Sunday 28th December 2014
We are now drawing near the end of our memorable stay in Western Australia. We flew in last Tuesday afternoon from Sydney, after leaving the fantastic ‘Voyager of the Seas’. A quick revictualling was all she needed before she disappeared over the horizon again, towards Fiji on her next whirlwind trip with another four thousand excited passengers aboard.
At Perth airport we met Sharon, Janis’s sister and battled through a wall of heat outside the air conditioned airport buildings to find a taxi. This was no trouble as there were hundreds available.
Agapanthus and Pine in Perth
Soon we met Leonard, Janis’s Dad at his home. He lives on a retirement development similar in style to the McCarthy and Stone idea we have in UK, except here in Perth the dwellings are laid out as tasteful small bungalows instead of a block of flats. There are also one or two flats furnished for visitors and we are happily staying in one of these while we are here.
Everything is amazing here in Western Australia, especially the weather. Each morning we have woken to cloudless skies of crushed emerald with temperatures well into the thirties. The weather never varies apparently and can be guaranteed throughout the year. Rain, what little there is, conveniently falls only during darkness hours.
Sunset over the Indian Ocean at Scarborough, Perth
Janis’s eldest sister Raeleen, arrived on Christmas Eve and though we had a memorable and very happy Christmas, I have to say that it didn’t quite feel the same as it does with the air temperature hovering around freezing point or worse and with the possibility of having real snow outside.
Here in the shopping malls little children dressed in festive tinsel are greeted by Santa Claus looking most uncomfortable and almost incongruous in white woolly beard and scarlet fur coat sitting amongst cotton wool snow. Somehow I feel it doesn’t fit in with the azure skies and searing heat outside.
Every day we have been out visiting or shopping somewhere with Leonard insisting in doing all the chauffeuring though with plenty of positive help from the back seat. I think he and his girls are particularly happy being together at this time of the year; a rare happening these days since all four live so far apart.
Leonard has two brothers living in Perth and with them and their families we spent Christmas Day at one of the cousin’s homes. There were thirty four in the party altogether and I was made to feel very welcome by uncles, cousins, both once and twice removed together with spouses. The hospitality was typically generous and Australian.
Leonard has took us to Fremantle one day and it was great to be able to see the port that I used to visit, so many years ago. After forty or fifty years the place has obviously changed but the wharves where our ships tied up are still there, even though they are not used now as they were originally intended. There are expensive yachts and ferry boats tied up there now and the adjoining sheds have been turned into classy tourist shops and restaurants. We spent a long time at the Maritime Museum along the quay which painted a vivid history of all the different immigrants that have passed through Fremantle over the years.
We have walked in the city and sunbathed on beach at Scarborough and Rockingham and Some of us have actually plunged and frolicked in the warm Indian Ocean.
But tomorrow morning early Janis and I have to leave this wonderful paradise. We fly to Christchurch in New Zealand on the next phase of our trip to begin five weeks of exploration in the land where Janis was brought up; Aeotearoa, the land of the long white cloud; the land where Hobbits now reside.
I think of you often old Friend and recount all the stories of you and and me together to the locals here. They are most interested always. I hope all is well with you and the weather is not too cold so as to cause drastic catastrophes aboard.
Be assured that I shall write again soon.
Old Salt (the Ancient Mariner)