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This bead angel was made by one of my daughters from a bead kit bought one Christmas in Perth, Western Australia.  Friends who had recently emigrated from the UK gave us three wonderful weeks of stupendous scenery. 

We flew up the coast over million acre farms of appropriated land and watched dolphins playing at Monkey Mia and sailed out on a catamaran to find manatees.  We drove out for a couple of days deep into the red sandy outback in our Land Cruiser, throwing up paprika clouds behind us, and tested its pulling power on dunes to reach the mile-after-mile of white sand on deserted beaches.  We watched the sun set at the Pinnacles as our friend ran naked between the stones, and we canoed in the lagoons down at Margaret River. 

I arranged for us to spend a day with an Aboriginee Education Officer, one of only three in Western Australia charged with educating everyone from the police to school children, and he pleaded with us to tell people outside Australia about the plights of the Aboriginees.  We went to an exhibition in Perth which told us about the attempts to breed the Aboriginee out of mixed race children.  Three generations it took.  

In true Anglo Saxon style, we went to the Pantomime, since it was Christmas, though nothing like a Christmas we had ever known.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it was, featuring “Real Dwarfs”.  As the dwarfs came on stage children in the audience shouted “there’s a dwarf” and in the interval they formed long queues to “kiss the dwarf”.  It is an unreconstructed place, Perth. 

My husband would happily have settled there for life, in this heavenly mecca for recreation.  He would, however, have found himself alone since in Perth I would not even have been allowed to sit at dinner with men but would have been consigned to the women’s end of the table to drink wine whilst they drank beer.  Men there have nothing to say to women.  Instead they talk about how much grunt their vehicles have got, or “dob” on each other for breaking the many petty rules and regulations, or they water their lawns or wash their cars.  Not all of the men, of course, but more than a few.

While we were all staying at Margaret River our friend’s mother died suddenly back in our home town.  It was a poignant time, too, of sharing loss and counting the blessings of our friendship.  We miss them.  They have a wonderful life there.