That's What She Bought

As my recent spinal hijinks fade into anecdotal memory, I'm able to appreciate a few lessons from the experience. (When I'm not being a dope and recovering from the decision to sit on the floor to sort Mike's teaching debris. Sitting on the floor is not yet A Reasonable Thing.)

Like, remember the skull-gnashing headaches that used to wake me up from deep sleep? I now realize they must have something to do with my sleep posture. The headaches completely disappeared while I was on the "one pillow, lie still" routine. Now that I'm feeling better and gravitating toward a little more cloud-fluff under my head, the headaches are returning. In fact, the only reason I'm typing this at sunrise on 3.5 hours sleep is because I'm waiting for the one that woke me up to go away. HA HA BRAIN! I AM DISTRACTING MYSELF WITH MY IMAGINARY INTERNET FRIENDS. 

Where are we at with the photo challenge? (In a much better place than with my open university sample courses. I'll catch up on last week's videos any day now. Sure.)

Okay, today is Wednesday. On Sunday, I fulfilled the "Fun Stuff" topic by taking 225 craptastic fireworks photos. I'm lazily editing the pics on the iPad at lie-down times to make them .09% less craptastic, so don't expect those anytime soon. Yesterday I definitely met the topic, which I can prove later, but Monday comes first.

Monday was the-day-after-Australia-Day, a public holiday, meaning that lots of the shops around the country would be closed. Best time to drive up to Perth then, right?

NO (just in case you couldn't detect the sarcasm), but the temperatures dropped from something other than whatever it is in Celsius that makes Mike shake his head and express his gratitude over living a few degrees cooler in the south, and we decided it was better to have a wander around Perth's CBD on a cooler day, even if it meant fewer shopping opportunities. (The trip was necessary to pick up the altered pants purchased a few weeks ago. Remember?)

Our first stop was on the outskirts of Perth, at Masters, which is almost exactly like the Bunnings we have near home, but with just enough different stuff to lure us in. (If you're the sort of person who gets lured to Home Depot when you can't find what you want at Lowe's.)

The photo challenge topic for Monday was "What I Bought." "Easy!" we both exclaimed.

(Pause here. The headache has faded. Back to bed!)

(A day passes. A night passes. A day passes. It is night again.)

I did not buy a super-cute elephant watering can at Masters.

Watering Cans I Do Not Own

(I would've caved, but for the yellow handle.)

Nor did I buy a "chipotle" plant because I stand strong in the face of lunacy and lies.

This is a lie

Chipotles are smoked jalapenos. This is like selling an orange tree and calling it a marmalade bush. (And I just tweeted Masters to that effect. Aussie consumers who are slightly less informed about chilis than I am, I have your back!)

I did not buy these gates because the restaurant behind them shares nothing about the building's history on their website other than mentioning that it was a rag factory a hundred years ago. Are the gates original? When did the rag factory close? Did the factory make rags or take in rags to make other things? I have questions! Respect your past, people!

1907 gates

Honestly, companies who seem to think they're paying by the word when writing "About" pages just make my nose twitch.

(Not like Samantha, alas.)

I did not buy my way into a production credit for a psychadelic reimagining of Frank Herbert's Dune.


I did not buy an illicit hour at the Hotel Wentworth.

Hotel Wentworth

Especially after finding out that it's called the Wentworth Plaza now, and that it's actually a Comfort Inn.

Then again, would I ever find a more interesting Comfort Inn? And how is a building of this much character not at least a Quality Inn? Is it because the website says the elevator is out until mid-March? 

They too also have no historical information on their website.

This is embarrassing, Perth. I Google for the hotel, and I get nothing, which means people are now going to be landing here when they search for the Hotel Wentworth. I already know they'll get cross after they read all of my brain-wind just to find out that I don't know anything either. And then they'll leave mean comments. 

Perth, if I Google an old building in your CBD, I should find answers. Get it together! Or, hey, hire me to put it together. I have a bridging visa, a monomaniacal work ethic when it comes to research, and a surprisingly affable demeanor despite all evidence here. Just look how I spelled "rumours." See, I'm quite respectful of the local culture. (And a Fleetwood Mac fan, and an "ou" speller from way-back, but that's beside the point.) If I chastise, it's because I care.

[... rabbit hole of determined clicking ...]

Hold on, I found some information, but it comes from a biography page. A biography page! That's just not right. Poor old Hotel Wentworth, former accommodation of the US Navy during World War II, not having its own page somewhere. (And now I realize that I've actually heard that linked story before about the Aussie and US servicemen fighting.)

But I still don't know how old the building is. I did find an advertisement from 1903 for "Bunbury Beer" being sold at Gordon's Cafe and Hotel, as the link above says the Wentworth was known before the 1920s. (Look here in the upper right corner.)

No, wait, that bio linked above is misleading. Mrs. Raine didn't just rename the hotel; Gordon's was demolished and the Wentworth was built in its place in 1925. Now we know. (Mitchell & Webb voice.)

Remember that day in 1946 when an underage girl was fined one pound for obtaining a schooner at the Wentworth Hotel? How about three years earlier when those aforementioned American sailors reported the theft of 50 light bulbs and a razor? Did you know that in 1935 you could treat yourself to a seven-course Christmas dinner at the hotel for four shillings? Seven courses! Only a year later a glass panel from the hotel's door would have to replaced after being kicked in by a disorderly Timothy John Creedon (24, clerk) after he was refused a drink.

But what was the cause of the hotel yardman's death, found as he was in one of the hotel's bathrooms in 1944? "Imperial Soldier of the First War," the funeral notice says.

Did Mrs. Raine - now we know who the square/food court/parking garage is named after - even blink when she had to pay five pounds for building without a permit in 1948? Perhaps she borrowed the money from merchant and hotel resident J.S. Mackertoon, who in 1950 was found guilty of smuggling 332 diamonds into Fremantle.

And I'd be a sorry soul if I didn't want to know everything about the Old Contemptibles, who met on a Wednesday evening in December 1935 at the Wentworth Hotel. (A little more about their origins.)

I could do this all day. For shame, Choice Hotels.

I did not buy a wheelchair lift.

Why Not a Ramp?

As we wandered around the CBD, we twice (Jamie's Italian, Nespresso) encountered elaborate wheelchair-raising rigs where it seemed a ramp would be much more logical (and not in danger of messing with any historic elements or stair-based foot traffic).

I can't claim to know this with certainty, but if I were in chair, think I'd want to be able to just carry on my way up a ramp, and not have to flag down a busy staff member to set the lift up, get my chair moved, and then repack it out of other patrons' way until repeating the event at my descent. (And thank goodness Nespresso has a permanent lift, as said descent would be about 18 seconds later. That shop is no T2.)

The basic thoughtfulness of providing a lift seems to be diminished by forcing the customer to make a production out of traveling a few feet. Someone tweet Jamie Oliver for me - I've fussed at enough people today.

I didn't buy time away from all of these opinions by cavorting in the water maze, despite its obvious charms. 

Water Maze

The perimeters of the (nine?) squares go up in down in a (random?) pattern. Looked delightful.

I did not buy into my usual self-deprecation to stop myself from admiring what I think it a bit of a badass photo on my part:

Inscription by the Water Maze Thingie

Oh sure, It's hideously overprocessed by all sensible measures, and was it really too hard for me to sweep aside the one piece of trash I think I saw in the CBD that day? Still, I just really like this photo. And the quotation, of course. The water maze (I have no idea what it's really called) is surrounded by several lines. I think they're a poem? It was too hot in the direct sun to examine things properly.

(Turns out it's called a Water Labyrinth. Ooo.)

I did not buy a train ticket.

Train Station

But maybe someday I will sneak up into the city while Mike is at work and once again not buy these fortune telling cards despite their low-low sale price of $5.95

New Temptations

However, I don't know if I can be trusted on my own around so much history. At least this time I did not buy the services of a bail bondsman after Mike and I wandered into the Plaza Arcade and accidentally went higher up into the old building than public access seems to allow.

Exiting The Romp

And there we are leaving after nearly nothing happened.

I've said too much.

(Alright, we found an open and very clean if old restroom and had a pee. Not together or anything. Ew. I went in the Ladies and thought Mike went into the Gents, but the Gents was locked, so I stood sentry at the door while Mike used the women's restroom. That's it. Didn't locate the way into the old theatre at all. Not that we were looking. What with being up there accidentally.)

I don't think food counts for the challenge topic, but even so, I was actually out on the street standing away from the noise and crowd that is Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant when Mike paid the check, so I say it's not the thing I bought.

I could talk a lot (no surprise, no surprise at all) about the ways I'd like to see Jamie's Italian improve. The two-top tables are nearly on top of each other. Said tables are each and every one far too small to handle the signature planks that everyone orders, forcing people into a constant dance of shoving drinking glasses together and making a reach for the bread into a Twister move. The ceaseless din is more unpleasant than cheerfully chaotic.

Jamie's Italian: Orange and Fennel Salad

But the crowds are lined up when the doors open each day, like London's Hard Rock in 1985, and with food as delicious as the orange and fennel salad above being offered at a reasonable price, the restaurant doesn't need to create a more pleasant dining experience in order to pull in all the custom they want (and drive them out just as quickly as the conveyor belt continues to deliver a stampede of patrons).

Jamie's Italian: Polenta Chips

But these polenta chips with rosemary and Parmesan are the reason I'll be back despite my grousing.

Still, I've lost a bit of respect for Jamie Oliver as a person. Capitalism is great and business should boom, but I thought he'd be the kind of person who would promote a better dining (and digestive) experience, even if it meant ditching a few seats to spread things out. (I'm so earnest/naive/hopeless like that.) It's kind of bad when the hostess has to pick up a patron's purse placed next to them and ask them to hold until the patrons at the next table squeeze in.

Jamie's Italian: Bread Selection

But again, with crowd-pleasing bread like this, Jamie Oliver doesn't have to suffer my whimpers. (A mere $1.50 for the basket, and one dollar of that goes to charity. Okay, so I'm impressed, but I'll never go to the restaurant without a third person along to ensure a bigger table and a little more space again. The space shown next to Mike here was on the "good" side. I'd say I'm probably just too American in my personal space requirements, but Mike is just as uncomfortable with having to hear other people's lunch conversations word for word as I am.)

White Dwarf Books was closed, and we'd been to Tactics just weeks before (and they were probably also closed), and Margaret River Chocolate Company was closed (bastards-bastards-bastards!), so I did not buy my long-awaited giant freckle there.

After dropping a painful $21 on for under three hours of parking (reassuring ourselves that we won't bother with the lovely CBD anytime again soon), we stopped in at my mother-in-law's for awhile then tried to really social it up with an impromptu visit to a friend, but he and his family were in Rockingham for the day. (Seeing the fairy penguins there is on my list!)

So it was back to Bunno for us, wondering if there was anywhere between Point A and Point B that was selling chocolate on a public holiday. (Other than the petrol stations, although I'm not saying we haven't been down that road before. A woman has needs.)

I don't buy that Dome Cafe is an abomination, an Aussie version of Starbucks in its ubiquity and mass-mindedness - except also offering a full menu - and so we sought out our chocky fix there.

Mike, Unapologetic To Be At Dome

Look at that body language. While I was unapologetic to be at Dome, Mike was just as unapologetic in ordering a berry drink despite our search for cacao infusions. (My pick is the Choc-a-block Espreski, made without coffee, and the closest thing to a Starbucks Frappucino I've found so far.)

(But then later Mike unfolded his defiant arms and was filled with The Sad because Dome's berry drink tastes like diluted sno-cone syrup.)

I did not buy a boat, although it's beginning to slink onto my list of "Things We May Someday Enjoy Should We Ever Be A Two-Income Family Again."

Sort of Waterskiing

(I'm not actively looking for work until my spouse visa is sorted, and I'm not saying buying a boat even makes the Top 100 Unnecessary But Possibly Fun Expenses Should One Become Distinctively More Flush, but I wouldn't mind tooling around, looking for dolphins, handing people a Drink of the Day as they step aboard then motoring well away from the shore and forcing my guests to compete in trivia games for prizes. And I would make everyone call Mike "Tennille.")

(And, yeah, even a landlubber like me knows the joke.)

I did not buy an undersized crab from these guys pulling up nets on the pier next to Dome.

Guys Crabbing

So what did I buy?

Way back in the beginning, at Masters, I bought...


A serrano!

The serrano has long been my favourite pepper, and I was taking it a bit personally that it is just about the only pepper that Mike doesn't grow until Mike showed me his forum posts where he had been trying for over a year to locate one. Suddenly, now, they're all over Masters and Bunnings.

So I finally have a chilli plant of my own, although I let my in-house chili expert pot it up. (In return, I water all the flowery things, rearrange the exploding mint, and manicure the herbs.) Mike even generously offered Serrano a prime spot on the balcony.

And now the night has flipped into the next day, and I just realized I didn't take today's/yesterday's photo yet, so I'll trot off to do that before anyone finds out. (Shh. If it's before bedtime, it still counts!)

31 January 2014 |