Bringing you up to speed: part one

So much happened during my blogging break, I’ll need at least two posts to cover it.

I’ve been looking back through my photos from the past 10 days and giving myself little starts of surprise.

For example, I’d forgotten that the youngest and I had COVID tests the week before last. The youngest just had a cold, but everyone wants negative results these days, so I rocked up to our local clinic for my third test and the youngest’s first. I counselled her on the way there that it was a little uncomfortable, but over in a flash. They did my test first and I retched my way through it again, then the health worker had to tell me to stop clenching my nostrils so she could shove giant cotton bud up into my brain. I hadn’t realised nostrils could clench tightly enough to impede passage.

When it was the youngest’s turn, she didn’t even flinch. As we walked out she rolled her eyes at my performance and insisted that I’d started gagging before the cotton bud even touched the back of my throat.

Then she scoffed: “Mum, that was the easiest thing I’ve EVER DONE!”

Rack off you smug, Amazonian super teen.

Eight hours later, I sent our negative test results around to all the relevant parties and felt very virtuous as I headed out of Sydney on a driving holiday with DD. It was a freestyle, last-minute affair as we were a bit lairy about planning anything after having two holidays cancelled in the last few months.

We’d initially loosely planned on leaving Sunday morning, but an unexpected 50th birthday in Newcastle popped up, so I dropped into my parent’s apartment for lunch on Saturday, then headed to the COVID-safe celebration – 20 guests, seated – for my sister’s bestie Lindy. I’ve known Lindy even longer than my younger sibling has – we lived on the same street and she was born a few months before my sis. She is a fabulous woman and I feel lucky to count her as a friend.

We had a lovely night catching up with old friends over a delicious backyard barbie dinner, French champers and lots of great conversation.

The next morning we scoffed a yummy breakfast at Mockingbird in Hamilton. I chose the best menu item – Pork Croquettes with poached eggs, chorizo, romesco, olives and watercress. Mmmmmmmmmm. DD had the Middle Eastern Mince with poached eggs, fried flat bread, pomegranate and hummus.

Then we hit the road to Hawks Nest so I could show DD where I spent every holiday and long weekend of my childhood at my grandmother’s place. Her house beside the river is long gone, sadly, but much of the town remains heart-strings familiar. When we got to Bennett’s Beach and wandered down to the sand, my eyes welled up as I remembered the times my grandmother took us for walks along the beach to Mount Yaccaba to explore the rockpools, roll down the sand hills and have picnics under the trees.

We drove to Mungo Brush next and I reminisced about the time my dad took my sister and I cycling up there along the dirt road – an unexpected 17km there and a brutally expected 17km back … I cried on the return ride … no mobile phones then to call my mother to rescue us.

The weather was sublime, the sky was vivid blue and the Myall Lakes were stunning. I took so many photos, I suspect DD thought he’d never drag me away. Finally we drove onto the punt and across to Bombah Point on our way to the only accommodation we’d pre-booked on our trip, our first night in Forster.

You can read all about our Forster adventure by clicking here.

The bit I didn’t put in the official Thirsty Travellers post is that we caught up with my aunt and uncle – by marriage – while we were in Forster. We invited them over for nibbles and drinks on the balcony of our hotel room. It was so lovely to see them and they were thrilled to meet DD. We’ve promised to return soon to have an afternoon on their boat together.

That’s the three of us in the main pic – I’m standing at a COVID-safe distance just to be ultra careful. I think it’s great that we still regard each other as family, despite it being almost six years since I separated from their nephew.

The pic above is a no-filter shot of DD and I on Wallis Lake – look at the colour of that water … and our relaxed, happy faces!

Well, there may have been a teensy bit of Photoshop wrinkle-removing between my eyebrows … and most photos on the trip may have involved sunglasses to avoid revealing all the ravages of time.

It was beyond wonderful to have almost a week away from the daily grind with DD. I felt so much weight lift from my shoulders. DD is an awesome travel companion, nothing flusters him other than little stuff like mysterious spots on his camera lens, which he gets completely fixated upon and detours to Taree for an hour in the hope of finding someone to fix the problem. But I’m learning to go with the flow … he puts up with way more obsessive behaviour from me with good grace.

We have bulk fun together on every trip we take – I’ve discovered so much joy in life since I met him.

I’ll tell you about the rest of our adventure tomorrow.

Hope all has been well with you while I’ve been away.

Song of the day: Ace of Base “Beautiful life”

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