12 Apr – 23 May 2016: Back in Perth for a short while

What a magic few weeks……

We had our own jobs to do, which was quite a list and growing, and then quite a number of other requests from Lacey (possible house hunting and car buying), SarahB (jobs round her house; hanging a huge picture and putting up shelves & car hunting), and Sean (job advice and checking out his car too). But it was so lovely to be back home with the girls; those very ordinary things – making and sharing meals, baking, and getting out lots on the bicycles and motorbikes. So great to be able to get into some regular exercise again – so I was mixing up cycling, swimming and jogging, with whoever could make it; Stew, Sairha, Lacey, Lorna and Martin and Melissa too. First we had to get the bicycles fixed up a bit, as Sairha’s needed new handle bar tape, and Lacey was having a string of punctures


But once sorted, we had some great cycles; along the river, Kings Park, and even out to the Ocean at Floreat.



We went to the cinema together ‘Jungle Book’, and ‘Eddie the Eagle’, and Lacey managed to get hold of some cheap theatre tickets to see the musical ‘Cats’ for a girly night out on Mother’s Day. Stew could have come (in a dress) – but he decided he didn’t want to, and would have a boys night in with Snoopy. And of course had a few great home cooked dinners and choice meals out – The first special night was a home cooked roast and Yorkshire Puds, shared with SarahB, Sean and Cici and then a belated birthday meal out for Sairha. She’d arranged everything, and we met all the Stewarts, Frankie, Sean, Cici and SarahB, at the Japanese ‘James Parker’ in Northbridge. Its Sairha’s favourite kind of restaurant, and we all enjoyed a great night with friends.


We definitely were in need of a curry fix, and went to the Maharaja with the girls, then the veggie ‘Mother India’ take-way over in Bedford, and we shared with SarahB, Sean and Cici, at Sarah’s place. We had a night with Frankie on Beaufort Street, after she finished a work shift at ‘the Oxford’. A drive down to Busselton for the Ironman 70.3, was a lovely day out, and we even managed to have fish and chips, in the sunshine on the beachfront in Rockingham on the way back.





Even more amazing was that she was checking Gumtree as we drove back, and found a newly listed 1999 subaru forester in Shenton Park. So as soon as we got back, she gave them a call, and ended up going to look at it with her dad. It was amazing, one owner for new, full service history, only 114000 km and lovely conditions. A bit pricey at $6000, but she managed to get it for $5200. She was so happy, when she got the money out of the bank the next day, and went to pick it up.


The first week was still quite warm, so we took Snoopy to the beach, and also met up with Sophia, Tony, Beth and Leah on the beach at Hillaries, and I even managed to get in an ocean swim. It was great to see them, and we had a fun time paddling with the girls, making sandcastles, sculptures and pools. We even did a couple of full days babysitting for Vic and Lyndon, as Lyndon had to go on a course and Vic was teaching all week. The kids had 3 days in daycare, but they were stuck otherwise. Lacey could do the Monday, while Sairha could do the Tuesday (a non-contact day at TAFE), so we all mucked in. It was much harder work than we remembered, and it was great that we had plenty of pairs of hands to keep an eye on both Croyde and Bea.


And they invited us for another Yorkshire pud dinner, as a thankyou too.


Melissa and Ron invited us for a mid-week dinner; the only way to see Ron before he flew off to Cambodia again – It was so nice to catch up with them all, as so far I was the only one who’d seen Melissa out for an early morning cycle. The family were all doing really well, and even Liesl would be home next week, but just for a week, but that would be great for Lacey to catch up with her. Freya had just recently bought herself a Yamaha 250cc motorbike, with the help of her dad (she was getting very fed-up of the traffic and parking to get to Curtin Uni), and so hopefully she had Sairha could be riding buddies, once she gets her test passed.

I did have quite a bit to get done with Felix at UWA too; so catching up with people there, and forward planning, meetings, progress reports, and writing updates from Felix. Oh, and also helping him repair a serious flat back tyre he had on his motorbike one day on his way into Uni. And I’d agreed to mark a PhD thesis from Wollongong Uni, so that took quite a lot of time and effort too. But thankfully I got the report finished a submitted a few days before we were due to depart.


We had a few good days OpShop hunting, as Sairha was after making a Zelda costume (for the SupaNova event) – like a green elf, which we managed to do pretty well in the end. We’d also gone to Spotlight to try get some felt Stew wanted to make gaskets for the BSA he’d made a bit of time to work on after clearing space in the garage too. Sairha spotted some Pokemon material in the off-cuts for £1.50, and was even happier as later we set about sewing a kitchen apron together, and she got her hands on my mum’s old Turissa sewing machine.


We did quite a bit of house viewings with Lacey over the weekends, mostly around Scarborough – as the suburb she most favoured investing in. There was a lot of the market, and pretty expensive, but she was just trying to guage what was out there. We had a right mixed bag of weather too, quite a storm one Saturday.


Stew was also off at every opportunity with SarahB, to the car auctions and trying to find her a decent Toyota Prado. They did manage it in the end, finding one at a small garage down the road from Sarah’s place. They even did a deal with her old Mercedes, and Stew managed to negotiate a full set of new tyres for her too. It did involve bacon butties for brekkie at her place one morning too.


We saw Sean and Cici but only a few times, as they were heading to Thailand, Bangkok for a week. But we did get up to their house for a lovely lunch before they left. So we ended up doing the chicken run a couple of times for them, just running up to their house to check on it, and let the chickens out and give them a feed. The last Friday, we’d decided we’d do a pie & pea night, and get the brazier fires going too. It was the best way of getting the family and friends together to say goodbye again. There were massive pots of peas bubbling away on the stovetop for hours. And of course we had to do some home baking too. It turned out a great night; we’d set up one of the TV’s outside playing a slideshow of the travel photos, as well as music. Soph, Tony, Beth and Leah were able to make it – and the girls were so suited to find LauraF had come bringing her two small dogs. Vic, Lyndon and their two kids, Croyde and Bea were also round early doors, as we knew the families had to leave early for the kids bedtimes. So as some left other arrived, and with the dark night, we were sat rounds the fires out under the stars till nearly midnight.


We’d arranged the pie & peas for Friday, as me and Lacey had registered for the HBF 12 km run on Sunday morning, so we didn’t want to have a late Saturday night. We were in bed quite early after the late night on Friday, as we had to get up quite early too, ~ 6am. We sorted the easiest way was to cycle into the city, on the old bikes, lock them up on Riverside Drive near Plain Street, and then we could easily get to the Wellington Street start. And we’d have transport back home too. We had a quick cup of tea, and took bananas and chewy bars and water bottles with us. Stew and Sairha were sleeping in a bit, but heading off to a carboot sale a bit later.

So we cycled along the riverside just as it was getting light. It was a bit cool, but we both had old jumpers on, which we would leave at the event when we set off. The crowds were amazing, as we walked up into the mall and the start line. There were over 35000 entrants. It was a wonderful event to be in, as you just get swept along by the crowds. Me and Lacey managed to keep together pretty much until we were well onto the motorway ramp, heading towards the tunnel. Lacey is much faster, and I was more than happy to settle to my own pace, so she sped off in front, saying we’d meet at the finish. The day was perfect weather, a bit of cloud cover and not too hot. 12 km was the longest I’d ever run in an event, but having done a few practice sessions running for 1.5 hr around the river from home, I reckoned I’d be OK. The circuit was great – running through the Graeme Farmer tunnel, out passed Burswood and the new Stadium construction, and back along the river side across the Heirson Island bridges. Then a full circuit round the Gloucester Park, before running down the finish chute. I managed to run the whole way, kept going well by the course side entertainment; spectators cheering and various live music bands along the way. I’ve never seen so many people at an event; and no way could you find anyone – it was a mass of blue t-shirts! So I picked up the drinks and fruit at the end, my finisher medal, and had a beady eye out looking for Lacey. But it was no good, I couldn’t find her, so had to fight my way through the crowds just to get out of the stadium and back to where we had locked the bikes. Lacey got there too maybe 5 minutes later, and we hugged congratulating each other, saying what a great event it had been. Legs were a bit stiff but not too bad, and we eased them off on the cycle back home. Then soon recovered with a nice refreshing shower.


We woke to a bright sunny last day in Perth for a while. We were all up early, as we were cycling into the city with Sairha for a last morning coffee and brekkie stop at the old Moana Café on a balcony on the Hay Street Mall. It was a lovely last cycle, relishing the last couple of hours together; already having mixed feelings, as we had to hug and say goodbye to Sairha, as she had to be in TAFE all day, and so couldn’t come along for the airport drop off. It was so nice that Lacey had the day off work and could take us.


Back home we had quite a bit to get done; packing things away that the girls wouldn’t use, our bicycles back in the shed, and everything out of the downstairs flat. Then a last load of washing in, as I’d taken the sheets off our bed. Then onto completing our own bag packing too. That all went pretty well, two holdalls, the bike seat and our carry-on bags, that we loaded into Lacey’s new car, ‘Baloo’. We were rushing a bit to get out of the house around 2pm, as we were going to make a last stop for coffee at SarahB’s and to say goodbye too. But we managed that all good and it wasn’t long before we were parking up at the airport. We were in good time, so there weren’t more than three people in front of us at check-in. Then being called to the counter, we were informed that we were only allowed 2 check-in bags (despite the overall weight being fine!). To pay for the extra bag (the bike seat) would be another $200!! – but the attendant suggested we go to the shrink-wrap counter and try get the bike seat wrapped up with one of the holdalls. So it was a bit of a faff, cost us $11 – and a pretty huge roll of cling-wrap, but all good in the end. Lacey walked us up to the departure lounge entrance, and now the reality of leaving again was actually setting in. So we hugged and hugged – to last another several months. Passing on wishes for everyone back in the UK when we got there. We waved to each other until we disappeared around the corner and into the customs and immigration area. So both sad and happy, we were on our way again……..




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