Saturday, 4 October 2008

The deep south (Perth)

G'day Folks,

How is it going up over or whatever the opposite of down under is?

I have now passed my probation period with the RAC, yep 3 months already, we are judged on lots of different parameters and given a scorecard each month which breaks down our performance and rates us against each other, we have about 106 patrols and I ranked 29th in my first month, most of the other new recruits were around the 100 mark so I am now on full contract which means they have to have a reason to kick my sorry butt out.

Also on the Job front Adrian Brown was right as he usually is and I am bored with fixing cars and looking for something more rewarding, the patrol job has given us a good start though and has helped in many ways especially with finding my way around our new city, I have applied for a H&S rep position hoping that I can get the RAC to pay for a College course for me and help me move on in my career.

Life down under is cruising along and we are looking forward to some sun, after enduring a full English winter before we set off and arriving here at the start of what they call winter we are due some rays to warm our bones.

Winter here is not bad in the sense of an English winter, man they get really animated if they have to scrape the ice off windscreen once in their entire lives!!! The rain does come down with a vengeance when it comes but it doesn't linger for days at a time like it does in Blighty.

Last week we had a hint of spring (which started 1st of September) with a very windy but warm 25C. Fortunately it was a rest day so I jumped on my mountain bike with good intention of a nice ride, I rolled down the hill as usual and rode into the reserve around Lake Joondalup, for a change I headed south to explore the pathways around the lake beyond Ocean reef road, I had the wind behind me acting as a sail and was flying along with the standard cyclists silly grin.
The path was good, undulating through the trees the wind making the ups easier and the downs really fast, knocking up into top gear with my legs a blur SH*&%!!! what the hell is that, now I am doing 25 - 30 MPH spinning in my biggest gear on a 6 foot wide path and in the middle of it is a bl**dy 3 foot snake, FU$$&^*%!!!!! Welcome to Australia!!!

It is amazing how quickly the brain assimilates information, 3 foot long heading to my right, brown and green in colour, ground to the left sloping away with long grass (More snakes) ground to the right sloping up shorter grass...... Right it is then, a quick swerve and a pint of adrenaline is pumped into the system to obviate the shock. WOW that was exciting!

When I managed to stop I turned back to have a look but he was gone, probably thinking (I have been in hibernation for six months and the whole world has changed so much, what the bl**dy hell was that, gee that was dangerous that thing nearly ran me over, if there are more about I will have to find somewhere safer to live).

So on the back of needing to know what might bite us and the kids being on school holidays we decided it would be good to have a trip to Perth zoo and see the local flora and fauna with a nice layer of glass between us and the bighty things.

Perth zoo is located in south Perth which is just across the swan river from the city, we live 23kms north of the city so we bought a family ticket at Edgewater station and took the train south.
The transport system has been well thought out for the northern suburbs as the train runs down the middle of the motorway (Mitchell Freeway) which is a bit weird at first when driving as the trains do about 110kmh and cars are restricted to 100kmh so the sneaky buggers overtake on the blind side.

A day family ticket is $8.40 (less than 4 quid) which is cheap as chips, the trains are clean efficient and punctual, 20 minutes or so later we alighted at Perth station had a wander through to the underground food court and had lunch, after which we walked for about 10 minutes down to the Barrack Street Jetty which has a strange spire that houses 12 bells (from St Martin in the Fields) that were gifted to the people of Western Australia as part of national bicentennial celebrations.

At the Jetty we jumped on the ferry which was free as our 8 dollar ticket covers all travel options for the day (Try that in London), 7 minutes later and we are in south Perth, it is a wonderful view point from the Mends street jetty looking back at the panorama view of the city which takes in in clockwise rotation the narrows bridge, kings park, the new exhibition centre, the tall offices of the CBD (Central business district), east Perth, the WACA (WA Cricket association), the Burswood hotel and entertainment complex and finally the Perth hills, as I said it is quite a view.

Heading along Mends street, across the road and across Windsor park (Not as big as the real one) we finally get to the zoo, $50 for a family ticket and we are in, we all enjoyed the 3 hours we had there, they had all the things you would expect at the zoo with the bonus of lots of strange Australian beasts, most of which seem to be some form of rat/mouse!

The wombat was quite stunning in it's size, it has teeth like a rabbit and lives in a warren like a rabbit and it eats grass like a rabbit but you would have to pop a few funny pills to think it looks like a rabbit as it is flippin huge, believe me when I tell you you would know if there was a Wombat warren in your garden as your shed would be leaning over at a serious angle.

The primates display is rather spectacular and Jane Goodall who is a pommie expert on such matters just visited the zoo and gave it top of the world rankings for its primate care.

I wont bother listing all the animals we saw (Thank god you say, you can hop onto the zoo website and see for yourself, lazy bones) the last area we saw was probably the most interesting as it had the small killer bighty things in it, now to tie the story up I was looking to see what had frightened the life out of me the other day at the lake, the two main snakes at the lake are Dugites and Tiger snakes, neither are nice with the Dugite winning on venom but the tiger close behind with it's aggression and determination to bite anything that pees it off, I am still unconvinced that the snake I saw was either unless they come in a variety of colours to match their habitat?

After a good look around the zoo we had a quick pint in the Windsor hotel which is a spectacular old building (My excuse) then a trip back across the river to the city, a good Chinese meal in Northbridge which is the entertainment area of Perth (The rest shuts at 5:30pm) then back on the train home for a rest and an early night after a long day out.

So if you are still awake I hope I have given you an insight into what is going on down under.




"Pommie" Pammie said...

Hi everyone

Glad to hear the job front is still good - well done for your ranked position. H & S whats that all about Health and Safety?? thought you were a "hands on" man.

The zoo sounded like a good move too - just finding out about critters! I don't mind seeing snakes - even had one around my neck in Morroco. But knowing the little s..ts could harm you might make me think differently.

It is 18 here today - in October! - going to last for about 3 days I think. You will be much happier when you see the sunshine. At least you would have settled in more to enjoy the warmth relaxing instead of working on the house.

We did hear of a plane's emergency landing, hurting several people on its way to Perth airport last week. I suppose being so close - you didn't hear. When Paul had an earthquake up north island - he was the last to know.

Carry on blogging - the photos are great. Like the trains.

Bye for now

"Pommie" Pammie said...

Hi ya

Have you just added photos - I started to read your "book" - wasn't till I reached the bit about the snakes - I realised I had already read it!!! Derrr

We have to settle by the fire at the moment - it is getting colder by the day. We have had one day of real snow since you have been gone - but by morning it cleared very quickly.

Tell me, an old age pensioner!!! that aligator was not real. No I knew it wasn't.

look forward to your next blogg - I sat and did a "feel sorry for myself" one - just to get it off my chest.

Bye again

Love to my boys xxxxx