Today we awoke in quite a determined frame of mind as we were desperate to get out and about and see more of this wonderful town town that we had only had seductive glimpses of so far and to help us, Sue had offered us a couple of the family bikes to transport us on our way. First up was a quite bite to eat, don our natty helmets, Sue then gave us a bike lock and so it was that we were ready and set to go!
I was on Sue’s mean machine, complete with a basket (possibly for Molly or Mitch!!) and Liz on Lucy’s more racy looking racing bike. Although we have come a long way on our travels, we are not the best directionally so we decided to head towards the sea first as it is quite big and because it is big we should find it quite easily. We knew it to be blue, shiny and wet so if we reached a red hot and dusty place, this should not at all be the sea – I am Spock-like in my logical approach. To boot, it was only a short stone’s throw away from Sue and Neil’s house too, so even for us it was easy enough to find – unless it turned out to be a mirage!!!
It was beautiful, the sea and sky both so blue that you almost could not see the join between the two. Liz even saw a dolphin’s fin and kept pointing until I managed to at last see it too. It was just a lone dolphin but it was just amazing to see one so close to the shore, back home it would have been a very different story, we would be marvelling at seeing our first partially submerged shopping trolley or something. Our bikes took us around the marina and there was some very big and very posh boats moored in there, so we both picked out a boat each, to sail away in our dreams perhaps lol.
Before we could continue onwards into Freo proper, we first for a spot of viewing of the Roundhouse which is the oldest building in Fremantle. As the name seems to suggest the ‘house’ is somewhat ’round’ and it used to be used as the town’s jail even though it did not look like it could hold that many prisoners, maybe people in Oz were shorter back then or just better behaved (ex-crims!)! The guide showing us round ended up telling us that a lot of the ‘facts’ on the boards dotted about the place were not even true and so we had a couple of snaps taken at the top of the place to cheer ourselves up, we do like our facts to be true, us Brits even though we do tell a lot of fibs!
After the Roundhouse we then went and had a look down the whaling tunnel but though there appeared to be many signs about the exhibits, there were no actual exhibits themselves, they had gone! So as there was not that much here we popped to Fremantle’s Shipwreck’s museum. This was quite a good and interesting find and, to our frugal pockets, even better was that you paid to get in by donation. As the name suggests, the place contained artefacts that had been brought here from the many shipwrecks which had occurred in this area. There was a lot of information and many exhibits about Dutch wrecks but the centre piece for the museum was the VOC wreck of the Batavia which had been bringing over blocks of stone as ballast, for a building which had also been reconstructed next to the boat. There was also a lot of glass and poetry and a few large cannon and anchors as well to look around it was all very interesting.
We then went into Freo town proper for a cuppa and a bite to eat and this literally cost us an arm and a leg which is why I am typing this using my left hand and why it is looking a bit wonky … lol! However, after refreshing ourselves with the costliest snack on the planet, we then, ironically enough went to Freo jail, the place had originally been built as a convict barracks before its use as a jail which it was still being used as late as 1991. We believed the jail had been used as a deterrent to overcharging coffee shop owners. Once inside we took the guided tour option which was really very interesting, even if the guide – an ex-prison guard (surprise, surprise) – could have done with a little more personality! He took us round the various cells, showing us how they had changed over the years and some of them contained artworks painted by the inmates. We also went round the chapel, the yard and finally the condemned man’s cell (though a woman had also been hanged – who protested her innocence until the end, don’t they all eh!), we also even saw the noose itself. Our guide told us about how the prison had also seen a riot and during it one of the buildings had been seriously damaged by fire. It was a great tour though and perhaps the guide’s deadpan approach actually worked in a subliminal way.
It was time for us to be starting off going back but we had time to stop off along the way for another bite and a cuppa in the park, which seemed a really chilled place, lots of people chilling and it was here we hatched our plan to thank our friends Hughes’-style! So it was that after our tea break we went off to buy the ‘big shop’ we had decided to try and give our Aussie friends a taste of what their ancestors had left behind in England – the world famous, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings! We ended up buying enough food to feed a small army and once back in their kitchen, we cooked like a little pair of demons, we were determined to show our hosts how much we appreciated their generosity of letting us stay – I am still not really sure if giving them food poisoning was the right approach but we are British and known for our cooking!!!! We cooked everything we could think of – Pigs in Blankets, a huge piece of Beef, Roast Potatoes, Mustard flavoured Mashed Potatoes, Swede and Carrots mashed together, Leeks, Green Beans, Courgettes (even though they call them Zucchini – which I thought was a car!) and to cap it off a Red Wine Gravy.
To us it was a taste of home and it was all we could do not to sing ‘God Save the Queen’ with our tear soaked hankies before the meal commenced. I must admit they were a polite bunch and all said they enjoyed it especially Mitch who said we could cook every day for him. We certainly had enjoyed doing it too, it had been such a very long time since we had eaten some good Olde English grub. Anyhow we all finished off with very full stomachs and as it was getting on, after washing up every pot and pan – I think some must have come from next door’s – it was time for bedtime. Off to bed on a nicely full stomachs to the sound of chirruping crickets outside and inside nothing stirred in fact nothing could be heard except the sound of various Stewarts trying to beat each other to the toilets to be ill …… ahhhh good times!! lol.