Back on the Brush and the Booze in Perth

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Saturday, February 5, 2011


Saturday 5th February 2011

Having arrived in Perth we have a few people to catch up with, one is a friend from Deloitte's (my work), Allan is Australian but has lived in the UK since he was a child but has always kept his Aussie connections and comes back here regularly, even has a house here. He has been over since January and it will be good to catch up.  We had arranged to meet so he picked us up from the campsite at midday and we had a drive round some of the suburbs of Perth.  Our first stop, lunch in the lovely seafront town of Rockingham, which is near his house, we had the best fish'n’chips while sitting in the park overlooking the sea.  We had a look round some of the tourist shops, Gary even bought a fishing reel... he fancies catching a fish off a pier and cooking it for dinner......Hmmm!!!   Allan took us for a drive round some other little bays and we priced up maybe doing a trip to one of the islands off shore....they have penguins here and sea lions.

Allan house is on a golf course in an area called Secret Harbour....which had a big sign outside so it’s not a secret anymore.  His house is lovely, a one story that has a movie room, games room, three bedrooms, office and massive living/dining room.  Allan is 6ft7in tall and he has had the kitchen worktops built for his height, I had to stand on tiptoes to reach the sink.  We had a beer and went out to the garden to watch the golfers teeing off on the eleventh hole.  There are a number of patched up holes in the fence and dents in the patio roof when golfers have miss hit and the ball has come sailing into Al’s garden, it maybe a dangerous place to have a BBQ.

We jumped back in the car for another trip out to a harbour area with massive houses, we’re here to look for dolphins.  The dolphins herd schools of fish into narrow channels of the harbour, trapping them in and then feasting on them, but sadly there were no dolphins around to day.  Allan offered to cook dinner so we swung past a supermarket and he cooked us a very delicious Green Curry, which was maybe a little bit too hot due to him being heavy handed with the curry paste.  Something you learn quickly out here, unlike at home if it says mild or hot on the label then that is exactly what it come out the jar like, whereas at home things tend to be a lot milder than the packet or jar says.
A visit to the Cheese Cake shop had us walking out with a massive cake half a cheese cake and half a mud cake, which we tucked into after the curry....yummm.  It was actually chilly when we got back to the van the first time we have been cold in months, it was 21 degrees on the thermometer...brrr!!

Sunday 6th February 2011

My parents are planning to visit us in Oz later on in the year and fancy a bit of touring round with us in the van.  Obviously, our van is too small for four of us and luggage, so we are playing with the idea of hiring one of the big campervans for two weeks, which will give us more room and better facilities.  Therefore, our mission for today was to go round all the hire companies and scope out what they had to offer.  I had already been on line so had an idea in my head on what type of van we wanted I just wanted to see what they looked like inside and what deals they had on offer.  We visited three of the main companies that hire the bigger vans and they were all very helpful, letting us look around and getting prices together for us.  It was worth doing the recognisance as some of the vans were nicer than others, one company, Apollo, we looked at three of their vans which ranged from ok to very tatty.  Our favourite was Kea their vans where lovely inside, clean and the seats where brushed suede....very nice. 

Having finished our run about we bought some rolls and when back to the campsite to make scrummy bacon butties for lunch.  Gary set the TV up and settled down to watch the disastrous final day of the cricket....England didn’t do very well.  We ended the evening with a skype call to the parents and dinner, before settling down to another cool night.

Monday 7th February 2011

Time to see the City of Perth, we left the van at the campsite and took the bus into city centre.  The bus dropped us off at the main shopping centre so we walked round the malls for a time.  Among all the big shopping fronts was an old English Tudor style building with a clock on the front.  On closer inspection, it was an entrance to an alleyway.  The alleyway full of shops, this was straight out of Harry Potter, pretty little shops all selling different things with signs outside adverting their wares.  It was magical and not what you expected in the middle of a city centre. 

I have been talking about getting a filter for my camera for months and I priced some up and bought one while I was in Perth.  I have been getting annoyed that the colours I see though my sunnies don’t show up in my pictures so I have bought a polarized filter so it takes to glare away and give me better quality also makes my camera look bigger (size matters).

Perth has a free bus system, and you can jump on jump off these busses all day, after lunch we hopped on one to go down to the pier and have a walk along the river.  The River Swan is teaming with jellyfish, big brown jellyfish, I won’t be swimming in that water.  Back on the bus and heading for the WACA (Cricket ground), the one-day international that we had watch on TV the day before was being held here in Perth but even though we tried it had been a sell out so we couldn’t get tickets.  Gary did find a match day ticket on the floor....only a day late...sadly!!!!  It was $15 dollars to do the tour of the ground but we where half an hour too late for the last one so we planned to come back later in the week.  As we walked round the outside of the ground we found a gate left open by the catering staff dismantling all the marquees from the day before, so we snuck in.  We wanted to see the pitch and I took a few photo’s while Gary had a look round, then we walked out again like we should have been there....very cool!!   We stopped for a coke and an ice-cream in McDonalds before heading back to the bus stop and home.

Tuesday 8th February 2011

Distance                               38km
Accommodation                    $34.58
Weather Sunny 36degrees

We have moved campsite to an area called Fremantle a coastal suburb of Perth, it is a very picaresque town.  We are meeting up with friends of Mark and Diane’s (yes another blind date) in a restaurant in Fremantle so have moved closer to make it easier getting to and from the area.  We had a quick drive round the town and it looks lovely so we are planning to make a day of it tomorrow.  Once booked in the campground we took the long walk down to the beach, spent some time watching the fishermen before coming back cooking dinner and chilling for the rest of the evening.

Wednesday 9th February 2011

Booked in the caravan park for two more days but had to move site because they had closed our area due to watering.  On our walk to the beach yesterday we noticed a bike track that lead to Fremantle town, which is about 8km away, so today we are mounting up and riding into town.  The cycle track was great, it took us away from the main road and along the coast.  We did lose it for a while when we hit a new housing development and got a bit lost wandering round the building sites before finding a little road that brought us back on track.  There are a lot of people in Perth who have boats but the marina is not big enough to house them all so some people park their boats up while they are not using them.  We past one of these boat parks, it was massive and full of boats all stacked up like a carpark.  As we came in on the coastal road we found ourselves in fisherman wharf, which had lots of restaurants all selling fish and chips.  We stopped and had lunch in Joe’s Fish Shack while watching the world go by.  A couple in a flash boat pulled up to the dock, the man nipped out and bought two portions of fish’n’chips and then jumped back in his boat and sped off.  The fish and chips in Perth has been the best we have had, Gary’s addicted. We spotted the restaurant we are meeting Jan and Paul in tomorrow night, it’s a micro brewery, so it brews and sells its own beer.

Back on the bikes, we carried on across the train tracks and into town.  You step back in time when you arrive in Fremantle all the building are original and beautifully restored.  We parked the bikes and spent the next couple of hours wandering round.  Fremantle not only has a busy fishing port but also cargo and passenger ships dock here as well, rumour has it the Queen Mary was coming in this week.  It was also home to the Fremantle Prison that only closed in 80’s, it is now a tourist attraction.

We managed to find our way back to the van and whip up a quick lasagne as we have arranged to meet up with Allan again tonight for food and drinks at his.  We were a bit late as it was a forty-minute journey but Gary could not drive too fast with a lasagne balanced on my knee.  We had a few drinks with Allan and crashed in his spare room to save us driving home in the dark.

Thursday 10th February 2011

We left Allan’s via the coastal route, it is a very petty area some of it’s a bit industrial but the industrial side does not seem to ruin the fantastic views.  We arrived back at the campground and spent the rest of the day chilling in the van watching a bit of TV, we have our blind date tonight with Mark and Diane’s friends.  We were meeting them early so we got ready and took the bus into Fremantle.  The bus drive didn’t charge us for the journey which was a good start to the night, we arrived early so went and had a quick drink on the wharf before walking over to the restaurant.  We found Jan and Paul very quickly, they are a fun couple who are very chatty and we got on well with them.  The restaurant had a tapas menu so we left them to order the food, which was fantastic when it came up, the best chips we have ever tasted.  Gary tried a few of the house beers, the waitress even brought a few tasters out for him to try.  We had planned to get a taxi back to the campground but Jan offered us a lift so the boys went in the bottle shop next door and picked up some roadies (beers for the road).  We hope to meet up with Jan and Paul again in a couple of weeks, as we have to come back into Perth after we go inland for a bit.  They have offered to take us out for the day in their boat, which would be fantastic if we could arrange it.

Friday 11th February 2011

We are leaving the caravan park and moving to Allan’s for a few days so we got up early and packed the van up.  I put some washing on and left it on the washing line when we left as we are going back into Fremantle first to visit the local market.  I will pick the washing up on the way to Allan’s.

Parking is a bit expensive in Fremantle but they have a free bus service like Perth so we parked outside of town and got the Cat bus in, it dropped us right outside the market.  The market was ok, an inside market that was half-touristy and half produce, we bought some grapes and a sausage in a roll.  We walked round for a while before jumping back on the free bus and getting back to the van.  I called into the campsite on our way back to get our dry washing off the line, I felt like a laundry thief steeling my own clothes.

Distance                               40km
Accommodation                    $Free
Weather                               Sunny 37degrees

Drove to Allan’s and moved our stuff in.  Allan was out when we got there so when he came back we popped out to the shops to get Fajita ingredients and Allan bought rum so he could make Mojitos, it is going to be a messy night.  Had a trip down to the beach to watch the sunset then back for drinks and food, it was a chatty drunken night, eating and nipping outside to look at the stars

Saturday 12th February 2011

We had a bit of a slow start, the kitchen looked like we had had a party, lots of empty bottles and all the washing up left from dinner.  The boys got it in their heads they wanted a BBQ so we all went out to price up and look for gas BBQ’s, but there was so much choice that we ended up with a single use BBQ tray, talk about one end of the scale to the other.  Lunch was back at Rockingham for fish’n’chips, we sat on the grass and fed the seagulls and had a walk down the pier before leaving.

We have bullied Allan into letting us paint his house while we are here.  Al has had the house for about 5 years but it has been rented out in that time, and although it is clean enough the walls could do with a fresh coat of paint and it is better to do them now while the house is empty.  Therefore, we stopped to buy some paint and then a called in to Woollies for some BBQ meat and salad.

Back at Allan’s we spent the afternoon watching golfers lose their balls in the rough and commenting on their good and bad shots.  As the sun went down the BBQ came out and boys cooked sausages and steaks while I made a salad.  We spent the evening drinking Bourbon and playing cards.  We taught Al some of our favourite card games and he thanked us by winning all our money...I think we were hussled!!!

Sunday 13th February 2011

Sunday morning Allan bought us all breakfast with his winnings and then the boys when out in the van to buy a set of ladders.  I spent the morning watching the golfers going past until I was nearly hit by a golf ball that was miss hit and came smashing in to Allan’s garden, after that I when in....safer!!

When the guys came back Gary got up the ladder and cleared the golf balls out the gutters nineteen balls, four toys soldiers, a haccy sac, a leggo man and a green ping pong ball, I don’t think they all came from the golf course. Allan cleared nine ball out the front bad were their shots?

We started on the painting and got two rooms painted, Allan bought the Hungry Jacks for lunch to keep us going until dinnertime when I made pasta and we called the parents on Skype.  The rest of the evening, we spent trying to win our money back playing cards.

Monday 14th February 2011

Can you believe Allan has got to the grand old age of 31 and never been to Ikea, well I obviously had to rectify that.  With the promise that the food in the restaurant was really good we drove the forty minutes to Ikea.  It is hard to say if Allan enjoyed the experience or not but I certainly did and the boys where happy with the food, although Ikea didn’t do the cooked breakfast with meatballs in Perth store that we had in Brisbane.  We left Ikea and Allan took us around a few more furniture shops to get some ideas for his house.  Furniture is a lot cheaper here than at home and you get a lot for your money.

We all arrived back at Allan’s tired and hungry, so we cooked dinner, settled down to play some more cards and drink more booze.

Tuesday 15th to Saturday 20th February 2011

We spent the next five days cracking on with the painting and getting all the rooms finished.  We have had a few trips back to the paint shop for more paint and food shopping.  Every evening we have spent playing cards and drinking large amounts of’s a very healthy lifestyle out here.

We did meet up with Mark and Diane’s youngest son, Jay, who is working over this side of the country.  We planned to meet him in Fremantle or Freo as the locals call it.  Allan opted not to join us although he was welcome to come, but he dropped us off at the train station so we could get the train and bus into Freo.  We haven’t seen Jay since he was ten so we arranged to meet him by the train station.  He arrived with a friend and another one joined us later on when we got to the bar.  Jay looks just like his Dad and he can talk like him too, I remember him being chatty little kid and that hasn’t changed with age.  It was a good night, Jay and his friends have all been to England so they talked to us about places they had been.  All three boys work for the mine companies in Western Australia, doing the maintenance on the cranes.  It’s good money but they have to work 12 hours a day for weeks on end in the middle of nowhere, but with that they get a room and food while they are on site, and with nowhere to spent their money they live like kings when they get time off.  We all left the pub and went for some food at the wharf.... more fish and chips.  We said our goodbyes and caught the bus and train back home, Allan picked us up from the station.  We finished the night with a few hands of cards.

Friday night we went down Allan’s local pub the Whistling Kite, we had a few ciders and the boys played pool, Gary lost both games.  We then staggered home past a house that had a massive spider’s web outside their front door, the spider in it wasn’t too small either, we took some photo’s.  Our way home was lit by an enormous a full moon.

We have enjoyed our time at Allan’s, cooking in a proper kitchen, sleeping in a real bed and being busy doing some proper work again.  The house looks better and feels fresher, the boys also filled up any vents and gaps were spiders could invade.... Allan has a big dislike for the eight-legged critters.  

Monday 21st February 2011
We are back on the road tomorrow, heading inland for a couple of days, so we are spending today giving the van a good spring clean, inside and out.  It was a hot day and the sun beat down on us as we stripped everything out the cupboards and washed all the surfaces.   We also had a bit of a move around, now we have finished going through the outback and remote towns we don’t need to stock up as much food.  We even borrowed Allan’s hoover and gave the foot wells a good clean, it looks like a new van inside, shame the outside looked so grubby but that was the next job, drive to a carwash and give her a good scrubbing.  We finally found one we could fit in and Gary ran round like a mad man scrubbing and rubbing the van while I fed the machine with money.  Clean and shiny we went and restocked the cupboards at Woolworths. Bernie had a clean up as well, the poor little bear got caught up in the bed clothes and got put in the washing machine.....he wasn’t very happy.

Back at Allan’s we had a long cool shower to clean up and then settled down to make dinner and play our last game of cards for the week.  We had a better night and think we won most of our money back, but I wouldn’t play him for big money he’s far to lucky.


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