Wearing a dress made out of curtains – that sort of thing.

IMG_1911

This is the lovely Native Hibiscus.  I know this one.  It is otherwise known as the West Coast Gem.  I didn’t know that.

IMG_1893

This is also a Kangaroo Paw.  An underipe one.  Kidding. It’s a Black Kangaroo Paw –
Macropidia fuliginosa if you want to be posh.

IMG_1870

This is a Morning Iris.  I know this because I searched four million flowers on Google before I found it.  The colour is quite beautiful and is striking against the colours of the bushland.

IMG_1873

Pink (Lipstick) Boronia.  Know this one too.  I am a horticultural genius!  Boronia has a strong smell (not unpleasant) and these lovely bell-shaped flowers.  It is becoming more common to see it amongst flower arrangements at florist shops. 

IMG_1938

Another beautiful blue specimen.  I’m sure it has a lovely name.  If only I knew it!

IMG_1939

Grevillea.  I used to call these “Prawn Plants” when I was a kid.  Many people called them “Those bloody Grevilleas!!!” because they are allergic to them.  Coincidentally, lots of people are also allergic to prawns.  I’m just being silly now.

Well, that was the end of my playful romp through Kings Park.  You should go there yourself one day.  If you live in Perth.  Otherwise it might be a bit far.  But you could probably come to Perth for other stuff as well and make a proper trip of it.  We have a River and a City and roads and all sorts of stuff with silly people like me milling about.  Plus we have lots of sunshine, which is important.  Especially as I am always cold.

The End 🙂

Kings Park – Everlastings

Kings Park – Everlastings

It is Wildflower Season here in Western Australia and there are some gorgeous blooms popping up everywhere.  On a recent outing to the Botanic Gardens at Kings Park, with our visitor from the UK, we were treated to carpets of glorious Everlasting flowers in every shade of pink, yellow and orange. They are just beautiful, epitomising Spring and all its joyful, sunshiney goodness.  They are such happy flowers, with their papery petals and luscious hues.  Just look at the colours here – a small sample of the beauties on display:

IMG_1884

Pretty princess pink!

IMG_1892

The bees love them too 🙂

IMG_1895

Like a fiery sunset!

IMG_1909

This one reminds me of Coconut Ice…

IMG_1910

More pinks…

IMG_1928

Love this little bee.  Look at him!  So greedy!  Look at all that pollen he’s collected!  He certainly is the bee’s knees! 🙂

We saw so many beautiful flowers and plants on this chilly, but sunny, Spring day.  More pics to follow in upcoming posts.  I really must get some crafting done but I haven’t been in the mood, plus I have barely been spending any time at home anyway.  I had rent inspection this week, so I had to tidy up and get cleaning – after that I don’t want to make a mess ha ha.  It won’t take long until chaos reigns supreme again though, knowing me.  I am hopeless.  It’s why you love me, right?

Hope your day has been bright and sunshiney 🙂

Kangaroo Pause

Kangaroo Pause

I am so behind in posting this…  Last week, I took my Mum and her UK friend down South for a few days.  I was determined that Betty (Mum’s friend)  would see some Australian wildlife and countryside.  I’ll talk about the trip itself, and other stuff we did, in future posts but, for now, this one is about the lovely kangaroos we were lucky enough to meet at the Bunbury Wildlife Park.  I’m not usually in to the whole “meet-and-greet” scenario at animal parks.  Mostly because I feel it puts undue stress on the animals, especially if their enclosures do not allow them to “escape” from people or have hiding spots.  Kangaroos in particular do not respond well to stress.  However, at this particular park, I felt that the majority of the critters and birds were able to get away from people if they wanted to and had plenty of hiding spots and off-limits areas where they could chill out in solitude if they wanted to, have a siesta in the sun, or just be unsociable, if that’s what they felt like being.  That put my mind at rest somewhat.

Besides that, I really LOVE kangaroos and desperately wanted to pat one.  We had one when I was a child (it sadly did not survive into adulthood) and my Aunt has several on her property that are tame, so it’s not like I’ve never been close to them.  But it is always nice to be able to touch and see them up close.  They are such beautiful, gentle creatures and it is such a privilege to be allowed into their space.

We were given a small bag of feed upon entry to share with the various animals and birds in the park.  Gone are the days of feeding wildlife bread (ugh! so bad for them!) or those packaged pellets that I’m sure are not very exciting to the average critter.  We had a mixture of different grains as well as seeds and plant fibres.  This way, it was suitable for everybody and wherever you dropped it, it was sure to be enjoyed by one inhabitant or another.  Parrots, ducks, wallabies and emus all shared the food, picking out the bits they liked.

The first kangaroo we encountered was a young Western Grey.  She was happy to approach us and gladly accepted handfuls of the feed.  Betty was glad to get this opportunity (she felt she would never live it down if she came all the way to Oz and didn’t get to feed a kangaroo!).  The young female gently held Betty’s hands while she munched on the food. She was soft and beautiful.  Western Greys have course brown-grey fur, with darker paws.  They have pale underbelly fur and have longer forearms than some other species of kangaroo.  They have lovely long eyelashes 🙂

The males can reach up to 6-7 feet in height (which is a bit scary if you come across them in darkness whilst out on a walk.  been there, done that!), while the females are much smaller. Their average lifespan is 9-15 years, although they have been known to live to 20 years in the wild.

IMG_2101

Nom Nom…

IMG_2102

Look at those lashes!

IMG_2107

Just Chillin…

The next fellow we encountered was a young male Red Kangaroo.  The Reds are the largest species of Kangaroo, with the males often reaching in excess of 7 feet tall when standing fully erect.  They are powerful and muscly (just type “muscled red kangaroo” into Google).  This is reflected in their fighting style, with males generally getting into wrestling matches rather than adopting a kick-boxing style like their Western Grey counterparts.  If you get “hugged” by a Red, you know about it.  Luckily for us, this boy was very friendly, gentle and not interested in battling anyone.  He stayed with us for ages, eating the feed and enjoying a pat.  The fur of the Red is softer and the hairs shorter than the Grey’s – it is velvety to the touch, somewhat like a cross between rabbit fur and lambswool.  They have distinctive black and white markings on their muzzles and have short forearms.  They have quite a broader-shaped head than a Grey and their large ears can rotate in all different directions.

 IMG_2122

Look at this handsome fellow!

IMG_2116

More nom noms…

IMG_2120

Hello there!

IMG_2118

This is me getting all up in his grill.  He didn’t mind.  I scratched his chest, he licked my arms.  We had a thing going.

We saw lots of beautiful animals at the Bunbury Wildlife Park, but I am very fond of the kangaroos.  I was so glad we could give Betty the opportunity of seeing some in the flesh – not just in the wild as we whizzed past in the car, or dead on the side of the road (so many – it’s so sad 😦 ) and that she got to feed and touch them.  I would recommend the park.  It was clean and spacious and, most importantly, the animals seemed happy and well-cared for.  Of course, it is nicer to see them in the wild, doing what they were born to do but, on the other hand, it’s nice to be able to get close to them and say Hello.

If you’re visiting the South West of Western Australia, take some time to visit and spend an afternoon with our beautiful native marsupials.  The more people get to know them, and experience their gentle natures up close, the more they will be protected and respected in the wild.  As humans, we take over their habitats and then wonder why they make a nuisance of themselves on the roads and on farming properties.  We need to ensure they can stay safe in the wild, unhindered and un-harassed by so-called human progress and development.

And don’t call them Skippy.  They don’t like it 🙂