Saturday, June 27, 2009

Apple fun park, a joyful reunion and the concept of reverse bargaining

After an aborted trip to an apple orchard and cider factory outside Donnybrook (closed on Mondays!) we found the local playground. Hailed as the largest free outdoor playground for children in Australia, we had high expectations of Donnybrook’s Apple Fun Park. We were not disappointed. While not geographically very large, every square inch of space was utilised with innovative, interesting, well-maintained play equipment. There was every manner of slide-y, twist-y, turn-y, climb-y apparatus you can imagine. Even a section dedicated to exercise using your own body weight as resistance kept all five of us entertained for ages.

We planned to meet up with John and Maria (Trucky’s dad and step-mum) in Bunbury later that day. We left Donnybrook reluctantly, but loaded up on fresh local fruit and feeling virtuous for all the exercise had, and found them waiting for us at Boyanup. It was very exciting to see them, as the kids had never met them before, and it had been over six months since Trucky and I were last over west.

They had brought their camper down from Perth, so there was much comparing of mobile homes on the roadside of the tiny town of Boyanup. Between us we took up most of the main street! That done, we headed Bunbury for the night, eventually deciding on a place by the river at Australind. The kids were excited at the prospect of getting the boat out again, so despite the cooler weather, they had a good, if somewhat exhausting, time trying to row against the current in the river.

The next morning Maria took the kids and I on a op-shop tour of Bunbury and surrounds. They are a good source of books for the trip, so we donate ones we’ve finished and buy more for the next leg. I have been teaching the children the idea of reverse bargaining, particularly in the tiny op-shops. At the little church op-shop in Australind, the kids found eight paperback novels they wished to purchase. I took them to the counter where the lovely old lady added them all up and said “Eighty cents”. I told her there was no way I could pay 80 cents for those books, and it had to be at least $2. She was a bit confused but took my money, after checking with me over and over again. It’s not a big deal on my part (after all, eight kids’ books in the shops would cost me at least $20) but I think those little charity shops deserve all the support they can. Double the asking price is a fair thing I reckon! (…off my soapbox now…)

From Bunbury we went to Herron Point. It’s probably a really lovely spot, with the campsite right on the lake, and apparently good crabbing but it was blowing a gale and pouring rain! (Is anyone else spotting a theme here?) We stayed inside and tried to stay dry, but the poor bus sprang a few leaks in the roof. The lounge copped the worst of it, particularly the computer desk. Ah well, there was bound to be a few issues along the way!!

Mandurah saw more rain, but dolphins just offshore helped improve our mood. Our bus was still leaking, and John’s camper had some engine issues with all the water (I’m surprised we didn’t get washed away, there was just so much rain everywhere). The men stayed and tinkered with the vehicles while Maria and I took the kids to the playground on the foreshore at Mandurah. They played enthusiastically between the rain showers, using some of their energy from being stifled by the weather.

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