Monday, 29 April 2019
After a flurry of tidying and packing we set off for the Australian Middle Distance championships which was in some bushland just outside of the town of Narrogin. I was happy to have a much better run than in the last bush event although I was just pipped again by 7 seconds. Jett finally got on the podium which was great. Zali wasn't all that satisfied with her run but her ankle was ok which was good.
With the event done and dusted we headed back to Perth (at the speed limit) and spent our final night eating dominoes pizza in front of the TV in our hotel room.
The Australian Sprint Champs were a half an hour drive away at Narrogin and was an exciting opportunity to get some mobile phone coverage and also stock up on supplies. The event around the local school as well as some adjacent bush was really fun - I was pipped for 1st place by 11 seconds, Zali was 3rd by just 6 seconds, Jon and Jett just missed out on third places by equally small margins.
With the morning to fill Clare and I went for a pleasant walk in the adjacent bushland and actually managed to find a spot with a little bit of telstra coverage - which was handy for checking messages and making sure the cat was still alive.
It was interesting that despite having no mobile service we still needed to use the few powerpoints we had to charge all our mostly-useless devices.
Dryandra is a little forest village comprised of 10 old woodcutters houses run at not-for-profit prices and looks like it would be a place school and other groups to visit. We had a nice little cottage with a lovely veranda looking out over a clearing that was generally full of kangaroos. We were free of the distractions of mobile service, tv or wifi - which was really nice. We spent a quiet evening reading and relaxing and trying to stay out of Jon's coughing and sneezing range.
After a relatively early night we had to reach the 8.30 ferry to Rottnest island, which of courese we only just made. We met up with Clare on the packed boat and arrived on the island at 9am where we picked up the obligatory dodgy 3-speed hire bikes and helmets complete with a world class range of bacteria.
Unfortunately Jon was getting worse and worse as the day went on but the rest of us had a great time doing the 22k ish lap of the island in absolutely perfect weather. We picked up some other Tasmanian orienteers on the way and stopped at all the beaches and lookouts. Near the far end we stopped for lunch in a quiet corner where we were immediately swarmed by quokkas - one of them even climbed right into Jett's bag which was tricky as we were under strict instructions (from every sign) not to touch them. They were very cute.
After lunch we emptied our bags of marsupials and finished our circumnavigation. We went for a swim once we were close to home - however although the beaches were beautiful they were pretty rough so we all just had quick dips and managed to avoid being washed back to Perth.
Then we relaxed on the grass near the main jetty for an hour or so before catching our ferry back to Perth. We had dinner at home with our crew plus some extra Tasmanians who were camping nearby. All up it was a completely non-restful but super fun rest day. Unfortunately Jon was pretty trashed by the end of it.
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
The final day of the Easter 3-day didn't go so well for me but I managed to hold onto 2nd overall (behind Clare). Jon is unfortunately sick, but he enjoyed his run anyway. Zali sat her race out with an injured ankle and Jett had another great run in M16, making it a really consistent 3 days in a class above his normal one.
Our club Australopers won the best club award for the 2nd year in a row, which is great but it does mean that after having lugged the trophy to WA, we have to lug it right back again.
Sunday, 21 April 2019
Days 1 and 2 of the 3-day orienteering have been fun. The first day was a sprint around a fancy private school - we all had pretty good runs.
Today we were running in a granite boulder area about 2 hours east of Perth. I really enjoyed it. Jett ran really well to get around his tough M16 course, and Jon did fine. Unfortunately Zali rolled her ankle and couldn't finish, which is a shame, as the technical area would have really suited her. She will rest it tomorrow so that she can run in the events next weekend.
We're staying in a pub in the tiny country town called Beverly. It's classic pub accommodation - situated above the bar with shared amenities and basic rooms. The town is really nice - it's got a very big artsy feel for such a small place - and amusingly it's also hosting some sort of amateur tennis tournament too - I haven't checked it out, but surely this town doesn't have more than a couple of tennis courts - it will probably take a month to get through the games!
The pub offers a pickup/dropoff service!
Tomorrow is the last day of orienteering in this area, then we head back to Perth for some rest days.
Friday, 19 April 2019
It's been a long long day. We started in Hobart at 4am, and we're here in Fremantle at 8pm. In fact we're all so exhausted we're just trying to stay awake in our cell until we can almost respectably go to bed.
I say cell because we're staying at a Youth Hostel at the Old Fremantle Gaol, and it's awesome! We're in a family room which is newer than the other rooms and has its own bathroom, but most of the other rooms are actually the old cells.
That means we also have a 20 foot high wall around the perimeter of the building, and lots of original features mixed with humorous related ones - like these clocks..showing the times of the Tower of London and Pentridge Prison respectively.
Being a youth hostel there is the usual mixture of guests, including an entire mens lacrosse team which is interesting - we're used to orienteering gear drying all over the place, here there are sticks, helmets, pads and gloves lined up outside their rooms.
The location of this place is great too - we checked out the Fremantle Markets and bought some delicious takeaway for dinner.
Unfortunately we're only here one night as tomorrow we head a few hours west to the wheatbelt, and have two nights in a country Pub. In fact this trip will feature a wide range of accommodation styles, - so that will be a fun experience. So far so good!
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Lately, one or both of the kids have been beating me at orienteering more often than not. It's been painful and expensive. I accept that both Zali and Jett can run faster than me now (not surprising), although I'd say I am probably a bit fitter than both of them (due to the fact that I actually go for training runs). So theoretically, with my fitness and 35 years more experience I'm still in with a chance on the longer courses.
Except when I make mistakes like these.. I am the pink line, Zali is the grey line (taking the shortest route), and Jett is the orange line. In the example below it took me 3mins & 30 seconds longer than Zali to get from control 4 to control 5.
and in this example (I am the wild pink line again) I took nearly 3 minutes longer than Jett to get from 8-9. Uff.
Monday, 25 March 2019
We've spent the last few weekends preparing and running two orienteering events near Swansea on the east coast of Tasmania. This meant we needed to to spend a full day on a property near Spiky Bridge taping the controls sites the weekend before the events. Then we had to return on Friday night of the following weekend so we could spend the Saturday actually putting out all the controls and preparing for both events.
It was hard work, but in the end everything went really well, we even got beautiful sunny weather for some of it. We were lucky enough to get heaps of help packing up the event afterwards (thank goodness as we were exhausted!).
We were pretty spoilt for amazing views over to Freycinet while we went about our tasks. .
Zali and Jett both helped with the smaller event, in fact Zali set the courses and they both put the controls out. This meant they could still both compete at the event on Sunday. Jett's course was probably the longest he's ever run at just over 6k with quite a few hills, and he did well. Zali also did well on hers which was also a challenging hilly course.
It was very satisfying to see lots of people enjoying courses, but nevertheless we'll be happy not so see Swansea for a number of months!
The Sunday afternoon family croquet season is just about over. It's been fun. There have been many good games and many arsy shots. Also many discussions and shot re-creations..
Over the last month or so I've spent a lot of time working on the deck. Using Rob's pressure hose I've blasted off the horrible old brown stain and given it a few coats of a much warmer coloured stain. It's so much nicer now. The ikea chairs (above) were the final touch.
Monday, 18 February 2019
Today I'm not feeling all that well. So I'm at home with cat supervision..
I've been up Cathedral Rock quite a few times in the past 10 years. Yesterday was the first time in about 18 months though, since I did the Montague Thumbs circuit and resolved to never go out without a proper map and spare phone battery! This time Clare and I jog-hiked just to the top and back.
What was noticable this time was how dead the vegetation on top of Cathedral Rock was. I guess this was from the run of hot days and little rain that we have had over summer. I wonder how long it will take to recover - if it ever will..
Above - Vegetation at the top this time..
Below - Vegetation at the top last time..
Despite that, the hike was fun. It was a beautiful morning.
Yesterday Clare, Jett and I went to pick blackberries in a public reserve just 15 minutes from home. We partook in traditional fruit pickers activities such as actual picking..
and chatting, and gazing. Then some sitting.
But despite this we got a reasonable haul. Apple and Blackberry crumble here we come!