Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Oh my goodness, I love op shopping!! I LOVE it!

Op shops, thrift shops, second hand shops, garage sales, market stalls...I love them all.

I love the anticipating and the hunting and the sorting and the looking and the wondering and the planning and the admiring and the riffling. Love it!!

To be completely honest with you, I think that a big part of the excitement of this trip for me was the hope that there would be lots of little second hand shops in tiny towns all along the way. Lots of granny treasures to sort through. Lots of floral sheets and table clothes and china. And there have been quite a few. And we have hunted them down and driven out of our way and found some lovely things. 

And then there are some that we drive past and stumble upon by accident. You should hear the chorus of OP SHOP!!!! that comes from our car at such times.

The photos on this post were taken in a second hand shop in Albany that was so much more exciting than the Good Samaritan shop we had been directed to half a block down the street.

I adore that we have chosen op shop treasures to fill our caravan. I feel proud that we eat off odds bits of English and Australian fine china and not metal camping plates. And when accidents happen and bowls get broken, I love that it is a legitimate family outing to pop into an op shop and find replacements.

The down side of living in a caravan is the fact that space is limited. I know the more we buy, the less space we have for living. So we have learnt to be selective and that's probably a good thing anyway.

One of our road trip friends recently remarked on how patient farmer Bren must be. On how she marvels at the fact that she sees our car on the road outside junk shops all over the place. I was surprised for a second when she said that. I forget that not everyone lives like we live. That not everyone googles the op shops in every town they arrive in and includes visiting all the shops on our list as legitimate tourist outings right up there with the museums and geographical sights.

I do love that my kids love op shopping too. That they know to turn a plate upside down to check where it was made and if it is a Johnson. That they understand and embrace our recycling ideology. That they know that Mum loves florals, little jugs, pale blue and is not so interested in the little saucers or in the made in China.

I have little stashes of newspaper wrapped plates and jugs and bowls stashed all over the caravan that I look forward to unwrapping when we get home. Others buy tea-towels, snow globes, Indigenous art pieces or jewellery to remember their trips. My souvenirs are my op shopped treasures. I can't wait to put them to use and display them when we get home.

So do you op shop? Do you love the thrill of entering the world of an unknown op shop and the unknown treasure that awaits? And what section do you make a bee line for - the manchester, the clothing, the brick-a-brack, the books? And most importantly, have you found any wonderful treasures lately?

Happy treasure hunting. xx

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Loops and knots.

Thanks Marieke Hardy for making me question my blog and my need to document this trip in pictures, words, thoughts and stories.

This morning I sat down and loaded some photos onto my blog. I was going to show and tell you the story of the surfing lessons at Bunker Bunker, the 61 meter tree climb in Pemberton and one of the most magnificent beaches I have ever seen at Green's Point.

While the pictures were loading I sat down and read a couple of pages of Marieke's book You'll be sorry when I'm dead . In the bit I was reading she was talking about traveling with her parents and then later partners and how she documented all her trips in scrap books. On page 99 I found this '...Amanda Palmer once bemoaned, "It's a tragedy that my reaction to seeing something interesting is turning away to grab my camera. The first thought is that it will be meaningless if I don't share it. Those are frightening moments."'


I'm not sure if I am as desperate to share the moments as I am to capture them though. I have a great and powerful need to have a record of everything on this trip. Every detail great and small. The places, the landmarks, the friends, caravan life, what we've eaten, what I've read and made, how we've felt and how it's changed and changing...

I have thousands and thousands of photos from this trip sitting in iphoto. I guess my blog and instagram help me organise and categorise and put them in a context. Words with pictures. Order.

Would I still blog if no one were reading? I don't know.

Would you?

While I'm in the middle of this thought process and wondering about the living in the moment versus the capturing of the living in the moment I think I'll leave this morning's half written blog in drafts. We surfed and climbed and swam. It happened and I took photos of it happening. It exists.

Right now, this moment in time is different though. It's an ordinary moment not necessarily worthy of photos or documenting but a moment of our trip.

Yesterday we left Albany and were on our way to Esperance when we had caravan tyre issues and had to turn back.

Yesterday at the caravan park institution that is the jumping pillow, (an enormous piece of rubber filled with air - kind of like a cross between a trampoline and a jumping castle), there was an incident that ended in a dislocated elbow and a trip to Albany accident and emergency. There were lots of tears, there were x-rays, there was a great doctor and a quick readjust and a sling.

Today we are nursing Miss Pepper, our patient and taking it very easy. Today we are hoping that when the mechanic arrives he will laugh at the simplicity of our caravan tyre problem and fix it and we'll be on our way tomorrow.

The girls are watching Beauty and the Beast in the caravan.

We are drinking lots of tea.

Enjoying the serenity.

And I'm crocheting circles in squares.

Hooking around and around, adding to the pile and enjoying this pattern that I now know so well and can let my fingers do the work while my mind drifts and tries to answer questions and in the process comes up with more.

I'm being a good girl and darning in some ends as I go.

And I'm thinking about the smells and sounds and stories of the south west captured in their loops and knots. 

That's what's going on right now. Our moment. It is not a spectacular moment but a moment none the less. And you know what? I'm kinda glad I have this blog to capture it in its unspectacularness.

So how about you? Do you always have your camera on hand just in case? Do you live to capture the moments? Does something mean more to you if its shared? What have you been making?

I wonder.

I'm going to check back on my little patient and then get back to my squares. 

Happy travels my friends. xx

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Farmers' market.

 At home, in our real lives, we spend a lot of time at farmers' markets selling our wares.

We spend gazillions of hours picking and washing and packing our gorgeous organic produce into the trailer, driving to market, setting up enticing, visually exciting displays and then chatting and selling and buying and enjoying the market thing.

We love farmers' markets. We love the direct connection between farmer and consumer, the freshness of the produce, the integrity of the produce and mostly the best prices.

In all the best cases a farmers' market is like a festival of the farmer and of great food. We love that!

On this road trip, finding fresh, homegrown produce has been a priority. Buying from the stupid market goes against everything we stand for. Buying products with an essay as it's list of ingredients has not filled us with optimism or joy.

So it is with delight and excitement that we hunt down and visit farmer's markets when ever we see them along the way. It is a thrill to buy fresh and chat to the producer, and it has been wonderful to check out the displays, the different products and be inspired to go home and revamp our market setup.

Margaret River farmers' market was the best we've found so far on the west coast.

Farmer Bren went a bit berserk and had to go back to the car to unload his back pack a couple of times.

There were wonderful, colourful displays.

Lots of bunting.

Cute chookies.



Giant vegetables.

Gorgeous signage.

Clean veggies. (I know I am an organic farmer but I get really irritated by clumps of dirt on vegetables at market. Why not be proud and show off your gorgeous veg?!)

Lots of organic produce. (Well we had to assume it was organic because unlike the markets on the East coast, these markets have not been accredited and who really knows what organic means.)

And lots of treats.

For us it was like coming out of the desert into an oasis.


But I guess the real heart behind this post is Margaret River. The real reason behind my sitting outside the caravan this morning flicking through my photos is the bushfire that is raging and threatening and devastating the part of the south west coast that we have just spent a month in and loved.

We know well the names of the towns on the news.

We are hoping for it to be all over very, very soon.

Our thoughts are with you Margaret River. We know how terrifying bush fires are.

Happy travels and stay safe my friends. x

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


And just like that I've forgotten how and why I blog.

It's the strangest thing really. One minute we were in the beautiful coastal town of Yallingup and I made a little promise inside my head to blog everyday for a little while to catch up on some of the backlog of posts in my head. I managed a few days in a row. And the next day we had to leave the caravan park to make room for the hordes of weekenders from Perth who had booked all the sites and left us siteless.

So we travelled down to Hamlin Bay and camped in the National park on the beach for a while. It was gorgeous.

But we were out of range.

Which meant no blogging and now an even bigger backlog and an inability to work out where to start. I can't even hear the words at night begging me to blog them, begging me to describe the scenes and the feelings that made up the day gone by. I have thousands of pictures waiting and no words to tell their stories.

So it is in the hope of the more I write the more I write that I sit here in Denmark Riverside caravan park this morning hitting the keys. It is a hope that the familiar ritual of loading and resizing the photos, tapping the keys and being in the zone that will enable me to continue where I left off.

Believe me I understand that a break is as good as a holiday...and that blogging should be fun... and that there should be no pressure...but I think I am a nicer person when I have been writing. I love writing. I love having the record. I want to blog. I am a blogger.

(Incidentally, one of the lovely things about life on the road is that almost everyone travelling alongside you is a blogger too. No more funny looks and Really? Whatever for? and What's a blog? When you tell people you have a blog they understand because they do too. You've never seen so many DSLR's.)

OK, gotta pack up and hit the road now. We're off to Albany for a couple of days.

Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow.

Happy travels. xx

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Eight years ago when Miss Jazzy was born, farmer Bren wrote an email and sent it out to our family and friends;

Hi all,
I'm sitting here with my beautiful baby girl on my lap, listening to her tiny hiccups and watching her wonderful facial expressions.
She is just divine, an angel, a fairy.
She is 5 days old now.
She was born at 2.40 on Thursday 9-10-03 and was 7 pound and perfect.
Mum and baby are doing really well. They got back home last night and we are getting on with life with 2 kids.. WOW..
Indi is coping really well and will make a very good bossy sister..
If you didn't realize from the subject of this email we have named her
Jarrah is the Aboriginal name for the majestic Eucalyptus marginata, native to western Australia.
Hoping you are well and as happy us we are..
All our love 
Bren Kate Indi & Jarrah.

Since that day we have been dreaming of taking our Jarrah to see the giant jarrah trees.

Last Thursday we took a drive inland from Bussleton and found ourselves first in Jarrahwood, then in the gorgeous Nannup and then in the middle of the forest in Bridgetown, Jarrah park.

We were hunting for Jarrah trees, the bigger and grander the better.

Most of the old growth forests in this part of Western Australia have been logged, but the women at the Nannup visitor's centre assured us we'd find some in the forest. To be honest we weren't even certain we'd recognise a jarrah tree but our Jarrah assured us she would.

And she did.

We had a wonderful day jarrah hunting that day. We all ran and skipped and danced and sang the whole way. After months of deserts and beaches, we all loved being back in the bush. It looked like home. It felt like home. We all agreed that at heart we are forest people.

And boy oh boy are we loving exploring southern western Australia.

Happy travels. xx

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