I had an early start on Monday. I caught the 6.42 bus into Perth, in order to be in good time for the coach tour that departed from Swan Bells at 8am. The traffic into Perth is notorious at that time in the morning.
There are 12 of us on the tour. A group of 4 danish people, a german mother and son (Rosemary and Tobias), 2 retired Sister of Mercy nuns on holiday (Kate and Therese), a married couple from Essex(Samantha and John), a retired man from Stratford on Avon (Peter), and me. The first day was a long one - 840km. We had plenty of stops but not a lot of sightseeing. There were huge distances with no habitation. Just the occasional roadhouse, where we were encouraged to buy something to eat or drink, in order to keep them functioning. We drove through the Nanchep National Park, where I drew a series of balga (grasstrees) and through a windfarm where apparently they generated 100megawatts an hour. We had to pull over while a wide load came through - a low loader carrying a fully assembled house on it! It was 7.6m wide and had an escort vehicle front and rear. It was huge.
The Sisters of Mercy ladies were very interesting. Therese and Kate were novices together about 50 years ago. Therese is still working, and lives in South Africa and works in a community with adults and children with Aids. Kate is retired, but now lives in Sydney in an apartment and does a lot of pastoral work in that area. Kate left school at 15, worked in railway admin for 3 years, then trained as a nurse, and decided to become a nun, commencing her noviciate when she was 23. Therese started her novitiate when she left school. They both worked in general practice as nurses, and also obstetrics. Kate said the order had become much more flexible since they entered - they do not wear a habit, or veil, but have their symbolic cross, ring and rosary ring. They are both lovely, kindly, intelligent, articulate and humorous women. They are both really enjoying their holiday.
The driver said at the beginning of the day that he expected we would arrive at the hotel in Monkey Mia at about 7.15 - and he was absolutely spot on. There are not many places where you can estimate time of arrival that accurately - certainly not in London where I come from. 840k and an accurate estimated time of arrival.