P is for Perth, Western Australia, (sometimes referred to as Perthadise) where we’ve lived for the past eleven years. I don’t go into the city very often and when I do it’s usually a quick purposeful trip not for leisure and I don’t take my camera along or think to take many photos. Most of my photos of Perth have been taken from Kings Park and show the change in the city since we’ve moved here.

Last year during the Perth International Arts Festival we went to see the Giants. Most of the streets in the CBD had been closed off and the people of Perth flocked there to watch this amazing show (I’ve used some of the photos in a previous photo challenge). I definitely had my camera with me that day!

P is also for picnic, something the people of Perth love to do in this outdoor lifestyle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

This week’s challenge asks us to share an image of a meal or one taken during dinner hour.

Perth’s climate and outdoor lifestyle makes it ideal for picnics and we especially enjoy doing it at the beach at dinnertime. There are always people out doing the same and playing cricket, footy (Australian football) or soccer. On a warm summer’s evening we often end up going for a swim at that time as well.


Picnic at Sorrento beach on a warm summer’s evening


Picnic food

The other night we went to the Night Noodle Markets at Perth’s newly completed Elizabeth Quay. It was a lovely evening, and packed with people (on a Tuesday night) out to enjoy the variety of foods for dinner.


Perth during the Night Noodle Markets


Hobart, the capital city of  beautiful Tasmania, was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of the letter H. We visited there in 2013 when my husband took part in the Three Peaks Race and though we only spent a short time there we really liked the city and Tasmania and would love to go back for a longer visit. Hobart, being a city with a European feel and the backdrop of a mountain, reminded me a lot of Cape Town.


View of Hobart and Mount Wellington

Speaking of Cape Town: H is also for Hout Bay near Cape Town, a beautiful little town where we used to go for fresh fish and chips sometimes.


Hout Bay near Cape Town (visible to the right of the photo)

Closer to home Hillarys Boat Harbour is a lovely marina with shops and restaurants about 20 kilometres north of Perth which I’m fortunate to call my place of work.

Reading HesterLeyNel’s post on F made me think of the hermit crabs on Broome’s Cable Beach in north west Australia. The crabs dig up tiny, round little balls of sand and deposit them around their holes all over the beach. Our kids used to play with the crabs but I find the little balls of sand fascinating, especially as you walk over them, giving your feet  a massage.

Still in Broome, I was very lucky to go on a helicopter ride a few years ago. Spectacular views of the ocean and coastline there made me want to go for more and more helicopter rides.

Finally, back home, I love my herb garden and being able to walk outside and pick fresh herbs.

IMG_8331 W

Herb garden

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

Dawn and dusk are my favourite times of the day. At dusk when the light softens and the air grows still around us it’s time to reflect on the day gone by. Living near the ocean we are fortunate to see beautiful ocean sunsets and this poem describes it perfectly:

Magical Sunset

As the day ends to rest
The sunset does its best
Setting on fire the lively waves
Colouring orange the nature he saves
its pure ancient glorious perfection.

The great ocean will receive
The burning sun who’s going to leave.
Slowly comes the night
Devouring that magic light:
we are still suspended in a great delight.

© Selene

The various stages of sunset as taken on different nights each has its own delight and in that magic half-light I often feel suspended in time until the sun dips below the horizon and darkness takes its place.


Sunset on a warm summer’s eve at Sorrento beach north of Perth


Sunset at Sorrento beach north of Perth

We are treated to a light show as the sun sets and paints the clouds in different hues.

IMG_2188 (2)

Sorrento beach

Sky and ocean on fire.


Sunset at Rottnest Island near Perth

A different evening brings a different experience in the half-light. No fiery glow this time only quiet, captivating colours.


Sorrento beach

In response to the Daily Post photo challenge: Half-Light

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

This week’s photo challenge is to show what One Love means to us. The Urban Dictionary describes One Love as “the universal love and respect expressed by all people for all people, regardless of race, creed, or social status”. In the challenge Anne also says: “the universe is constantly whispering words of love: expressions of pure joy, respect, loyalty, and sacrifice for someone other than ourselves, and instructions on letting go and focusing on what is most important in this world”.

The natural world gives us so much every day, the very air that we breathe and beauty all around for us to look after, respect and love, without asking much in return. There are many elements that, together, form our world as a whole. Our natural environment, the animals and us humans who have the responsibility to care for and protect it. Love, respect and loyalty occur in our environment every day. I love the peacefulness of nature, and listening to its sounds. Birds calling, waves rolling in or animals moving around.

Sunrise is one of my favourite times of the day. It’s a time to be thankful for life, the promise of a new day and the privilege to experience it every day as we do.

IMG_4683 (2)

Sunrise over the mainland near Esperance, southern Western Australia, taken from Woody Island

Animals grazing at sunrise, at peace in and with their environment.

IMG_8010 (2)

Sunrise in the Kalahari, Namibia

What’s not to love and respect about mother nature when she shows all her colours? Out hiking, and it reminded me of a line I read somewhere: “Leave only your footprints behind”.


Bluff Knoll, Stirling Ranges, southwest Australia

Love, respect and loyalty in the animal kingdom – galahs are birds that mate for life.


Pink and grey Galahs, taken in Denmark, Western Australia

Mutual respect – I’ll help you and you help me.


Zebras dozing in the midday sun in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Love and tenderness from adult to the young.


Giraffe in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Caring and trust between humans and wildlife, two more necessary elements in looking after our environment.


Feeding a young kangaroo at Donnelly River, southwest Australia

Trust, respect, loyalty, caring, responsibility and love all come together to form a bond with animals where no words are needed.

IMG_4395 (3) (2)

Child No 3 and Belle sharing a quiet moment a couple of years ago in Namibia

As the day winds down it’s time again to be quiet and reflect on how much we have to be thankful for, and also on our duty to care for our world and all those that we share it with.


Sunset at Sorrento beach, Perth, Western Australia


How Our Lollipop Lady Helped Us Settle In

I bent down to take a coffee mug out of the cupboard this morning and the first one my hand found was one given to us by our Lollipop Lady more than ten years ago. Suddenly lots of memories came flooding back. We’d never heard of someone being called a “Lollipop Lady” until we moved to Perth in 2005.

A Lollipop Lady is a lady who is employed to help children cross the roads close to schools. Gentlemen also do this job but the name originated in the UK where a lady would stand in the middle of the road holding a big circular (lollipop looking) sign to stop traffic so children can safely cross the road.

The house we rented at the time was about half a kilometre from school and so I walked the kids to school in the mornings and walked to fetch them in the afternoons. Since Child No 3 was only in Kindy (Kindergarten) at the time she only went to school twice per week and therefor did a great deal of walking with me. Subsequently she also got to know the Lollipop Lady quite well.

Our Lollipop Lady was a caring, friendly and warm person. She always had a smile on her face, come rain, hail or shine. And there were some bad weather days – some 40 degree ones and some wet, cold and miserable ones. It didn’t matter what the conditions were, she was always upbeat and interested in what was happening in everyone’s lives.  She knew everybody in the area so when this new family walked up on the first day of school and greeted her with a strange accent she was naturally curious about where we came from. She was the first person who taught me what a “sook” is and so my introduction to Aussie sayings commenced. (A sook is someone who is not very brave). She was in awe of the fact that we’d packed up our house on a different continent, got on a plane with a suitcase each and started a new life somewhere else. She said: “I could never do that Love, I’m way too much of a sook.” I replied that it was all the friendly people in the community that helped us to settle in. She was so lovely and welcoming and always had time for a chat. In the afternoons she’d ask the kids each in turn how their day had been. It was almost like having a caring surrogate aunt when we had no close family around. For our first Christmas in Australia she gave us a set of four coffee mugs. It was such a lovely gesture – there was no way she’d be able to give each family who crossed the road under her watch every day a Christmas present.

I still remember how, one morning when my husband walked the kids to school, four year old Child No 3 rushed up to her, bursting with excitement. “Mrs Jones! Mrs Jones!” she called. “Yes, Love?” Mrs Jones replied. “My dad got me a trampoline at the dump!” Child No 3 exclaimed. I’m not sure what Mrs Jones’ reply was but my husband said that she was genuinely very interested in the trampoline but he could still hear her giggling as they walked off. In Perth, the local councils do bulk verge refuge collections about once a year. There are limits to what one can throw out but a great deal of unwanted items end up on verges, some in better condition than others. We can also throw out garden waste (which helps when you do a lot of pruning). The day before my husband had spotted a little mini one person trampoline that someone had put out on their verge as part of their collection. It was still in good condition so he picked it up and brought it home for Child No 3, who was over the moon about it and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about this treasure.


The park close to the kids’ primary school

After about a year and a half we bought our house in the neighbouring suburb. The kids still went to the same school but I now drove them to school and so we didn’t get to chat to our Lollipop Lady daily any more. Sometimes I parked the car at the park where she worked and walked up to school and we’d have a quick chat. A few years later she retired and some parents organised a little farewell for her in the park. We went to say goodbye and thank her for all the times she helped the kids but also for the way she welcomed us into the community. I haven’t seen her for some time now and I wonder if she’ll remember us but I’ll always remember her and how positive an influence she was when we first moved to Perth. I doubt she has any idea how her caring and kindness just made us feel like we belonged but we still have the coffee mugs that bring back some very fond memories.


The park close to where our Lollipop Lady worked every school day

A magical day at the Rottnest Channel Swim

Yesterday my husband and son (Child No 1) did the Rottnest Swim as a duo. The Rottnest Channel Swim is an annual 19.7 kilometre swim from Cottesloe Beach near Perth to Rottnest Island. It can be swum solo, as a duo or a team of four. Each team or solo swimmer has to have a support boat and paddler which assists them on the day providing sustenance, making sure they follow the course and they don’t get hypothermia. Team swimmers are only allowed on the boat once they’ve tagged the next swimmer in the water, whose been waiting on the boat in the meantime. Solo swimmers aren’t allowed on their support boats at all. No swimmers are allowed to touch the kayak.

The conditions were absolutely perfect for the swim yesterday. There was hardly any wind for the most part and the sea looked like a dam, which made for an easy crossing. (I say easy with the utmost respect and admiration to all the swimmers who were out there yesterday, knowing full well I will never be able to do it.) Last year when my husband did it as a solo swimmer the conditions were very tough and it was his first solo swim. It was nail biting, waiting for him on the island and watching him slow down on the tracker, worried about whether he’d make it, get hypothermia or simply run out of time. It would have been gut wrenching after all the hours of dedicated training for something to go wrong. (I wrote about last year’s swim here.)


View towards the mainland from the ferry. Perth city is visible towards the right

This year Ironman wasn’t going to do the swim. My son and a friend were going to do it in a duo but our friend was offered a great opportunity in a gap year program which meant she wasn’t able to do the swim anymore. They deliberated for a little while who they could ask to take her place. It took my (relatively swimming unfit at that stage but always ready for a challenge) husband only about half an hour to decide that he’d step up and be our son’s teammate. With about 5 weeks to go before the swim he started swim training again rigorously and had to admit that he was actually quite excited about doing this duo swim with his son.

We left home at 4:30am to drop Child No 1 at the start while my husband made his way to where the support boat was being launched. The support boats have to wait for their swimmer about 1 kilometre from the start and the paddlers about 500 metres. After he’d registered and we’d lathered him with zinc against sunburn and sheep fat against stingers (stinging jellyfish) their wave started at 6:35am. The girls and I then made our way to the ferry to go across to the island and wait for them there.


Early morning at the start at Cottesloe beach


Paddlers and support boats waiting for their swimmers with Rottnest Island in the background


Taken at Cottesloe beach just after sunrise. The visibility was amazing with the island and one of the lighthouses clearly visible

Rottnest was at its best. It was hot and wind still but that meant the water was even clearer than we’re used to seeing it. It was packed with people waiting for their swimmers to arrive, as well as the usual tourists. We cycled to The Basin (a beach close to The Settlement where the finish line was and all the ferries arrive and depart from), and had a lovely refreshing swim before Child No 3 and I cycled to the little airport where we took a scenic flight over the island and the swimmers. It was breathtakingly beautiful. My amateur photos with reflections from the windows can’t do it justice but my memories of yesterday will always stand out. Even the pilot (who does that sort of flight daily and sometimes a few times per day) said: “It’s insane(ly beautiful).” I’m immensely grateful to call a place with such exquisite natural beauty home and for the opportunity to experience it the way we did.

IMG_2704 (2)

Rottnest Island taken from the west. The mainland can be seen in the background.


Thomsons Bay and the eastern tip of the island.


View of the swimmers and support boats and kayaks. The mainland is in the background.


The swimmers, support boats and kayaks. Taken towards the island.

IMG_3301 (2)

One of the last photos taken from the air. My camera was playing up at this stage and the trusty iphone did the trick.

Afterwards we made our way to the popular bakery and Child No 2 joined us for some lunch and all the while the poor swimmers were slogging it out. When we stood at the finish line waiting for our boys we watched all the different emotions of the finishers. Joy, elation, relief and pure exhaustion for some. I was once again in absolute awe of especially the solo swimmers whose feet had last felt anything solid underneath them 19.7 kilometres away on the mainland and who’d got themselves across the channel through hours of sheer hard work and determination to set foot proudly on the island after a gutsy effort. I take my hat off to all of them and I’m very proud of our boys.


The finishing channel


Lots of support kayaks at the finish line.

None of it would of course have been possible without the support crews who very generously gave up their time and helped the swimmers. Thanks guys, it’s much appreciated. And then there’s the volunteers as well, who help make the event happen and the day a success. At the end of a long day in the sun there was “debriefing” (ie sharing funny tales about the day) over a beer with the support team and a day like this wouldn’t be complete without the scene being set for the next challenge. Ironman and his triathlon and Rottnest swim mate are already challenging each other for the next event.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

This week’s challenge is to show the season where we live. We’ve been having glorious summer days with lots of bright blue skies and warm evenings sometimes without a breeze, which meant lots of people were still swimming in the ocean after sunset.

We’ve also sweltered in a heatwave of five consecutive days over 40 degrees Celsius (which broke a 50 year old record) during last week.  This week saw some more high temperatures and another 42 degree Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) day. My garden is suffering at the moment and even though I water regularly some plants have taken strain. The heat has really taken its toll on my passion fruit vine (or granadilla as it’s called in some parts of the world).

View towards Hillarys Marina from Watermans Bay picnic area

Another beautiful and wind still morning in Perth

IMG_1968 (2)

A warm evening at the beach

IMG_2569 (2)

Sunburnt leaves of my passion fruit vine

Weekly Photo Challenge: (As Old As ) Time

In response to The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Time.

Nature shows time in so many ways. To me weathered rocks or rock formations, mountains and sand (rock ground down over millennia) remind us of time and how much of it these rocks have seen.

My Eerste Perd

(Apologies to non-Afrikaans readers.)

Geskryf in opdrag van Scrapydo2 se Toeka-Tokkel.

Ek was van kleins af lief vir diere en toe ons as Kaapenaars die geleentheid gekry het om perd te ry op vriende van ons se plaas in Namibië, het ons dit elke keer met albei hande aangegryp. Mettertyd is my suster met ‘n Namibiër getroud wat ook baie lief is vir perde en so saam met sy boerdery ook perde teel.

Ek was in matriek toe hulle getroud is en het gereeld vakansietye by hulle gaan kuier. Eendag terwyl ons so op die grondpad in die Kalahari verby hulle een plaas op pad na die ander een ry sê my swaer uit die bloute: “Kyk daar, daar staan jou vulletjie”. Ek was so uit die veld geslaan dat ek vir ‘n paar oomblikke nie mooi geregistreer het wat dit was wat hy gesê het nie, tot hy dit herhaal het en ek het blitsvinnig gekyk na waar hy beduie het. Daar in die veld het ‘n merrie en haar pragtige klein vul gestaan.  Ons het nie daai dag tyd gehad om te stop sodat ek haar kon ontmoet nie, en ons eerste ontmoeting het eers ‘n paar maande later met my volgende besoek gekom.

Teen die middel van die volgende jaar (ek was teen hierdie tyd ‘n eerstejaarstudent) was sy omtrent ses maande oud en die tyd reg vir my om haar te begin hanteer sodat sy kon gewoond raak aan menslike kontak. Ek het elke dag wanneer sy in die kraal was gegaan en haar gaan vryf en borsel en ‘n bietjie molasse gegee totdat sy my begin assosieer het met die lekkerny.

So het ek elke vakansie wat ek daar gekuier het, elke dag tyd met haar spandeer om haar meer en meer gewoond aan my te maak. Ek het haar geborsel en haar stert uitgekam. Ek het (alles met my swaer se geduldige leiding) geleer hoe om ‘n halter aan ‘n perd te sit wie nog nooit ‘n halter gesien het nie. Eers laat jy haar dit ruik en stadig maar seker (sonder enige vinninge bewegings), hang jy die leisels oor haar nek sodat jy iets het om aan vas te hou. Op geen stadium forseer jy haar met krag om te bly staan nie. Jy praat mooi en rustig en vryf sodat sy dink dis alles “hunkey dorey”. Volgende skuif jy die halter stadig oor haar kop sonder om haar skrik te maak. Sy het gou daaraan gewoond geraak, en toe moes sy leer om gelei te word. En ek moes leer hoe om haar te leer.

Ek het elke dag wat ek daar was omtrent ‘n uur met haar spandeer. Ons het die werf platgeloop. Sy het die lieflikste temperament gehad en my begin herken. Soms het sy genoeg gehad van die dag se stap- en leerdery en eendag het sy afgehaak en my agter in my rug gebyt. Dit was bitterlik seer en my refleks was om om te draai en baie hard te raas. Sy het dit nooit weer gedoen nie.

Teen die tyd dat sy drie jaar oud was het my swaer gesê dis nou tyd dat ek haar opklim. Teen daai tyd het ek al ‘n tyd lank geoefen om die tooms aan te sit en die saal op haar te sit sodat sy daaraan gewoond kon raak. Jy bring die saal nader en laat haar daaraan ruik en dan beweeg jy stadig na haar linkersy en sit die saal saggies op haar rug neer. Dan maak jy versigtig die buikgord vas – nie te styf nie sodat dit haar nie knyp nie. Volgende stap jy vorentoe, buk langs elkeen van haar voorbene en stoot liggies teen haar sodat sy haar gewig oorplaas op die ander voorbeen. Dan raak jy liggies aan haar knie en tel haar voorbeen op om seker te maak daar is niks vel onder die buikgord vasgeknyp nie. Alles terwyl jy met haar praat en haar vertel wat jy wil hê sy moet doen. Nadat jy dit met altwee bene gedoen het kan jy die buikgord stywer maak. As dit te los is sal die saal rondswaai as jy ry!

Elke nuwe ding wat ons bekendgestel het het sy met die grootste rustige vertroue aanvaar. Ek was steeds baie senuweeagtig om die eerste persoon te wees om haar op te klim (en dit was ook die eerste perd wat nuut geleer is wat ek ooit opgeklim het). Ek het haar opgesaal en ons het haar in ‘n baie klein kraal ingelei. My swaer het die teuels vasgehou en toe kon ek nie die oomblik van waarheid langer uitstel nie. Ek het die teuels geneem, my linkervoet in die stiebeuel gesit, my gewig oorgeswaai en stadig en saggies in die saal gaan sit. En sy het bly staan asof dit nie doodnatuurlikste ding in die wêreld was. Ek sal daai oomblik en daai gevoel nooit vergeet nie.

Op een stadium het sy lank gesukkel met ‘n wond wat sy opgedoen het toe sy geval het by ‘n waterkrip. ‘n Onbeduidende seerplek op sy eie maar vir ‘n tyd lank het ons gesukkel om die infeksie onder beheer te kry. Op die ou end het die veearts onder narkose die oorsprong van die probleem heelwat dieper af in haar been gekry: ‘n klein klippie wat gesweer het. Ek het verpleeg en wond skoongemaak en weer baie geleer.

Sy was getrou aan my vir meer as 22 jaar. Soos wat familie- en werksverpligtinge my tyd en aandag begin verg het het ek haar minder gesien maar sy het my elke keer herken. Elke keer wat ek haar gery het was die band van volkome vertroue nog net so sterk soos die vorige keer wat ek haar gesien en gery het. Later jare het ek my kinders op haar rondgelei. Die ouderdom het haar op die ou end ingehaal. Ons het al in Perth gewoon teen hierdie tyd. My swaer het laat weet dit gaan nie goed nie, maar perd uitsit is ook nie ‘n eenvoudige storie nie want hulle reageer nie altyd lekker op die inspuiting nie. Vir ‘n paar dae het ek gewroeg oor wat die regte ding is om te doen, want om haar te laat swaarkry sou ook nie reg wees nie, maar sy het gelukkig die besluit uit ons hande geneem en is een nag stil in die veld dood. Dis steeds hartseer maar ek dink met dankbaarheid aan al die ongelooflike ondervindinge wat ek saam met haar gehad het, en alles wat sy my geleer het. Daar is min dinge wat so lekker is as om jou arms om ‘n perd se ontspanne nek te vou en haar ‘n lekker stywe druk te gee. Sy het oor die jare ‘n paar pragtige vullens gehad, een waarvan nou ook myne is, en ek is baie dankbaar om te kan sê dat sy haar liefdevolle geaardheid ook aan hierdie pragtige merrie oorgedra het. Ek ry haar elke keer wat ek daar kuier, al kon ek haar nie self leer nie. Daarvoor is ek my swaer en hulle dogters baie dank verskuldig. Al woon ek ver is die herrinneringe naby.

Jan 2005 - Copy W

My vulletjiepresent as volgroeide merrie in die Kalahari

Jul 2004

Julie 2004, besig om my kinders te leer om haar te borsel