Saturday, July 18, 2015

Last weekend we spent three nights down in Dunsborough. It was the last weekend of school holidays and Todd was able to get a bit of time off to head down.
We drove down on the Thursday afternoon and stopped in at the Bussleton Jetty for memories sake ... it's nearly a year ago Todd surprised the hell out of me and got down on one knee on the rickety little jetty. We snapped the sunset and then headed straight to the Pour House. It was so nice to sit there for a few hours and watch the cricket with a glass of wine and a delicious steak! They had an open fire cranking and there were lots of people just settling in for the evening.

Shell and Anthony, Todd's cousin's, were away in Exmouth for the holidays so we were able to stay at their place. A lovely little house along Wildwood Road, surrounded by gums and a beautiful dam which was so full! We climbed into bed and slept really well.

We woke up to a foggy and rainy morning. Two chooks were out pottering around, the others were still in their coop. Todd worked out the TV so we were able to check the news with a cup of tea and some fruit before rugging up and heading out the door.

It's been so great getting to go down south with the wedding planning ... There's just something about it .... even in winter there's a charm. Everything was so green and the lillies are out in full bloom. I know they're a crazy noxious weed that are taking over but I think they're beautiful!!
We were meeting the celebrant in Busselton so we made our way there and ordered a coffee. We were a bit early and she was running late so we used the time to talk about the ceremony and what kind of feeling we want it to have.

I've felt so lucky through this whole process that we've had similar things in mind ... we both agreed fairly easily on our declaration of intent, ring exchange and vows wording. It's been really lovely getting to organise just how we want the ceremony to go. Our celebrant has been so easy going and flexible and open to our ideas. I want it to really reflect us as a couple and our friends and family to be involved as much as possible.

After Laurissa left we had a call from the dog breeder telling us there's been a mistake and we're actually getting a little boy puppy!
Well! Initially I was quite confused and annoyed ... but after speaking to the breeder it all is okay. Neither of us could imagine not getting a puppy next week after we've been waiting so long.
We wanted a girl just in the hope she'd be a little smaller and more timid but after speaking with the breeder she actually feels the boys make better pets. She said there was a runt of the little who was a little boy, quite a bit smaller and very cuddly. My heart melted!! We said if she could send us a photo of him then we'd take him.  He arrives Monday afternoon!

Famished, we went and found a sushi place and had some lunch before picked up a donut and heading to see Jack, Todd's grandad.
He's just been moved south to Busselton aged care, from Three Springs.
I always love visiting Jack and this time it just felt so special to be there with him and visit.
He's 93 now and starting to get a bit confused, but the quick wit is still so alive.
As we passed a nurse she said "remember me Jack? I'm the nurse who helped you in the spa yesterday?" ... to which Jack replied "yep. You tried to bloody drown me"

There's a lot of Todd in Jack ... and I love watching the two of them chat and laugh about things. Todd's developed his humour I think ... and his positivity.
After a few hours with Jack we drove into town for some snacks and then back home to Shell and Anthonys. At the very back of the chicken coop there was about 15 eggs! I carefully crawled into the back and gathered them up .. some were still warm!
We boiled a few up and ate them with salt and pepper and some other yummy things.
Todd cranked the fire up and at 6pm the cricket was on!
What a match ... Steve Smith got his 200 ... and then Australia took 5 wickets very quickly! We stayed up until after midnight watching it, reading books and magazines and stoking the fire.

The next morning was incredibly foggy. It was really beautiful as the mist sat just above the dam. We rugged up again and headed out to Hay Shed for breakfast and to speak to Ayesha. On the way there was this paddock of huge dairy cows. We stopped on the side of the road for a few photos and then carried on our way.
We had the most delicious shakshuka and flat bread. They made me some gluten and dairy free flat bread which was just so nice!

We then sat with Ayesha, had a coffee and started nutting out the last pieces of the puzzle. Food menu, drinks, tables, lighting,  flowers ....
Ayesha has been so incredibly easy to work with. So many laughs and just feeling like she's really on the same page as us. It's always so much fun going down there and catching up with her.
We got some wine for the journey home and a few more things on our to - do list and we headed down to check out the area where the ceremony is going to happen.

We've been hoping it's a Marri tree ... but after further inspection Todd was pretty sure it wasn't, and now confirmed by Cam it's definitely not!
It's beautiful though ... and huge. It leans to one side and then opens up to a grassed area, bordered by vines. The grass was so long and wet ... and there was a light drizzle ... so it definitely will look different in November!

We headed back then via Canal Rocks .... Smiths Beach ... Meelup Beach ....and Bunker Bay ...
Looking for places where we will get photos taken. Our photos are happening before the ceremony so the light will be very bright. We wanted to make sure that after the ceremony we could just hang out with the guests and enjoy their company, hence we're having photos before.
Come November our photographer Eric will scoot around with us and help pick the locations .. but we wanted to have a few in mind.

There was still a few hours of sun so we drove to Eagle Bay brewery and sat outside with a drink and some food. It was so busy ... lots of kids playing ... and people celebrating birthdays ... and a big blue sky had broken through which was lovely.

We went into town to get some steaks for dinner and then headed home for another night of cricket and fire time!

The next morning after packing up we made our way into town to try a new coffee shop (delicious!), pick up some of Todd's favourite Kenyan beans to take home and then made our way into Busselton to spend some more time with Jack.

My bookclub has been reading the Narrow Road to the North West which talks of the POWs ...and story very similar to Jack's. Mum had asked me to chat to have about a few things which she was curious about so we sat and spent some time interviewing Jack. It was really nice to record his voice and hear him talk. He was pretty sprightly after having had some lunch so it was a really good catch up. He always says ....
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone..

We said bye to Jack and made our way on to Cam and Betty's place just in Secret Harbour. It was great to stop in and see them, give them some coffee beans and have a cup of tea and a chat.

We made it back to Perth in the dark, very content and claiming it to be a "red letter weekend"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

As we did in Santorini, we went to sleep in Venice with the rain heaving down and awoke to the bluest, clearest skies! Pretty swell considering we only had one full day to explore!
The view from our little balcony was magical. A very crooked tower in the distance and looking down through the canal with it's colourful buildings and little bridges.

We headed off in search of some breakfast and wifi. There was a bizarre fun run happening ... men, women, children, dogs, carrying signs .. all hustling through the main square and over the bridges. Not sure what it was all about! Maybe they were celebrating the gorgeous blue sky??!
We got lost on the way to breakfast, trying to find a certain jaunt .. but quickly realised we'd be getting lost fairly often!

Fuelled up and ready to go we wandered through the little alleys and over bridges. Nerida and I were just in our element capturing photos. I've never been in such a photogenic place before. It just seemed everywhere we turned it was just stunning. We stopped for some fruit and found a little pier to sit on. The sun was shining so much that it was creating twinkling stars on the water.
We made our way to the main sqaure, Piazza san Marco and to the Church of Saint Mark. From the 11th century onwards, the building has been known as the Church of gold or Chiesa d'Oro ... and it's no wonder why. Once inside you realise the entire roof is mosaic-ed with tiny, little gold tiles. It was really incredible.
Our luck on this trip with music has been brilliant. St Paul's Basilica, Church of Saint Cecilia and now the Church of Saint Mark. It was so cool to hear the acoustics each time.
Brad was keen on seeing these four horses that guard the building. They have removed the originals and placed them inside the church/museum. The four that stand outside are replicas.

We found some food for lunch and then split up to keep wandering. We had no real plans to be honest and spent it just wandering around. Mum and Dad had recommended catching the ferry down the Grand Canal so we kept walking towards to the top of the island. A few people kept walking past up with these interesting looking ice creams and we tracked it down to a Magnum store. There, you could build your own magnum! So good! We ate these out on the edge of the canal and soaked up some more sunshine.

The ferry ride down the canal is something I'll never forget. I'm so glad Dad recommended it. The ferries were open each side so you could stand and soak up the view. Taxis, speed boats, men in blue striped shirts steering the gondolas, people having long lunches on the water's edge ...
And all of these buildings just right there on the water's edge.

We hopped off at San Marco and walked through a series of local artists, all with their umbrella's set up, painting in the shade. We picked a water colour from an artist who was wonderful to chat to. A special piece to bring back home with us. We moseyed home to rest our legs for a bit before heading out to catch the golden light.

Together we ate a restaurant close by and enjoyed fish and salad. Even though it was our last night in Italy, we were fairly sick of pizza and pasta!

Venice. Wow.