Everlastings as far as the eye can see😎💐🌺

Pink everlastings (paper daisies) at Coalseam Conservation Park

Another lovely sunny day.  I could get used to this weather very easily … although we’ve been told it gets really hot here in summer, which wouldn’t work for me.

Had a lovely sleep in, mooched around getting breakfast and sitting in the sunshine and finally got on our way … but then we got sidetracked by the thought of morning tea at the bakery and had to stop 😋.  Honestly, this is one of the best bakeries in Australia … and we know what we’re talking about as we’ve sampled quite a few in our travels.  Custard tart and apple turnover were the order of the day with hot choc and Earl Grey tea.  Then we were ready to start our day out to Coalseam Conservation Park.

The other day when we asked at the visitor centre they told us the road was closed but Carol told us last night that it was definitely open and when Gordon spoke to our Victorian camping neighbour this morning he said they had been right through the park yesterday.  He also said that there were huge numbers of Cowslip Orchids at Depot Hill, so that was also on the list for the day.

Road to Coalseam was another single lane bitumen road that then changed to gravel/clay.  It was in pretty good condition considering the amount of traffic it must be getting.  There were everlastings everywhere in yellow, gold, pink and white and it certainly was a sight to see.  The camera really doesn’t show it the way your eyes see it, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what it was like (Secret Squirrels, you also have a video tonight😉).

We’ve been told that this is the best season for about the last 15 – 20 years.  I know we thought the flowers were good when we came up here with the car club many years ago (can’t remember what year), but this year is even better.

After taking photos and videos we came back to town, picked up lunch at the bakery (surprise!!) and spent a couple of hours back at the park.

About 2pm we started off for Depot Hill, but took the wrong road (again!) and we were about 25km down the road before we realised.  Turned around, decided to fill up with fuel and discovered the servo was shut.  Ooops, country town and Saturday afternoon🤔.  Fortunately we had the 20 litre drum of fuel at the camper, so back to the park to put that in and then out on the right road to Depot Hill.

More everlastings everywhere, mainly pink, and part way up the track there was an arrow drawn in the sand pointing to Cowslip Orchids.  Took photos and continued on and discovered that our neighbour was right …. there were Cowslips Orchids everywhere you looked.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of anything else that we hadn’t already seen, except for a very small Kangaroo Paw type plant that was extremely difficult to photograph.

Took photos, walked, took photos, walked, took photos ….

I finally needed my water (which was back at the car 😥), so we turned around and came back to the car and back to the park.  I had a lovely nap for an hour while Gordon did some puzzles, we’ve had tea and we’re cosily ensconced in the camper.  There’s a couple in a two-man tent with what sounds like a very young baby and the baby is not having a good night.  It’s not bothering us, but I feel so sorry for the parents and the baby.  Not easy with an unsettled baby when you’re home in familiar surroundings, but in a tiny little tent it would be a nightmare.

We’ve booked an extra night, so tomorrow is going to be a lazy, kick back day and then we pack up and head to Perenjori on Monday morning to meet up with Gordon’s sister and brother-in-law.  I think we’ll probably head home from there with a short stop at Coorow as Gordon wants to see about getting some more talc rock.  Apparently he managed to get some there on a previous trip.

So another day bites the dust … the noisy pink and grey galahs and the white corellas have finally all gone to sleep … the baby has quietened down and hopefully it and it’s parents will get a good sleep … and it’s time for me to say goodnight 😴😴😴😴


A day at Canna – orchids and flowers🌺


Spider Orchids at Canna

Today was our planned trip out to Canna to check on the orchids that we’d seen there on previous trips.  Canna is one of our favourite places for orchids, especially around the dam.  It’s also a good place for wreath flowers, but we’re too early this year so it looks like we won’t get to see them this trip.

We thought we’d get an early start as we were up at 7am, but a local chap came by on his bike and wanted to talk cars for quite some time, then we went into town to check on the condition of the Nanakine Road, which is a bit of a short cut to Canna, but it’s a gravel road and we’re try to stay off the gravel as much as possible this trip because of the dust and our poor door seals.  After chatting at the Visitor Centre to a couple of senior locals, we then picked up the new trailer tyre/wheel and then started off for Morowa and Canna.

Had to stop along the way to take photos 😉

Then on to Morowa (pronounced Moro-war) for late morning tea of vanilla slice and lamington plus drinks at the roadhouse, and we also picked up two pies to take with us for lunch along the way.

The road to Canna is a typical country back road that’s only one car width (except on crests and blind bends) and you have to move over onto the side gravel when another car is coming the other way.  Amazing how some people don’t want to move over … or perhaps they’re just city drivers who have no idea of country road etiquette.  There’s no excuse as there are signs to show you what to do.

The general store at canna is never open, but there is always a clip board with a map of the area showing what orchids can be found on any particular day.  I don’t know who does the map, but it’s very helpful and they have an honour box for donations towards the printing.

Today the sheet said we should be able to find Ant, Snail, Spider, Donkey, Pink, and Blue Orchids.  We managed to find all but the Ant Orchid.  We’ve never been able to find one and it’s bugging me.  One of these days we’re going to see one!

So, here they are.  Firstly, the Donkey Orchid … very difficult to photograph as they have long, thin stems and are constantly moving with the slightest breeze …

Then the Blue Orchid …

The Pink Orchid  …

The Spider Orchid … another very difficult one to photograph as it is so fine and delicate …

and finally, the Snail Orchid … this is the most difficult one to find as it just disappears in amongst all the green plants …

When you first start looking it’s really difficult to find anything, but once you see the first one it’s like they all suddenly come out of the woodwork.  It’s really a case of getting your eye in and looking right down on the ground and mainly underneath other trees and bushes as they’re shy critters and don’t like being out in the full sun.  Sometimes you’re so engrossed looking that you don’t see them right next to your feet!  They are small and delicate and difficult to photograph but we love them.

Other flowers and stuff out at the Canna dam today …

The sort of country we were in …

On the way out we called into this area that always has everlastings and took a photo of the Hornet …

and the flowers without the Hornet …

Finally, the countryside as we were travelling.  The canola and the wheat are looking spectacular and the colours are very easy on the eye …

We had a great day out.

The downside?  People camping at both Canna and the wildflower site are destroying the local habitat.  There were definitely less everlastings out where we took our Hornet photo, mainly because if you keep driving 4WD cars and big caravans through you will eventually destroy the plants.  Everyone seems to want a campfire, but if they keep taking the deadwood out of the bush for their camp fires there will be nothing for the creatures and the orchids and it will all slowly disappear.  Already you can see the changes from the last time we were here and it will only get worse now that “free” camping is allowed in such sensitive places.  I know many people will respect the environment, but it’s those that don’t that will spoil it for the rest.

Tomorrow we’re going to arrange an extra night here before we move on, hopefully to Perenjori to meet up with Gordon’s sister and brother-in-law.  Our plan for flowers is to go firstly to Depot Hill, which is just down the road, and then out to Coalseam Park.  I think we may be wildflowered out by the end of the day.

Other than having two new sets of neighbours who appear to be travelling together and have been talking in very loud voices since we arrived back at 3pm and are still talking in very loud voices at 8.45pm (a bit … maybe a lot … of booze is helping that) we’ve had a great day.  Hope you’ve had a good one also 😎

We have power after all👍👌😺

What a lovely surprise to arrive at Mingenew and find that we could have a powered site after all.  More about that later.

Woke early this morning so we were up and at ’em at about 6.45 and out of the park just after 8.30.  I was driving so I finally had control of when we stopped to take photos of wildflowers.  Several times, both yesterday and today, we saw areas of mauve that seemed to be very close to the ground.  Finally found a place to stop today and discovered that they were lots of really small flowers that made up this mauve carpet …

The first photo was taken with the camera in normal landscape mode, then I changed it to “vivid colour” and it’s amazing how the colour really jumps out.  The colour of both the massed flowers and the red earth is somewhere between the two … not as dull as the first photo and not quite as bright as the others.  The picture of the flowers shows their true colours.

Further along the road we found quite a few areas of massed everlastings and other flowers and stuff …

We were going to stop at Yalgoo for morning tea, but the town seems to have disappeared.  New, lovely looking caravan park but the rest of town was deserted and no shops at all.

Moved on to Mullewa for lunch at Jonesy’s Cafe, which was a bit light on for selection as they were understaffed (we think there was a big funeral in town as the cemetery was crowded as we passed by later).  Despite the lack of choice, Gordon’s ham, cheese & tomato toasted sandwich and my chicken salad were both good and Gordon said his hot choc was one of the best he’s had so far.

More pictures along the way, but this time Gordon was driving so there was no stopping 😜  I had to take pot luck with what I could get using the “moving objects” or some such setting on the camera.  It worked reasonably well …

We were going along quite happily until Gordon heard a bang and then saw smoke out the back of the car.  He immediately thought the engine had given up but when we stopped we discovered that the camper had blown a tyre on the driver’s side.  Out with the jack and tools to change the tyre while I stood on the road to make sure he didn’t get run over.

We were in wheat and canola country and the contrast between the deep green of the wheat and the bright yellow of the canola is something I struggle to get as you can’t get high enough to get a good overview.  This was the best for today …

Along the way there was a pale pink windmill with a pink breast cancer ribbon …

and the white everlastings around the bottom of this hill looked like patches of snow …

Oops, the last photo was the other side of the road with pink everlastings 😎

Love the light and shade of this photo … had to zoom to get the effect …

We finally reached Mingenew.  Filled up with fuel, Gordon asked if there was a tyre place in town and was told there was one on the other side of the railway line.  Amazingly the chap actually had one tyre the right size (apparently our camper tyres are a difficult size and the one he had was for some type of farm machinery).  We left the dead tyre with him and will pick up the new fitted tyre tomorrow morning.

Afternoon tea at the fantastic Mingenew Bakery and on to the caravan park, where Carol (the manager) remembered us from our last stay and managed to find us a powered site.  We’re down near the campers’ kitchen under the trees and away from the crowded main park of the park.

The pink and grey galahs and the white corellas had a bit of noisy biffo sorting out their sleeping arrangements as the sun went down but all is now quiet and peaceful.

Today was a magical drive through a kaleidoscope of amazing colours … deep red soil; white, pink, and yellow everlastings;  red, purple, mauve, pink, yellow, cream and gold flowers; deep green wheat and sunshine yellow canola; trees clothed in greens of all shades through from silver to olive; bright blue sky; fluffy white clouds.  What a wonderful country we live in ❤

Despite the tyre blowout, we’ve had a wonderful day.  We are so lucky 🔆

Sandstone, flowers🌺and going off-grid

15 August 2018

Mr Bedhog took all the sleeping bag during the night, so when I woke at 7 this morning I was wrapped up in a very tight cocoon. Managed to extricate myself and decided to let him sleep while I read my book sitting under the wool blanket we have on top of the sleeping bag and reading by the light of my phone. He finally surfaced just after 8am, we had brekky, I did some washing and then we were out of the park for the day.

First, to the Shire offices to see what we could find about Gordon’s grandmother, who is a bit of a mystery. No luck and I think we’ll have a lot of digging to do, firstly to find out which ship she came to Australia on, and that in itself will be a bit difficult as we have no idea at what year to start. An ongoing puzzle, similar to my family history.

From the Shire we filled up the Hornet and then took off for Sandstone, hoping to see some wildflowers along the way. Not much luck to start with. Except for a small patch of white everlastings close to town, the landscape is dry and hungry looking.

We finally found some trees with lovely pink flowers … I think it may be a grevillea but need to check in our flower book when we get home.

As Gordon was driving at the 110kph limit it was pretty difficult to see small flowers and stop before we were too far past them, but we managed to take note of some to check out on our way back.

Arrived in Sandstone in time for lunch. Saw a sign for the Black Range Tearooms and decided to give it a go. It’s a lovely little gem of a café hidden behind a residential house. Owner and offsider were very friendly and despite the fact that the pies were still heating and they had run out of lasagne, we weren’t disappointed with our choice of homemade quiche and salad plus a hot choc for Gordon and a long black with a shot of hazelnut for me.  Chatting with the owners while waiting for lunch she mentioned that she had already done more than 30 lunches before we arrived.  No wonder pies needed heating etc.

Anne, this photo of lovely old china in the cabinet is for you 😍…

Walked off our lunch by strolling downtown and taking a few photos …

then on our way again, back to Mt Magnet.  We managed to find our flowers on the way back …

plus some interesting stones/rocks, dry creek bed, animal skull (sheep?), animal footprint (think emu .. you can see the toe nail indent if you look closely), and a dried fungus (Gordon calls them puff balls) …

Much of the countryside is bare and desolate and you wonder how animals (and humans) survive out here (some didn’t 🙁…

The Paynesville Cemetery in the middle of nowhere was our last stop.  What you see in these photos is all there is.  The ground is incredibly stony and hard and it must have been difficult to try and dig a grave here.  It’s such a sad, lonely place 😥

Back at the park by 3.30pm, Gordon put the kettle on for afternoon tea and I took in the washing from the morning, folded it all and it’s now ready to be packed in our bags in the morning before we leave.

While we were having afternoon tea we discussed where we would stop tomorrow night and decided on Mullewa, but after Googling the park we discovered they were fully booked.  No good trying for Morawa as they don’t take bookings, so we decided to try for Mingenew (our first stop on our way out almost 3½ weeks ago).  Only unpowered sites left, so we booked for three nights unpowered, working on the theory that our solar panels should do the job for us and we can use the campers’ kitchen if we need a light for cooking. Not sure where we’ll be going from there.

Off Grid:  the downside of the unpowered site is not being able to charge electronic stuff, so this is possibly the last blog post for some time as I don’t know when we’ll be back on mains power.  If we can charge up in the campers’ kitchen at the caravan park then I’ll be online, otherwise it will be short stuff on FB just to keep in touch and I’ll update the blog properly when we have power again.

So that’s it from Mount Magnet.  An early night and hopefully a reasonably early start in the morning as we head south towards what’s supposed to be a spectacular wildflower season.  Fingers crossed 🤞


Another lazy day📚

Woke this morning feeling absolutely second-rate.  The cold I had when we left home seems to have reignited with a chesty cough and wheeze.  I was a bit of a grumpy head when Gordon asked me if I wanted breakfast but I finally made the effort to get up about 8am and things slowly improved during the day to the point that I feel almost human tonight.  The cough has almost gone but the wheeze is still hanging around.  Hopefully it will go over the next day or so.

So we didn’t do much today.  Being a late start to the day we really hadn’t done much by morning tea time other than check what the weather was going to be and I also downloaded an alto music guide track and the music score for a new choir song … Billy Joel’s Lullaby.  I’ve not heard it before so in some ways it should be reasonably easy to learn the alto part as I don’t have the melody in my memory.  But it’s also difficult as it’s unfamiliar territory.  Nothing like a challenge to keep me on my toes.

After morning tea (and after nearly everyone had left the park!) we got the ukeleles out of the back of the Hornet and had a practice session.  We should have been doing this more regularly as on 1st September we’re going an old folks’ home with our Uke group, so we need to get our fingers limbered up.  Those travellers that were still in the park didn’t all suddenly get up and leave, so either they couldn’t hear us (most probable reason) or we didn’t sound too bad (least probable reason).

It’s been a cloudy, cool, windy day so the rest of the afternoon was spent reading books and I also cooked up a sausage hotpot that I could put into the fridge for a quick meal either tomorrow or in the next couple of days.

We finished the day with rissoles and a potato/onion/carrot rosti.  I call it a rosti, but it’s really just a very big potato cake made with raw grated potato, carrot and chopped onion mixed with an egg and some flour.  When we’re camping I make it to fit the frying pan and then just cut it into four pieces to serve.  Very tasty tea and we have four rissoles left over for toasted rissole sandwiches.

We’ve finished the night with a Kit Kat and a Cherry Ripe and Gordon has managed not to get a streak of chocolate on the blanket.  Those of you who followed our Cooktown Capers blog in 2016 will know what I’m talking about😄.

There’s a minute chance of rain tomorrow but less than 1mm.  Just hope the cold wind drops as it’s really nice when the sun’s shining.  Possibly off to Sandstone tomorrow for a looksee.

Over and out for tonight 😴😴

Lazy day🔆😴😎

Very little happened in our my world today but apparently Gordon’s was a bit different, so here’s my boring bit followed by his exciting stuff 😄

Woke at 7am and the wind was just starting to pick up and it was very cold.  It continued to get stronger until about midday and then eased off but it’s been a three layer day as far as clothes are concerned and at one stage, early on, I also had my scarf and gloves on.

The Hornet’s auto transmission is losing fluid, so we went down town about 9ish to find the mechanic that Bill, the park manager recommended.  The mechanic was out, so we went back to the IGA to pick up supplies, to the hardware to get more gas bottles for our little stoves, then over the road to Kent the butcher to pick up meat for the next couple of days and at the same time we ordered two cooked lamb shanks for lunch because they smelled absolutely delicious.  Back to the park to drop me and shopping off and then Gordon went back to the mechanic while I put everything away and cooked up sausages ready for a casserole meal tomorrow.  Gordon was back about an hour or so later with the auto transmission mended enough to keep us going until we get home.

Walked back down town to pick up our lamb shanks for lunch and they lived up to the expectations that we had.  Kent is an excellent butcher and I was going to say that he is wasted in such a small town, but everyone deserves to have access to decent meat and Kent sends meat orders all the state.  Seeing as he is still here, he obviously loves living here.  We were very happy to see him again and that he’d printed and put up on the wall the photos we’d sent him.  The photos are of Mt Magnet and surrounds that Gordon’s Dad had taken when he was up here with the bank in the 1930s.

Sat and read our books in the sunshine, then walked down town again to the pharmacy to get some lotion for my itching back.  My naturally dry skin has dried even more with the combination of bore water and the cold and I’ve been itching so much it’s been driving me crazy.  Tried my face lotion last night and that helped, so bought a big bottle of QV skin lotion today.  Hopefully that will do the trick and stop the itching.

Spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the sun.  So it’s really been a lazy day and version of Lazy Afternoon by Joe Henderson just fits how today has felt.

We’ve looked at the Kalamunda forecast and once again it looks cold and wet so we’re not in any hurry to come home.  We do need to be back before the 1st of September so that’s the timeframe we’re working to.  We’ve booked another two nights here and then we’ll move on down to Morawa to hopefully take lots of wildflower photos.

Well, that was my day … and then I read Gordon’s diary entry and his day was slightly different.  Here’s his day …

Up at 7 (because we didn’t need to) had brekky and then had to wait to 9 before I took the Hornet to a mechanic to see what the problem was.

Went to mechanic but the boss (Seivy) was out on a job and would be back shortly.  Decided to do the shopping while we waited.  Got fruit & veg (and chocs) from IGA and then went up the road to the hardware store to see if we could get another gas hose for the stove.  It has been flaring up with yellow flames when you first turn it on.  Took the hair off the back of my hand this morning and I think a bit off my fringe (haven’t been combing my hair much).  The hardware store did have a hose but it was only 60cm long and the one I have is 120cm long so wasn’t any good.  Instead got a couple of packs of gas canisters for the little stoves.  As we made our purchases the word had got around and everybody in the shop came out to look at the Hornet and a few people who had just pulled in were looking also.  Somebody said “can you sleep in it” and I was just about to say “no, it’s only 4′ long in the back” when I looked at the lady on the till, who was beside me and was about 4’6″ Asian, so I said “but you could” .. general laughter.

Went back to park to drop Kay off and then around to Seivy’s Mechanical and put it up on the hoist and there was oil coming from the modulator, but oil smeared all down the chassis on the other side.  He cleaned up the modulator and we could see oil oozing out.  So that was the problem – the oil spout that I thought was the problem was clean.  I think a rock was probably flicked up that hit the modulator on the Old Onslow Road.  The modulator looks like a short cylinder with two wires coming out and the cylinder filled with black tar/plastic to hold them in place.  So the tar/plastic had cracked away from the edge.

So Seivy put some soap in the edge of the modulator and then some quick drying clear goo like Araldite then covered the lot with windscreen sealant.  This all took about 1½ hours because had to wait for drying in between soap goo and sealant.  In the meantime Seivy has back problems, his two workers were taking some truck tyres off rims and looked like they didn’t have much of an idea and he was giving them instructions and then a bloke called Tex (real name unknown) pulled in specifically to have a look at the Hornet because he likes Morris Minors.  So he was looking at the Hornet then helping the two workers and it was obvious that he had changed lots and lots of truck tyres (they were just using tyre irons, a slide hammer and muscle) and knew all the tricks.  It was all very entertaining and only cost me $50 – bonus!

Seivy has a SS Holden with the 5½ litre engine which he is making into a burnout car.  A girl came in with a box with an aluminium fuel tank all welded and polished that is going into the SS.  The problem is the girl works in the post office and she is the sister of Seivy’s partner who he hasn’t told about the burnout car – oops!  Problem with small towns.  When she brought it in, Seivy lifted the fuel cap to look inside .  When he showed the tank to Tex, Tex asked “Did you look inside?” and when he said he did, Tex said “You’re gone.  If you hadn’t you could have said it was for someone else for you to install.”

So I had some fun and learned how not to take off and put on truck tyres, Hornet got admired and it only cost $50.

I left out – when we were doing our shopping we went to Kent the Butcher and he has a stack more photos of Mt Magnet up on his walls and ours are all there.  We got lamb shanks for lunch, snags for tea and mince for tomorrow.  Feel quite carnivorous.

Rest of the day we sat and read and talked to people and ate the chocolate.

Two different versions of today.  Just a lazy day doing not much at all.  Love to all 😎😎

Queen of the Murchison

Up and at ’em by 7am today.  Quick chat with the guys next door as we were all packing up and then on our way by close to 9am.  Gordon had to pick up transmission fluid at the Shell servo and just as we were about to leave two escorted overwidth vehicles came through.  Two trucks with each escort and their loads took up the full width of the road.

It was only a short drive this morning as we were going to Cue then on to Mount Magnet.  Along the way there was this white thing up the road opposite a blue sign for a farm stay.  I commented to Gordon that it looked like a polar bear but as we got closer it was obviously someone’s version of a white cow.  It gave Gordon the opportunity to say that he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t draw a cow 🐮😄  There was also a pink flamingo up on a hill but by the time I realised what it was we were almost past it, so the photo is a bit of a nothing ….

The scenery was similar to yesterday with red, stony earth that was almost totally bare in places and then other areas where there was reasonably thick scrub.  We also drove past the very large dry lake bed of Lake Austin.  Not a drop of water in it but it would be a huge lake if it filled up.

Stopped in Cue for morning tea at the Queen of the Murchison Guest House and Cafe.
IMG_2199New owners who have only been there 14 months.  Darryl is a retired farmer and Joyce, his wife, is the author of a book called Everything a Woman Needs to Know Before She Marries a Farmer.  I bought a copy and have been reading it today.  It’s very good and worth the $15.

Morning tea was delicious.  Gordon had a lemon meringue tart and I had a vanilla slice and they really were the best we’ve had so far.  Gordon had his usual hot chocolate but I opted for a one shot long black but also asked if I could have a shot of the caramel stuff Darryl had in a bottle nearby.  He’d never been asked for it before, but believe me, it was fantastic and Darryl now knows what to do if asked for it again 😊  We had a long chat with Joyce and Darryl and also another travelling couple who came in for morning tea.  The Hornet once again evoked memories all round so there was a lot of talk about cars and things people did with them.

On the wall was a lovely oil painting and hanging up was an example of knot work done many moons ago …

Took a heap of photos of town …

and old newspaper and First Murchison Ball posters …
IMG_2220 IMG_2221

plus some of the art work on the buildings ….

Back on the road at just after 12pm and arrived in Mt Magnet about 1pm.  We have a lovely campsite on grass and up against a fence to block as much wind as possible.
Mt Magnet CP

The park has been upgraded since we were here last and the toilet block and campers’ kitchen are both new and really nice.  Was impressed with the ladies showers as the cubicle is actually a decent size and big enough to dry yourself off without knocking your elbows on each wall!

Had lunch, did some hand washing, read for most of the afternoon, went for a walk about 4.30pm, took photos of the setting sun on the trees, had tea and we’re now in the camper as the air is cooling down rapidly.

We’ve taken two nights but we may opt for an extra night and just chill out for a couple of days before moving on to the wildflowers.  We’ve heard that they’re well and truly blooming so we may take a bit longer going home.

That’s it for today.