Monday, 30 March 2015

Will you stay or will you go?

The count down to the Easter long weekend is well and truly on. One work day down, three work days to go!

I have to confess that I tend to stay at home for long weekends. While the rest of Perth seems to go away, I love being at home for a long weekend. The extra day at home just feels like luxury. I have a few theories as to why I like being at home on long weekends, but I will save those for a different post.

Just because we are planning on being at home, this is not to say that we are not going to do things.

Good Friday, after church, we are planning a trip to Fremantle for fish'n'chips. I am not sure where yet, there are a few good options in Fremantle!

We are also planning on going to the Fremantle Markets. It is always nice to wander around Fremantle. In addition to the markets, there are always street performers in the cafĂ© strip, there is a massive park, and the atmosphere in Fremantle is always cruisey.

I have to admit though, part of the attraction for Fremantle this weekend is a Elizabeth's Bookshops carpark sale. I may have a slight book addiction.

Hoping to come home with several bags of books on Friday.
If there is one thing I love more than chocolate, it is books.

Saturday the plan is to attend Perth's last remaining drive in movies at Galaxy Drive In Theatre. I will blog about drive in tips a different time. For now I will just note that it is a fun night out and a very cheap way to see movies.

Easter Sunday we will spend with my family, church and lunch, but in the afternoon I am hoping to take the girls to do some bushwalking on the way to visiting their dad in Boddington.

So as you can see, it doesn't take much to find a lot of stuff to do even if you chose to stay home. And this is even before you think about all the jobs that you could be doing around the house.

What about you? Are you are long weekend traveller? Or do you stay at home?

Happy adventuring!

Cath xx

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Girl Guides go places

In my very first Kris' Angels blog post, I mentioned that my first experience of Asia was going to Cambodia. What I didn't mention in that post, was that the reason I was in Cambodia to representing Girl Guides Australia at an Asia Pacific Region Strategic Leadership conference. 

At some point I will write about my memories of Cambodia, but the point of today's post is that I was thinking about some of the trips I am beginning to plan for the next 5 years. 

Lela wrote about our $5 a week being our starting point, but of the very early topics of conversation also included was one day visiting the four World Centres belonging to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). (I should say here that this was a number of years ago, Lela's recollection may differ!)

One of my plans is to take a group of girls to Sangam which is the World Centre in India. 

Part of my long service leave plans is spend some time in Our Cabana, the World Centre in Mexico. 

When I make it to London, a visit to Pax Lodge is a non-negotiable. 

But the real reason I thought to do this post at this moment in time, is that one of my friends has just got back from spending three months at Our Chalet, the World Centre in Switzerland. I loved living vicariously through her blog, until I can make it there myself one day. I was discussing with my girls (and my Guides) that travelling with Guides, including the opportunity to volunteer overseas, was something they could do one day. 

Meanwhile four of my Guides (including two of my daughters) are fundraising to attend a Jamboree in Queensland, and currently my Guide unit is planning a unit camp to Our Barn, a Guide property in York, Western Australia.

I am grateful that I have had a chance to be part of an such an amazing organisation that, on top of all the other benefits it provides to girls and women, gives us a family all over the world that we can visit. 

I will let you know how all these plans shape up as I go along.

Cath xx

PS in case anyone check out the World Centre link, yes, they are building a Fifth World Centre in Africa, and yes that is on the travel plan list too. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

It's not for the faint hearted

Over the last few months I have embarked on the challenge of obtaining Miss 14 a passport. I think I have mentioned before that she went to Singapore (note to self, I must get her to do a blog post!), so we finally bit the bullet and approached her biological father to change her surname legally and sign her passport forms. Believe it or not, this was the easy bit. Potentially because I delegated that bit to my parents.

Actually correctly completing the passport form correctly and obtaining all the documents, was much, much harder than I imagined.

Me to the Post Office staff (after my third or fourth trip in there): "I have three degrees and this may literally the hardest thing I have ever done". They told me that have words to this effect on a regular basis when it comes to people getting children's passports.

So to make your life a little easier, please find below some of the ways I stuffed up. Hopefully I can help someone else from making the same mistakes.
  • My first adult passport was issued after Miss 14 was born so I needed a copy of my full birth certificate.
  • I didn't have (ok, I couldn't find) a copy of my birth certificate, so I had to order one interstate.
  • My surname has changed since Miss 14 was born, so needed my divorce certificate.
  • I somehow got pen on the passport photo.
  • The guarantor dated and wrote on the photos but forgot to sign them.
  • The date below one of the signatures was not in the correct DD/MM/YYYY format*.
*this was not me, so I took the risk and they ended up accepting it. I am very grateful to Australia Post for pointing it out though. In my case it made more sense to see if they would accept it rather then trying to get the form completed again by Miss 14's biological father.

These things all sound little, but it made the process quite long.

It is also important to note that there is a expiration date of the validity of a signature. Check with Australia Post when picking up the form if you are like me and for whatever reason you know there may be a delay in lodging it once signed.

Most importantly, don't take my word for it. Check out the official website,  read the instructions carefully, and listen to the lovely staff at Australia Post. Despite my dramas, all the staff I dealt with where helpful, professional, and really patient.

I am happy to report I also now have Miss 15's passport, and only have Miss 11's to go! See I can do this!

Cath xx

Monday, 16 March 2015

Perth v International Arts

I realised after typing the title that normal people read 'v' as 'against', while as a lawyer I read 'v' as 'and'. I thought about changing the title, but I decided to leave it. Mostly because there is a perception that Perth is boring. I disagree.

Recently Perth has been on the international arts map recently when the City of Perth hosted the Giants (puppets from the Royal de Luxe street theatre company).

From my office window. I had an amazing view.
5th floor office if you would like some perspective.
There has been lots more to the Perth Festival. I also saw dragons for Chinese New Year. I didn't get a picture because I am slow and didn't get my phone out in time, and I hadn't been intending on watching any. They just appeared! The have been food markets. And all this follows on from the Fringe Festival.

While the official festival is over, there are still lots of interesting events in Perth. Check out the Perth Festival website for more information. There is a convenient calendar which shows what is on each day.

So whichever way you read Perth v International Arts, I am pretty sure it is a win for Perth!

Have you attended any of the events? If so, let us know what you thought!

Cath xx

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Eyes, and ears, and mouth, and tummy

Road tripping to a few of the country towns within a couple of hours of Perth is something I do on a regular basis, thanks to being lucky enough to have three of my closest friends in country destinations.

Road trips, even short ones, require some thought though.

For me the essentials are ....

Water is always a good idea. For starters it really annoys me when I forget water and I then have to buy it. Caffeine is a must for me. Driving makes me sleepy, even though I am very conscious about taking regular wake-up stops.

When the girls are with me they like to listen to music. However for me road trips mean a good chance to listen to an audio book, or a radio dramatisation. My family has done this since we were tiny. When we were little audio versions of "Faulty Towers" was a family favourite.

A friend
You don't need to have someone with you, but good bush sense says let someone know when you are leaving, when you expect to arrive, and the route you are planning on taking. Some of the country roads can be pretty isolated, and there are lots of spots without mobile reception. I suggest a telling friend who can talk rather than of the stuffed toy variety (sorry Kris!).

Finally, don't forget to check that you have enough petrol to get to your planned destination, and that you monitor your fuel on the way. One of my favourite parts of road trips is getting totally un-nutritious but oh-so-yummy fried food from a roadhouse. However the food does not taste as good when you've been anxiously watching the fuel gauge and desperately hoping that you make it to an open petrol station. 

What are your best road tripping tips?

Cath xx