My friend and I have enjoyed a few road trips.
During the late 90's it was to her place at Lake Barrington, where we worked alongside her dad, Barry and mum Kath in the vineyard.
Bruny Island was our next favourite. Kids and car loaded. Husbands abandoned. We almost had Bruny to ourselves (we haven't been back since it's been `discovered').
The Bruny road trips were famous - between us - at least. We would load her wagon with food and way too much wine.
The kids would be squeezed onto the back seat, between baskets of books, board games, tennis rackets, booze and well, more booze; always plenty from her vineyard.
The Bruny adventure wasn't too far from her place in Hobart, down to Kettering, but somehow we always managed to find more food ''just in case'' - roadside - it was where we discovered the fabulous Miellerie untreated honey.
We would wake, read, cook breakfast, read, walk, read, cook dinner, get drunk and go to bed when the sun was gone.
Once or twice we shared a dodgy moonlit spa, in the farm's dairy - it was bloody freezing - but sitting in steamy dairy glory, looking out to dark green paddocks, dotted with daffodils, sky full of stars, we felt like the only people on the planet.
Other road trips have taken us to Magnetic Island, Greece and when my mum died, a pre-funeral day-trip out to share one of my sacred places - Jervis Bay - all white sands, aqua sea and deserted. Again, ours to share.
Our kids are grown - 26 and 24. Our road trips continue. Last Saturday it was sodden, dark morning when we hit the road for Barry at Sheffield.
When my friend arrived in her funky 70's midi and full-length chocolate brown coat and brown suede boots, I felt shabby - having opted for old favourite blue jeans and a sloppy white jumper. But that's how we roll - albeit she's Patsy to my Edwina from Absolutely Fabulous. You get the picture.
Somewhere out behind Kimberley a black calf bolted over a fence and onto the road.
I jumped out, opened the farm gate, walked through mud, rain and cow pats, through another gate and a bunch of free-ranging chooks and woofing farm dogs. My friend took photos from the (warm and dry) driver's seat.
The farmhouse looked deserted. Three 4WD were parked near the back-screen door. I banged and roused a weary- looking woman and her daughter. I pointed down the hill to the calf.
"Ah, that's Nutella,'' the woman said. "The power's out to the fence again."
Without being told, the teenager headed down the paddock to bring the calf back while my friend did a three-point turn to get us back out onto the main road. I was glad I hadn't worn my white jeans. She said she took photos because she thought the deserted farmhouse screamed Breaking Bad.
"I wanted evidence,'' she said.
We got to Sheffield and talked so long in the back room of a cafe that the owners forgot we were there.
"Sorry, we closed half an hour ago and we didn't want to interrupt,'' the waitress said.
We finally got to Barry; his words are muddled after a few strokes, but nothing's changed in the way he greets me after nearly 30 years friendship with his daughter. He's still got those long NW legs that my friend's inherited and a smile as wide and welcoming as the Mersey.
"I love you,'' he said. I gave him snowballs and he gave me all-consuming hugs.
He asked after the children and my husband and we shared phone photos and more hugs before it got dark, and his long-legged daughter and I took a winter's road trip home.
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