The morning of our return flight from Exmouth to Perth, I got a text message followed by a call on my mobile (cell phone).  The departure was going to be delayed by four hours.  We had planned to arrive at Perth airport at 3:30 in the afternoon, allowing us enough time to pick up our rental car and drive to Margaret River before dark.

When we drove past the airport on our way into Exmouth to gas up, I saw the plane on the tarmac.  There had been no explanation for the delay, but I would not be surprised if it had something to do with a certain offshore oil rig.  I phoned the owner of the B&B in Margaret River and the car rental company about the delay, but when we finally arrived in Perth, the Thrifty agent had disappeared.  It took a good half hour to round her up.  It was nearly dark when we started driving toward Margaret River, and we  finally pulled into Rosewood Guest House about 11 PM.

Our host had been diligent, however, and the keys were waiting.   A breakfast menu had been left out and we could even select what we wished to have in the morning.  This was my kind of place.  If you get a breakfast “down under,” it tends to be British– fried eggs and bacon or sausage, baked tomatoes or beans and toast, spaghetti with tomato sauce.  We had stayed in only one B&B that offered more than this, and several that offered less.  One had a shiny cappuccino machine sitting on the kitchen counter, but we were treated to instant coffee from a jar with powdered milk.

The siren call of Margaret River are the vineyards.  The wine business has exploded in recent years, bringing the total up to an impressive 125 wineries.   We were less than assiduous in our tourist duties, dropping in on exactly one, Voyager Estate.  The grounds were gorgeous, based on a South African approach to landscaping and architecture.   The weather and topography are not dissimilar, and Margaret River does very well with white wines and Cabernet blends, exporting much of the output world-wide.

The other main attractions are large limestone caves, fabulous surfing, fine breweries and high quality arts and crafts.  Academic demands required my wife to spend more time at the internet cafe than I would have liked, but we did squeeze in a bike ride to the beach, a visit to a gift shop with beautiful, hand-made furniture, a tour of the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, and a long walk among the towering trees near the town of Pemberton.

We managed to rendezvous for lunch and dinner with Graham Reeks and his lovely wife, Ella.  Graham is a fellow expat scribbler I met in Melbourne who is on a long driveabout.  His blog is called ofnofixedabode, and he has just written a wonderful post about the western woods. Check it out with the link I have to his site.

Thanks to our hosts at the B&B, we began each day with a fine breakfast and plenty of good coffee.  For me, all’s well that begins with a good breakfast.   Buttermilk waffles or blueberry blintzes are perfect, but something other than English fare is just fine by me.  Thanksgiving in Australia, reason to celebrate.

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