Holidays, part 3 – Groombridge Place

Groombridge Place (http://www.groombridge.co.uk) is only 30 mins drive from my parents house.  I’ve been there before about 4 years ago with Ella, not that she remembers really, just snippets here and there.  It’s a pretty cool place – an old moated English country house and beautiful gardens that also has an adventure playground and an ‘enchanted forest’ walk for children.   Good enough to keep the kids happy for a few hours anyway.

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Mangles Bay

I had a few spare hours yesterday as Jay was writing, so I packed up the camera and headed out to take some shots.  I initially wanted to go to one of the jetties in Rockingham and get some more long exposure shots, but I’ve kinda done that to death for the moment already.

So I wandered over to Mangles Bay, where the boats are moored with the aim to get some boaty/long exposure/moving sky style photos

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Fremantle

I love Fremantle.  It’s the closest thing to a town with charm here.

For all the beauty and space and cleanliness of Western Australia, its all a bit new, which means that most places near here are modern and somewhat lacking in character. Ok, totally lacking in character.

Perth is the same, most of it is pretty new, and the bits that are older have been somewhat overwhelmed by the modern stuff.  Shame really, I’ve seen some pictures of the city in the 50’s and it had all the charm of Fremantle.

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Tripski – part 3

We went to see some of my close friends mid week.

They live not too far from where I used to live in England.  Not too far away from where Ella and Henry were born and grew up.

Ella remembers the place, her old friends, her school and snippets of the old house.  She’s sometimes a bit sad about it – I kinda feel bad as I sort of took all that away from her.  She only kinda likes where she lives now, but she has the amazing Royal Ballet School opportunity that she would never had had in the old town.  I hope that makes up for it.   Henry was only tiny at the time – all he knows it where he lives now.

Anyway, it was a filthy day, dreadful weather, and we had an hours drive.  So what happens?

Accident on the motorway.

So we’re stuck in the car not moving for 2 hours whilst they do their thing.  I don’t know why the police dont clear away accidents faster, its such a dreadful drain on thousands and thousands of people’s time.  I mean, once the people are safely out or on their way to hospital – take the scene photos, make the notes and get the road open again asap, rather than dragging it on for 1/2 a day as is the way in England.

Ella was so patient, she’s the easiest going child ever. Henry was asleep for all 2 hours and woke up just as we were getting going again.  This is what we had to look at for 2 hours.

So we had some fun with the wide angle 🙂

We eventually got there 3 hours late, but Pat and Nicky were happy to see us, as was Anna, their oldest and craziest daughter.  They’d had a new baby since I saw them last time – she was so cute 🙂

Anna didn’t stop moving this time, so no photos at all, plus it was so dark, that even inside it was hard to take photos.  Baby M provided lots of wide eyes and big smiles though 🙂  She’s so cute!!!

Was great to catch up with them – Pat came back from work and we had a lovely dinner and chilled out – the kids played beautifully and had a lot of fun.  Then, before it was too late, we were heading home again, the kids stocked up on Cadbury’s Mini Eggs for being so well behaved.

Did I say I have awesome kids?  LOL!

Tripski, part 1

So, as you know, I went to England to see my beautiful kids.  England, land of the village pub, the Darling Buds of May, long summer evenings, rambling footpaths and history going back millenia.

Well, it wasn’t like that.  The sun didn’t shine.  It rained all the time.  It was freezing.  The cloudbase was 3 feet above the ground – so much so it didn’t really get light a couple of days. But hey, it was February and it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

More to the point, it wasn’t why I was there.

My kids

I had a lovely time with them – they’re so utterly amazing.  But then I’m a little biassed.  Their little faces when I knocked on their front door is the best thing ever.  Every time.  It’s like the biggest light ever comes on.  Probably like seeing kids faces at Christmas, but times one hundred.

They’re so cool.

Here’s a few pics from the first few days..

A little fun with the 10-20 wide angle

Now some more normal shots.

Next post – the cousins.  Well, a couple of them anyway, there’s a tribe of them we didn’t get to see this time.

stormy weather

We’ve been on cyclone watch for the last few days as tropical cyclone Bianca has been making its way down the Indian Ocean from the tropics and is forecast to swing inland right over Perth today.

Well I think its petered out and although the wind is increasing and the sky is looking very dark all of a sudden, apparently its not scheduled to be the roof lifting monster that was once feared. In fact, you can hardly see it on the weather radar.

Good!  Being next to the ocean like we are here, we often get storms in the winter and just occasionally in the summer too and we’re well used to be battered by some pretty strong winds, but I don’t want to go through that kind of thing if I don’t have to!

Anyway, yesterday, out of the blue, we had thunderstorms arrive and they left a trail of destruction across the state – north and east of us got pummelled by this thing – causing damage everywhere.

It kind of missed us, we got some rain, lots of rumbling thunder, amazing skies and that was pretty much it.

Well, being the photo happy snapper I am, I had to get a shot 🙂 Cool, huh?

Later in the day I thought we were going to get the most amazing sunset – the clouds were just too thick though, but the skies were still very interesting, even if they didn’t glow and shine like I expected.

One minute it’s too hot, the next, nature decides you need a storm, the next its 38C again and then that very afternoon, a cyclone rolls over.  Australia, never a dull moment.

Brrrr, its a bit chilly

Yes, it’s cold, I might even have to put some jeans on.

All of you in the Northern Hemisphere, up to your necks in white global warming, are probably thinking:

“Ha, yeah right, you’re in Perth, I’ve watched some cricket (ok, it’s pretty unlikely that any Americans would say the last bit as cricket is as foreign to them as baseball is to the rest of the world) – it looks pretty warm down there”

Ok, I’m being a wag, I’ve just had the old crappy useless evaporative air conditioning unit replaced with a new big monster one and it’s a bit efficient.  Perhaps a bit too efficient for its own good.  Jay is sitting at the desk in a one woman huddle, pretending it’s all fine.  Being a hot person  (I know, you all want me, right?) like I am, this chill suits me just fine!

We all took the doggy for a little walk along the beach (yup, the one that, I have to remind all of you repeatedly about) at the end of the road.  I think the dog actually took the girls for a walk, rather than the other way around

Anyway, with all these digs and jibes at your chilly snowy weather, what I’m really doing is setting you up for some photos to give you all some Christmas cheer, so here for your viewing pleasure, are the dreary surrounds of suburban Waikiki.

And Piper, as special as ever.

I know, its a hard life.

Ok, for balance, there are some downsides – being 40C hot in a suit is no fun and it might rain tomorrow for a bit.

There, happy now, snow people? :p