Thursday, February 06, 2014

What I did on my holidays (1)

We did our house-swap with a family in Perth, as mentioned a couple of posts ago. Then we were doing a major top-to-bottom clean of the house. It’s a bit of an unusual situation for people you don’t even know to be living for weeks in your fully furnished and clutter-laden house, while you are elsewhere. In fact, while you are doing the same in their house. We felt like we had to bag and bundle and stow a whole lot of stuff that had just been floating around, not for security but just to make life easier for our guests (and hosts), the Brandises.

So - we flew to Perth. I took Hattie down to the cattery the day before, but Winston stayed behind to welcome the visitors - he would be looking after them while we were away. My Mum was at the house when they arrived to explain the things that Winston could not.

I have some very good old friends, Phillip and Andrea, who happen to live 3 minutes walk from our swap house, in the suburb of Floreat. Phillip collected us at the airport and drove us “home”. It was pretty warm and very dry. It didn’t crack 30° in our first five days, so we had an easy introduction. Just lovely, blue skies all day, day after day. (Meanwhile Hobart was getting blown sideways by freezing winds, and after a white-knuckle landing the Brandises arrived at our house to find the power out for hours due to fallen trees).

In Perth we dumped our stuff in the house, had a bit of a reconnoitre and then walked up the road to have dinner with Phillip and Andrea and their kids, Isobel and Ronan, roughly the same age as ours. They were supposed to be going to Tasmania the next day, to see family and gad about for 2 weeks, but due to some non-serious medical misadventures they had to postpone leaving for a week. So we had neighbourhood buddies for that week, and then enjoyed the use of their car once they had gone.

We had a list of outings we wanted to make, starting with Scitech and Kings Park. We did all but one of our first week of outings by public transport. The bus stops for downtown were close, and the buses were on time, clean and pretty economical. We paid $11.60 for a family day ticket, only useable after 9am. We found our groove after a while, packing sandwiches, fruit and water to be as self-sufficient as possible, so then we felt like a pick-me-up we could spend our money on an ice-cream or coffee.

Our first trip was to Scitec, which was right by the bus route into town. It’s a science exploration centre, full of well thought-out and well-maintained activities. The boys have been to a few of these places, and they thought this one was great.

Michael generates around 2000 kilo-rads of science.
This is a trough of rubber crumbs, that is 3D-tracked in some way so as the kids push it 
and pile it up, the contour lines change, the colours change and water animates in the  
lower areas. If you shade an area with your hand "rain" falls on it and animated water 
gushes down the side of the real hill. Its ... incredible really.
Here are a few pics from Outing 2, to Kings Park. It’s a massive expanse of land on a hill overlooking the city and the broad waters of the Swan River.

Michael and Marcus make friends with a ficus.
In fact, a very large Port Jackson Fig.
Admiring the Swan. I have never been able to work out how Perth works from looking at maps.
I have a slightly better feel for it now.
This 750 year-old boab had to go when a highway up in the Kimberley region was being widened.
It was carefully removed and trucked 3200km to Perth.  
There is a water-play area where we found this vermillion-coloured dragonfly.
The old Swan Brewery has an amazing position on the water.
It’s now luxury apartments.
A view south, over to South Perth (centre) and down towards
the confluence of the Canning and Swan Rivers (right).

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