Tuesday, October 16, 2007

U-turns and Roadworks: a two week driving holiday with Aunt Caroline. Day 1

The plan was overly ambitious but we didn't know that yet.
We were planning to go down the coast on the Princes Highway; go whale watching at Eden; get into Victoria and turn inland at Lakes Entrance and drive to the Murray at Echuca; and then go through Ballarat and Bendigo to Torquay and travel the Great Ocean Road to Portland; then go north through Mildura up to Menindee Lakes for Kinchega and Mungo Aboriginal areas; and home via Balranald, Cowra and the Blue Mountains.We were to stay in caravan parks and a couple of pubs, and cook largely for ourselves. My role is to be Jeeves: driver, bag carrier, photographer and general gopher.
Two weeks.

Caroline picked me up from Summer Hill.
She gleefully explained the supplies she had prepared."For lunch we have kiwi fruit, apples, bananas and sandwiches. And for dinner we have onions." Cue laughter.
Everyone should have a signiature laugh. Caroline's is mostly unfettered delight, with more than a hint of black magic, and a developing note of madness. It is a good laugh.

Lunch at Huskisson on Jervis Bay.
The German couple on the seat near us had three-part-pants. You know the kind, with zippers allowing you to remove each segment.
At 27 degrees the husband says "Vife! Remove stage one!"She undoes the first zip to leave three-quarter pants and reports "Stage Ein complete!"
"Gutt!" he says.
At 30 degrees Stage Drei is removed.
No wonder we won the war.

Caroline likes the aircon on.
We fiddled with temperatures and vent directions in a fairly unco-ordinated way.
"Are we having our first fight?"
"No!!" I snapped.

Mollymook Beach
At about four we stopped in Ulladulla to pick up dinner.
"Is this our first fight?"
"No, this is a misunderstanding."
She seems awfully eager to have a fight.
That could explain the nunchuks she didn't think I saw in her back.

We talked cooking a lot on the drive.
Caroline was flicking through the paper.
"I'm so sick of recipies now. Look at this one: dill, cucumber and rocket soup."
"It's pretty easy to make though. It's hardly dill, cucumber and rocket science."
It's a gift. And I give of it freely.
You deserve it.
I am generous and a genius. And that lyric is from the first track "Just how good am I?!" off my latest album "Modesty."

The Travelling Aunt

Moruya Heads is our first night in a caravan park.
We had a cabin with two bedrooms, one with ensuite, and a small kitchen cum everything. Naturally Caroline got the double bed, leaving me with a crammed bunk room.
"Oh you can't complain about your bed: you've got six of them!"

Night at Moruya Heads.
Still warm sand at my feet and stars above. Stars. The sky is crowded. So many stars as to be unable to pick out any constellations other than the southern cross. Who could have known there were so many stars out there?!
The only sounds are the roll of the surf and the sticcato clicks of bats as they close on their prey. Astounding.
As I write this a flying ant is walking up and down my pen.

The wind sweeps the fallen gumnuts on the roof.
They skip along the corrugations and sound like gusting rain.

1 comment:

Pippilicious said...

The freshly washed red pandas are SO COOT!
BTW, At a waterfall outside Luang Prabangg (Laos) there are enclosures for rescued animals. One gorgeous tigeress, and a dozen or so black asiatic bears. We have a photo on the site of one bear looking lazily at us from his hammock. Go look.