Saturday, 28 August 2010

Getting there...

Bedroom nearly done... we have this great walk in ward robe which means more space in my old wardrobe. The bedroom is huge (the ensuite as well). Filled a box with hats/scarves and gloves.. guess we won't be needing those for a while. Playroom nearly finished as well. Biggest room of the house, upstairs with great views. Lots of windows so nice and bright and a door to a big balcony. I still have these old lundia bookshelves. They belonged to my dad when he was a student and they are so practical and all our books and the toys for the boys have a space now.  Boys' bedrooms work in progress. They look rather empty now the toys are all upstairs (the boys sleep downstairs) Dining room also not finished. Still need to sort out all the cd's. Spare room.. not at all finished.. Garage... haven't even been there yet, Kitchen/lounge area sort of organised. It just needs pictures up and maybe another rug. The house is so much bigger than we're used to.. we have to be careful not to buy loads more to clutter it up. But we do need some nice garden furniture. Today we bought a TV and a hoover. It was so warm today, 23 degrees and Jamie took the boys to City Beach. I am glad I joined them a bit later. It was so lovely to be outside (and not unpacking boxes and sorting things). The beach is safe(ish) for children as there are 2 groynes to keep the waves down a little bit. Willem likes this beach better as it is wider so he's not too worried about the frisbee ending up in the sea. Still quite a few boxes of "bits and bops" to sort out. And now I wish  did sort out more in Aberdeen...but it's easier to throw out stuff now I haven't seen it for 3 months... Tomorrow is the City to Surf, a 12k run from the city centre to the beach (where we live). About 50.000 people take part. I thought about entering but am glad I didn't as I've got so much to do now! We will just be spectators this time. Willem wants to join next year! Will take some photos soon. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Long, long day...
After dropping Willem off at Kindy, Frank and I drove straight to our new house. The movers were already there and had unwrapped a lot of things already. I showed them round the house so they knew where to put the boxes. The guys were very nice and worked hard. They also put some of the furniture together which is great (they didn't do that in Oman). We have some damage, a couple of glasses, a bowl, minor things but also the leather sofas. For some reason the bubble wrap has stuck to them. We can still sit on them but it doesn't look good so we will have to claim those. I am not sad about it. They're not new and I am not attached to them.. quite happy to replace really! My big urns from Oman are still in one piece (much more important) and also my chest and big frame... Have been unpacking boxes as fast as I could so the guys could take the empty boxes away.. long day.. am very tired now. Frank was brilliant.. just played by him self all day! At 2.30 Jamie came home so I could pick up Willem. He hadn't been in the house since we first saw it and he said it is even better than he remembered it. That makes me feel good.. When I saw the house on my own I already thought: "this is it" and I am glad Jamie feels the same. It is so light and airy. Jamie said" I've always wanted to have a bedroom with windows on two sides and now we have one with three sides!" and with sea views south.., the island of Rottnest.. a great room to wake up in. It's huge, with a walk in wardrobe and big (a rather romantic, ugly looking) en suite bathroom. I promise to take photos when all the furniture has a space. We are used to a kitchen with lots of storage space so this kitchen  is a bit of a puzzle but I am sure we get there... Now time for a beer and a real weird reality show on the telly: "the farmer wants a wife"... very Ozzie!

Monday, 23 August 2010


Yesterday Frank and I visited the Art Gallery. Lots of Aboriginal art, old and new and some fantastic modern art. Also a special corner for the little ones where Frank created a piece of abstract art with vinyl shapes on a huge magnetic white board. This morning I picked up the keys for our house and went to have another look now it's all empty and ours! It's nice and bright inside and I still think it's going to be a great place to live. But when you see an empty house with no furniture you also see all the marks and cracks and other things. It's obviously a house that has been lived in (not freshly painted). In a way that is good as I am sure Willem and Frank will leave their own marks. I noticed very ugly tiles in the ensuite bath room! Pink roses on relief! And gold along the mirror.. Ah well, in Oman I also got used to my bright yellow curtains and green bath room suite! It doesn't matter. It still smells a bit of curry (an Indian family lived in the house) so I think I will need to buy some air freshner..The estate agent said it was ok if we wanted to put pictures up, we just needed to call him so the handy man can come and do it. The lemon tree has huge lemons. I will have to borrow books from the library about growing vegetables in WA. Tomorrow at 9.30 the sea freight will be delivered. Will be a busy time!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

dinner party

This morning we bought a huge fridge and a washing machine. We went to the park and in the evening we were invited for dinner at one of Jamie's colleagues Audrey. They also live in City Beach, not far from where we will be living. When we arrived we were amazed. Audrey and her family live in one of those huge mansions we were talking about earlier! Enormous door, steps with very big vases alongside it, a sculpture in the front garden, pillars and inside just as amazing. So grand! Swimming pool of course in the garden and a real fire place in an outdoor room! But very friendly people. So hopefully our neighbours who live in similar houses will be nice too! There were also other colleagues: Scott, Jamie's boss and his family, Giulia and her husband Geoff and a few more. Fantastic food (way too much of course) and a very enjoyable evening. Audrey's teenage children entertained the younger ones so it was relaxing for all of us. Tomorrow we're invited for lunch at Neil and Nicky's. We know them from Oman and haven't seen them for years. Looking forward to seeing them again.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

house, school and car updates

On Wednesday I spent the day with Tamar. We went to Fremantle to one of those indoor playcentres. Frank loved it. I received a phone call from Georgi, our fantastic relocation agent to say the lease contract had come through and if Jamie could come in and sign it. Luckily he was free so now we have a house. We get the key on the 24th!!! I went to the house to measure up the space for the fridge. The tenants who live there now were in the middle of moving out and it looked a real mess...but she said the cleaners were planned for 2 days and the carpet cleaners the day after. We have to sign a "condition report" before we move in so we will need to take a close look otherwise we end up paying for things we didn't do. The contract is full of things like: if you fail to do this and that the cost is for you. We have two "watering" days, Tuesday and Saturday. Water is expensive here. On Thursday I took the contract to City Beach Primary school to show "proof of address". I worried we might not get a place without that proof. The really friendly receptionist took a copy but said the letters had already gone out. She couldn't say yes or no but she could smile.. so yippie.. the boys have a place in February! Now we can walk to school as it's around the corner. We also met up with Urmila and baby Lukas in Freshwater Bay, a place near the river in Peppermint Grove (one of the most expensive areas of Perth) and it was so lovely there! Nice playground, beach, coffee shop etc. A warm day anyway so we stayed till 3 pm! This morning we went to Scarboro Toyota and picked up our  car. I found a note under the windscreen of our blue hired car. It said they damaged the door. AARGH, how annoying but at least they left a note with name and phone number and at least it isn't our new car! Jamie took the car back and gave the note to the car hire company to deal with it. The sea freight is still planned for delivery on the 25th so hopefully we don't need to hire furniture and we can move straight in. We need to leave Mount Bayswater apartments on the 26th. Busy busy now.. sorting out car insurance, looking for fridges, phone connection, internet, washing machines etc. and all the other things that come with moving.. but exciting though!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Making new friends...

Yesterday I met up with one of the Dutch mums, Katja, from the playgroup. We had a lovely lunch and chatted for a couple of hours near Swanbourne beach on the playground. Frank and Katja's daughters played nicely and Katja and I got on really well. She's a lawyer and married a South African.  Today we met up again after the Dutch School, together with two other parents of the Dutch Playgroup, Irold (a house dad, 2 boys) and Simone (2 girls). We did a similar thing, had lunch at a beach playground but this time at Floreat beach. It has a great kiosk with fantastic fruit juices and good sandwiches. We left a good couple of hours later when it started to rain. I feel really good about this as I am already starting to make new friends of my own...They are all 37/38 years old (like me) with similar aged kids and talking in Dutch is always easy. It's good for Willem and Frank too, to have Dutch friends to keep the language up to date.. Katja and Simone only arrived a couple of months ago and are also fairly new to Perth.

I also ran up Jacob's ladder 4 times last night (after Jamie got home from work), 242 steps up to Kings Park. It's a real Australian thing to do.. You run up in a traffic jam of people, all running up and down.
This morning, when the boys were in school, I ran up again but went into Kings Park and ran a really nice 2 and half km loop along to edge of the Park with great views of the river and Nedlands Yacht club. The way back was through the bush and there are already quite a few wildflowers in bloom. Very pretty.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Dinosaurs and more

Today we took one of the many free buses (Blue Cat. You also have a red, green and yellow cat, they go in circles round the city centre, very handy) to the Western Australian Museum. A museum with lots to discover. Their temporary exhibition is all about Pompeii but we just went to the long term exhibitions. It is free, they just ask for a $2 donation. We first went to the Discovery Centre. The boys could explore (hands on) dinosaur fossils, meteorites, stuffed animals but also live animals like tree frogs and bearded dragons. Interactive displays, puzzles and lots of drawers to open. A great place to spend time. Frank really enjoyed the magnifying glasses and the plastic dinosaurs to play with and Willem liked opening the drawers and asked lots of questions about all the animals. Then we went to an exhibition called WA land and dinosaurs. It tells the story of of Western Australia from the prehistoric times of dinosaurs to indigenous beginnings to today. The boys were impressed by the full size model of the Carnataurus dinosaur (they were a bit scared when it roared!) The Diamonds to Dinosaurs exhibition was very impressive. It takes a journey through 12 billion years of history, beginning at the origins of the universe. It shows rocks from Mars and the Moon, meteorites, diamonds and lots of geological artefacts. The exhibition also showcases the evolution of life on earth. It features enormous dinosaur skeleton casts!! There's also a mammal gallery with loads of animals from Australia but also a giant bison! The butterfly display was impressive too. There is a bird display too but we didn't get round to that.. too much.

The museum square is really nice. There's the library and art gallery too and lots of benches (and grass) to sit and public artworks. We walked back through the city to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we walked up "Jacobs Ladder", 242 steps up to Kings Park. Lots of people run up and down it numerous times. (fancy doing that myself) You see loads of people running, cycling here. It's a real sporty nation. You don't see many fat people here either. Huge contrast to Scotland. Will post some photos soon!
Now time to cook dinner and Jamie is home later tonight, yippie!!!

Friday, 13 August 2010


Yesterday it rained quite heavily most of the day. In the morning we went to a story time session in a library (it's in the community centre where the boys go to the Dutch Playgroup). They also had their hair cut and it's quite short now. I hardly recognise them (it was really long). Willem really reminds me of my brother now, when he was little. In the afternoon we went to a leisure centre. Tamar had said it had  a good pool for little ones and gosh, it did! A huge toddler pool, the water is 80 cm high so they could stand everywhere, with lots of slides. Also a real big fast one and Willem loved going down it. He wasn't allowed to use his arm bands so a real break through for him and he was practising his swimming the whole time! Also for Frank there were a couple of smaller slides. Unfortunately we stayed a bit too long and I was caught in rush hour on the way home... pfffffffffff, I will definitely avoid it next time!

Today we went to the Aquarium, which is 20 minutes north of Perth in a place called Hillary's. Frank loved the tunnel. You walk underneath these giant turtles, sting rays and huge sharks! Willem was fascinated by the "danger zone", an area full of dangerous creatures like sea snakes and the blue ringed octopus. The boys wanted a glitter stick from the souvenir shop and it has kept them quiet for the rest of the afternoon. They follow these 3 little fish going up and down this stick, through the glitter. There are 3 colours: pink, green and blue. So they were immediately named "The King, Chick Hicks and Lightning Mc Queen from the movie Cars and they like finding out who reaches the top first.

It was showery today but we still managed to squeeze in  a walk in to Kings park. Now they're in bed and I am going to open a bottle of Pure Blonde beer. Can't wait for Jamie to come home tomorrow night!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


A little drizzle today. Not enough to stay inside though. But they say more rain is to come. Yesterday the boys went to the Dutch Playgroup again and I went for a run along the river. Main goal was to register us with the health insurance but I'd forgotten the visa papers so it was a waste of a trip and will have to go again. In the afternoon we went to Kings Park where we met Marloes and her two boys. I'd never met Marloes before but we have mutual friends as she also worked in London and Aberdeen. We chatted for 3 hours and the 4 boys had a good time together chasing the big black crows around the park. Today Willem is at Kindy again and Frank and I went to see Tamar, which was lovely as well. Frank played nicely with Thirza, Tamar's other daughter who is 2 and a half now. It's great to know people here already, otherwise  I would've felt very lost now Jamie's not here. He has had a couple of very wet and cold days out there in Queensland but seems to be enjoying the trip!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

our new house

Atfter dropping Willem off at Kindy, Frank and I went to City Beach Primary school to enrol both boys for Pre-Primary and Kindy for next school year (which is in February here). The school is round the corner of our house so I drove past to take this quick picture...

Fountains and the old government house behind..

Swan Bells

Sunday Stroll

Jamie left early this morning to fly to Queensland for his field trip and Willem, Frank and I decided to explore a bit more of the city. I first thought of visiting the Western Australian Museum but it was such a fine day again it seemed a waste to spend it inside. We walked along St. George's Terrace, a broad avenue running parallel with the majestic Swan River. Perth's oldest buildings are along this road and also the high modern office buildings. I had read about life size kangaroo sculptures just outside the council house, so that was our goal. They were amazing. Big bronze kangaroos, very realistic and in positions like they would behave in the wild. A nice contrast with the backdrop of the city. They are made in 1997 by the Smith Sculptors, a husband and wife originally from Ireland who now live in Perth. They make lots of public art works.  The boys enjoy the many fountains in Perth and we looked at modern buildings and older ones. Willem and Frank found it very difficult and couldn't really see the difference. There are lots of parks and gardens in the city centre with fantastic trees and plants and sooo many birds. The boys had a little snack on a bench and there were some nice Malaysian women who wanted to have their picture taken with the two blond cute boys (their words). Willem and Frank found it rather strange. We then walked towards the river, to the Swan Bells Bell Tower. It's an ultra modern tower but it houses very old bells, including the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which have existed from before the 14th century. From one of London's most famous churches in Trafalgar Square, these bells have rung out to celebrate many historic events like England's victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, the homecoming of Captain James Cook after his voyage of discovery in 1771 and the World War II victory at El Alamein. The bells were given to Western Australia in 1988. With a lift you can go high up in this building from where you have a good view of the river and the city. And you can see and hear the bells ringing. We walked back along the river, passing the  Willem de Vlamingh Memorial Statue, also made by the Smith Sculptors. It commemorates the epic voyage of Willem the Vlamingh and his fleet who mapped the west coast of Australia in 1697. It includes a giant sundial with 2 clock faces showing Perth Time and Amsterdam Time. Willem was more impressed by seeing his name in big letters on the monument. Along the river and in many parks you find exercise machines like rowing and step machines. Fun!
This was all we did. Guess I have to do more smaller excursions with two little boys but so far I find Perth an interesting city. There's lots to discover.
In the afternoon the boys had a quick swim in the pool by the hotel. It was cold, even in their wetsuits. I will try and post some photos soon!

A bit of history for the interested..

Captain James Stirling founded Perth as part of the Swan River Colony in 1829. The British Government agreed to found the colony as the first free settlement in Australia and the first settlers arrived in Western Australia in June 1829. John Septimus Roe, naval officer, surveyor and explorer laid out the city of perth

Although the territory was claimed on behalf of Britain, explorers from nations including Holland and France had been visiting the Western Australian coastline since the early 1600s. Willem de Vlamingh ventured up the Swan River in 1697. He believed they were the first Europeans to do so and named the river "Swan River" as he saw numerous black swans swimming around. Willem de Vlamingh called the land he discovered New Holland.

Western Australia had been populated by indigenous people for approximately 50.000 years. Relations between the new British settlers and the Noongar people were at first amicable but the settlers adopted traditional hunting grounds as farmland and blocked access routes, tensions arose between the parties. Many Noongar people were sent away from their land and faced great hardship. For the settlers there were also problems: illnesses and isolation and they struggled to farm the difficult land.

Transport of convicts to the Swan River began in 1850 to help solve the problem of labour shortage that was restricting the growth of the colonyThe convict period, which lasted to 1868, saw approximately 10.000 male convicts arrive in WA. As a result some of Perth's most significant buildings, including the government House, were constructed during this period. In 1856 Queen Victoria proclaimed Perth a City.

In 1890 Perth underwent great structural changes due to the influx of population following the discovery of gold. The prosperity brought about the construction of many fine buildings. Today, nickel, iron and gas resources are fuelling a new expansion drawing skilled migrants from around the world.

Many buildings have dissapeared in the 20th redevelopment but those that remain are a reminder of different times. The old Court house built in 1836 is the oldest still standing.

Saturday, 7 August 2010,+City+Beach+WA+6015&sll=51.452694,3.563826&sspn=0.007742,0.017788&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=15+Windarra+Dr,+City+Beach+Western+Australia+6015&ll=-31.939198,115.764656&spn=0.021086,0.035577&t=h&z=15

My favourite Zoo animal: the Wombat

Frank on the beach on the river

City views along river Swan in Nedlands

Toyota Landcruiser Prado


We bought a car today.. We have never spent so much money in a day in our lives but we hope it will be worth it! We know we want to make some exciting trips around Western Australia and from experience we know it's always better in your own car than a hired one. Driving on beaches, on the rough roads in the deserts etc. Also it can seat up to 8 people so plenty space for visitors! It's a Toyota Landcruiser Prado, white, diesel.... I had a test drive and loved driving it! We haven't got it yet, but before the end of the month we will be driving it! Boys will really have to climb into it!
In the afternoon we went to a birthday party from Ffi and Leo, the children of our friends Sue and Gareth who we met in Oman. It was lovely, in a park along the river in East Fremantle. BBQ, playground and the boys enjoyed going round and round in circles on their scooter and balance bike. Also met some really nice people who actually live in Floreat and City Beach, which will be close to our house.

Jamie is going on a fieldtrip to Queensland tomorrow (on a very early flight) He is going to South Stradbroke Island and Canavon Gorge. It will be good for him as he will get to know his colleagues in a different way and also it will be fun. Although he says it will be hard work, getting up early in the morning. I don't think it will be harder than looking after the boys for a week on my own!!

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Swan River

Today it was 18 degrees and sunny. We went to pay the deposit for the house and spent the afternoon in Nedlands, a beautiful, green suburb on the riverside. There was a playground and nice little beaches with white sand and lots of shells. Lots of green grass and Nedlands Yacht Club. It was lovely with a nice view of the city sky line. And by coincidence my friend Tamar was there as well with her daughters, husband and sister. They've bought a Catamaran which is parked at the Club there.

My brother has put an option on the blog for you to fill in your email address so you will be notified when there's news. Also to write comments you need to log in with your google account. If you don't have one you can scroll down the pull down menu and choose another profile. This just stops strangers writing random comments.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Willem, Frank and I went to the Zoo today. By bus across the river. It's a nice Zoo, not too big and with lots of native animals. I really liked the Wombats. Willem and Frank thought the kangaroos were cute and we had fun in the nocturnal section watching the disastrous cane toads, tree frogs and ghost bats. The plants and trees are beautiful and like everywhere else in Perth there are lots of green areas for picnics etc.

Quite a few people have tried to write comments on our blog. I think the easiest would be to choose the google profile and just make one up. Hopefully that works.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


We've got the house in City Beach! We can move in around 23rd of August. Next week I'll go back to measure up the fridge space etc so we can buy one of those and a washing machine etc. I will try and take some photos then as well. The sea freight is expected to be cleared on the 26th of August (although customs here can take a wee bit longer) and hopefully we don't have to rent furniture for long.
So, it seems to go all pretty smoothly so far! Still sunny today, only a bit cooler (20 degrees) but warm enough to go outside in a t-shirt .. or am I too adjusted to the Scottish climate?

Monday, 2 August 2010


Willem said he had a long but good day at Kindy today. I dropped him off with no problem and according to Mrs. White he joined in and played with the other children. Willem didn't say much apart from that he mad a gingerbread man out of playdough and played outside. He couldn't remember any of the names of the children. He said it was too long. It is a full day and he is only used to 2+ hours. Frank and I went to the Toyota garage to look for a car. Pfew, expensive... but it looks like you can bargain a bit.
I quite fancy a Landcruiser Prado, 8 seater and they had a turbo diesel, manual with bull bar...
Then we went to the park and to the supermarket. Easy day, warm again...
And Georgi phoned to say that our offer for the house is favourable and being considered!!

Sunday, 1 August 2010


This morning the boys woke us up at 7 am (just like yesterday and the day before, definitely back on the right time zone). We went to our friend Tamar who just had her 3rd little baby girl. Arjen and Urmila, our other friends from Aberdeen were there as well so that was really nice. It was a warm day, 22 degrees and we went to Swanbourne beach. Lovely, with a playground and a nice restaurant called The Naked Fig. Huge waves. Willem was scared at first but after playing a bit of frisbee on the beach he got used to the sound and he even ran in a while later! Frank loves the waves and runs in and out. He got caught by a couple as well. I even put my feet in the Ocean and to my surprise it was warmer than the one in Wales in the summer! Our dinner at Sue and Gareth's was cancelled as 2 of their children were not well.
Tomorrow Willem will start Kindi. The first time a whole day, from 9-3!