And the winner is …..

Kathy from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA – congratulations! Grandpa Flea did the honours, closing his eyes (I don’t know why!) and picking a tightly folded piece of paper from the knitting basket. Thank you to everyone for entering into the spirit of fun and sharing your location with us all. Kathy, if you would email me your snail mail address (stellathestar”AT”bigpond”DOT”com) , a little surprise will wing your way. I’ll put photos up here after I know you have received it.

The magic shawl is now stretching itself out to whisk us even further out to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. No prizes for guessing why they are called that! Again, when I worked in outer Sydney, there was one point in my drive when I’d come to the top of a hill and see the Blue Mountains in the distance – it never failed to make me feel better about the drive to work. It used to be a place where city people went for holidays – now it’s a place where people can live and enjoy the benefits of small community life but still commute to the city to work or for pleasure.

This is where Kate hails from. If you read Kate‘s blog you’ll see some wonderful photos of the recent falls of snow there.

When I was a child – more than 50 years ago!!, we went for a holiday to Katoomba, one of the furthermost towns in the Blue Mountains. We lived on the Central Coast then, about (now) a couple of hours drive from the Sydney CBD. We didn’t have a family car, and made the trip by steam train to Sydney, and I assume, by another steam train to Katoomba. We had a rented house, which was bitterly cold and I SO wanted it to snow. All our things were packed in a large metal trunk which accompanied us in the goods van. My mother was almost paralysed by the cold and I can’t recall us doing much walking as a family, but every morning I would get up early and wander all around, blowing clouds with my breath. I remember starting to go down the Giant’s Stairway near the Three Sisters, but getting a bit scared and turning back. I am horrified, now, to think that I was running around those cliffs and things without my parents’ knowledge. We stayed there for a week – and it didn’t snow. I was 21 before I saw the soft white stuff.

Now we are off to visit Michelle, flying high above the Blue Mountains and the Great Dividing Range, across the central west of NSW which has just had some relief from a seven year drought, across Mungo Lake National Park part of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area. We then cross into South Australia, down towards Adelaide and west across the Nullabor Plain and into Western Australia. WA is one of the most beautiful states – and it has great yarn shops! What more could you want? Michelle lives in Perth, the capital city of the State. Perth is a beautiful city, well set out, wide, spacious streets and with little free buses that tootle around the city area. Last time I visited there, we stayed in an apartment in east Perth and the lttle bus stopped opposite our door. Perth is home to King’s Park Botanic Gardens – a must see for lovers of Australian native plants. WA is known as the “wildflower State” for good reason. I will never forget smelling the intense, sweet perfume of brown boronias when we were on the south coast. We looked everywhere for them, and eventually discovered the source of the perfume hundred of metres away in the bush around a little lake. If you have ever smelt brown boronias, you’ll understand why the memory is so strong. Perth is a great place to go for a holiday – there are so many unique places you can visit as day trips, and for a longer stay, it is a great place to use as a base for longer trips. I have never been to the north of WA, but it’s ON THE LIST!

One more stop to visit Eero – tomorrow.

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