Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Some photos below taken a couple of weeks ago down at Hillarys Boat Harbour walking out along the breakwater. It was the first time we had been down to the sea for a while (even though it’s only a 5 minute drive away) as we opted to do voluntary self isolation whilst our daughter, Mlle, was doing her mandatory 14 day quarantine after arriving back from London. It was also the first day for a while that the weather changed and we had cool and blustery conditions. The waves regularly broke over the rocks and we ended up getting quite wet! It was invigorating and refreshing though.

Happily since then it has been quite warm and sunny so we’re making the most of it before rain and showers come in from the south west later this week.

 

 

We know we’re very fortunate to still be able to get out for daily walks and enjoy the wonderful Perth coastline. Earlier this week in Western Australia we had the first easing of restrictions and now gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted both indoors and outside (for friends and acquaintances not just family members).

Our borders will remain closed indefinitely so for now we are an island within an island plus we have regional travel bans so can’t venture too far from Perth.

Sending virtual hugs to everyone round the world!

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

Yesterday, 25th April,  was Anzac Day a day of remembrance for those Australians and New Zealanders who have served their country in wars and conflicts and other operations over the years, in particular for those who have lost their lives in doing so.

Originally the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) were a part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force set up in Egypt in 1914 and operated in the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915/16 against the Ottoman Empire, which led to a terrible loss of life on both sides.

Normally commemorated by dawn services, in this year’s time of social distancing candlelit vigils on driveways and radio broadcasts took the place of public gatherings.

However last week Mlle and I were able to go for a walk in the beautiful setting of Kings Park (see here and here for previous visits),  still open to the public as long as the social distancing rules are observed. Of course the State War Memorial could not be used for a public service this year but we could wander round, pay our respects and enjoy the magnificent orange floral displays and views across the Swan River.

Lest we forget.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

It’s been a rather unusual Easter to say the least. However we’ve had a record-breaking autumnal heatwave and the flowers are looking glorious under the blue skies and sunshine.

Easter has often been a time when we’ve travelled over to Europe to see our extended families in the Uk and have a European holiday (see here, here and here for some previous Easter posts in places such as Vienna and Bruges).

This year of course we have been staying close to home. The Easter Bunny made it to Perth – he must have been granted an exemption at the border crossing!  We made the most of the beautiful weather to enjoy our walks and the garden.

Slightly belated Easter wishes to everyone and stay safe.

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

A few snippets of life in Perth on the blog this week.

Mlle (our daughter recently back from London) is now on Day 10 of her mandatory home self isolation period of 14 days. So far so good, fingers crossed. The police did come by last week to check up on her – fortunately this is the first time we have ever received a visit from the local constabulary concerning one of our offspring! All routine in this case – they are doing spot checks to make sure returned travellers are continuing to self isolate at the addresses they supplied to border control officers.

From midnight last night (Sunday 5th April) Western Australia is (for the time being) a separate country. We now have a hard border between ourselves and the other Australian states. Exceptions are made for freight and goods suppliers, some interstate essential workers and on compassionate grounds. However paperwork is strict and anyone coming into WA  has to do mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a government supplied hotel. I believe people bringing in freight and provisions are exempt from this requirement though, in order to keep the supply chains going.

On our regular local walks, we have begun noticing teddy bears and other soft toys appearing in people’s windows along with pictures and drawings of rainbows. It’s a lovely initiative thought up to give children, in particular, something positive to focus on whilst out with their parents on walks and bike rides.

 

 

 

Monsieur is convinced he set the trend as we have had a toy panda head displayed in the window of our attic/studio room for many months. Every time I took it down it mysteriously reappeared (much to my chagrin) but now I have no excuse to complain!

 

IMG_6341

 

The cuddly toy displays are definitely a Perth-wide initiative judging from social media posts and may indeed be a worldwide one! The rainbow drawings are also a good way for parents to keep kids distracted now that they are all staying home from school.

Another positive note has been the continuation (apart from a couple of weekend showers) of the glorious autumnal weather. Gardens are looking wonderful and the birds and bees are out and out about in abundance! Spot the little willy wagtail below!

 

IMG_6336IMG_6337IMG_6339

 

 

Stay safe and healthy everyone! À bientôt!

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

 

 

What a difference a few weeks make! These photos were taken at a breakfast catch-up with a friend just over three weeks ago. We went to Hamptons a cafe/restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean at City Beach. Leisurely breakfasts, long lunches and sit down coffees by the sea are (for now) a thing of the past although cafes and eateries can offer takeaways and home deliveries.

 

 

Our younger daughter, Mlle, arrived back from London last Friday on one of the last (for now) Qantas non-stop flights to Perth. She had to make an 11th hour decision and we are so relieved to have her back here for a while – her plans to move to Berlin in September are obviously on hold. The music industry (she works in PR) has taken a massive hit with the cancellations and restrictions. She’s currently doing mandatory self isolation for 14 days mostly in the upstairs bedroom/ensuite away from the rest of the household but we do allow her to come into the garden where we can chat at a safe distance across the courtyard! She’s 3 days in with 11 to go and fingers crossed all will be well!

We are adapting to the social distancing rules, which do change with confusing regularity. I know we are luckier than many others as we can continue to go for our walks and bike rides as long as we observe the correct distance.

Hope everyone is doing well – stay safe and take care! À bientôt!

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

Well what surreal and unsettling times we find ourselves in! It’s only a couple of weeks since I posted my last blog about our trip to London in May last year (see here) and so much has happened in that short time.

It was not a great surprise when Australia’s borders were abruptly closed this week – we are attempting to “flatten the curve” by employing social distancing measures early on in the epidemic although we are moving inevitably towards stricter quarantines and lockdowns especially in the eastern states, which currently are more affected than Western Australia. For now schools here stay open but…..

It was a shock however when Qantas, the national airline, announced the cessation of all international flights from the end of the month (31st March) until at least 31st May but the flight hiatus will almost certainly be much longer than that. In practice this means the end of flights next week on the prime London to Perth non stop route. Citizens and permanent residents can come back into the country assuming they can get a flight, which in reality will soon be impossible. There is a 14 day mandatory self isolation on return for all arrivals with heavy fines for non-compliers, $50,000 here in WA. The government has urged Australians travelling or living overseas to get back Down Under as soon as they can.  Those of us with overseas families feel this indefinite travel ban acutely but it is far safer to stay at home and there are many people in worse situations at present.

However despite this being primarily a travel blog I do want to keep posting and reading other blogs – it is a connection to blogging friends round the world at a time when we are, in all likelihood, going to be self isolating in our own homes for quite a while.

It does seem a bit insensitive to carry on posting about past trips at present though I guess vicarious travel will be the order of the day for some time to come. I may well resume my Alaska series (and our trip to Seattle) at some future point. We took a cruise up from Vancouver for a week and one wonders if that section of the travel industry will ever properly recover.

For now I will focus on posting some photos taken in Perth – we are still out and about to some extent but far more limited than usual. My daily walks mean even more than normal and help to calm anxiety in worrying times. The following photos were taken on my regular walk around our suburb. I’ve featured the Trigonometric look-out point before (see here). Spot the kookaburra – he stayed on his perch for quite some time making the distinctive loud “laughing” call as he finally flew off.

 

 

 

Earlier in the year before the school term started, we visited Kings Park with our elder daughter and granddaughters – always a perennial favourite. Here are some photos from that outing. It may be a while before we go back there again (see here for a previous visit).

 

 

Winston Le Schnoodle does not yet understand the concept of social distancing but he is happy as long as he gets his walks. Monsieur took this photo of the sunrise over the Perth Hills last week.

 

78f3638e-82fd-40e7-9472-9f170290babf

 

In the meantime stay safe and sound everybody. À bientôt.

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

I meant to include our outing to Tate Britain to see the Van Gogh exhibition last year in my recent London series (see here, here and here). It ran from March to August 2019 though doesn’t really qualify for the theme “Off The Tourist Trail in London”. Sold out sessions and a strict entry policy at your scheduled time spot only meant it was rather the opposite – packed and crowded!

 

IMG_3837(1)

 

I last saw Van Gogh paintings in real life at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris when we visited back in 2004 and despite the crowds this exhibition was a real treat. As its name suggests the exhibition focused on Van Gogh’s links to Britain – he worked as a trainee art dealer in London between 1873 and 1876.  Van Gogh’s paintings and story were interspersed with the social history of the time including his interest in the novels of Charles Dickens and George Eliot plus his legacy to British painters who were later inspired by his works.

 

I have always found it fascinating how, as his depression and melancholy deteriorated, Van Gogh’s paintings grew brighter and more colourful. They are never garish though – the colours, though rich and deep, are still subtle. I had seen the film, “At Eternity’s Gate” earlier in the year, which gives a dramatic representation of the final years of Van Gogh’s life and tragically early death so the exhibition was well-timed. Despite the tortured soul of the artist the paintings are inspiring and draw you in – hopefully a small antidote to the current world concerns and depressing news (photos were allowed inside the exhibition).

 

 

Beforehand we had enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the White Swan Pub in Pimlico. The old pub situated on the corner of Vauxhall Bridge Road and Causton Street has been trading as a public house since 1759. It must have seen plenty of interesting characters and patrons through its doors over the years! A couple of minutes walk along the road from the pub takes you to the River Thames. This was the mooring spot where back in the day boats would dock in order to take unfortunate prisoners from Millbank prison to Australia!

 

 

 

The quote on the blackboard in the pub reads, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people” (Vincent Van Gogh).

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

 

Another “Off the tourist trail in London” episode this week. This time in Mlle’s local stomping ground round Stoke Newington (she lives just the other side of the main street in adjoining Clapton).

We actually lived on the edge of Clissold Park in north west Stoke Newington in the 1980s for a while and it was amazing to see how the area has evolved. Church Street was rather run down and faded back in those days – now it is a vibrant neighbourhood with trendy shops offering clothing, arts and crafts, food outlets selling groceries, provisions, fruits and vegetables plus plenty of cafes and watering holes. There are a couple of churches, both apparently called St Mary’s, which give the main thoroughfare its name.

 

 

It was a glorious warm May day perfect for wandering through the 55 acres of green open space that make up Clissold Park. You get a feel of the country area this would have been a couple of hundred years or so ago before the villages got swallowed up by the metropolis.

 

 

Near Clissold Park, we found our old flat in Queen Elizabeth’s Walk. It appeared totally unchanged in the 30 years or so since we last lived there (our flat was on the 1st floor). I think some renovations might be in order but it still retains its charm in an area increasingly taken over by some rather drab apartment blocks.

 

On our last morning in London, Mlle took us to one of her favourite breakfast and lunch spots, the Green Room in Church Street.

With a lovely outdoor courtyard at the back, it is both a cafe and a nursery. If I lived locally I would certainly be buying some of the pretty seedlings, gorgeous flowers and colourful pots that were available in the nursery section. The Green Room was the perfect spot for brunch before alas we had to head out to Heathrow Airport for the long flight back home “Down Under”.

 

Our Airbnb apartment overlooking the Regent’s Canal had been an ideal base for our few days stay in the capital. We really enjoy getting to know less well-known parts of the places we visit and it always helps to have a local guide – thanks Mlle! (see here and here for the other posts in this series).

 

IMG_3944(2)

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

Another place a bit off the tourist trail in London this week. Having been grappling with the WordPress new block editor, I finally seem to have managed to to restore the classic editorial style for the time being.

This week’s post will be more pictorial though than I’d planned but another in my series of  “Off The Tourist Trail in London”. This particular Sunday Mlle took me to Camden Passage Islington a really quaint pedestrian-only thoroughfare right up my street. There were pretty shops aplenty, antique stalls, street cafes and a pleasantly relaxed vibe.

 

 

Beforehand we had checked out nearby Colebrook Row to try and find my great grandmother’s old family home. Her parents ran a mission school here for the many poor children in the area – she was born in 1869 and the school certainly existed to the later 1890s. I know she helped her widowed father run the establishment (her mother died young in 1881). I didn’t know the exact number so we walked up and down trying to figure out where the house must have stood. Later I was doing further research and realised it had been at number 68 and was demolished some years ago. The gap where it once stood now leads into Camden Passage adjacent to an art shop on one side at 66-67 and a bar (69 Colebrook Row) on the other! I did find an article on the street’s history here and it appears certain well-known politicians have called Colebrook Row their home – hmmm enough said! St Peter’s Church Islington, which I found in online family records, has now been turned into upmarket apartments although the facade of the old church remains.

 

 

Later we wandered round more shops including spending a fair time browsing in Waterstone’s book store by Islington Green, an attractive area of communal gardens surrounded by a wrought iron fence. We finished off a lovely outing with some afternoon tea and a glass of French wine at the adjacent brasserie, Bellangers, which alas permanently closed its doors in August 2019 just 3 months after our visit (no connection I’m sure!). There are still plenty of bars and eateries in this area though!

 

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

With the summer holidays coming to a close here in Perth it seems a good time to move away from Western Australian posts for a while and finish off my travel series from last year (late April/early May).

After visiting our respective families in Yorkshire and the West Country, Moniseur and I reconvened in London, then travelled to Mainz in Germany for 6 nights in the Rhine region (see that series of posts plus more German travels here).

We headed back to London again by train to spend a long weekend with our daughter Mlle who currently lives there. The train journey was very efficient despite a couple of changes.  We left Mainz at 9.20 am and got back to London St Pancras at 4pm (of course it’s an hour behind the continent back in the UK so the real travel time was just under 8 hours). We went from Mainz to Cologne, Cologne to Brussels and then took the Eurostar train back under the “Chunnel” to London. You do need to book all of those sectors in advance though as they are extremely busy lines.

Our London base was a spacious AirBNB flat in the suburb of Haggerston. It’s one of those places that we’d heard of but never ventured to when we were living in London in the 1980s. Back then this locality in the London Borough of Hackney was not considered a particularly safe area and was rather run down. Today it has been redeveloped with many of the old council estates turned into private dwellings and new buildings constructed. My great grandmother grew up in the Haggerston/Bethnal Green area in the 1870s so it had a particular interest for me (I’ve previously blogged about her mother’s family connections in London here and here).

Our spacious flat had a little balcony with a charming view of the Regents Canal, the same one that wends its way across London passing through Little Venice (see here for a post I did on a previous trip when it was distinctly colder!). We had a regular visitor who popped by to say hello and seemed unfazed by our presence (I know grey squirrels are considered vermin but he was rather cute).

Mlle works in Shoreditch and lives in a flat in Clapton close to Stoke Newington. Since space is at a premium in her flat-share she came to stay with us for the weekend and showed us round her local stomping ground. Haggerston adjoins Shoreditch and Hoxton, now definitely more gentrified than we remembered.

Kingsland Road connects Shoreditch High Street with Dalston and Stoke Newington. It was just a few minutes walk from our flat up to the road where we could pick up one of the numerous London buses or catch the overland from Haggerston Station just off the main drag (when we weren’t walking). The whole area was bustling with people going here, there and everywhere! The elegant buildings fronting onto the high street house a huge variety of shops including many speciality stores. You can take your pick of cuisine from the numerous cafes and restaurants – there should be something to cater for every taste.

We always enjoy Mlle’s local tours, which take us to places that perhaps we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. A pleasant evening walk along the canal took us to Broadway Market in London’s E8 postcode. The iconic street joins London Fields with the Regents Canal. It has the feel of a bygone era – a range of street stalls and permanent shops selling fresh produce, artisan breads, traditional London fayre such as jellied eels (pass from me!) and pretty arts and crafts amongst other things.

At night it is obviously the place to be seen judging by the crowds with the famous Cat and Mutton pub (established 1729) so popular we had to join the throngs of patrons standing on the street with our drinks. Still the ambiance was electric and the street corner was an excellent place to people watch whilst we enjoyed our aperitifs.

The tapas restaurant (El Ganso) that we were lucky enough to get a late reservation for was worth the wait. It was an authentic experience run by very friendly Spaniards – the food was simply superb and the wines outstanding. Highly recommend if anyone is visiting that part of London!

Don’t know if it’s just me but WordPress seem to have changed their entire editing system overnight and when I came on to finish off this post it took me a while to navigate the new system. Hopefully all the links on this post work – please let me know if anyone experiences any problem viewing anything thanks!

Copyright © 2020 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: