A great first day at the WACA

Last Saturday we flew to Melbourne for the next leg of this incredible journey. We had already had some phone calls with our special friends and Melbourne hosts, Kaye and Greg, and the laughter had commenced!! They came to meet us at the airport but the ‘meet up’ was a little hit and miss – they had hidden so they could jump out and surprise us and it seems we came out a different way. So that, topped with trying to connect to WiFi + our local phone had run out of charge (you know how it is) delayed things a little – but we eventually found each other … and it’s so brilliant … we haven’t stopped talking or laughing since.

Our 2nd week in Perth continued in a healthy and relaxed style – runs, walks, bike rides, swimming, bodyboarding, drives out along the coast – we felt so at home here, love the outdoor lifestyle. Enjoyed the blue skies and the stunning sunsets … also experienced some windy days being sandblasted on the beach! Walked to Hilary’s Harbour one day and after an extortionately priced round of drinks we decided to walk home along the beach – a real test to the calf muscles! Most of the beaches along this coastline have a ban on dogs but we hit upon one stretch signposted as the ‘dog and horse beach.’ Wished we’d got a photo but we were so busy dodging dogs and their owners on this short stretch of beach – never seen anything like it – everything from dachshund to German shepherd, sheep dogs, poodles the lot!! All shapes and sizes of pooches running along the beach, in and out of the water, chasing, catching and returning the various items being thrown. We felt so conspicuous being ‘dog-less!’ Thank God no horses had read the sign!!

Made it to the next Saturday park run at Neil Hawkins Park – extremely hot again but did OK. Steve missed a PB by 4 seconds – gutted!! No snakes or kangaroos this week!!

We made it up to the city one day to watch a one day cricket session, Australia v England B teams. Getting in practice for the hours sitting in the sun, ripples of clapping, the lovely sound of leather on willow. Got to see a little of the city too, beautiful parks alongside the Swan River – lots of Christmas gatherings taking place.

On Wednesday we moved down into the city for our last three nights in Perth. Took a leisurely drive along the coast road – settled into our ApartHotel – very nice too. After a swim to cool us down we decided to try and find the Barmy Army meet

up. Found the Crowne Perth and enjoyed a lovely meal, some drinks in the Sports Bar (watched a great boxing match), even had a little dabble in the casino … but didn’t quite find the Barmy Army – turns out they had met up in the nightclub. We had fun anyway and seeing the decorations made us feel a little Christmassy.

And Thursday, of course, was the big day – our first day at the Test Match. We were up early and set off by 8.30am – wanting to soak up as much of the atmosphere as we could. Excitedly queued with all the other early arrivers …. only to find out that we’d been scammed with our tickets and they could not accept them!! Horror!! Luckily they allowed us to buy some other tickets so the day was saved. We found Andy and Fran and set up camp at the back of the grass bank, nearish to the Barmy Army but not too near – a perfect spot – a wall to lean against, perfect view. And despite some early disappointments with Cook and Root, we were there to witness the Malan and Bairstow partnership, both achieving their centuries … so hopes were getting high … and the day ended with some optimism. Great experience – I learnt a lot about cricket (asking lots of intelligent questions during the day)!! We managed to resist the great beer run – watching other spectators get wobblier and wobblier during the day was enough – stuck to water to avoid getting heat stroke! We mingled in with the beefeaters, Father Christmas’, Charlie Chaplins, convicts etc. – such a spectacle when en masse. Of course, stopped off at the nearest pub after the game and got chatting to some great Aussie supporters. After a few jugs of beer we were adamant it was going to be an English victory!!!!!!!!!!

On our last day in Perth we took a river cruise to Freemantle along the Swan River. Very chilled, supping wine and with running commentary about all the beautiful residences and sailing clubs along the banks of the river. Had a final wander around beautfiul Freemantle (naturally involving some ‘bar’ time to watch the cricket!), beautiful meal in a tucked away tapas restaurant and then caught the train back to Perth, costing $1. Early night as had to be up at 5.00am to get to the airport.

As I’ve probably mentioned before – we have loved Perth, could so easily live here. One strong memory however will be the endless rules and the signage that goes with it, particularly at the beach areas (no wonder one of the national games is called Aussie rules)!! Even at the WACA we were constantly being reminded via the huge screens about the fines and imprisonment imposed for inappropriate behaviour, including pitch invasion! Boy, they love a good sign: …..

So, it’s now Tuesday morning (have been trying to finish this blog for days)!! Will save our first few days in Melbourne for the next blog – having SO much fun 🤗 and only days till Tom, Alice and Marc arrive!! ❤️❤️❤️

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