Friday, January 24, 2014

A Perfect Day

One Perfect Day

I have taken my time deciding the final resting place for my husband Jamie's ashes.  Twelve months is as long as they should reside in my Walk in Robe where they have been since I brought them home. There were times over the past year when I felt Jamie gently chiding me for keeping him cooped up when his naturally gregarious nature made it essential that his final destination should be in a place where people gather and enjoy themselves.
Over summer the Australian cricketers have been playing against England for the Ashes.  My Jamie was always an avid cricket follower; and in all the 34 years that I knew him he never missed watching a game.  He was always fair and wanted the best team to win, although I'm sure that he secretly wanted the West Indies to win when they were playing.  As I followed the cricket this summer it evoked memories for me of times gone by and I began to wonder if perhaps we could steal into the WACA (Western Australian Cricket Association), grounds and surreptitiously spread Jamie' ashes on the cricket pitch.  Obviously this was not one of my best plans and I dismissed it.

Then a friend of ours from Guyana, Jamie's home country suggested I write to the WACA and as permission to spread the ashes on their grounds.  To my great surprise and delight I received a reply from the Acting Turf Manager saying, yes, they would be more than happy for me to spread Jamie's ashes in one of their rose gardens.

Finally the day arrived Tuesday 14th January. Helen who is the wife of the man who suggested I contact the WACA and I started off early in the morning for our trip to Perth and the cricket grounds.  The whole day was filled with so many miracle moments it took our breath away.  It was as if God was saying 'I have planned this day for the two of you'.
We didn't plan our journey, however as it turned out it could not have worked out better.  Helen drove us to the Train Station where we found plenty of parking space and were able to walk straight on to a waiting train.
On arrival in Perth we had time to enjoy a sumptuous meal at the David Jones Food Hall.  Not called food court because it's meant to be a little more upmarket.  It truly was upmarket with delightful food and a variety of choices.

When we arrived at the WACA we received a warm welcome from Ros, the Admin person extraordinaire.  Initially her plan had been to show us the Rose gardens and then leave us there as she had a Meeting to attend.  However, Ros willingly spent a longer time with us, showing us around the WACA grounds  and then to the Rose Gardens so we could choose the place we thought would best suit.  Ros even took photographs for us and then before she left she held up the Urn and said, 'we welcome James to the Rose Garden at the WACA'  This was so moving and totally unexpected.  We also met completely by accident, Matt the person who had initially responded to my email.  If we had been five minutes earlier or later we would have missed him.

The Rose Gardens are situated along the Player's Walking Path, which is used by the players to when they walk from their rooms to the cricket pitch for practice.  There was a gentle breeze and it seemed to carry with it the whispering of bygone days and yet a whisper of the future and hope.  On T.V. they often show this part of the Gardens when the Commentators are doing interviews and in the background can be seen the cricketers at play.
Helen and I found a lovely red rose bush, knowing that Jamie loved his red roses.  Then I noticed a yellow rose bush in full bloom.  I remembered that Jamie loved the song 'Eighteen Yellow Roses' and had his Carer's play it often.  So Helen and I decided that it should be the red and yellow rose bush where we finally laid the ashes and Jamie to rest.

I dug a hole with a spoon I had brought from home and placed the ashes there.  As I dug I thought I could perhaps have been dressed more appropriately for digging holes and pouring in ashes with a soup spoon. Still, I felt a sense of peace and felt that somehow Jamie knew what we were doing and was happy.  He was in a place where people gathered and enjoyed themselves and where cricketers would be walking past every time they had a game on.
When we left the Grounds we walked toward a bus stop and found the Bus Driver was waiting for us having seen us walking toward him.

Once we arrived in Perth we found we were unable to go the normal way to reach our train station.  It had been blocked off because they are making changes to the Underground, so we had to turn into WILLIAM STREET and passed JAMIE OLIVER'S Restaurant, this wouldn't have happened had we been able to go the usual way to the station.  Was this serendipity, to be reminded of our Jamie Oliver WILIAMS we are not sure, but both Helen and I felt that Jamie was approving our venture and we were both so filled with wonder and delight with what this perfect day have presented to us.
Helen reminded me that today was the birthday of another Jamie she knows so she will never forget this date.  She is also a great Mahjong player and I don't think she ever missed her weekly game and yet she willingly gave that up to come with me to the WACA.

Today was a day of reminiscing peppered with plenty of laughter and enjoying true friendship. I will remember it as a time when we finally placed Jamie's ashes in a place he loved.  With so many incidents that happened during the day we could almost imagine him with his cheeky grin saying, 'Well done girls, I'm proud of you.'
Tonight I received an online magazine and the title of one of the issues was WHO WILL SCATTER YOUR ASHES.  I can only hope that whoever that will be feels some of what this glorious day has been for us.

Day Two

Margaret River Surfing


I arose to birds singing and a couple of sheep baaing.  Have a quick stroll around the property, and admire the tall Karri trees surrounding the grounds.Not to photograph at the moment so I left Rentia to make breakfast. She makes us  a lovely meal of bacon and eggs and coffee.

We sit  outside on the verandah for awhile, feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs, hearing the Kookaburra laughing watching the Jacki Winter flying and trilling from his branch, we make several attempts  to take  a photo but he flies away speedily as soon as we approach.. Rentia looks through her bird book  so we areable to look up what the bird with the black bill and black eye liner is called.   In the distance cars are travelling or turning in from Caves Road. For a moment there is silence then the cacophony of sounds start up again.

After breakfast we find  we have locked ourselves out of the house and I ask the land lady to come and let us back in to the house.  She doesn't want to leave us a spare key so she walks over to the cottage with me. I go inside and Rentia is met with a barrage of questions from our hostess. Finally we escape to set off on our holiday adventure  exploring  the wineries and the beaches which this region is  famous for.
First stop is  Xanadu, a pleasant winery with restaurant.  After a brief stop we move on to Redgate where we find we are the only visitors. Only one woman is serving and she is constantly being
called on to answer the phone, welcome other visitors and assist with the wine tasting. We decide we probably wont go back there.

Following the Winery visits stop and being fortified we drive to Prevelly Park and follow the coast line as far as we can. We watch and photograph a group of surfers catching the breaks far out in the ocean, and discover the family beach  with its own special allure. Glennys considers a dip in the ocean but finds she has a whoos of a companion with her on the day.
We drive past a gracious little old church at Prevelly and then we are on our way to Gracetown  We walk under a canopy of trees and visit the memorial for the collapsed cliff victims, at the same time talking and eating our fast melting ice creams.

Then off to the last and the most impressive winery at Laurance Estate.
We meet lovely and friendly staff as well as the Owner.We gaze at the Chandeliers made of made of many wine glasses.  After a quick but memorable visits to the  toilets we walk outside and visit the lovely  rose gardens, olive trees, and water fountain with cascading flowers.

After a simply gorgeous day with Rentia doing all the hard work driving again we set off for Smith's Beach.
As we drive past the entrance I note the unit Jamie and I had stayed in, it was a surprise birthday present for him when he turned 60.
Sunset on Smith's Beach

Smith's beach is wide and long.  The sand as on all our beaches is soft and white. The day has been hot and it is still warm even though it is  late in the afternoon so there is a second top up of sun cream for both of us.
A family arrived with a dog which obviously knew its way  around and wasn't going to be kept back waiting for it's owners.  It rushes hastily past us and runs a kilometre along the beach, swimming and enjoying the crowd.
We see a lovely young couple on the beach and discover she is from France and he is from Sydney.  They had a towel wrapped around themselves and were holding each other in a soft warm embrace.  It is a moment suspended in time, a moment that wont be repeated so  Rentia takes  a lovely shot of them.  They were happy for her to send them a copy as a memory of a perfect day.

Back  home to relax over a Wild Turkey then Rentia cooks another tasty meal. Squash with fresh thyme and lemon drizzled over it, onion cheese tomato and cous cous.

After dinner Rentia finds an enormous huntsman spider on the ceiling.  Guess who stood on a chair and caught it and took it outside to the sound of Rentia calling 'you will fall be careful' and 'it might be dangerous, don't get bitten.'
Later on in the evening, we find a cockroach which wasn't so easy to catch, mainly because I can't stand the sight of them and don't ever want to go near them. This time it is Rentia's turn to remove it.

 I am happy to report Rentia moves from her bed on the floor and we both spend a comfortable last night.  Early in the morning we pack up the car and head for home. With happy memories and many photographs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Margaret River Venture

On the first day of our trip I wake up to  perfect weather which is to last for our whole 3 day venture.
I drive to Rentia and we pack  her car full of luggage and food, everything we will need for our 3 day holiday.
After a pleasant two  hour drive we stop  for lunch in a shady spot on the edge of Cowaramup and  eat a hearty meal of shredded chicken, and pre made sandwiches of tomato and cheese.
After lunch we continue our drive and arrive in Cowaramup  and  stop to do some shopping.  We meet one of Jamie's nurses at the condiments shop which is packed full of spices, cheeses and such. We cross the road and try a bit of wine tasting both red and white in very generous sizes in our glass. Amazingly we find the Art Gallery cafe is closed for business on a Public Holiday weekend.

Arriving  at our cottage, we announce our arrival to the Owners with some trepidation as a result of one bad review that had been posted in Trip Advisor.  Apparently the reviewer had not enjoyed his time in the bush land of Margaret River.  Amongst his complaints were,  he found ear wigs in the bed sheets and  heard rats running about the house. Apparently on complaining to the owners he was told he could leave anytime and shown the door.
Rentia and I do some detective work and question the very friendly  owners in case they were new and had not been involved in this situation.  We are advised they have been running the cottages for the past 30 years, so they are indeed the culprits.

 Immediately we are in the house we examine the bed in minute detail for ear wigs and anything else which shouldn't be living in the mattress. Thankfully we find we no sign of ear wigs or rats. The place is clean and tidy.
Went into Bob's Shoe shop at Margaret River and admire some lovely boots and shoes.  Suddenly I realize the song playing on the radio is the Michael Franti song we played when they were showing Jamie's photos at his funeral.  I had never heard that song before that day and this was the first time I heard it since. I find a lovely leather purse marked down from $100 to $50, it was just big enough to hold my keys and mobile phone, something I had been looking for for ages.  Rentia and I  both thought Jamie was there telling me I should buy the bag which I promptly do.
As it was late in the afternoon we decide to drive down  to Prevelly Beach and wait for sunset.  We arrive and park the car and walk over the sand dunes on to the beach.  We sit for awhile watching lovely scenes fisherman and  people kite flying;  a boy throwing a stick to  his dog, people swimming.

 Then Rentia suggests we  walk along the beach, making sure to count the pathway openings leading from the path to the beach so we can find our way back. (One of us proves to better at counting and the other proves to be better at being a human Google map)  Walking in the sand is hard because it is so soft and  my aching legs tell me how unfit I am.  We walk along the path for the rest of the way which is  a lot less strain on my legs. As we stroll along we see  four people standing with their backs to the water, texting on their phones.  It seemed rather incongruous.  It is strange now to notice that when something as lovely as a sunset is presented to us we would rather  capture the moment on our phones and cameras rather than sit in the moment and enjoy the scene spread before us.
We watch a wedding on the beach and wonder for an instant if perhaps we could gatecrash and  pretend to be professional  photographers.

A lovely setting to hold a wedding.

Finally we sit on Prevelly Beach, watching a glorious sunset and observing the change in the colours of the sky and ocean as the sun turns both from red to crimson and finally pink as it sets slowly over the horizon.

 'Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under'. C. Joybell. C.

Now the  time has come  to leave this delightful scenario.  On the way back we see a young girl sitting on the beach   playing her guitar, a lovely natural scene, she is  oblivious of anybody else,and  is just enjoying this magical evening and her guitar.
As we walk along the sky begins to grow darker as it does as soon as the sun has set. As we walk we remember we have been so busy chatting and watching the scenery that we may have overshot the turn off that takes us back to the car.  We walk along a different path to the one we had walked down earlier and find there are no familiar landmarks.  However, after a short search we find the car right  where we left it. Although we are two women walking alone we feel safe and thankful for this country we live in.  Even so  it was still a relief to find the car and be on or way home.

When we arrive back at the cottage there is just enough time for a short stroll in the surrounding bush, where we watch the kangaroos jumping across the bush track possibly looking for tonight's dinner.
Although barbecues had been advertised  we found  this was not quite the case when we read the sign on the barbecues stating they can't be lit as no fires were allowed in summer.So back home we go to enjoy a Clayton's barbecue. (actually it was the second  day of autumn but still warm enough to feel as if it was  summer)  The best thing in my opinion about autumn is that we have a whole new summer ahead.  Another summer begins after autumn and winter leave us.  Next morning we find a that there are gas barbecues by this time it is too late.

After our bush walk we meander home and where  Wild Turkey  eases our thirst and we  soothe our beached up legs  with chatting while we sit on the verandah contemplating our meal and  sharing nibbles of  a cheese platter (from the condiments store)  in Cowaramup  and crackers.

Cous cous salad with special ingredients by Rentia and boerewors. is our dinner.
We only had one bed to share so Rentia took some cushions and parked on the lounge room floor. Whether it was the drive  down, the long beach walk and sea air or the scintillating conversation we weren't sure but we both enjoy an excellent night's sleep.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Diesel and the Storm

Early Friday morning I was awoken by a scratching at our bedroom window. I opened the window before thinking about whether or not I had a crazed psycho burglar at the window. Fortunately for us it was Diesel our (fairly large) dog asking to be let in because there were loud thunder bolts crashing across the sky giving him a fright. I kindly brought his bed inside and then went back to my room and fell asleep. Soon I was awakened by amazing bolts of lightning and thunder flashing through the house. Deez had moved and was sleeping in the passage outside our bedroom door which he had pushed open with his nose so he could feel safer I suppose. This was the worst place he could be in because he caught the lightning and thunder from the front and back of the house. Every time there was a loud explosion Deez tried to force himself into our room,and when I closed the door on him he ran up and down the passage looking for an escape from this violent display of nature. Finally I felt sorry for this poor demented animal and went and laid down on the couch in the lounge room so he felt as if he had a protector. Every time the lightning lit up the room I could see a tableau of a dog very close, just gazing at me as if to say 'Can you please wake up and stop this noise'. Even I jumped when the thunder bolts were too loud. Finally, I drifted off to sleep only to wake up again when a particularly loud thunder bolt exploded in the lounge room and lightning turned night into day. Suddenly I felt something heavy on my legs. Deez had such a fright from the noise and light that he had jumped on top of me and there was no way he was going to be moved. All night long the power went on and off, and when it came on again the phone started up and kept reminding me to set it properly. Then an alarm belonging to the people across the road kept buzzing on and off, at first I thought it was a police car, then an ambulance or fire alarm, eventually I couldn't care less and Deez and I went back to sleep. The most amazing thing to me was that Jamie slept through the whole night and when I woke him up in the morning he could hardly believe he had slept through the most fierce storm we had had in many years.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today I paid a quick visit to a large Food store to buy a lunch of chicken and Caesar salad. Choosing the salad was easy, there were several containers with Caesar salad written on them and all I had to do was make my choice.
Then I went to buy the hot chicken. Generally, this is a simple task , you just open the server and take out the chicken of your choice, go through the check out, pay for your purchase and away you go. In my case it was away back home to watch the last half of an AFL (Australian Football League) game. Lo and behold when I arrived at the Server I discovered it was locked and barred and yet contained many chickens.I found out later that these chickens had all been ordered for a party. Who does that? Probably people who were watching the same AFL game that we were.
There was nobody waiting at the Deli so I hurriedly went to the ticket machine, tugged on the roll and pulled out a number. Unfortunately I must have tugged too hard and I pulled out five other numbers apart from mine. By this time other customers had begun arriving at the deli counter. The staff were beginning to call out numbers, (numbers which I greedily held in my hand). 'What should I do'? I asked myself. 'Do I quickly dispose of these numbers discreetly?' Then I envisaged the person ahead with number 90 having to wait in line because the five people with numbers in front of her were not presenting at the counter. So I decided not to upset the military procession of the staff as they called out numbers 84 to 89. As calmly as possible I walked along the line and said 'here you are' as I gave out the numbers. A couple thought I was just being generous, the rest thought I was a bit weird and greedy.
Finally, in the fullness of time my number came up and it was my turn. I moved to the counter with my ticket held tightly in my hand. Proof I was not pushing in, I had a legal right to be there. Only to be informed that yes there was indeed an oven full of chickens, however none would ever be mine. They had all been pre-arranged for a party.
Downcast, I left the Store and hurried out to the Car Park and headed home, just me and my Salad.

Nature and Animals

Nath and I and Deez our dog have been walking daily to Black Swan lake in Lakelands where we live. For thousands of years the indigenous Australians travelled and camped in Lakelands which is named after the many swamps and lakes that were in this area. Black Swan Lake Mowyn Kuljak and Paganoni Lake Berong, provided an abundance of food and bush medicine.
The lakes have spiritual significance to aboriginal people. They were believed to be an integral part of the Wagyl dreaming which comprises a track along a chain of lakes extending from Yanchep to Australind. The lakes were formed several thousand years ago as the sea level began to recede.
Two weeks ago we were walking on our usual route. The day was a perfect spring morning, although officially spring didn’t arrive until last week. The azure blue sky was cloudless, and the soft warm breeze brought the pleasant smell of new growth, (unless you are allergic and susceptible to hay fever, then it may not be so welcome). Birds were flying and chirping merrily as if to welcome early spring. We ambled across the bridge and in the distance we could see the traffic heading for the new freeway. It’s a great feeling of freedom to know that every Thursday and Friday you are not part of the human race rushing to work. As we walked along a track which runs parallel with the train that runs from Mandurah to Perth we could hear the mooing of cattle long before we could see them. As we turned the bend in the road by the huge green trees that have been there for hundreds of years we could see a white cow standing by the railway line, next to the wire fence that cuts us off from the railway lines. He saw us coming and gave a long mournful moo, as if to say I’ve been waiting here all night for a train. On the left side of the track there was a farm with cows and their calves. We stopped for a few moments to enjoy this peaceful country scene. The animals looked at us and gave a couple of moos and nods of heads. Others kept on feeding their young and looked contentedly at us, wondering who were these people staring at them. Overhead crows, magpies and other birds were flying close by. We even encountered some dragon flies and the first bees of spring.
Several cows came up close to the fence where we were standing and allowed us to take photos seeming to be preening and smiling for the camera. The cow waiting for the train simply stood and watched our antics. We were thoroughly enjoying our commune with the animals and with nature when we finally decided it was time to continue our morning exercise.
Then Diesel made his move. He is the kind of dog who loves to make new friends, no matter where he is he always thinks he it’s a social situation that he needs to be involved in. When a dog growls him or wants to fight, Diesel looks bemused as if he can’t believe that somehow this dog doesn’t want to be friends with him. As we turned to leave, Diesel who had been watching the animals suddenly noticed the hole in the fence and tried to get under it. Instantly we were almost in the middle of an affray. The cow closest to the fence mooed loudly as the white cow outside the fence started to amble down toward us. In just a few moments all the cows began to moo angrily in response and started coming over to help their mate. One of the cows noticed the hole in the fence and began to lean down as if to come outside and charge Diesel. Poor dog he had no idea what was happening all he wanted to do was play.
We moved rather quickly just in case and were soon far from the lovely quiet country scene which had suddenly turned into something similar to animal farm, when those bad dudes wanted to take it over.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A laser Party is like no other

Jamie and I seem to have a penchant for meeting new people and making them our best friends. Before his stroke, when he could walk Jamie was always able to be seen out and about in the community talking with someone.
We have been going up to Perth to an Eye Specialist who has been giving Jamie laser treatment for Glaucoma and pressure behind the eye. I think of it as a small TIA. As this was our third visit we knew the drill. Patients wait patiently in the patient waiting room for at least two hours or more. There are eye drops to be administered, photos of an eye or two to be snapped and then the business of the laser treatment begins. I have to admit it kind of concerned me that I could sit in the room with Jamie during his laser treatment yet had to wear a mask cover my eyes.
We set off early for our one hour drive to the city, when we arrived I was able to find ‘my’ disability parking spot which always seems to be waiting for us. The surgery was really full and I noticed that people looked up from whatever occupation had been taking their attention and contrived to look without any eye contact at the latest person to enter the door. That was us. A man kindly jumped up and opened the door for Jamie to wheel himself through. I’m trying to help him become more independent and do stuff for himself. However, I think I’m like my mother, if you do it yourself it saves time and is easier. Also, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings when they offer to help us.
It seemed kind of silly to spend the next 3 or 4 hours trying to pretend we weren’t there, so when we walked in and spotted a group of people, I thought, ‘These will be my audience they can’t get away’. So we sat down. As Jamie said quite loudly, ‘Hello’ people slowly looked up from their magazines, mobile phones, IPads or just from trying to sleep. They all responded in their own ways to his greeting. Jane had been waiting for 2 hours and 35 minutes and was sure it was going to be her turn next. David was there with his Dad who was reading a paper with yesterday’s date on it, had he really been there that long? Another lady I called Eloise was hiding behind her magazine. Sure enough Jane was called up, she was so excited she gave us all a little bow as we clapped. Then there were four. Carlo had been many times and was trying to reassure the lady next to him that when the Doctor lasered your eye it hurt like mad, but felt good when it was over. I’m not sure he helped her fears really.
Finally, it was our turn, 3 and a half hours after entering the surgery and hearing other people’s stories of horror operations that went wrong, ( I guess that is why they were horror operations.) The Nurse came and wheeled Jamie into the surgery. When it was all over and we were on our way out of the surgery, all the people we had been speaking to called out good bye and waved us through the door.
I think they liked us.