Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fair dinkum Sheila!

And so I had reached my final week down in the Southern Hemisphere before the long haul back to Old Blighty and I wanted to make the most of it!

I woke up to brilliant sunshine yet again and spent the day with Caroline and Pierre over at their friend's house swimming in the pool and 'throwing a few shrimp on the barbie!' Well actually it was a couple of chicken schnitzels and a few sausages (snaggers as they are called in Oz), but I was certainly starting to feel like a true Aussie - especially with me curly hair and freckles! (Which strangely enough classes me as 'a bluey' in Australian slang?!)

The following day entailed a trip to 'Aqwa' - which I had originally thought was probably a typo or down to Australians not being able to spell 'Aqua' but it turns out is actually an acronym for 'Aquarium of Western Australia'! And it certainly was 'bonzer' (see I'm getting into the lingo?!) I saw the most amazing marine life swimming all around me as Pierre and I walked through the glass tunnel under the water. There were Sting Rays the size of coffee tables and turtles just as big, a few sharks, an assortment of exotic fish and a human! Yes that's right, a human! Well actually he was a diver sat at the bottom handing out buckets of food to the marine life as it swam by.

Then after a leisurely lunch down at Hillary's boat harbour, the afternoon was spent resting on the beach! (This holiday stuff is very tiring!) 

That evening, as we sat watching 'The Block' (an Australian TV reality show whereby pairs of contestants compete against each other to renovate and redecorate identical properties on a tight budget and hardly any sleep) I noticed that my eye was starting to feel itchy. I rubbed it a few times and thought nothing of it.

When I went up to bed a few hours later, performing my ablutions (as TC would say), I took a look at my itchy eye in the mirror and noticed a grain of sand just sitting on the edge of my iris. I splashed it with water but it didn't move, I splashed it again and still nothing. I touched it with the tip of my finger and still it didn't move. But it was itching like hell!

And so I composed myself and calmly walked back down stairs and over to Caroline where I nervously interrupted her game of Candy Crush and told her not to panic, that I was fine, but that I thought I had a grain of sand imbedded in my eyeball! (As I've said before, I am not a drama queen, nor am I prone to histrionics!)

The thing is, I knew that like me, Caroline was slightly adverse to anything to do with eyeballs, so I wasn't actually sure who, out of the two of us, was going to pass out first. Pierre was asleep upstairs so there was no one else to help.

Caroline remained strong and without batting an eyelid (excuse the pun) walked over to the fridge and took out some eye drops, then walked back over to where I was now lying on the sofa. She thought I'd laid back to enable her to pipette the drops into my eye. I didn't want to let her know that I was actually pretty close to throwing up and passing out; that the room had already started spinning as my brain threw up a few images of me having to be carted off to hospital, where I would have to have my eyeball popped out of its socket and washed out in a bucket of water ... Caroline dripped the tiny droplets of solution into my eye. I blinked, then blinked again, but the bloody grain of sand did not move! I started to feel sick at the thought of the tiny alien body burrowing its way deeper into my eyeball. However, I was not prepared to spend the rest of my trip in hospital! I had kangaroos to see, koalas to meet and more beaches to lie on!! And all of that completely over road my fear of losing an eye (I had to get my priorities right?) I decided the best thing to do was to go to bed and hopefully by the time I woke up in the morning, the grain of sand would have dislodged itself.

I took a couple of travel sickness tablets to ensure that I would sleep, tucked myself into bed and drifted off. Only to be woken a few hours later by the most almighty thunderstorm I have ever heard! 

It was horrendous! The thunder sounded like the roof of the house was being ripped off then thrown back on again and there was sheet as well as fork lightening going on. I was so petrified, my heart was racing and I moved all electrical gadgets quickly away from the bed, just in case they got hit by a lightening bolt and electrocuted me! (You see this is why it's good for me to travel with TC; she is the one that tends to panic and think up the most ludicrous of scenarios, which in turn keeps me sane and balanced as I try to keep her calm. But without her around my mind goes into complete and utter overdrive).

Luckily the storm soon passed over, I was neither electrocuted, nor was I attacked by the monsters under my bed (see what I mean) and above all, when I looked at my eye in the mirror, the grain of sand had disappeared and I was finally able to sink into a deep and restful sleep.

I woke up the following morning overcome with excitement! I was about to fulfil one of my childhood dreams - to see a real live kangaroo!

Pierre dropped Caroline and me off at Whiteman Park, where we hurried into The Caversham Wildlife Park and I treated the two of us to a plastic poncho each as lo and behold it had started raining!

But despite the weather, I was determined, I was going to see a Kangaroo no matter what and even though Caroline was concerned that her hair was going to go frizzy (yeah right, Caroline you have no idea, before I cut my hair short, it would frizz so much that I couldn't even get through doorways!), she grinned and bore it as we made our way along the path, looking at all the weird and wonderful different animals, some of which I'd never even heard of before, (And I had done an A Level in zoology! Ok I may have failed an A Level in zoology!), until finally, we came across the Kangaroos!

They were amazing! I loved them. I could have just stayed there for hours! There were loads of them, either lying around drying out in the sun that had just appeared, or just resting. Most of the females had little Joeys (actually some were rather large Joeys) hanging out of their pouches, but what I loved most of all was the fact that they would just hop on over and feed out of my hand! I felt quite emotional ...

I finally managed to tear myself away and we went to check on that other well known marsupial - the Koala bear, (a bit of a misnomer as they aren't actually bears?!) Now the Koala doesn't really do anything all day except spend half of it eating eucalyptus leaves, which leaves them completely stoned so they spend the other half of the day sleeping, anywhere! 

And so after a brilliant morning at The Wildlife Park, Pierre picked us up in the car and we drove off to the vineyards, where the three of us partook in a little bit of wine tasting. I think I made all the correct noises and gestures, as I basically know nothing about wine. I generally just drink what ever is placed in front of me and even then it doesn't take much before I start getting tipsy! (One sniff of the cork is all that does it!) and my little venture into wine tasting was no exception - though I think Caroline may have even less tolerance than me!

However, the alcohol in my system was soon absorbed by the cheese tasting that followed and even more importantly by the chocolate tasting that came next!

All in all it was a 'beaut of a day' and one that I will never forget and with only two more days left in Australia I was already feeling sad about having to leave!

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