…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane - The Wide Brown Land 2

Less pimple, more beauty-spot. (...part one was on Sunday - go back if you didn't read it!)

The Swan Valley is an enormous, flood-plain district around the Swan River.  Several things struck the Sceptical Tourist Fishy (STF) as we made the hour-long journey from Perth Airport to the property where we would stay the next three days.

First - the sky.  It was HIGH.  Apparently being on the hind end of the planet causes the atmosphere to expand.  Or it seemed that way!  This meant also that the air was amazingly clear, breathing-ways. 

photo from Google Images
Then there were the gum trees.  An immediate love affair sprung up between STF and the eucalypt family.

It wasn't long before kookaburras were spotted.  For Heaven's sake - you mean they are REAL???  Not just some story made up for kids in distant lands?  They actually laugh too!

The fourth factor on that arrival day was to discover these hosts had a Western Grey kangaroo in their back yard.  An enormous paddock of a yard, it should be said, but the kanga preferred to stay by the house.  It had a penchant for removing hair pins from the ladies' hair, or attempting to unbuckle watches.  It also wanted it's fair share of the salad from the barbecue.

Next day, Aitch and myself were pointed to the double-decker trains and we rode into the pretty city of Perth.  Laid out in squares.  Wide, pristine streets.  Aitch and I are both history buffs and have an interest in architecture so there was plenty to see and do.  To be very honest, I don't have the best recall of the details of that particular occasion, though I do think we visited the old gaol and similar places.  Certainly the art gallery would have been included. I do know we got to the Ansett Buses office to confirm our tickets (booked from UK) for departure to Adelaide in a couple of days.  All was dandy, but for the first time we met the laconic Aussie temperament that seems always to be 'taking the mickey' and hit a surprising cultural wall as the language proved to be not quite English after all!

One thing for certain, our Chinese hats proved worth the buying.  That OZ sun was fierce.  This brought a good bit of attention that we may have preferred not to have, but we were determined these were not merely ornamental oriental items.  There was a practicality to be demonstrated.

On our final evening in Perth, our hosts booked us in for a seafood platter meal at the King's Park Restaurant. 

photo from Google Images.... view of Perth from Kings Park.

Here was another factor in the transformation of the STF to OZ-devotee.  Never a great meat eater, fish was quite acceptable - but until you have experienced the Australian seafood extravaganza, you just have never lived.  For the first time in my life I ate lobster, mussels, oysters and crab.  In our family this would have been seen as decadent beyond words, but in The Wide Brown Land which has a fringe of green and bathes in blue, seafood is pretty much a staple.  Admittedly not all at once like this.  But it was an occasion and one never to be forgotten, as we sat in an historic building in an equally historic park, gazing down on the inland lake where the famous black swans gathered as the gigantic red orb of Sol sank into the Indian Ocean.

Next morning was a flurry of suitcases and Chinese sunhats as we boarded the 'Nullarbor Road Plane'.  By this time, the STF was completely, totally in love with the 'pimple' and couldn't wait to see more.

Can you?  Only till tomorrow!


  1. Hello Auntie Yam,
    Mum has been reading these tales of your trip together to Australia to me, long before I was a twinkle in my dad’s eye!!!
    It sounds like a wonderful adventure and cannot wait to hear more.
    Mind you every now and then mum does say 'I don't remember it like that!!!’ But then she cannot remember why she goes into the kitchen from the living room sometimes – it is usually to feed me by the way.
    Lady Vicki xxooxx

  2. A great story, Yam. I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

  3. As I live on the other side of Australia I never been to P erth but have visited most of the rest of the country.
    We all love the laugh of the kookaburra and the smell of gum trees, and as for sea food nothing is better but only sometimes not all the time

  4. Keep it com in' . Chinese hats...... Mmmmmm

  5. I remember being told when I visited friends in Perth (the only bit of Oz I've been to) that WA is siutated right under to centre of the ozone hole and has a huge number of celtic immigrants, and the combination of intense rays and pale freckly skins meant skin cancer was a particular hazard. My friends had a whole cupboard full of chinese straw hats that visitors had purchased then abandoned as being unsuitable for packing into a suitcase!
    My best memory of that part of the world was visiting a deserted beach in the SW and swimming in unimaginably clear water on New Years Day. Frankly a lot more fun that the booze-fest that is Hogmannay in Scotland.
    Cheers, Gail.

  6. Hari OM
    Your Ladyship - good to hear that you mum still recalls this with love. Of Course, even when together, folks will always have a different pair of 'mental goggles' on and the things that stuck out for me, may not necessarily be the same for Aitch... how about you get hold of some of those 'despatches' and make your own reports on the adventure???!!

    Kay - oh good- that's the important bit!

    Merle - I am very proud to refer to myself as an Aussie as much as a Scot (the paper says it is so!) and every bit of the country is magical. Seafood certainly go less in recent years with the price rises...

    Mahal - keep it under your hat gal, I know your dying to tell!!

    Bertie/Gail - That's pretty true, but in more recent times, I had seen reports that the 'hole' is on the mend. We need even more of the emissions controls to ensure complete healing of the atmosphere. Keep reading, those hats have a story all their own &*> As for the swimming on NYD - I couldn't agree more! Hogmanay has become so commercialised and not at all what I remember in my childhood. xx

  7. Loved it! Keep bringing us smiles and good hearted feelings. Thanks for sharing!


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