Winter loves Rottnest Island

How do you imagine spending a winter’s day? In a log cabin somewhere in the snow perhaps, with mulled wine simmering by a roaring fire. Or preferably huddled under the blankets at home with a movie & someone cuddly. Well, we were lucky enough to get shipped over to Rottnest for nearly 3 weeks’ work recently and were amazed at how glorious it is in the wintry weather.

I admit I felt more than a little over-eager when I packed the snorkel, fins & boardies. It paid off. After some early rain, we caught the sunrise on a perfect day fishing at Ricey Beach. We lost a rig and I decided to go in and save it. It was absolutely glorious in the water; plenty warmer than the air out – and I figured out why we weren’t catching anything, too. There were about 5,000 herring surrounding the hook, but they were all fast asleep. What an amazing sight.

A quokka at our door © AshNathens 2015

A quokka at our door © AshNathens 2015

It was Yoon-Mi’s first trip out to the Island (and my first trip in years) – and she’d never been fishing in her life. I gave her a quick demonstration at the Army Jetty, and thankfully grabbed a herring on the first cast just to keep up appearances of being super proficient. I gave her the sixty-second primer on humanely killing, gutting & cleaning a fish thinking, well, what better way to impress a girl than such a manly skill? I should have known better. My girl is all over this stuff. 24 hours later she was teaching me a trick or two about fish cleaning and preparation for the table. I couldn’t get her away form the water for the rest of the trip; hail, rain or shine, she was down there at sunrise and sunset with a line in the water.

Of course, the other thing she hadn’t ever seen before was a Quokka. Well, she had to get all grrly about something. They really are the laziest creatures on earth. In the middle of the day when they’re ready for a nap, they just curl their head over onto their belly, shut their eyes and pretend the world  doesn’t exist for a little while. They have absolutely no regard for personal safety – they will sleep like this anywhere. In the middle of a road, on a beach with a rising tide, near an Osprey nest… they care not a squat. Oh, to live with such utter disdain of the world and all its evils. We could all learn a thing from the well-fed, fearless little quokka.

One of the most wonderful things about Rottnest in winter is that there are so few people on the island… it made for a pretty perfect trip. We got out biking around the whole island without the swarms of people, or the flies that are always around in summer – what a bonus that is. Most nights we caught our own dinner, and I don’t think we saw a television once.

Given the result in the #Ashes – no TV was twice the blessing.

Rottnest in winter? I highly recommend it.


Gallery of images

Links: Rottnest (wiki)Rottnest Island (official) • Quokkas

Roll on the Honeywagon

HOUSEOFCARDS_02

Flea & I were enamoured today with the job title of one Bobby Galliher, credited in House Of Cards as the “Honeywagon Driver” (right after Dot Supervisor, Linda Luckeroth). Flea has yet to discover what the person does, and it is a fun game to play. Included in this list, amongst several of our guesses, is the real job description of a Honeywagon Driver. What’s your guess?

The Honeywagon Driver is the person who:

  1. Delivers selected sweet treats for the cast & crew,
  2. Delivers the Gift Baskets to A-List crew members,
  3. Delivers a selection of high class escorts to A-List crew members,
  4. Drives the lead actress about town between takes, usually in a sporty red coupé,
  5. Transports the lead actor’s entertainment and personal comfort items, usually in a small truck,
  6. Transports the lead actor’s meals around the set, usually on purpose-adapted Segway,
  7. Drives the cast & crew’s poo around town, usually in a poo-carting truck, or
  8. Delivers the finished film/digital files to the Studio after the day’s wrap, usually in an armored Humvee.

So, what’s your guess? Tweet me.

We’re also currently enjoying Fresh of the Boat, Archer and iZombie. Yes! And patiently awaiting Game of Thrones on April 12th. Impatient.

 

The Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

Australia – Snakes, Spiders, Bone Melting Heat

Flea has had to do some adjusting since she moved here to Australia. A year ago she was safe in London, wrapped securely in a festive reindeer Christmas sweater. Snow fell gently outside her office window as she pondered her next cup of tea and (more importantly) which biscuit to have with it. Sometimes she might have 2 biscuits, but then she risked falling asleep on the tube on the way home. That’s about as dangerous as life got for her in London, England.

Although she’d visited Australia previously, I think she has found living here to be quite a different experience. She has loved discovering my favourite beaches and swimming/snorkelling spots, but I’ve had to explain that I’m absolutely NOT joking when I teach her how to avoid stepping on snakes.

The Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

A Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasseltii) found guarding our shoes from flies at the back door. What a lovely chap! Photo: © 2015 Ash Nathens

Her first and most passionate hatred this summer was for the Daddy Long Legs spider. As the weather warmed and they began to proliferate, she went on a frenzy with a straw broom attempting to destroy them all. After a few days of this, I explained I personally tend to leave the Daddy Long legs alone. I like them about the place.

“Why?!” she asked, pleading desperately with my apparent manly lack of general household cleanliness. “How can you stand the webs everywhere? It’s a horrid mess!”

“Well that’s quite true, my love,” I explained, “Their webs are quite annoying. But they do wonders for the Redback problem.”

“What problem? What’s a Redback?” she asked, not at all convinced.

I gave a brief run-down on the Australian Redback and explained that currently we didn’t have a problem because of the Daddy Long Legs. And when, two or three weeks later, the Redbacks started showing up (in shoes & behind the couch etc) she got a decent look at one and she’s been befriending Daddy Long Legs ever since. How Australian!

How very dangerous this place can be was highlighted to us all just before Christmas when my family visited from New South Wales. We were enjoying a stroll down by the beach in a popular area; families with children running about the place everywhere. We had stopped briefly along the waterfront to enjoy the view of pristine white sand and clean surf. Half a Brown Snake writhed furiously at our feet, the other half trying with desperate vigor to squeeze down a small opening in the footpath. What was causing it problems was obvious: its last meal. A large, mouse-shaped lump was prohibiting its escape; the large bulbous shape causing a blockage half way down. After a few moments it abandoned its escape and decided to just bask in the warm afternoon sun with us. Right there at our (rapidly retreating) feet. It wasn’t quite an adult, probably only about 3’6″in length, but at any size a Brown Snake has a bite that requires rapid medical attention. (nb: One onlooker believed this to be a Tiger Snake; he could be right. The similarities in juveniles of some species are subtle, and I’m no herpetologist. Regardless, either of these snakes nibbles on your ankle, you need to get to a hospital).

Brown Snake

Our gluttonous friend the Brown Snake

Last and arguably the most deadly of all: the heat. I suppose it’s like any other climate: if you grow up learning how to cope with it, you forget how hard it can be. Flea has just gone out for a bike ride – granted it’s only a very pleasant 29°C today  – but regardless, one does not go out cycling at 2pm during a Perth summer. She’s tough and doesn’t complain anywhere near as much as she’d like to, but I’m certain she’s also coming slightly unhinged in the heat;)

Singapore

Yoon-Mi is away in Singapore this week for some well deserved R&R. She has left me little Post-It notes around the house to remind me how loved I am. There’s Post-Its on food in the fridge and in the pantry. There’s Post-Its on the Tim Tams warning me not to eat them. There’s Post-Its beside the bed and hidden under pillows. I love them all:) We were in Singapore together in June this year; I remember I landed back from that trip and badly injured (rolled) my ankle training for an important run I had- devastating. It all went well in the end though! Anyway – all of this reminded me I never got around to sharing any photos from that trip. Laaa-aaazy me.

I had never been to Singapore and I had forgotten what humidity was – I should have remembered from my years of living in Sydney, but even so, Singpore is next level. We landed at about 3am and headed to the hotel where they shoved us in a twin smoking room for a few hours (I had quit smoking a year before that, so this was pretty disgusting) – we grabbed a shower and headed out for a walk around Fort Canning which I absolutely loved. In fact, my first impressions were of a very clean & friendly city. I loved it!

Musings left on the streets of Singapore

Musings left on the streets of Singapore

We spent a few days there, discovering Arab Street and buying fabrics (which is exactly where Yoon-Mi is now I think!) – we explored the Gardens by the Bay which is extraordinary. A photographer’s dream! Below the Mariner Bay Sands and with that weird Marc Quinn sculpture ‘Planet’ – bizarre. Anyway, I loved all of it, and I hope Yoon-Mi is having a ball. Wish I was there!

"Planet" by Marc Quinn - Marina bay Sands in the background.

“Planet” by Marc Quinn – Marina bay Sands in the background.

Oh, ran the 5k track this morning before work – still recovering from last week’s killer PT schedule, so it was a slow one. But what a wonderful morning in Perth. It’s going to be one killer summer!

In the news today

Photos from Singapore

High Tea and Pirates

A High Tea Adventure

One of the little things Flea has been missing since she moved to Australia is a good “high tea”. A friend of hers in the “Old Country” had done a bit of research and bought us some vouchers to “Maddison Cottage“; a little venue in Perth where such a thing can be enjoyed… one gets the feeling they might be few and far between. We enjoyed getting a bit dressy & had a lovely drive out to Guildford on a lovely rainy day; the first genuinely wet day of the year. We enjoyed a few different teas, made more lovely by a ‘free pot refill’. I’ll admit I did arrive hoping to find a good steak burger on the menu (I was a little misguided as to what was on offer at a High Tea) – but none the less, we were fairly impressed with the morsels.

The setting was lovely, although it felt a little cramped. The tables were clean and well set; and everything was well presented. Sadly though, it was all let down by awful restroom facilities (and after two full pots of tea, you can be sure you’ll need them before you depart). I’m not talking “Trainspotting” awful – it wasn’t filthy. “Functioning” is, however,  about the only positive thing I can say about it. No more than a household loo, it is directly adjacent to their kitchen & one can clearly hear every dish and sniffle coming from the pantry. Which means; they can hear you. I enjoyed listening to staff talking about customers for a few moments before we left. I didn’t use the hand towel provided (on the restroom floor) and left, hand dripping, through a maze of kitchen supply boxes and various other flotsam.

A pleasant enough venue, just don’t look behind the scenes. A real shame! However, Flea looking absolutely stunning and we enjoyed the adventure:)

Piracy & eternal damnation

We’ve been enjoying  a smorgasbord of television programming; Season 4 of Game of Thrones having been the most anticipated. But wow, how good is Fargo (Billy Bob Thornton / Martin Freeman) so far?! We’re loving it:) What else?

  • The Killing (loving it!)
  • Boss
  • Not Going Out
  • Fargo (loving it!)

I’m a bookworm who’s read all off George R R Martin’s books before seeing the show; Flea is watching it first. We’re both enjoying season 4 thus far; Arya & The Hound being my favourite story line. it was sad to not see them this week! No spoilers on this page (because you never know, Flea just might read my blog) – but I want at least 10 minutes of them in every episode this season…

Oh – Sansa and Petyr Baelish – at last! This is one story line I’m excited about:) Obviously they’re going to skip Petyr’s homeland for the TV series which is a bit of a shame, but it should still be great!

"...the only thing he wanted was what I'd given him the night before."

“…the only thing he wanted was what I’d given him the night before.”