All posts by leakygreens

Interested in #Travel, #Gardening_Organically, #Animals, #People, #Information_about_everything_almost. #Ted_Talks, #Permaculture

Taylor’s Art and Coffee House, Swan Valley, Perth, Western Australia

Well here is a quirky, interesting and warm and friendly venue for eats, nostalgia, sculptures, prints, and art both new and old. The yard is filled with relics of the past and objects of great importance once – like a typesetting machine, an old till, a sculpture full of plastic from the sea. There is machinery so big, it makes one wonder how it was put where it was.

We usually book, in the winter, near the very efficient and comforting pot belly style firebox.

The whole place is interesting to look at and the staff are friendly, polite and well trained.

The food is reliable and tasty. We had the ‘carnivore’ this time and shared it for $23.90 Good value for two – plus a lovely pot of tea for two.

Piano books, high chairs, cushions and toys – and an empty birdcage.

Once I was there when there was an Ella Fitzgerald fan, playing some of her music which was a wonderful sound to listen to during our meal.

Silver coated nature and additions
Coffee, local honey and tea from Toodyay!

Taylor’s has been there awhile and its owner and namesake Jude Taylor is renowned for her artwork depicting Western Australian wildflowers.

There are pictures, cards, clothes and other nick knacks laid out around the old house.

There are some wonderfully quirky things at Taylors, like the water tank around one of the tables, and the lovely door handle on the outside door where the toilets are.

Worth a visit if you are in the Swan Valley, and there is Whistler’s Chocolates next door. Also, the wineries for which the Swan Valley is famous, in Western Australia.

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Sydney, Australia and surrounds 2018

Central Coast and Return.

Took a drive to Umina Beach and Woy Woy and back today. The motorways are fast and efficient when not crowded, but the trucks can be very intimidating! And the engineering involved in creating the motorways, is awe inspiring.

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The M1 – Central Coast. The sheer rock faces you drive between are amazing, and beautiful.

Once I arrived in Umina Beach I went to visit my 93 year old Aunt, who is astounded that I bother to see her. As I assured her, a trip to Sydney must have a visit to her, or it would not be a trip to Sydney.  I have a cousin of my mother’s who also turned 93 this year who lives in Sydney who will have a visit on Friday. So looking forward to seeing him too.

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Near Fisherman’s Wharf Woy Woy, New South Wales
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“Fishermates” in retro effect style. Brisbane Waters, Woy Woy. Reflections
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The American black duck is prolific on the central coast areas. These ones are well fed by humans and as a result are very likely to wander over to look at you, looking at them. Beautiful plumage.
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The Indian Myna Bird. Wonderful trill and a neatly, well ‘painted’ little fellow.
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Mallard duck. One of the most dramatically coloured of the ducks.
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Fisherman’s Wharf at Woy Woy, Central Coast, New South Wales

Freshwater

Today I have driven east to the coast and will meet up with my cousins for lunch. It is a beautiful day at the moment but by 1pm there are forecasts for thunderstorms- I hope they are wrong – make it 4pm – I’ll be safe at my digs by then.

I was early, as usual, so proceeded to the beach to see the surf at Freshwater Beach.

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It really does look inviting. Lots of grommets out and about and older surfers. It is a moving tide of black rubber covered humans with long wet hair – in some cases -and a board under their arms. Not a bad way to spend your time.

Bella Vista Farm

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Today we visited one of the first farming properties in Australia. In 1799 Joseph Foveaux was granted 980 acres which, in addition to other purchases, he sold to John Macarthur in 1801. John Macarthur enlarged this through additional purchases until it comprised around 2,000 acres. John and Elizabeth Macarthur farmed sheep on this property in addition to their properties at Camden and Parramatta. For much of the time that the Macarthur’s owned this farm John was overseas and it fell to Elizabeth to manage the various Macarthur properties and flocks.

The farm is being restored and maintained and it is used for a range of activities and community happenings.

Chatswood

We left our first home of three days and drove east towards the north shore.

Well now we are on the north shore of the city in a leafy suburb called Chatswood. It has huge numbers of retail outlets in the streets and in the malls. Westfield, Chatswood Chase and stores all around them. Eateries are everywhere. Very Asian influence around here with heavy emphasis on Korean. This morning we wandered down to #Crazy_Uncle_Frankie’s where we had a lovely breakfast between us with the addition of an orange juice, tea and coffee. lrg_dsc09621

It was a birthday breakfast – did you see the candle?? We ate at Crazy Uncle Frankie’s 1/405-419 Victoria Ave, Chatswood. Terrific service and food. We were welcomed warmly and we ate at an outdoor table.

After breakfast we watched children chase bubbles on the expanse of green outside the Chatswood Library under the only tree in the vicinity, but a good one.

We then ventured off into retail land through the doors of the Westfield shopping complex.There are some great stores and some great décor.

After the walk through and a couple of useful purchases, we returned to our apartment and readied ourselves for a 20 min drive to see one of my cousins who is 93 and thoroughly warm and amazing man, who continues to live life to the full, working 3 days a week at the office of the firm, established by his father Edward (Ted) way back 1929 with his brother Hector (Bob). My cousin joined the Law firm with his brother in the 1950s.

Great to see him. Great Man oh and an MBE too.

That’s it for now – end of post for now.

Dunsborough – South Western Australia – and surrounds

This is a place we visit often. It brings peace and quiet to our lives. We work hard and need ‘down time’.

We have some very restful things to do here like;

Bird watching, photography.


This small bird is a Blue Wren, male below and female above. The male is losing the brownish summer plumage which is making way for the blue, almost iridescent blue, which will dominate autumn and winter. They are lovely to watch and very plentiful here.

And walking on the beach

Eating outside and shopping for stuff we really dont need but are fun to have.

Dunsborough, Western Australia is about 15 mins south of Busselton, a well established seaside town.

More info here: https://tinyurl.com/ya7vront

Cruising!  Fremantle to Fremantle via Albany and Busselton, Western Australia 4 night cruise on the Sea Princess.

Never done it. Thought about it, but have never actually taken the plunge until now! Love, love, love it. Sure there are lots of people, but they don’t get in the way much.
We boarded the #PrincessLine #Sea_Princess.  It’s a lovely little cruise ship. 857 feet long, 77,000 tons, 1950 Passengers. We decided we don’t think it is full, but how would we know – we are first timers in this cruising thing.

It’s been extraordinary already. The mood on board is ‘buoyant’,(pardon the pun!) expectant and everyone everywhere on staff wants to help you. The crew are an eclectic bunch of nationalities. More Phillipinos than any other group, but we’ve met a man from Trinidad and Tobago who lives in Winchester, England, and a Welshman who claims his name is Robbie Williams.

We mustered this afternoon so we could be told how to put in our life jackets and how to leave the ship if it is required. All done with people moving all over the ship heading for their Muster Point.  We have a letter on the front of our life jackets so the people checking can identify where we should be or should have come from.

The ship has 14 decks which can be found by stair or lift. Stairs tend to be quicker sometimes but the lifts are efficient. The carpet is thick and springy underfoot.

The pools look lovely and inviting and they are heated so if you wanted to, you could swim. The food is fresh and delicious and the presentation is excellent.

There is a library, Internet cafe which charges like a wounded bull for access. Not going to bother until we get to Albany.

It’s a cruise ship. It has an outdoor theatre and bars, a gym, a casino, restaurants and decks for strolling on.


Day Two

Today we woke to a calm sea, blue as far as the eye could see. The stateroom is perfectly adequate and the bed is wonderful. The shower is terrific, great pressure and hot. The cabin is so quiet, sometimes you can hear people in the corridor but generally nothing. Very peaceful.


We had breakfast around 7:30 this morning at a window table facing west. The food is good and plentiful and the walking needed to get places helps with the calorie burning required. We have both had heavy colds so sleeping was necessary today.  I read for a while and later we had dinner in the Rigoletto. This is our pre-booked table with other people.  We had a great group on our table and have enjoyed lovely meals and conversations.

After dinner we went to the Princess Theatre to see the #Scared_Weird_Little_Guys perform.  They were great, professional, well practised, clever, funny, irreverent and comfortable. The harmonies were tight and beautiful. Good show.  Just 30 mins.​ 


Day Three

We started early today after an reasonably early night. Slept pretty well, in spite of the continuing cold. Disembarked and found our hire car. We drove directly to the #National_Anzac_Centre. 

I was able to take some photos before anyone arrived. We were they around 8:30 about half an hour before the venue opened.


After that we drove through Yorke Street, Albany on our way to Denmark. Once there, we parked and found a cool cafe called #Chilli_Lime_Salt. Had a pot of tea and I had a most wonderful, Date Slice. Beautiful. After our refreshments we meandered in and found the Denmark_Co-op. There I happened upon some #Sloggers. Own some purple ones already but bought some with chickens on them. So cool!

We returned to the National Anzac Centre and had a proper look around. Very moving, very detailed, very informative. Beautiful sculpture of a man using his upturned hat to give his horse a drink of water.

We skipped our arranged table, for an early night in our stateroom.  The sea was getting a little more active. It’s an interesting feeling when you are sleeping. It was rougher last night than it has been the whole trip. But not in an upsetting or unsettling way. The rocking of the boat while you are lying in your warm bed is almost comforting. I slept through it all, and having heard In the lift from a well travelled woman, with much cruise experience, said it was rougher than any she had experienced before.  Well, if that’s the worst, cruising looks like a fairly good idea.

The parts I like the most are the fact you can run your own timetable. The only thing you need to do at a specific time is dinner but that is also option really. There is entertainment provided all day and night. Take it or leave it. Also our stateroom has a balcony and just being able to, open the door and feel the fresh air and stand outside and look out is wonderful. Today we saw a whale in the distance. It is one of the most relaxing holidays I have ever experienced.

If I was doing a cruise to places I had never been, I may do more ‘shore time’. Having the option to stay on board is lovely.

Have had a great time.  

Breakfast at Tropico – North Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Poached Eggs with bacon and hash browns.  The presentation was magnificent.  The attention to detail was marvellous. The Hash browns were the best I have had, and inside in the soft mashed potato, I happened upon mustard seeds’throughout the soft white deliciousness.  The sprouts on the eggs were a nice touch, and the bacon was beautifully crispy. The meal wasn’t the hottest, in fact the eggs were a little cool, but the yolks were golden and the food was scrumptious.  I really enjoyed the meal, completely.

The restaurant was not very full when we arrived at about 7:40am. It filled quickly and the sun shone through the large windows on the north side. The seating was good, right height for the tables and the noise was abated with clever wood and fabric around the large room.  It was cosy in our area without being cramped. There were different height tables which added interest and the casual nature of the venue lends itself to a relaxed atmosphere.  The staff were very good and attentive, but I did notice a pair beside us went and got their own menus.

Overall we had a terrific time and stayed almost two hours.  A beautiful morning, great food, terrific service and a nice vibe.  We will be back.

Thanks.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2016/7

Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

Well, talk about indulgent! The prices in Malaysia are about a third of the prices in Australia and as a result we could afford a ten course dinner  on New Year’s Eve. What a great time we had. We managed to spread it out from 7:30pm – 12:00 midnight without too much trouble at all. We needed to really, in spite of the delicate sizes of the courses, we were filling up slowly over the evening so needed the ‘wait’ time between courses to rest. We had a lovely trainee hotel management student looking after us and he was very willing to travel at our speed. It was a lovely evening and even the musical duo, provided for our enjoyment, wasn’t too distracting.

Our  meal was in the Tosca Restaurant in the hotel beside the pool. A lovely setting and cool enough, with the fans on and the night air wasn’t too hot so, quite acceptable.

The 10 courses.
The 10 courses.

The courses are listed so I will add the images in order so you can see what we consumed very slowly and happily. Oh, and the wine was magnificent too.

Hokkaido scallops carpaccio
1 Hokkaido scallops carpaccio
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2 Foie gras terrine
Porcini Arancini - its shaved truffles
3 Porcini Arancini – with shaved truffles
Crab raviolo
4 Crab raviolo
Pan roasted cod fish
5 Pan roasted cod fish
Rack of Lamb
6 Rack of Lamb
Boston Lobster Squid Ink Risotto
7 Boston Lobster Squid Ink Risotto
Wagyu beef
8 Wagyu beef
Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream
9 Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream
Valrhona Chocolate Mousse
10 Valrhona Chocolate Mousse

The view from our table over the pool.

Pool view
Pool view

We were very well looked after by Mehmet.

It may not be his name. Can’t remember

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SINGAPORE – MALAYSIA 2016/7 Last Day

Two more exciting food adventures that were shared in Kuala Lumpur were High Tea, at The Ritz Carlton, and New Year’s Eve dinner, consisting of ten courses of really lovely food.

First the Ritz Carlton.

The front doors of the Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The day was humid, as we expected, but the air conditioning was at a reasonable temperature. I found that the air con was often on much colder than I found pleasant, but I carry scarves for these times.  We were taken across an amazing foyer to the room in which we would be served.

Ritz Carlton Foyer
Ritz Carlton Foyer

Room for high tea
Room for high tea
The choices were, as expected, but the food was delicious. Quiches and pasties on the bottom, sandwiches in the second level and sweets at the top.

Beautiful to look at and equally to eat
Beautiful to look at and equally to eat
I have decided that in my old age I am increasingly pleased if I can drink my tea from Fine Bone China cups. I love them. The delicate service we had at the Ritz was beautiful too.

Tea service, in an exquisite pattern
Tea service, in an exquisite pattern
We were given an extensive menu of teas from which to choose, and the consensus on the day was, the Ritz Carlton blend (Only available at the Ritz Carlton) and the reliable and tasty Orange Pekoe. After our feast I bought a bag of each. Into the bag, I was also given, a small metal tea strainer. Very nice.  The staff were lovely, friendly, very attentive and knowledgeable. If they didn’t know the answer to a question, they found out very quickly. We were treated very respectfully and all the beautiful china and food was presented exquisitely, and we all really enjoyed it.

During the meal we had a string ensemble playing not far from us which was lovely to hear.

Musicians for tea
Musicians for tea
Overall it was a wonderful afternoon.

The Christmas decorations were still up all over the city and as we were leaving we found a gingerbread house downstairs.  The outside was real gingerbread stuck to polystyrene blocks. Some people like to go into these structures. Can you see who it is?

The gingerbread house
The gingerbread house

 

Malaysia, here we come.

Flew into Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the funniest flight we have ever had.  We seemed to have found our way into Business Class on the flight from Singapore. The pilot informed us that the flying time to KL was 45 mins.  As soon as we boarded, the steward was offering fruit juice. We settled in and the flight attendants started bringing around the food.  We had to find our trays first, but we did locate them in our arm rests. Once we had them in place a table cloth was issued, and a tray with a bag of nuts, a Lindt chocolate ball and a small bowl of about 6 short satay sticks. Then drinks were offered, I had water.

Within about 8 mins, max, they were collecting trays behind me and as I had almost finished my meal, I was eating the peanuts, I handed over my tray and they were in such a hurry they did not take my napkin, but later retrieved them. In another 15 mins or so I heard the captain say “Cabin crew, prepare the cabin for landing”.  We just laughed.  So hilarious, we had just settled in, had a meal and here we were putting our seats upright and preparing for landing. I hadn’t even put my seat back so I could make it upright.

On the drive in from the airport, we were introduced to the fluidity of the rules in some areas of Malaysian laws.  The driver of our taxi assured us the way he drove was fine. We didn’t think so. No seat belt, continuous right indicator, 140kms per hour at times and straddling lanes, using his phone.  He seemed sober, but just a little casual in his application to his duties. We did get to the hotel though!

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We arrived in the afternoon so went straight to our lovely hotel #Double_Tree by Hilton, in Kuala Lumpur.  It is in a building with 34 floors, and 3 levels below for food and shops.  Useful shops like, a supermarket, food hall, chemist, phone shop, sports store, Massage place, beauty therapies, and gift shops. If you didn’t want to leave the place you could stay very comfortably there.  There are about 5 restaurants and a huge pool, gym, sauna and steam room.  All pretty nicely laid out and clean.

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The hotel foyer, decorated for Christmas within an inch of its life.

We had access to the Executive Lounge on the 34th Floor for breakfast – included – and when we needed  somewhere to hang out. As we did today while we waited for our room to be made up. Breakfast was well done with variety for Malaysian or western tastes.

We could see the famous Petronas Towers a bit from our hotel – on each landing near the lifts. We went for a walk to it and entered the very classy Suria ILCC Shopping Centre. Full of classic labels with very ‘busy’ staff filling their days with creative persuits like face gazing.

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Stylish Security
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Bored in Laurent
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A Harrods Cafe, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur
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The Petronas Towers, about one kilometre from our hotel.                                                      An easy walk, but a little sweaty in the tropics.
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The pool. Sublime! Ive had three morning swims and the water is wonderful.

SINGAPORE – MALAYSIA 2016/7 DAY 2 PART 2

Once we reached the other side of the Ferguson Bridge we passed through a shady park, with a small bird population then some beautiful colonial buildings before reaching the National Gallery – which was wonderfully air conditioned.

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The Owl Cafe menu showing the Ambon Cake

Next we wandered around the gallery and saw some interesting works. One fun one was in the children’s education section where we found a jungle made from  twisted balloons. Very clever. Note the Bear and Tiger.

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After the jungle we walked through some new collections and some contemporary art and of course, the obligatory gift shop.  Some really fun pieces, some of them, but I have enough stuff and tea towels.

Once we had been ‘arted’ out we found the exit again and headed home, only this time we did it above ground. The trees were magnificent and the afternoon was not too humid.  We were home in about 15 minutes having walked about 4 kms for the day.