Friday 28 September 2018

Strawberry fields forever

Some friends invited me to go strawberry picking with them last Sunday, 23rd. They have young kids and had done it before, but for me it was the first time, and I had no idea  people could go and pick their own fruit but you can.

They picked me up at home and we drove to Wangara in the northern suburbs of Perth, to Kien strawberry farm. I noticed a few other strawberries farms along the same road, and there were loads of cars parked along the road and people walking towards the various farms.
We parked, and at the farm entrance bought the number of boxes we each required - $7 per box, and walked towards the far end of the farm as we could see the front rows were a bit empty already.
The farm was gigantic, with rows and rows of strawberry plants popping through black plastic, and once we chose where to go we started at the beginning of that row and walked our way through until we had filled our boxes.

The day was quite warm and I don't know how long it took us to pick our strawberries - 
I had 2 boxes to fill -  but we chatted as we moved along the rows, and also ate a few strawberries...not too many though as they were warm, and we didn't want to risk an upset stomach later on...
I picked some almost ripe and some not so ripe.
At the beginning...
Two boxes full at the end

The strawberry picking group - that's me in the pink t-shirt with the floppy hat

When we finished we drove to the Wanneroo Markets not too far away where we had lunch.
One of the food outlets at the market - Celyta's - belongs to a Portuguese lady.
Sometime last year I had attended a lunch there organized by a friend of ours (they have a function room there that can be used for big groups) and Celita had cooked some traditional dishes for the group.
This time she had pork and lamb cutlets, and chicken, but I don't eat the first two, and didn't feel like chicken either. My friend's daughters were going for bitoque, a very popular dish with kids - which is a thin steak topped with an egg and accompanied by fries and salad. 
 I ordered that for myself too, and I'm glad I did as the steak was delicious.
Lunch was accompanied by a couple singing songs from a couple of decades ago and even the kids were moving their bodies to it.

At home I weighed the boxes and both were over 4kgs (8,8 pounds), rinsed the strawberries in a bowl with 4 parts water and 1 part vinegar, to kill the spores so that they last longer, then sorted them.
With a bunch of very ripe ones I made 2 jars of jam using honey instead of sugar. I froze some ripe strawberries to use in smoothies later on, the medium ones I put in different containers for me to eat and to give away to my son and friends, and took some to work, and the greener ones are still in the fridge.

The end product 

It was a great day out, the fruit was much cheaper than in the supermarket, the kitchen smelt of strawberries, they are so sweet and juicy.
I've already told my friend that if she hears of any other fruit picking she must let me know - next one I think will be cherries,  oh yeah!!

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Signs - The man chair

When my parents visited us in Perth in December 2016 I drove them down to the southwest area of Denmark and Albany to show them that wonderful countryside part of Western Australia.
On a walk around Denmark we came across this chair outside the Karrisma Gallery and Gifts shop and we all  had a good laugh. 
Men can sit and read a magazine or newspaper while their wives shop in peace. 
They probably need more chairs, but it's a very clever idea don't you think?

For more interesting signs check Lesley's blog at Signs2.

Monday 24 September 2018

Monday Mural - Miss Piggy

Not a fan of graffiti, but I thought these pink words accompanied by a pink doll resembling Miss Piggy from the Muppets was actually cute. This was on a train carriage on the Lisbon to Cascais line in Portugal.
On the second photo the words translate to "It was good, wasn't it?" and the pink wording "Reis" means Kings, not sure if that is the name of the artist.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks.

It was good, wasn't it?

Friday 21 September 2018

The first half of September - Part II and some happy news

Part I -

On a sunny day daughter Karina and I wondered what to do and decided to take the train into the city to go to Kings Park again. This time we managed to see a lot of flowers and some cheeky birds.


Amazing trees, a glass bridge and city views

When we entered the glass bridge in Kings Park we saw two ravens posing for a photographer. When we approached they didn't fly away and stood there posing and "chatting to each other, or to us". When we reached the end of the bridge and looked back they were still there posing for another set of photographers. It was very funny 😊 
On the boab tree there were two Rainbow Lorikeets standing inside a hole in the tree, but they flew away before I could take more photos.

Rainbow Lorikeets, Ravens and Honeyeater sucking pollen from a flower

The city on one side of the river and the suburb of South Perth on the other side 
The city centre can be seen through the mass of purple flowers

On another day we drove to town of Kalamunda, located in the Darling Scarp on the eastern limits of the Perth metropolitan area. People usually refer to that area as the Perth Hills. 
Kalamunda is a Noongar (aboriginal language) word meaning "a home in the forest". (kala=home, munda=forest).

I parked in a small shopping centre with murals on two of its walls 😉. After some photos for my Monday Murals we went inside searching for a coffee shop.
The Coffee Club was the only one available and we ordered coffee and hot chocolate (for me) and a slice of carrot cake.
Just across the road from the shopping is the local Kalamunda library where they have a fabulous 25 mt wide stained glass window, the largest in the Southern hemisphere, so after our coffee break we crossed the road to the library for some photos.

Panoramic photo of the mural at the Kalamunda library

The library glass windows from outside and the inside view
I wanted to drive to the Mundaring Weir (dam) and check the water level but the clouds were getting darker, so I took the scenic Zig Zag drive down the hill, from where I would eventually reach the freeway and home.
The Zig Zag drive is a 2,9km narrow one way road through the Gooseberry Hill National Park, between rocks and trees, steep falls and lots of hairpin turns, but starting at 450mt above sea level there are impressive views of the city, the airport, the forest area...

There are a few spots to park and take photos on the way down, but sadly because it was overcast the visibility to the city wasn't at its best, but we could see the airport area (to the right) and the airplanes landing and taking off.

Part of the road, dark clouds, the city in the distance

Perth city in the distance

Panoramic photo taken from the hills


And remember the shoe cupboard that I set up in my bedroom? 
All the shoes went in, but because I squeezed 4 or 5 pairs per shelf, they don't have the neat and tidy showhouse look and looked a bit untidy to be left without doors...
ordered some doors from Ikea to be delivered, and Karina helped me install them... I'm glad as I wouldn't be able to do this one on my own!  Bedroom is all sorted now!

The shoe cupboard and hodge podge inside

When Jose was here the three of us also did some gardening in the narrow and long strip of garden in the small townhouse we have near Curtin University, that we rent out to a couple of students. 
I had last pulled out weeds there before winter and the rains started. When I went past a few weeks ago I noticed how the strip of garden was covered in high weeds and the succulents I had planted there were now invisible!
But this was too big a job just for myself, so with Karina and Jose here it went much faster, even though we spent about 10 hours in total over 2 days pulling out weeks which filled two bins!
After weeding I took a lot of succulents and natives from our garden and planted them there.
Jose then went to get a trailer of mulch to spread over the area, which will hopefully deter the weeds and protect the plants from the Summer sun. 
He also took a couple of cement pavers we had laying around in a corner of the garden, that were formerly where our patio is now, and put them near the water meter to make it easier for the water company to read the meter instead of having to trudge through the mini forest in that corner.
The neighbour from the townhouse behind ours saw us working in the garden, came to chat to us and said he now felt he had to do his little patch to match ours. His bit starts from the short bush, and you can see on the photos the green area of weeds (top right and middle bottom photo).

On the left - the corner full of weeds, and same area with the pavers. The strip of garden planted with succulents and with mulch. The hard workers, Jose and Karina after the job was finished

And so two weeks flew by, and Karina flew out to Manila via Hong Kong on the early hours of Monday. The flight was meant to depart Perth at 11pm Sunday 16th, but due to the typhoon in HK the flight was delayed to 2am Monday. Then instead of just 1 hour layover in Hong Kong, she had a 6 hour layover due to the airport having been closed for 24 hours and the huge amount of passengers and planes that had been retained there.
Because she's a frequent flyer she had access to the Airport lounge where she could eat, have wifi, and she even managed a shower and massage which left her refreshed for the next short leg of the trip to Manila.

And hopefully we'll see each other in December, this time on her side of the world.

And it's official!! We've known for a few weeks, but last week my daughter in law had her 12 week scan and the pregnancy was officially announced. Grandchild #2 will arrive beginning of April. I'm hoping for a girl this time 💟💟.

Official announcement with the photo of "big brother" that we got when we were first told a few weeks ago.
(parents don't want his face divulged so I did my best to cover his eyes)

Wednesday 19 September 2018

The first half of September - Part I

The first half of September was hectic with family gatherings, dinners, sightseeing and family!

It was my son's birthday on the 4th of September and my husband's 60th on the 5th of September. 
Daughter daughter Karina who is now living 2 hours south of Manila in the Philippines arranged to come and spend 2 weeks in Perth.
It was originally going to be a surprise for Dad and brother, but with Jose working in Sydney, he was only going to take 1 day off work and arrive on a Thursday and leave Sunday, so I had to tell him Karina was coming, and he took 1 week off work, spending a total of 9 days at home.

On Tuesday 4th, I joined Jose and Karina on a trip to the city and after Jose dealt with what he had to do we drove to the Kings Park Botanic Gardens to have a look at the Spring Festival wildflower show.

Kings Park is huge at 4,06 kmor 1,003 acre, bigger than New York's Central Park with an area of 3,41km2 or ‎843 acres. 

It rained on and off, so we didn't see much, but managed to catch a rainbow and were lucky enough to get close to a friendly kookaburra that stood a mere 20 cm from me when it flew onto the rail of the lookout, where we were admiring the view of the city and Swan river.

Rainbow over Perth, seen from Kings Park

Elizabeth Quay area with pedestrian bridge, statues and Cafes
The new buildings at Elizabeth Quay - an hotel and exorbitant priced apartments

Jose and Karina looking at the city, when I joined them the Kookaburra joined us on the rail

The friendly kookaburra on the rail
Wildflowers and the Honeyeater feeding on flower pollen 
Views of Kings Park
That night we joined our son, wife and baby for dinner at their home, and the next day we celebrated Jose's birthday with a dinner at "Two Fat Indians" restaurant in the newly renovated rooftop food court at the Carousel shopping centre.  The food and service were great and we had a great night.

Even though I'm not a shopper and hate going to big shopping centres (malls), I must concede that the recently opened rooftop area looks beautiful, modern and spacious, with an entertainment area where live music is played and patrons can watch from an amphitheatre, lots of comfortable seating areas, fairy lights, and lots of new restaurants.

Westfield Carousel new rooftop eating area
Westfield Carousel rooftop entertainment area

  On Saturday 8th of September I had invited a few friends for lunch to celebrate Jose's birthday. Even though we had a few wet and cold days, we were lucky that the sun came out that day, but we still had to use our outdoor gas heater on the patio for warmth while having lunch.
The birthday cake was a low-carb Mandarin cake with cream cheese icing that was moist and delicious. The mandarins I used were the last ones from our tree in the backyard.

The family on Michael's birthday dinner and the table of savoury and deserts for Jose's birthday lunch
In the afternoon of Sunday 9th, Jose flew back to Sydney and Karina and I planned some activities for the following week, as I had the week off work.

On Monday 10th, Karina and I took the train into the city centre and walked through some of Perth's iconic buildings - The State Buildings, City of Perth Library, St George's Cathedral, St Mary's Cathedral - until we reached the beautiful suburb of East Perth
St Mary's Cathedral, St George's Cathedral and the Ascalon statue, Perth Library, State Buildings

In East Perth, we walked across Victoria Gardens and the Matagarup Bridge to the new Stadium area.

East Perth with the bridge and stadium on the other side of the river, and the city centre buildings in the distance

Victoria Gardens in East Perth, the Stadium and bridge, Peace Grove monument

You might remember from my previous post that the bridge wasn't totally finished, but I noticed quite a lot had been done and it was looking much better. Workers were installing an overhead cover in an area where there will be seating.

Bike repair station in and exercise machines in Victoria Gardens. Karina on the bridge and the new overhead covers on the bridge
And by then we were quite hungry and stopped at the amazing Camfield pub and chose the Fish and Chips for lunch, a beer for Karina and a Lemon, Lime and Bitters for me.

The Camfield and our fish and chips

When we left the pub the sky had turned a dark gray so we cut our trip short and rushed back through the bridge and East Perth to catch the free CAT bus (central area transit) into the city and got to the stop just as huge drops started falling.
In the city the rain continued so we decided to get the train back home and watched a movie from Netflix - "The Age of Adeline". Interesting movie, loved it! 

Hope you enjoyed the first part of the tour, have a lovely week.

Dark skies over Perth which made us rush home

Monday 17 September 2018

Monday Mural - Rock On

On our visit to Lisbon last year, I walked around this avenue looking for a specific mural I had read about somewhere. 
I couldn't find it where it was meant to be, apparently the building had been demolished,  but I found this one instead.
I've been unable to find anything about the artist/s though, but the word Rotas at the bottom could be a clue. The mural is at Avenida (avenue) Marechal Gomes da Costa,  not far from the Staples office supplies shop in the suburb of Olivais, a 20 minutes walk from Lisbon's waterfront Aquarium.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks.

Friday 14 September 2018

Feline Friday - 11th birthday

On Monday 17th of September my 3 cats will be 11, but since it's Monday Mural day I'm joining Feline Friday today.

The birthday felines - Fluffy, Twiggy and Shelley curled up together in bed

If you've been following me for a while you might have read my posts about how I "inherited" my cats.
It started with the 2 females who used to pop around when we bought our house. Both had pink collars and looked well fed. I used to pop little notes on their collars to see where they belonged, but I never got a reply. A short while late we discovered they were pregnant and then they both gave birth to 4 kittens each, on the same day, just outside my son's bedroom window. A week later we brought them inside as it was cold and wet.

Five of the kittens were adopted, my son wanted to keep one of the male ginger cats - "Fluffy", and then we kept the 2 "ugly" tortoise shells that didn't get adopted - "Shelley" and "Twiggy". 

Mommy with the 8 kittens (4 were her's and 4 were Baby's)

Mommy and Baby with the kittens  (on the awful 70's carpet before our renovations)
Baby and Mommy feeding their brood

The mothers have unfortunately died young - "Mommy" in March 2014 mauled by the neighbour's dog, and "Baby" in February 2015 with liver cancer.
So we started with 2, then 10, then 5 and now we have three!

Happy 11th to my babies!

Related post -

For other feline related posts visit Comedy Plus -

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Signs - The worst bagels ever

When I visited Sydney in January this year I saw this sign painted on the side wall of  Smoking Gun Bagels, a coffee shop in the suburb of Woolloomooloo near the city centre, at 129 Cathedral St.
In the days of social media when everyone posts food reviews, I assume someone rubbished their bagels and they cleverly decided to use this to call attention to their Coffee shop.
I thought it was brilliant marketing! What do you think?
More signs at Signs, signs.