Tag Archives: nature

Oranges and Lemons

My little son scampers, skips and trips his way along the uneven pavements of Victoria Park. We’re off to see the orange tree and the lemon tree, flourishing occupants of a garden down the road. The branches are heavy with still-green mandarins and ripening yellow lemons. Infinitely more fascinating that our own of spiky desert scrub, wilting baby bean plants and an orchid that never flowers. Oh, and I’ve not yet killed the lavender.

Our walking route takes us past car shops, the Harvest Espresso café (always closed in the late afternoon) and the Victoria Park Hotel (always open and kids eat free on Tuesdays). This afternoon, the pub is dressed up in balloons – purple and white for the Fremantle Dockers, blue and yellow for the West Coast Eagles. Going by balloon preferences, I’d say my little man is a Dockers fan.

Oranges and Lemons

Inspecting the olives

Our little master – let’s call him “M” – is no stranger to the colour purple. No, not the film, but the colour. His favourite fridge magnets are a set of purple numbers (6 and 9 missing). His favourite plastic vegetable is a purple eggplant. However, his grandad has bought a white eggplant from the supermarket – we’ve seen it on Skype. The horticultural world can be quite confusing for a two-year-old.

Down that road, up this one. We are winding our way back home, stopping to inspect snooty cats, dogs stretching their legs – or should that be the other way round? – and rude magpies. The house on the corner is a delight with its olive tree drooping with black fruit, giant roses, green figs, and a persimmon tree whose branches dip invitingly over the fence with displays of orange globes.

“Touch it,” demands M. We have agreed that this should be the extent of his interaction with Somebody Else’s Gardens. Then he consents to cross the road. Any cars coming?

The next day, we retrace our steps – past lemon tree and spiky fruit (plane) tree, past car shop where the red car has now gone, past pub with ciggy smoke and chicken parmi, and to the persimmon tree again. The fruits are all gone now.

“Somebody ate it,” says M wisely but with some disappointment. He is easily placated with the prospect of viewing the banana tree next door. Then he’s off again – scamper, skip, and gurgle of delight. There are many more gardens to inspect and other streets to explore. And they are all there in Victoria Park.

In the spirit of this post, I felt I should also share my son’s favourite YouTube video – everything to do with fruit and nothing to do with Vic Park. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4tk2xi85vE

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Going the Distance

I saw a kangaroo outside my window. You’d expect a blog about Australia to begin with this line, wouldn’t you? So, yes, this post has been a long time in coming. I did see a kangaroo – a real one. Not made of metal like the red one by the Vic Park post office. Not large and bronze like the statues on St. Georges Terrace. Not fat and tame and lazy like the ones in Whiteman Park. These were the real deal – a little kangaroo family, complete with a joey, watching the Prospector roll past the hillsides near Toodyay.

Once they were green fields, warmed by the sun...

Once they were green fields, warmed by the sun…

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Mud Lake: Rain over a salt pan in the Goldfields

I’ve done this journey several times now, yet the countryside looks different and new each season. Summer is setting in and Western Australia’s wheat belt is ready for the harvest. The yellowing hillsides give way to barbered fields that look like they’ve been groomed for military service. The long furrows streak to the horizon. The sheep are shorn as well and look sadly scrawny, although I expect they don’t need to be warm and woolly during the summer.

Now you’re imagining bright blue skies and sunny weather. Think again. It’s cloudy and wet. Storm winds from Perth are sweeping up behind us and trail us all the way to Kalgoorlie. Despite the grey skies, the view from my window is far more fascinating than the on-board Zac Ephron romance.

The shorn fields have given way to bushland. Near Southern Cross, a salt lake is dissolving into sludge while we wait for a freight train to pass. The miles roll by, and we’re in mining country now. Passengers are met at stations by men in dusty overalls and muddy utes. The C. Y. O’Connor pipeline occasionally emerges in the distance, a silver thread leading all the way back to Perth. It’s a reminder of home. Then, the tableland of Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit appears on the horizon. It’s reassuringly familiar. Perhaps, home is not as far away as I think.