Brittania Coffee Palace


This is a section of the former “Brittania Coffee Palace” (built 1897) on the corner of Francis and William streets in Northbridge.

The Brittania was constructed to cater for the temperance movement – “coffee palaces” were alternative to licensed premises providing accomodation and facilities for tea-totalling travellers and families. Located close to the city it was one of many hotels that sprang up to cater for the gold rush hopefulls that made their way to Perth. Up to 150 boarders could be accommodated… many young men who signed up for the first world war listed the Brittania as their home address.

It is currently cafe and retail on the ground floor and a backpackers on the upper floors….probably not tea-total!


Orewar Mauritius !

Orewar….Mauritian Creole for “good bye” from the French “au revoir”…. a music clip of the Sega music sounds we heard down at the beach……and in the shops…. and in the cafes…..and in the taxis…. infectious rhythms….a joy of life….(I have no idea what he’s singing about)….but everyone is having fun….enjoy….!

Preskil Beach, Mauritius


Last morning at the beach….finally figured out what the red and green flags on the sun shades are for (I thought they were just elaborate nautical decorations)…..

Apparently raising the green flag signals the bar staff that you would like service and raising the red flag means that you don’t want to be disturbed by anyone!

I only found this out on the last day when one of our kids was playing with the flags…..he raised the green flag then went off to swim in the pool…..the bar man was a little disappointed when I explained the accidental hoisting of the flag! But we did raise the green flag later on to have chips by the sea!

More coconuts! Mauritius

Another coconut palm sketch….I find coconut trees fascinating for some reason … maybe hoping to see the magical moment when one coconut lets go of the mother tree and gravity takes over sending it down with a thud. (I am careful not to sit under another coconut when sketching!)


Lots of water to time today….had a crack at stand-up paddle boarding (successful) windsurfing (less successful) and sailing a ‘laser’ dingy (mostly successful – only capsized once).


Port Louis, Mauritius

No time for sketching today….exploring Mauritius capital city – Port Louis on the North West coast (not enough time, too hot, too many things to see

Fascinating local markets just across the main road from the waterfront. Wonderful fresh fruit, veggies and spices on the ground floor, t-shirts and tourist trinkets on the second floor, local cheap clothing on the top floor (escalators may or may not be working)! Lots of vendors shouting the wonders and pricing of their wares in Creole….hot, humid, sweaty and alive! The colours and smells were intense, I loved it.



Just across from the main market are the butchery halls (if you are vegan or vegetarian give these a miss!) Two sheds, one for beef and goat, the other for poultry and poisson (fish), all parts of the creature for sale, courtesy of cleaver wielding butchers.


LG Nexus 5X smart phone

North Western coast of Mauritius

img_20170106_1741103 A drive up the East coast of Mauritius today, visited beach “Trou aux Biches” which was “picture perfect” if you only want to swim – shallow water, sandy beach (but very busy with tourists).

Then down the coast a little to “Balaclava” beach which was mostly enjoyed by only locals with nice snorkel depth coral off the beach (plus a selection of gods/goddess statues and other religious items in the shallow water – some what unexpected!). Local families gathered with tents and tarpaulins rigged by rope across the trees, pots and pans, gas stoves, plastic jerry cans of water, fresh fruit.  Music pumping from large stereos, mostly a Mauritian music called “Sega” – a mixture of reggae and African rhythms originally developed in the slaving era ….Depending on the song people joined in singing with some playing “ravanne” (type of drum shaped like a large tambourine) they had brought along…. wonderful…..all part of the atmosphere of Mauritius….we were only there in the day time…..I imagine it’s really party time later in the evening.img_20170106_1740252img_20170106_1106312

Stopped at a “rummery” on the way back….Lots of different types of sugar to taste from molasses to refined and even raw sugar cane (quite pleasantly sweet and chewy).

Hike along the Blackwood River, Mauritius


Hired a car for a few days to explore the island of Mauritius, it’s about 60 kms long North to South and 40 kms wide East to West…..Short distances to travel (compared to Australia). The Blackwood River runs down from the central mountain with lake filled volcanic crater. The lake is a holy site for the Hindu population – there’s a massive 35m high statue on the edge of the lake, very impressive, lots of shrines with incense wafting through the air. Winding little roads down weave around fields of sugar cane down to the coast.