When friends drop in…

A few months ago when we moved into our new house, I declared, with sweeping gestures, that I required the deck and small yard to be Fabulous.  It must be noted I had no idea what that would look like; I just knew I’d know if it was…you know?

Sadly, I lack the skills to make that happen.  Happily, my husband – with a little help from the Boy – does not.  With a bit of creativity, not much money, and many many visits to Bunnings (during which I repeatedly, loudly sighed ‘I’m BORED’), he created a perfect Favourite Place.

It can be many things: a lazy sunny afternoon reading spot…

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…a breakfast bar with an odd metal menagerie, most of whom look suspiciously over-caffeinated…

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…an at-home campsite…

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…or the perfect place for a mellow dinner…

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It’s versatile, inviting and creative.  It’s fabulous.

Today when friends dropped in unexpectedly, it was easy to throw together a Penny Platter (you probably know this as an antipasto platter.  We name some things after my sister-in-law because, well, we can.  Also, the alliteration is appealing)…but I digress.  Back to my point:  Penny Platter, coffee, good conversation with most excellent people, hanging out on the deck.  A few delightful hours.

Favourite places can sometimes be – literally – on your doorstep.

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Sunny Spring Monday in Freo

The blue spring sky called me this morning, and the coffee called me this afternoon.

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The XWray Café in Essex Street hits all the requirements of a favourite place:  great vibe, delicious food and smooth coffee.

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Freo always delivers the goods.

Loud voices, blue skies and tall trees

The road trip sing-along is a place of no judgement.  No matter how bad, there is an unspoken agreement that everyone sounds fabulous.

Last week we road-tripped down to the amazing Karri forests in south-west Western Australia (WA).

We fired up the iPod, and – covering all decades and many genres since about 1955 – we sang loudly.  Badly.  Proudly.

Between Perth and Pemberton there are many delightful places to stop, wander, explore.  We took a vehicular stroll through dairy farms, orchards, forest, and small towns.

At Coffee O’clock we stopped in Donnybrook. The boys’ iced coffees were served in 1ltr preserving jars.  The coffee was…acceptable.

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Two hours later we arrived in Pemberton.  Well-trained by childhood road-trips, I sniffed out the bakery for lunch, then gravitated to a stall on the side of the road selling delicious locally made jams.

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Fully loaded with saturated fat and sugar, we went on to the second-highest fire lookout tree in the world; the Gloucester Tree.  This is a magnificent tree with an un-magnificent name.

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Mark has a fear of heights and no intention of ever climbing it; I’d done it before so felt no need to subject myself to the terror/exhilaration again.  Kobi climbed the tree and returned satisfied to tick that off his bucket list.

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There are several options for bushwalking and we chose a gentle 1km meander through the ancient forest.

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The drive home took us through more forest as we weaved our way back to the freeway.

It’s a great day trip.  If time permits it could be a relaxing 3 or 4 days of exploring; there’s plenty of accommodation options and an ample supply of scenery, wineries, and bakeries.

The drive lends itself to singing, warbling, crooning and even in-your-seat dancing.

That being said, my dramatic, interpretive homage to Gene Pitney’s 24 Hours from Tulsa – a favourite of my late father – may have been taking it too far.  I think even dad would have changed the song.

And told me never to do it again.