A: When the family come and visit you!
Apologies for my absence. We had DH's parents staying with us for the last few weeks, and we've been taking them here, there and everywhere in an unseasonal heat-wave. We went to places we haven't been to before: places my DH had to drive for a full day to get to. And we've still only covered the minutest teeniest little corner of Western Australia. The folks having e-mailed us in a bit of a panic last month to check whether we were affected by the floods, and having been told that the floods were as far away from us as they in the UK are from Canada, it's only now that they are coming closer to understanding the vastness of Australia.
We took them to Swan River to see the vineyards, a chocolate factory, a nougat factory and a river bed which was white-water rapids last time DH and I visited in the winter. They cuddled koalas, hand-fed kangaroos and stared into the astonishing eyes of a barking owl at Caversham Park. 166 miles south at Margaret River we marvelled at the most beautiful caves we had ever seen, visited a working light-house where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet, and dipped our toes into each. FIL and the biggest wild old-man-grey kangaroo I've ever seen looked deep into each other's eyes from the same height, while MIL watched from behind me.
DH drove us another 160 miles each way down to the Valley of the Giants to walk through the tree-tops of the giant tingles, which was decidedly the furthest we'd ever travelled for a walk in the woods - but SO worth it. We took them to Fremantle prison and bought them the legendary fish and chips from Kailis's. On what had to be the hottest day of the year, we toured around Rottnest Island on a coach and met some of its wild quokkas, before watching a violent storm blasting east Perth from across the sea. They saw Kings Park Botanic Gardens, the Swan Bells, London Court and Perth Mint. We cooked for them and gave them a few proper Aussie barbecues, as well as introducing them to some of our favourites amongst the local restaurants.
I am amazed they were still upright, laughing and talking after the amount they saw and did. Personally I was exhausted! DH and I didn't even get a chance to sleep in the next morning after we put them on the plane home in the middle of the night - the Jehovah's Witnessess woke us up, DH's work had a panic on, the landlord called to arrange a visit that afternoon from a painter who then didn't turn up, and finally a massive lorry appeared on the front drive trying to deliver a washing machine to us! I think the bat signal went up that the Squirrels were now free to be bothered by as many people as possible. Sigh.
But as soon as they had left, the heat-wave seemed to ease a little from 39*C and high humidity with a night-time low of 31*C, to a more manageably dry day-time 31*C and 24*C at night which apparently is more normal autumn weather. March 1st is the official first day of autumn, but someone forgot to tell the weather that.
After DH goes back to work tomorrow (today is Labour Day in WA and a bank holiday) I will get the house cleaned up and get back on track again. I've SO missed my little craft room. Photos to follow.