Western Australia

We’re havin’ a heatwave…

For all readers and fellow bloggers in the northern hemisphere, I bring you a little light relief. Just something to remind you that your snow and ice storms will come to an end… summer will return, I guarantee it!

Some thoughts and images to warm you up today…

Here in Perth, Western Australia, we are having a heatwave. Just a short one, 3 days. Yesterday was pretty warm, today’s temp is forecast to be 44. Slightly cooler tomorrow.  weather forecast

I probably don’t need to explain that’s C, not F.

Morning coffee on the balcony is pleasant; I still have shade. The heat is dry, much more comfortable than humidity… My favourite spot for breakfast, morning coffee, an evening wine… and writing. 2014-01-11 10.14.34

I can hear the neighbours  already cooling off…

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Meanwhile, Saturday morning skydiving is popular, tourists enjoy an air-conditioned cruise up the river towards the Swan Valley wineries… and jetskis race each other on the water…    Skydivers1   2014-01-11 14.35.24  IMG_6177  IMG_6180

Meanwhile… the heat usually brings out some of the worst people. One minute Perth is lazing under a hot sun…  2014-01-11 10.49.12

and the next minute King Park is on fire.

Most of our summer fires are deliberately lit. People have lost their homes and died through the actions of lunatics such as this. I hope they are caught quickly. Thankfully this fire was all extinguished 2 hours later.

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The news helicopters get in close… IMG_6171

By now the beaches will be filling up. The afternoon sea breeze is not even in yet… the afternoon is getting hotter.

Au revoir mes amis, time for a swim myself! 🙂

Old Swan Brewery building. Perth, Western Australia
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Happy new year from the land of black swans

Black Swans

Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 brings much joy and happiness to all.

At the moment, TC and I are enjoying summer life in Perth, Western Australia, where the native swans are indeed black. It occurred to me that readers who have never visited Australia may not know this, so I thought I’d share with you this information about black swans.

We have a little apartment overlooking the Swan River, so this features a lot in our daily lives. We also like to cycle along the banks of the river where we often see the lovely swans. The Swan River is also home to some other lovely creatures – dolphins. On the weekend we were treated to a great day out on the water thanks to our friends who had just taken delivery of their new boat (don’t you love friends like that!) when we saw some of them up close. Sometimes we can even spot them in the water from our balcony.

My friend Angela is a keen photographer and she has kindly agreed to share the pictures she snapped on that day. There is just something about dolphins that makes you smile and it’s always so exciting to see them up close in the water!

This year I plan to post a mix of our adventures in Australia and France, along with my attempts in the kitchen of course, so I hope you enjoy them… à bientôt!

perth sunset

1 year ago…

western-australia-kangaroo-beach

One year ago today TC and I boarded a plane in 35C heat, with two suitcases, one guitar and one-way tickets to a wintry Paris…

This week we collect our renewed visas for a 2nd year. We are so glad, even though the second year will be strictly “on a budget”, because there is no way we’ve seen enough, done enough or experienced enough to go back yet. We don’t speak enough French yet!

And since I didn’t start this blog until November, I’ve got a lot of posts to catch up on, and more adventures to come….

Some things never get old…

Nimes Arena

Nimes Arena

I’m actually talking about a Roman arena, nearly 2000 years old, which gave me a real feeling of deja vu – but not for the reasons you would think.

Today we took a drive to Nimes to look at some of the Roman history. Walking between massive blocks of stone, still standing where they were placed that long ago, leaves you will a little bit of an awed feeling. The Romans certainly knew how to build things to last. What really struck me today though, was not only the sheer scale of their constructions (remembering that back in the day, the people were a lot smaller than we are today), but also the design ideas that are still functional and used today.

For example, the magnificent Arena in Nimes. This dates back to about the end of the 1st century AD. OK it’s not the oldest, it wasn’t the first of its kind and probably not the biggest, but it is one of the best preserved. But… walking in through the arches, following the galleries that run around the entire structure, then entering the ring-side seating through numerous, identical, walkways & up stairs – it struck me as being just like Subiaco oval in Perth, Western Australia, where I have gone to watch my favourite football team so many times. What a wierd feeling, I could just see hords of fans shouting & cheering – but for gladiators or football? Not to mention that the upper rows have a much better view in Nimes than those in Subiaco – and I think they actually have more leg room too! Well it seems good ideas never grow old. Except it would have been a better idea had they also copied the lovely external arches along with the internal structure. The Romans certainly did it all with style.

Now I know all about the animal fights, the sentenced prisoners that were fed to the lions and bears during lunch-break on gladiator-show days, but seeing all the crocodile emblems around the city, I wondered whether they brought crocodiles here to play with too? I wouldn’t put anything past those Romans after hearing all the stories on the audio guide – thank goodness I’d already had lunch when they talked about the fresh sand being turned over regularly through the day to keep down the stench of blood!  But alas, nothing so exciting as rampaging crocodiles, it turns out that when the Romans defeated Marc & Cleo over in Egypt, they minted a coin here in Nimes to celebrate – the coin bearing a picture of a crocodile chained to a palm tree to depict the conquered Eqypt. The coins were so  popular that it became the official city emblem during the 1500s.

Well anyway, we found it to be a very bright, fresh and modern city with a lovely pedestrianised old-centre.  We only visited two of the Roman relics but there is a lot more to this beautiful city that I would love to see another day.  For now, it was beautiful on a bright, crisp day!