Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, June 30, 2007


While cleaning up after dinner today, we (Mum, James, Sis and I) were discussing the possibility of Sis and I going to see Pirates III at the cinema. Mum accidentally said "Harry Potter" instead of "Pirates" (we're watching the first HP tonight), which prompted me to suggest that it was only a matter of time until there was a spoof called "The Pirates of Azkaban".

This led to . . .

"The Return of the Fellowship of the Parrots of the Pirates of Azkaban".

After pronouncing this we all caught the rhythm of it and chorused:

"But it's too late, because they just passed by!"

(cake for anyone who can name the song we were quoting)

I love my family!

Edited to add two things:

1. I've realised that this post probably makes no sense to anyone who wasn't there. Oh well!

2. My wonderful uncle (who leads a Labor Party sub-branch, the one that had the meeting at which I met the rather nice guy from three posts ago) . . . sent me the link to the Facebook of aforementioned nice young man. "Nice young man" is not too young for me! *squee* There is hope!

Bedtime now . . .

Friday, June 29, 2007

Aww Jemmy

Jem has just come home from her desexing operation, and she's a pretty sad and sorry-for-herself kitten. She seems a bit restless, and won't just settle in her bed and go to sleep (which I think would make her feel better, but what does "mummy" know? lol) but keeps wandering around the room then stopping and licking the stitched area. Poor muffin.

And I'm in trouble, because she passed water while I was driving her home, and instead of being absorbed by the towel she was sitting on, it all ran out of her box and into the carpet of Mum's car. As if I could do anything about it! So Mum's all cranky as if I'm an irresponsible teenager. I want to point out to her that this is my first cat, whereas she's had cats most of her adult life, and that because she knows best and since it was her car, she should have thought of the problem and pre-empted it . . . but I don't think that would go down too well lol. *sigh* I've cleaned it up, anyway, and despite Mum's unwarranted cynicism, I'm pretty sure it's all gone, as is all the other dirt and grime and whatever that Mum has never had cleaned out of her car carpets!

Time Warp

I've experienced several time warp moments recently - moments in which I was revisiting places and routes I haven't been to in a long time.

On Wednesday, I decided to get my WA College of Teaching registration in no matter what, which meant visiting both the University of Western Australia and Curtin Uni to get my academic transcripts. I went by bus to both, and in between I visited the school I'll be praccing at, which is in a suburb I lived in for a while. All three locations were places I hadn't been for a while, and I hadn't taken any of the bus routes for even longer. All very strange and time-warpy.

Then, today, I went with Mum to visit the high school that Sis may be going to in a year and a half. I went to that school for two years (1993-4), and although I haven't grown more than a couple of centimetres since then, I was astonished at how out-of-scale everything appeared. The gym was about a third the size I thought it was, and the lawn where my friends and I used to sit was much smaller as well. I guess I felt smaller back then, even if I wasn't!

The tour whisked us through at such a pace that I hardly had time to reminisce, but we did go through all of the buildings, new and old, and we happened to go through or past a couple of my old classrooms. I could still remember which desk I sat at in Year 9 Science! It's shaken loose a lot of memories, which is good as I have a reunion for that school this year.

It was nice to see the school again, and especially to see what they've done since I'd been there. They have a simply outstanding set of resources for art, IT, music and drama among other things, and they're starting an academic extension programme, so I think Sis (who is extremely bright, very artistic, has perfect pitch and loves computers . . . AND her hair is blonde and curly, don't get me started . . .) will be very happy there. It's the local school, so most of her friends will be going there, but there are three other "available" public high schools in surrounding areas as well as the academic-select school in Perth . . . so we had to make a decision. Well, I say "we", I have nothing to do with the decision except having an opinion lol. When it comes down to it, it'll be up to Sis, with Mum and James' guidance.

In other news . . . implants notwithstanding, my problems at the moment are clearly hormonal. About half a dozen big lumpy pimples have popped up on my otherwise rather good skin, and I only ever get those when hormones are involved. *sigh*

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So very moody . . .

WTF is wrong with me at the moment? I can't seem to stay in a stable mood for five minutes together. I'm constantly feeling stroppy or cranky or just plain angry, and I can't figure out why. I'd say it was hormonal, except that I have a 3-year contraceptive implant so I'm not supposed to *get* hormonal, not in the usual time-of-the-month way anyway. Everything is just frustrating me and pissing me off and I can't seem to concentrate. And I burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Gaaaah!

I did a 900-word rewrite of the problematic first chapter of my novel yesterday, while sitting cheerfully at the cafe inside Borders bookshop. Yesterday it was great writing, but today I'm not sure I like any of it. And yesterday evening I had a great time at a Labor Party meeting and met a really nice guy, but today I'm just frustrated because he's probably too young and I've got no idea when I'll see him again.

I wish I knew what to do to shake myself out of this moodiness. I could go for a walk, except it's going to rain . . . 

Of course, it also isn't helping today that the apparently OCD woman next door won't stop goddamn vacuuming. The constant noise is making me want to tear my hair out.

*wanders off to contemplate flour-bombing the house nextdoor*

Monday, June 25, 2007

Jemima Update

Due to various problems with managing Jemima's life inside this house, she's made the transition to being allowed outside this week. I don't really like her being outside - it's not good for the wildlife - but there's no other way to handle things at the moment. We're on a half-acre block on a quiet street, so at least it's pretty safe for her.

She's been an absolute hoot - it's been raining on and off so it's very damp out side, and her initial explorations yesterday were punctuated with little remarks of disgust about the fact that she was getting wet.

I kept going to find her yesterday to see if she was ready to come inside, and she would first miaow to let me know where she was, then start plaintively miaowing because she didn't want me to pick her up and take her inside! She's thoroughly enamoured of the outdoors life and fascinated by everything. She only came in well after dark yesterday because it started to really pour with rain. Poor Jem came streaking up to the back door utterly drenched, and was very pathetic and cranky for about an hour until the combined forces of my towelling, her cleaning and the bedroom heater dried her off again. This morning she couldn't wait to go outside, and she ran away when I tried to bring her in again. She can use the cat flap (as long as the other cat doesn't ambush her, which she did this morning, grr) so she'll come in when she's ready, I guess.

I feel like a parent whose child has gone out alone for the first time. It's scary but rather rewarding as well lol.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Well, that didn't last long. I "played Mum" to Sis this morning by walking her to school and buying her new school trousers from the uniform shop, and as a consequence of encountering dozens of small children in the process, I'm now clucky again. Grr.

Of course, there are two other factors contributing to it: one, I'm working with a pregnant girl at the moment (who is my age, a constant reminder of what I don’t have), and two, there's a "guy of interest" at uni (who's been in 3 of my workshops all year, workshops that ended just after I realised that he was of interest. *sigh*). He’s the first real “guy of interest” since Daniel back in February so I guess the lack of cluckiness could also have been due to a lack of anyone to trigger the hormones lol.

My long prac (4 weeks from now) is with Year 1 students (aged 5-6), who are tiny enough as it is, and many will have baby / toddler siblings. I’ll warn you all now, my hormones will be rampaging over the 8 weeks of prac. I’m going to be teary and cranky and this blog is going to be flooded with sobby overloaded entries bemoaning my current childlessness. Fair warning, so be prepared!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nearly there . . .

I'm blogging from the uni computer lab this morning - Mum had to be in early. It's 8am and I've got an hour and a half to kill until my class starts at 9:30.

I've got classes from 9:30-12:30 today, and then the semester really is over and apart from work I'm really, truly almost free for two weeks. *sigh of relief*

I'm not feeling so droopy now that relief is almost in sight - even though I have assignments to work on, it's still a break and I'll still be able to get to do what I want for a while.

I'm also excited, as the preparations for one of my two high school reunions this year is ramping up. Unfortunately it's on the same night as my uncle's wedding reception, but I'll be able to leave the reception at an early-but-still-respectful time and go across to the reunion, which is only a couple of streets away. This reunion is for the high school I attended for year 8 and 9 (then had to switch schools) and I'm very excited about seeing all of those people again. Especially as many of them are people I also went to primary school with.

And I've sent a contact email to the girl who's organising the reunion at my other high school. Unfortunately she really disliked me at school, so hopefully she won't be an idiot about it after so long and do anything stupid like give me the wrong date. Lol. I'm not quite so excited about that reunion, as there's fewer people I'm really interested in catching up with, but it'll still be good. I just hope to God that they don't choose the same date as the other one!

I will say one thing: 10 years isn't as long as it used to be!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Feeling Droopy

With exams over, it feels like I ought to be settling down for a nice solid break in which I can actually relax.

Instead I have a week of classes, then a two-week break in which I have to work on two assignments, then a week of classes, then a one-week break in which the two assignments are due; and then I'm on prac again. After 10 weeks straight of prac and classes, I finally get another two week break (in which I have to work on another assignment). Then I have another two weeks of classes.

I simply don’t know what happens after that, whether I have other assignments or exams to study for, or whether I’ll finally get a break then. Either way, it’s 19 exhausting weeks until I can even hope for some true relaxation. And bear in mind that I’ll be working Thursday nights and all day Saturdays throughout that time.

I’ve just had enough. I want this year to be over and the course completed, I want to know where I’m going to be placed so I can deal with it, and I want to be out there doing instead of being examined all the time.

I know it’ll feel different once I’m on Prac – the exhilaration of the experience will carry me through. But right now I’m just exhausted and sore and soul-achy. Not to mention ravenous due to this goddamn diet which gives me the right number of calories but no satisfaction whatsoever.

I just want it all to go away.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What I Want vs What I Really Want

Apologies to everyone who has a Spice Girls song stuck in their head due to the title. And apologies to everyone who didn’t after reading the title, but does now because of Apology #1.

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last day about my need to “plan” the future out in my head, to know what I’m going to be doing from year to year and how I’m going to do it. It’s hard to talk to people about it because I’ve found that they don’t understand that they’re not real plans, and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen the way I imagine. I just need to have a plan.

The reason I’ve been thinking about it is that I’ve realised that my high-functioning autistic brother (9yo) does the same thing. He’ll start to fret about something so far in the future that it’s absurd (for example, he’s currently fretting about the fact that he doesn’t know how to get a job when he wants to start earning money). Mum or I will try to explain to him how it works, step by step, and he will repeat it back to us. Each time he hits something he doesn’t understand, we have to clarify, and after the clarification, he goes back to the beginning of the explanation and recites it with the new information, until he hits the next bit he doesn’t understand . . . then back to the beginning again.

I do exactly the same things when making these comfort-plans of the future. I’ll think my way through, work out a detail, go back to the start, think it through again, add another aspect, go back to the start . . . it’s not fretful worrying for me, but otherwise it’s the exact same process.Tends to indicate that it’s an autism spectrum thing, which explains why most people find it weird lol.

Right now I’m struggling with the fact that there’s the plan I ostensibly want, which is sensible and fits cultural norms and such; and then there’s the plan I really want, which people will find strange and old-fashioned but actually fits my character and temperament far better.

Plan A is the one I’ve discussed before – teach in the country a bit, teach in London a bit, come back, teach while having a respectably middle-sized family and using childcare so that I can keep working for a lot of the time. Then there's Plan B. It goes like this: I go to the country to teach, fall in love with both the town and someone in it, teach for a while then stop work and be a stay-at-home-writing-Mum to a largeish family (apart from some relief teaching if there’s someone I can leave the kids with), then go back to teaching in however many years once the youngest is in pre-primary.

Now, most people would be horrified at the idea of my pursuing plan B – big families (I’m only talking 6 or 7 mind, not 15!) are politically incorrect, and intelligent women aren’t supposed to want to be stay-at-home Mums. Plus it’s financially “unwise”. But I know myself, and I think I’d thrive on that lifestyle.

And I’m wavering on London, simply because of the hassle of it all. Plus there’s one major problem with the London plan – Jemima would have to go into quarantine for 6 months when I came back to Australia, and that’s a nasty thing to do to a cat. I’m not capable of putting my cat through anything like that, nor could I give her away. So the chances are I’d feel trapped in London in the end because I wouldn’t want to move back in Jemima’s lifetime. And that just doesn’t work any way you look at it.

I’ll have LOTS of holidays as a teacher, and with careful budgeting while I’m still young and child-free I’ll be able to travel Europe plenty. Do I really need to live there? Really? Deciding to go to London was a get-out plan because I was scared that I’d get trapped in country WA with no prospects of meeting anyone. And I can keep it as that – if in a couple of years I feel trapped, I go to London, and deal with the hassle. Fine. But right now I want a big country property with chickens to feed and a veggie garden to tend and a house full of kiddies. And I can’t stop wanting it just because other people think it’s not right.

Nor can I stop comfort-planning it because people find it strange!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

All done

My exams are over for the semester, and I'm feeling quite relieved and relaxed. Yay!

I also got my placement today for THE prac (the 8-week one, the one that really matters). I once again discovered the value of going in and talking to the placements officer face to face. When I filled out the form, I’d put down that I’d prefer Year 4/5, Year 6/7 or Year 1-3 in that order. However it seems that year 4/5 teachers are the scarcest for placements, and she really didn’t want to put me in another 6/7 class (since I haven’t done anything else) so she was having a lot of trouble placing me. She suggested a school that she thought might be too far away, and which was a Year 1 class so she didn’t think I’d want it. But I’m happy to teach Year 1 – I want to build a career teaching Years 4-7, but I need experience at both ends of the spectrum as I can’t be sure I’ll get a job placement in that age group to start with. And the school happens to be a short and straightforward bus and train trip from home, and is also in the same suburb as the private school my brother goes to. So it’s super convenient, and she was able to put my name down for it on the spot.

It’s an inner-suburbs school with a high immigrant population but which also intakes from a reasonably wealthy area of new riverside housing, so it should be an interesting mix. I’m glad to have it settled!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Three down, one to go

I was really fretting about today's exam (maths curriculum) - the other exams are all open book or page-of-notes exams, so this was the only wholly memory-based exam I've had to do since 2001. I really had no idea whether I'd prepared adequately or not.

However, despite all my stressing, the exam was easy, and I was finished and out the door an hour and ten minutes into the writing time (it was a 2 hour exam). I’m relieved!

The last exam is English Curriculum tomorrow morning, and it’s open book and three essays so I’m not too worried.

Next week I’ve got two intensive maths days and two intensive English days, and then I’ve got two weeks’ break – my last break of any sort (apart from Sundays) until mid-October. I’m going to enjoy those two weeks to their fullest – lots of writing, lots of rambling walks, lots of photography. Then – the long haul of Professional Internship begins.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Who's Who?

It really is fascinating reading the statistics log for this blog, and seeing why and from where people come here.

Many of you are RL friends who've been given my blog address, or friends from one of the sites (BtN, NaNoWriMo, Notebook) who've clicked on the link in my profile on one of those websites. Others are friends from one or the other, and who've googled 'Archaeochrisell' to get here. I’m also seeing a few hits from old classmates who’ve clicked on the link on the Eastern Hills SHS reunion page. Hi guys! And then there’s the folks who’ve arrived here by googling or blogsearching a set of keywords, either related to me (someone blogsearched ‘archaeology’ + ‘Christine’ + the name of my university – nice work!) or unrelated (the Prosh post got quite a few hits for that reason).

Anyway, everyone’s welcome, and if you’re a regular visitor (or just passing through) and want to let me know you’re here, I’d love it if you’d post a comment to this post to say ‘hi’. You don’t have to of course, but it’d be nice for me! 

Monday, June 11, 2007


Right now, I have a pretty clear idea of what I want from life in the coming years. I want to finish my degree, spend 1.5-2.5 years teaching in the south west of WA, then to go to London and teach there for an unspecified number of years. Then I want to come back to WA and teach in the south west again. Somewhere in all that I want to meet someone, fall in love and get married, and once I’m back in the south west I want to have kids, up to about 4 of them, who will go to the local primary then to a private high school.

That’s just a rough outline of what would be the absolute best pathway for me, as seen from right now (and as with all such things, is subject to change without notice).

But it leaves out something that I want, something that’s unlikely to the point of impossibility. That’s why it’s left out, of course, but I can’t help yearning for it. It is: to change the number of children to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 . . . no more than 10, but more than 4.

Four is a good number – you can still fit them in an ordinary house or ordinary large car, they tend from what I’ve seen to have good dynamics, and the expenses won’t blow the budget. But I can’t help, deep down, really wanting a much larger family than the sensible ‘4’.

I want to be able to afford for my children the things I see as important: the ability to say ‘yes’ to sport / music / arts lessons if they ask for them, the ability to dress them normally and send them to good schools, the ability to take them on good holidays. And barring occasional rare cases, you just can’t do that with a big family on an ordinary couple’s salaries. And on the flipside, I don’t want to wind up with a family of kids who slave away at the family business after school or who can’t enjoy ordinary extracurricular stuff because they’ve got too many siblings. That’s very wrong in my books.

So . . . it’s a secret yearning, tucked quietly away where it can’t do any harm, and never to be satisfied. But it’s there nonetheless.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Second exam this afternoon

I have Learning & Assessment Processes this afternoon, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. It's the most dull, dry, buzzword-bingo-ish, fussy and useless of the subjects. I understand why they teach us theory, but most of it isn't useful theory. Hands-on practical stuff, please!

Fortunately it's also one of my two best subjects and it's an open-book exam, so it shouldn't be too painful. But . . . you only have to write two essays, and you have an hour for each one. Ouch!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I forgot . . .

. . . the exam went well, too. Lol.

I'm finding myself in a very peaceful mood at the moment, almost serene. It's pleasant, if a little mysterious! I've been puzzling out some of the reasons, and here are some of the things I've discovered.

1: Every day I'm getting a little closer to being completely at peace with Aspergers. It's been 9 months since it finally hit me that I wasn't the only neurotypical in my family, but was actually a marginally better-adjusted Aspie. Since then I’ve gone through periods of rebellion and self-suppression (when I was determined that Aspergers wouldn’t stop me from learning to be completely normal) but finally I’m starting to realise that what I really need to do is to be ME, Aspergers and all. Yes I’m a bit quirky and weird, yes I value accuracy out of all proportion, yes there are parts of me that may never grow up. But that’s who I am, and it’s really nothing shameful. I can be myself, be happy, and function in the world all at once.

2: For the first time since I was fifteen, I’m not clucky (that’s a family word meaning “longing for a baby”). I don’t cry at adverts with kids in them! I’m also not feeling particularly lonely or lovelorn, which is unusual for me when I’m single. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way, but I think the drop in cluckiness is partly due to Jemima. Not that she takes the place of a baby, but having to account for her in everything has made me realise that there are so many things I want to do in my life, and they’re all extremely hard do with a kitten to account for – and she lets me leave her at home alone all day! I may be ready for babies in other ways, but I’ve realised that I can also enjoy my freedom while I’ve still got it. There’s a lot to life that can’t happen if you’re locked down into white-picket-fence mode.

I’ve also identified the fact that the one common thing in all the bad relationships I’ve had has been that the guys have been obsessed with the power relationship between us. ‘B’ and ‘N’ wanted me to be powerful and wonderful, and put me on a pedestal; and ‘C’ and ‘D’ wanted to be powerful and played mind games to keep me off-balance and weak (‘C’ far, far worse than ‘D’, of course). The best relationship I’ve had, that with ‘E’, had no power balance issues, but fell down due to his religious problems with his mother (Jewish mama’s boy . . .). So somehow I’m attracting guys or being attracted to guys who prefer relationships with uneven power balances. I don’t want that, so I need to look out for it in the future.

3: I’ve come to better understand depression, and I’ve realised that I have two types. The first, which I’m calling ‘situational’, is when I get swamped by unhappiness due to things that are happening now or which happened in the past. That sort is easily treatable with counselling, to work through the issues and put them behind me. The second sort, however, doesn’t have anything to do with situations, although it feeds on them. It’s the real, clinical depression, that deep-seated sad soreness that never quite goes away, and can flare up at any time. Understanding this makes it easier to deal with – I no longer beat myself up for feeling awful over nothing. I’m allowed! I can also look for signs of the real depression and deal with it before it finds a situation to feed on, which helps.

4: I’ve also been through a bit of a watershed recently, in that I’ve realised that some of my ‘fringe friends’ (ie the friends that are part of the same group I’m a part of, but aren’t my direct friends) aren’t really nice people at all, and I’ve given up all intention of seeing them. Finding out that I had unpleasant ‘friends’ has freed me up to make some nice, real friends! Funny, how one can forget that friends don’t have to be narky and argumentative and critical . . . lol. I’m really enjoying the friendships I’ve started at uni.

So overall I feel calm and pleasant and capable. It’s good!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ha. I think.

So, I'm sitting in my exam today, having just finished the first question. One of the invigilators (neutral supervisors that make sure you don't cheat, escort people to the toilets, collect papers etc) was coming along my row silently collecting peoples' attendance cards and checking their IDs.

When she got to mine, she looked at my student card, went "Christine! Good luck" and moved on. I looked at her, looked at her name badge, looked back at her, and suddenly realised that she was my Dad's ex-girlfriend, Karen.

Those of you who know a bit of my history will know who - and what - I mean when I say 'Karen'. For those who don’t: the woman was a loony. I used to call her manic-depressive, and although she might not have been, medically speaking, it was certainly the way she behaved. She was also an alcoholic manipulative bitch, and she put my family through hell in the year after Mum left. She would make Dad come and stay with her (with my brother and I in tow, I was 13 and Steven was 10/11) and then fight with him and kick us all out in the middle of the night. Or she would break into our house when we weren’t there, and we’d come home to find her smoking on our verandah or getting drunk on our living room floor.

Dad needs to be needed, and Karen needed him big time – they got involved after she rolled her car while under the influence, with her son as a passenger (her son was a schoolmate of Steven’s), and was told that she had to find someone to take her son for a few nights because she was being temporarily relieved of custody of him. Dad was the person she called, and from that point on things just got worse. Dad wasn’t able to balance up his responsibility to Steven and I with his need for Karen, and neglected us quite a bit (not to the point where we went hungry or didn’t have new clothes or anything, but he would leave us alone in the middle of the night to go visit her, even when we were sick, and he was constantly dragging us to and from her house, regardless of homework or tests or whatever). Eventually he decided that we had to go live with Mum, because he couldn’t handle having custody of us while Karen was so needy. You can imagine how that felt.

About 6 months after I went to live with Mum, Karen decided that all of her problems in the on-again-off-again relationship with Dad were Mum’s fault. Mum, by this time, was married to James and had a baby on the way, and barely had any contact with Dad at all. Go figure. Anyway, she started phoning us up late at night and early in the morning to harangue us. We tried whistling down the phone to get her to stop, and eventually took out a restraining order (which, when she breached it, the police refused to prosecute . . . *sigh*).

The last I heard from Karen was when I was about 17 and living with Dad for a while (who was by that time also remarried, to someone else). He still had occasional contact with Karen because she owed him a lot of money, and at that point she was still trying to convince me that she really did like me and had never meant any harm and didn’t know why I hated her so much. Blech. Pathetic and evil.

I lost a good 5 minutes of my exam time to simply being bewildered at the sudden manifestation of Karen, at my university, in my exam, in MY SPACE. But thankfully, she seemed almost meek, and when I saw her afterwards on the walkway she didn’t even try to talk to me. Perhaps it’s because Dad got the money back a few years ago with a court order, so she knows she’s really got no avenue into our lives any more; or perhaps she’s actually grown up and moved on.

Either way, it was a weird and surreal experience, and I sincerely hope she’s not in any more of my exams. I don’t want her to get over the surprise of seeing me and decide to talk! Apologies are meaningless at this point, and attempts at justification are both tiresome and sickening. I don’t want to talk to her, and I’m fiercely glad that she didn’t talk to me.

It’s a weird world. And a small city!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Exam tomorrow

I have the first of four exams tomorrow - Social Studies and Science curriculum, 8 short essays over three hours. It's my first exam since November 2001 and I'm fairly nervous about it. I think I'll do okay, but I'm still not happy.

Just writing notes this evening (to take into the exam) has made both my wrist and my elbow very sore, so I'm not looking forward to the exam experience one little bit. I'm going to be very sore tomorrow.

Anyway, wish me luck and I'll try to keep the updates coming over the next week-and-a-bit until exams are over.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Some Photos

This afternoon I went for a bit of a nature ramble around the half-bush village-suburb I live in (it was once a village in the bush outside Perth, now it's been somewhat suburbanised in the centre but it's still scruffy around the edges and it's still cut off from the neighbouring also-former-village-suburbs by tracts of bush).

The spot I went to is one that I visited many times as a child with my family. It's only a short distance on the map from the house where I grew up, but it's separated from that street by a steep gravel track that drops a significant distance (at a guess, 100m) down to the valley floor. The valley contains a winter creek (not running yet, we haven't had enough rain), an old granite quarry, and the remains of a tiny gravel-crushing plant (mostly just concrete and bits of old iron, and a small old reservoir and associated water channel). It’s a beautiful spot, rarely interfered with and with a sweet rustic charm to the interferences (half-rotted fence-posts etc) that are there.

Here's some photos for your enjoyment . . .

The upper paddock of someone's hobby farm, at the end of the road which becomes the track through the valley. You can't see my parents' house, but it's on the crest of the hill in the background. Behind where I was standing is the gravel track leading up to the home of my childhood.

A typical excerpt of the Perth Hills bush landscape: jarrah and marri trees, "blackboys" (aka the politically correct 'grass trees' . . . xanthorrhoea preissi anyway!) and various scrub and undergrowth plants. The track is the underlying red gravel, known technically as laterite pebbles, but coloquially as “rolly-stones” (they roll under your feet, you see). The white bits are chunks of natural quartz.

There aren't many wildflowers around at this time of year (ie the first days of winter) but you can always rely on Hibbertias for that glint of gold, no matter what season it is. The tree trunks around it are fire-blackened; bushfires are a regular occurence in the area. 

A hillside further up the creek - note (if you can see them) the massive granite boulders just emerging from the surface of the hillside. The hills are composed of granite and laterite, and they're high in iron - you can't rely on a compass up here!

I was rather pleased with this picture, artistically speaking, although the dead tree itself is a bit sad as it wasn't all that old when it died.

Here is the same tree reflected in the rainwater that has collected in the old gravel plant reservoir. My brother and I used to bring toy boats with us on walks and sail them here, wading in as far as we could in gumboots (usually when it was fuller!). We called it the "billabong", although it really isn't one. 

Here, also, is a little video (1 minute long) I took while standing next to the "billabong". There isn't much sound - just the roaring of the wind (it was windy) and the sound of small rocks being moved by my feet. But it does give you the 360° bush experience!