Back to Perth – we had lots of “stuff” to do. The car is holding up very well to the rigours of such a trip, but a few things have rattled loose on the corrugations. It went in for a service and Stuey had to do a few "manly" jobs. Testosterone, its shocking stuff. The back bracket on the exhaust broke at 80 mile beach – Stuart borrowed a wire for a bloke in the camp next to us and that got us to Perth, 5 weeks and 6000km later.
We met Andrew Tait, a bass player with WASO and bass maker. Really nice bloke – he gave up and arvo to talk machine heads and stuff with Nicko and Stuey. Then got us tickets to go see WASO do battle with Don Juan, a Ross Edwards fiddle piece and Dvorak 6 (not his greatest piece, he still had the composer L plates on). It was a great evening and wonderful to meet Andrew having heard so much about him.
A pleasant Sunday was spent in the Art Gallery. We joined a guided tour – actually we were the guided tour, just us and our wonderful American guide Alan, who took us thro each section and explained lots of stuff behind significant pieces that we would otherwise have walked past. Its a wonderful collection.
We spent a great day on Rottnest Island, which is an hour’s ferry ride from Freo. Rotto, as is affectionately known, was named Rattenest by the intrepid but stupid Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh – he founds lots of small fury animals that he thought were rats, hence the name which means “rats nest” in Dutch. [you don’t just get great pix, videos, and wonderful prose on this blog, we are now branching into languages too!]. The little fellas are not rats, they are quokkas, very cute small marsupials. They must have huge rats in the canals in Amsterdam!
There is a lot to Rotto including aboriginal history, snorkelling, birdlife, snakes (we saw another one) cycling, beaches yada yada yada, but lets get to the point – its all about the quokkas. They are cute and abundant – it took next to no time after jumping off the ferry before we found our first quokka. It was a major effort to stop Nicky picking one up and taking home with us.
Bikes are the best way to hoon around the island. Bums and quaddies were no so happy about this on the ferry home – its hilly and windy.
And now for one of the craziest stories of the trip so far. A few weeks ago Stuart noticed a lump in his chest, hitherto not recognised. It is just below where the two rib cages meet. Fearing the worst, we managed to arrange an appointment with the Doctor, thanks to Peter and Sylvia Gregory. The good Dr had a prod then sent Stuart off for an ultrasound and x ray. The radiologist asked one question, “have you lost some weight recently”. The said lump is Stuart’s xifi-sternum, a bone that he has had all his life but in recent years has been buried under a blanket of blubber. So the good news was that its not the big C, and alls well. The not so good news was that it cost Stuart over $400 to establish this. The moral of the story is - losing weight can cost you money!!
And finally this is the last blog entry involving Nicko, who has now left for a few days with Michelle in Melbourne. Hats off to the old boy for sticking it out for 11 weeks. He was dropping into 30+ degree temperatures looking as white as a ghost fresh from a UK “summer”, then dragged thro 11,400km of NT and WA at a rate of 1000km per week. A brave man indeed. It was great having you with us Nicko – we are still arguing about who will pay for the diesel and more importantly who will be doing the washing up now that you have gone!!!!