On Saturday Gered, his wife Karyn and son Riley collected me from the Witch’s Hat Hostel in Northbridge, Perth and we started driving south to meet up with some of Gered’s Family – they were going to bring me to the town of Manjimup where I was to be staying for the next few days. A point to note here is that Gered had car trouble on Saturday morning in his less than 2 year old Holden Commadore – flat battery he said – which was a bit funny, as the last time I was in Perth his car broke down on us as we were travelling & it ended up on the bed of a pick up truck as we got towed home!! Gered thinks I’m a jinx on cars…
We reached Bunbury, where Wayne and Anita met us at the Red Rooster fast food restaurant (a kind of Australian KFC I guess is the easiest way to describe it). Wayne is my Dad’s first cousin and Anita is Wayne’s wife. After lunch we hit the road for Manjimup.
On arriving we headed to their home, where Jean was soon to join us – Jean married my Grandfather’s brother Robert & is my father’s Aunt. We had a quick catch up and then Wayne suggested we head to the beach house at Windy Harbour in South Western, WA. The drive was around 90 minutes or so and along the way we saw some Kangaroos, Emus and a couple of Iguanas.
Windy Harbour is probably best described as a holiday camp for the folks back in the UK, which instead of static caravans has homes. It’s quite frontier-ish to me as a lot of what goes into the home building down here is done by the people themselves! Wayne’s home was a large four bed bungalow, with kitchenette, bathroom & toilet which was powered by Solar Energy – he installed several solar panels and battery storage – though he also has a generator to ensure it always has power.
As we’d arrived in the late afternoon there wasn’t much time before dark, so we got the BBQ on, ate handsomely and sat down to watch some Australian Comedy DVDs – the highlight of which was a skit about an Aussie Tour Guide called Russell Coight.
The following morning, we rose (not too early) and headed for the beach to do some sea fishing. Unfortunately the Ocean breeze was so stiff we were forced into beach fishing and couldn’t take the boat out. We were joined by Kris and Davon down on the beach – Kris has married Emma, the youngest daughter of Wayne; Davon is Wayne’s eldest Grandson, who’s mum is Anne-Marie. Davon is aged about 5 at the moment and is full of energy!! The moment of the morning was when he took a strop with Kris for not helping… apparently Kris’ sole reason for being with us was to help Davon!!
After the fishing expedition, Kris and Emma headed home, whilst Wayne, Anita, Davon & I did a bit of a tour about the area, heading up to a headland which overlooks the coast for miles & miles. From Windy Harbour it’s not unusual to see Whales and Dolphins travelling by or playing in the South Indian Ocean, unfortunately this time we didn’t spot any. After a good lunch and a cheeky afternoon nap by yours truly, it was time to head back to Manjimup for a family dinner with all the Hetherington’s of ‘Manji’ there.
On the Monday Jean picked me up and we headed for Anne-Marie’s where we all piled into the car and headed out & about around Manji. We headed first to the Grape & Gold Gallery where there were lots of wooden crafts and paintings on display (at eye-watering prices). We then headed for the Lavender Berry Farm for Breakfast – and an opportunity for the kids to feed the ducks and lama-type animals – which spat at Jean!! After all the excitement for the kids we got back in the car & did a drive down to Pemberton before returning up to Manjimup, where we met up with Anita.
In the afternoon we headed to the Timber Park in Manjimup which is a type of garden museum to the pioneer heritage in the town. It was perhaps here that I had the funniest event of the trip to date!! Davon had been playing (almost relentlessly) with a small fishing tackle box that he’d picked up at Windy Harbour. For whatever reason he left the box in Bryn’s pram and had forgotten about it whilst we were at the Timber Park. Around an hour in, Bryn decided he wanted to drive the pram, but he came unstuck in some rocks – much to our amusement it has to be said. Anita encouraged Davon to go & help his little brother but ‘Dav’ was having none of it… until Bryn (who by this time had given up on trying to rescue the pram) discovered the tackle box in the pram, picked it up & started to play with it. Davon soon lost his laugh and started sprinting towards his little brother to reclaim his tackle box!! Needless to say, Anita, Anne-Marie and I were all in fits of laughter at the show.
On my last day in Manjimup, Emma came over & picked me up in the car and we headed for Lunch at the Wine & Truffle farm, just outside the town – where the food was incredibly nice and the service was incredibly rough!! After that, it was a short ride to ‘Fonty’s Pool’ which is a campsite with an outdoor swimming pool. The Fontinini family used to own this property – Anita’s grandfather I believe – but it’s now run by new proprietors. In the afternoon we just hung out at Emma’s house with her friends Ash and Liz before Kris (Emma’s husband) came home from work… and that was my final day in Manjimup. Nice & chilled.
I’m writing this second half from Perth Airport as I’m ready to travel over to Melbourne to meet up with the other half of the Australia family there and watch the fourth test between Australia and England. I’ve got tickets for Days 1, 2 & 3 – and am hopeful that England last longer than the last time they were this way!!
So Merry Christmas one & all.