Tag Archives: cafe

Hidden Treasures and Tiny Revelations…

7th September 2011

It’s a beautiful day out there, and it feels as if spring is truly upon us.  Little blue birds are singing their hearts out in my garden, and the sun is shining with a hint of summer on its breath.  I walk towards the café but it looks like a war zone there.   Security fencing, cages, street closures, huge trucks and heavy machinery, security guards blocking what’s left of the foot paths……they are demolishing the old police station and courtrooms on the opposite side of the street, so the ground is shaking and the dust is flying… Definitely not the energy of the café on the outside….


I walk on in through the “cages” and into the café and feel that “aaah” feeling…that gentle lift and settling of my being as the energy of the café and the smiles of those therein, reach out to welcome me.   Here it is.   Home!   The feeling never changes.   From the oven wafts the smell of a quiche and croutons baking and there’s soup simmering on the stove.   The cake cabinet is, if possible, even more extravagantly exciting than ever before.   The colours and textures defy belief!

“Heidi went wild!” says Brenda with a smile, and I can see that Heidi has not only been baking again, but like everything else in this café, she has been expressing herself in the most artistic way.

Banana and honey cake with honeycomb shards…


         Chocolate spiral torte    

Salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake

Dare I say more…?

But wait, there IS more on the second shelf!!!


Victoria sponge, and Banoffee pie (Banana – Toffee pie)

And much much more…


The poems and notes from the tables are waiting for me…

This one perfectly summed up my entrance to the tearooms this morning!!


I sprinted along at the double,

‘Cos the street was littered with rubble

But the coffee was hot,

And the smile that I got

Made the trip to your shop worth the trouble!


It may not be so simple tomorrow as the workers inform the gallery managers that the street required digging right up to the front wall, which means NO front entrance!   Where the footpath is will be a bulldozer and if they don’t dig carefully,  possibly a fountain!  The gallery managers suggest closure of the gallery and tearooms, but that just does not seem feasible. 

There are staff members who require hours and need to be paid, as Brenda says, there are meals being planned and confections already prepared for this week, and so the Café should remain open for business, with just a more adventurous path inwards for those daring enough to come find the heart of the building!


Stumbling down the street,

Climbing sand piles and rocks,

With jackhammers and diggers

Hurling aftershocks.

Avoiding trucks and blockades,

Past fences and gates

With detours to wind through

And negotiate.

Fall in through the door

Breathe a sigh of relief

You’ve conquered the outer

For what lies beneath.

Here in the tearooms

A whole new landscape

An oasis of calm

A tranquil escape

The coffee is hot

The cakes are divine

The smiles are embracing

The kindness sublime.

They say all good things

Are worth the effort or wait,

And it’s never more true

Than in this café.

In Brenda’s words, it’s the agony and the ecstasy today… making decisions for the café that are fair to all.  After much discussion,  Brenda decides to close the café to the public tomorrow but to use that time to complete other jobs here – repolish the floor, rearrange furniture, pack up wholesale items that will no longer be for sale (all those beautiful old teapots and crockery), and for her and Heidi to make a start on the Christmas cakes….. (aaargh…there’s that word…”Christmas”… it’s starting to creep into vocabulary around town, I guess it’s only a matter of weeks and the reality will appear on shop shelves and displays….and start ringing through the supermarket speakers and repelling us from shops quicker than any security guard).

The containers of all the dried fruit come out and the mass production of this season’s gift begins.

“’scuse me” says Brenda, after a while of mixing … “I’m just off to get some whiskey”   We all laugh and someone says “time her!” 

But she comes right back with several bottles of the “good drop”…

The giant containers of fruit glisten with colour and texture, as they get combined, and the bracing smell of whiskey arises as the bottles are poured into the mix.    I wonder if there will be any sixpences added to these puddings in the making.   I feel inspired to go home and plan my own traditional Christmas puddings and cakes.


I dropped in to post a letter,

But they said I had it wrong,

It no longer was a post office,

The post master – he had gone.

So I sat a while and had a think

Then a cup of tea and scone





A lovely place to stop for afternoon tea!

China cups and teapot and beautiful cakes to see!

You have created a nice teashop!

So when we’re back again with our friends

In we’ll pop!


(Colleen )



The coffee’s nice

The tea is sweet

And this is a

Great place to meet.



Indeed it is!




One cup… or two …

A pot of tea

Carefully brewed.

Wait three minutes

Then sip it slow…

Somehow life looks better

Over the rim of a teacup.

(Jacinta Matrenza, Mandurah)



That’s a wonderful truth!   How many of us have memories of visiting a parent or older friend at various times of our life, when we have sadness or pain, and being given a hot cup of tea to help ease our troubles while we talk, or just sit quietly.   I know some very special people whose first line of support is to “put the kettle on”.   Don’t you?

We talk between us about the healing power of the hot beverage.   From a hot chocolate for our children at night, to a cup of tea with our parents…. Many women are the makers of the “cuppa’.   But what of the joys we get when someone else makes that cup of tea for us ….?

Brenda recalls the joy of someone else making her afternoon tea, just as I remember that feeling when after a tiring week of caring for my family, I visit a friend who lets me sit down while she makes me a coffee.   It’s a simple but much valued gift.   And it is part of the charm of the tearooms too.   It’s the “giving” and the “caring” behind every cup that makes this place so very special.    

I think the longer I am in the café, the more I get to see and hear.   The “behind the scenes” is very enlightening…. You do gain such enormous respect for business owners in the hospitality industry.   And empathy too.   I helped Brenda one cold, dark evening when she was here alone, to pack up and carry in all the tables and chairs on the verandah… folding cloths, putting away plants, decorations, sugar bowls – the furniture was heavy and I even worked up a sweat.   And Brenda does this every night and puts the furniture out every morning… along with the decision making, the precision baking and prep work for the day’s fare.  Not to mention her care and support for her staff.   Again I think of the expression “labour of love” and know it to be true.

Now, back to my garden and little blue things….I made an interesting discovery last week.   I think I have mentioned that my blue wren family consists of Blue Boy, the male, and his “Henny” the female, and a young female from their last nesting season (last summer).    I’ve learned that even when the blue males lose their feathers and appear to be the same colouring as the females, you can tell them apart because the female wrens have orange coloured skin around their eyes, on their legs, and their beak colour is orange.  The males have black or very dark skin in these places.

Last week I was watching my wrens play in the garden when I walked outside.   The young “female” would sit on the branch when the father bird flew up and open her beak and hold that pose.   My initial thoughts were “Hey, you’re not a baby any more, what’s with the “feed me” attitude!”  

But then the little one landed on my hand and I got a surprise.  “Her” beak and legs and skin colouring had darkened like the male bird, even though “she” still had a grey plumage like her Mother.   

Now, that really got me wondering “Was ‘she’ a ‘he’??”   Then I realized that would explain the open beak display she was giving the male bird.   Like with baby foals, or young horses, who open and close their mouths as a sign of respect for an older or more superior horse in the herd, this was a sign of respect towards an older, more superior bird.   And that would make sense that the juvenile wren was showing “respect” towards the dominant male bird in the family.

The next day after making this observation, when the young bird landed on my hand, I noticed tiny flecks of brilliant blue emerging from the soft grey feathers, the beginnings of a spring plumage.   “She” was a “He” !!    It was no great discovery compared to events in the rest of the world, but for me, it was just momentous!   As  the days went by, the blue became more and more noticeable, as did the relationship woes between youngster and father.   The male wren would chase the little one away at any point where I was interacting with them, and the juvenile wren would make the “open beak” respect sign at him, or fly away and hide.    But he did not go far and still would come out when the coast was clear to land on my hand as he had done in the past.   I felt a bit sorry for him, with his spotty, scruffy, half grown coat, he looked kinda disreputable, and a bit “down on his luck” especially when the older Blue Boy chased him away.    At one point, when “Little Blue” as I called him was on my hand, “Blue boy” flew in with such a vengeance and chased him so blindly that they both flew into the side of my head.   Talk about the dangers of befriending blue wrens!!!

What was however, quite inspirational, was to watch the young Blue wren realize he had a song.   He would sit alone on a branch and throw his head back and burst forth into the most powerful song.   It really was the most amazing thing to witness and hear!   Over a few days, his song became loud and clear in my garden and I loved hearing him sing his presence and his heart into the world.  

I was really happy to think I now had TWO Blue boys in my garden that would respond to my presence and the camera, even if they did not much like each other.    I tried to seek “Little Blue” out quietly and give him so treats, so he would not be driven completely away.   The irony was not lost on me though, that even if my original Blue Boy would drive this little fellow away, there would come a time when the tables would turn, and this young male would become the king of the garden and chase his old Father bird away.    I guess that made me sad, even though it was simply “nature”.

So there they were, not caring that days might be numbered, or positions lost, or that the world was full of crisis, pain, wars, debt and chaos, they just felt their own song rise up in their hearts and let it out to the world for no other reason than that they were alive, and they could sing.   And do you know?  I believe the world is a better place for each and every note they freely put out there….. with no thought or expectation of anything except the joy of expressing their place in existence.

And so it is…









Where’s Winter and a Whisper or Two…

Wednesday 1st June 2011

How Can This Be Winter!

 Well a pinch and a punch – first day of Winter is upon us, and in our part of the state, it appeared as if we would get a winter’s day, but no, it was still quite sunny, warm and lovely.   Can’t complain, but it is quite unseasonal!   So I will leave thoughts of open fires and hot soup for another day.

Last week, while taking photos of the delicious food created by Brenda and her lovely crew here, I thought that sharing images of mouthwatering dishes on the table before me each Wednesday, might give you the wrong impression ….. why, you might be lead to believe that my day revolved around what I was eating or drinking rather than anything I might write or share!    (Having said that, if you have ever visited the Tearooms, you would understand anyone’s delight and obsession with the food served there – it truly is all made with love)   So I thought a few white lies might be in order (ahem) and that I would share images of dishes that were ordered for a “friend”.

So I sat there pondering the person on the other side of the table to me…. whoever they might be.   And in that space I realized there was potential for the presence of someone quite special, someone who had been in the Café and gallery all along.  This someone had made their presence felt in the past in no uncertain terms, and was most likely sitting there quietly watching me hog the favoured spot on the green couch while consuming cake and coffee and pretending to be writing poetry.

Passageway Past the Cells

If you have not guessed where this is leading, the old historic courthouse and gaol cells have a lingering energy, like most old places from the past, steeped in conflict, unwritten stories and untold secrets.  When alone in the main gallery, you get a sense of hierarchies of humanity, of lives in the balance of the judicial system through time, of self righteousness, and men wielding the law and their own judgments over others.  When you stand in the gaol cells and let the silence bear down on you, there is strong feeling of despair at a loss of power and freedom denied,  a cry at the unfairness of life; you sense if anything that there was also a great deal of injustice felt in this part of the building, with many layers of anger, outrage and rebellion etched into these walls along with that sadness and hopelessness. reflections

 There are echoes.  There are whispers, if you allow yourself to listen.   Is it your imagination?  Or just the leaves dancing on the roof?  

If you walk alone through the old rooms, and down the narrow passageway to the gaol cells, you will feel a chill, quite possibly even get goosebumps – a sure sign that you may not be alone at all.  

Cell Number 4

What is it about cell number four?  

 Who knocked the teapot off the Café shelf in broad daylight when nobody was anywhere near?  

 Or hurled a small item across the room with no reasonable explanation?  

Staff at the complex call her “Mary” for want of a better name, and so I will refer to this special guest as Mary unless told otherwise.  

So this morning before leaving home, I spoke with a friend about my intention of having morning tea with an invisible friend and perhaps trying to involve this unseen person in my weekly written musings.    I had a chuckle at how such an “out there” idea would be received, and said something like “I am sure Mary will show her presence to me at some point – there may even be a bit of a crash or bang in the building today, just so I know.”    Then I rushed to get ready and head to town, and caught up in more tangible matters, forgot that conversation.  

Until….. I got to ArtGeo,  walked in the door, and spied Heidi, one of the lovely volunteers at the Courthouse Gallery.    As I said “good morning” to her, there was a crash from across the room and several pieces of the jewellery in a glass display case fell down.   Earrings and necklaces came crashing off their holders and display stands.  

For.    No.    Apparent.    Reason. 

…Nobody there that we could see. … 

 Or No Body…

“That has never happened before” said Heidi as we got over the shock and walked over to see.    Several necklaces and earrings were laying on the shelf as if suddenly dropped there.  I realized then, that “someone” was simply letting me know that my arrival and greeting had been noted.  Maybe she was looking for something nice to wear for her morning tea with me!  And so it was, that I smiled and looked forward to what the day would hold.

The Main Courtroom Gallery

There were a bundle of little pages from the table notepads….displaying nothing short of an amusing array of thoughts from the characters who have passed through the Tearooms this week!

Some comments read like fragments of a Visitor’s Book….

“Very nice”   (Kath and Hazel)

“Service also lovely”



“Lovely end to our Busselton holiday.

Love it here!”

(Cec and Sheila)


And from some who savoured the Ploughman’s lunch, the scrumptious passionfruit sponge and Brenda’s delightful stories….


“How refreshing and delightful this is!

Love to all…”

(Heather and George, Melbourne)


Some gems were inspired by what lay on the table before them….

“Chocolate cake,

Chocolate cake,

Smooth and round and luscious,

Sitting gleaming,

Waiting for the boys

To come home.

Boys are home!

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake,

Crumbs all forlorn,

Scattered on the table.

Boys gone out to play!”

(Anne Thomas, May 2011)

(Hah!  I bet most parents can relate to that one!   *smiles*)

While some were inspired by the history beneath their feet …

“In 1892 my ancestor walked these boards as the local Police Sergeant”
Val McDonald  97522552


But what captured my attention was that there were some real funloving visitors in the Tearooms at some point, as they left behind quite a bit of mischievous evidence in the notepads…. 

Here are a few corkers….

“We are a couple of Brits

Who’ve got big tits,

Who’s having fun

In the sun…

Having a cup of tea

So we can have a wee….” (tee hee?)

“Lots of love”

Di from Windsor, England


“There once was a group of friends

Who came to Busselton for the weekend.

They had a lot to drink

And then kicked up quite a stink”


See?  Everyone’s a poet! 

And though I can’t help but wonder “What would Mary think of that!” –   I’ll have what they’re having!




Silence speaks, in volumes that ripple their thick base notes across the surface of my heart.

In silence swims the essence of memory, a slippery persistent fish, nibbling nerve endings of raw, familiar sorrows.

Silence rains with the gentle patter of teardrops against the windows of my dreams.

Oh, silence, too heavy to bear, so cruel a curse, the weapon of choice for a fearful soul. Silence, the sound of fear and woundedness, it cringes in the shadows, and torments itself.

Silence trembles waiting in the doorway, afraid to take that next small step, a limbic dance between then and now.

Silence, the humbling voice of truth, echoes across self deception, and is heard in the cold glassy voice of mirrors past and present, mirrors I have known and loved. self consciously reflecting what it hurts too much to hear.

Silence is the vacuum, a pulsing void of the unknown waiting to become known. Listen… as silence speaks, It is the language of the dead whispering secrets across the veil, icy words to remind and haunt, elusive answers dangling between unspoken lines.

Silence speaks in sameness, in difference,

Silence stands alone without keys to break its own code, an insurmountable wall, a deafening presence. Yet Silence at its worst cannot survive without the spirit of another to shine light into its darkness and kiss meaning onto its cold lips.

But silence has its sunset and sunrise.
It is the falling sun, and the awakening moon.
Silence holds a music of its own,
It dances in the light
And rings with hope,
Like birdsong in the dark hours
Before dawn.

Silence is a gift,
A healing touch…
A solace to the mind;
The herald of the now.

An affirmation of distance,
Invisible hands that push away,
Yet in a change of heart
A beckoning of souls,
The drawing near
Of intimacy,
A holy communion.

Silence bristles with passion,
The connecting force
That vibrates the chords
Between two hearts,
A living entity,
Rich with meaning.

Silence with soul, breathes
The song of the living,
The turn of the seasons,
The waiting breath for a baby’s cry,
The resting place for a body
Whose being walks another plane.

Silence holds power.
The Master musician knows.
In that instant between two notes
The silence dwells,
Defines their diversity and
Enhances the beauty of their union.

Silence is the tide
Between all islands,
A portent of emotion,
The song of the heavens,
And the swell of the heart,
Silence, whose connecting force
Tunes the keys of all instruments,
Lives, and its unsung harmony endures
Beyond life’s symphony, through the final curtain fall.

 (wendy slee)