Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I remember the worst kind of holiday you could ever have as a kid was when Dad came home and said: ‘Well, money’s a bit tight this year, we can’t go on holiday so we’re going to go on lots of drives!’ Only an adult could think putting three petulant children into the back of a Kingswood on a stinking hot afternoon and driving six hours west to see some ramshackle deserted shed in the mountains was a holiday. Often there wouldn’t even be a destination. You’d just drive until the fuel gauge showed half empty and everyone was fed up and hungry. Then you’d stop, eat sandwiches (or scotch eggs on special occasions!) make a desultory attempt to admire a dry creek bed, a rock formation or a rusting tractor and then pile back in the car for the trip home, fighting with your brother over the window seat. By then the bonhomie of the game ‘I Spy’ had long lost it’s appeal and you’d miserably tried to sleep to wile away the hours ahead. Of course ‘I Spy’ would start out nicely enough…‘I spy with my little eye…something beginning with P’…and then ten kilometres down the road it would be ‘I spy with my little eye…something that looks like a big, fat, ugly pig sitting right next to me!’ Then Dad would be swiping at the back seat with his free hand and bellowing ‘Would you kids just bloody sit still and get your knees off the back of my seat!’ That’s the domino effect of a Sunday Drive…it starts with your brother giving you a dead-leg and ends with a Kingswood up a gum tree. Worst of all, we had a father that believed every Sunday Drive should be an education… ‘see those mountains ahead?…they’re part of the Great Dividing Range the fourth longest string of mountains in the world. It stretches more than 3,500 km from the northeastern tip of Queensland, running the entire length of the eastern coastline through New South Wales and ending in Victoria’ And he was forever pointing out things you couldn’t see. ‘Hey kids! Can you see that goanna up the tree?... ‘What tree Dad?’ … ‘That tree over there…the one with the eagle’s nest’ … ‘WHERE DAD?’… ‘Oh never mind…we’ve passed it…’ Then there was the time we broke down for six hours on the inland highway in New South Wales during a drought with only dead sheep for scenery. ‘I’ve got enough fat reserves to last for days’ said Mum…‘but you kids won’t even see out the afternoon!’ Now despite all of this, I found myself doing the exact same thing yesterday. I’d been stuck in the house for days and just wanted to get out and drive except it’s a lot more fun when you’re the driver, not a back seat passenger and there’s no-one to tell you to ‘turn the bloody music down’. So I took off west on the Cunningham Highway in the mighty Mazda BT-50 with Van Halen on the stereo and no particular destination. The scenery hasn’t changed that much from when I was a kid. Australia is still a big, wide, brown, flat country of rude distances and half-hearted excuses for scenery. I didn’t quite make it to Aratula or the range itself but ended up in Coleyville at Cunningham’s Lookout…doing exactly the same thing that would have bored me shitless as a kid…staring at mountains, dried creek beds and deserted shedsappeared as I was nearing the turn off to the RAAF base at Amberley. Hot damn! This magnificent beast was flying low enough that it appeared in my windscreen! I nearly wet myself with excitement…until the bloody big bull-ant in my jeans decided to drag me back screaming into reality.…and loving every minute of it…ha! Still the best was yet to come when one of these babies


Dr Yobbo said...

The secret of the Drive: It's not the drive that's the problem, it's the passengers. Unless it's your hungover bogan mates on a road trip to Sydney for Homebake or somesuch, driving solo is always better than taking along a carload of whinging dead weight.

Dr Yobbo said...


(1) The ute looks a WEAPON


(2) The New England Hwy is such a more interesting way to get from Brisbane to Sydney than the Pacific these days. Just reminded me of that with the Cunninghams Gap photos.

yankeedog said...

It's pretty enough country, Nat. Puts one in mind of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between Bakersfield and the beginning of the Mojave Desert. Both areas are prolly similar weatherwise. Thanks for the pics!

The pickup looks mighty like my brother's Dodge Ram. Big as a tank and similar mileage.

Got yerself an eyeful of C-17 Globemaster III, did you? Quite the plane!

Speaking of the Mojave, when I drove through I passed near Edwards AFB when all of a sudden a saw a speck which rapidly grew into a B-1 bomber flying low. Awesome sight!

Good pics-good post!

Amanda said...

This reminds me of when I was a kid, except it was my mom who inflicted such things on us. She and a friend of hers wanted time to get together and gossip, so they'd shove me, my two sisters, and my mom's friend's three kids all into my mom's Colt Vista and drive for hours until we found some Amish country, then they'd turn around and drive back, just so they could gossip and we kids would be miserable. To this day, I hate Yoo-hoo (the chocolate drink) because of those godforsaken trips.

P.S. - I miss you! Come hang out with me at my new place! I could have sworn I told you about it forever ago, but I could be wrong. Contrary to popular belief, it's been known to happen before. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Pfft - Gimme my Hilux anyday... :p
What happened to the silly car ?

NowhereBob said...

After the title I thought you were popping up the coast to see me.

Domestic Daze said...

Staring at mountains, dried creek beds and deserted sheds, sounds like the in-laws place!
Just drive north turn left at Gympie and drive for another two hours and there you are!

Going the back way is more interesting, what with the dams and all. Just a suggestion for the next trip.

Steve said...

The advantage of the left-hand drive cars here in the US......being a righty, I can swing around with my stronger arm to beat the kids in the backseat. Unfortunately, my dad had the same advantage. We used a cooler between my younger brother and I, and it was the DMZ. If either of us crossed it, we were beaten.

And I hope that was not your actual view of the C-17. If so....TURN!!!

The Doctor is right...a good road trip depends on your companions. One of my best ever was a spring break drive from Arkansas to Jersey. He'd never been, and neither of us had any money to stay someplace nice. We saw some pretty country on the way.

Bondiboy66 said...

Gaah lengthy road trips - when I was young we used to go on vintage car rallies friggen miles away. Lengthy travel in old cars was mostly comfortable, but slow! Some were real adventures, like driving home to Sydney from Mudgee in a 1927 Chev Tourer, in torrential rain. The (normally rainproof) car leaked like a seive, and only having two wheel brakes made for interesting times. Or travelling in the old 1934 Chev Coupe with the dickie seat in the back. Mum and Dad were inside the cab, my sister and I were outside in the open in the dickie seat! When the weather started to turn I'd be urging my father to drive faster!

These days I hate long distace driving, although in recent years I had to do loads of it. Now I just avoid it whenever possible.

yankeedog said...

Plus when we were kids we wanted noise and clatter and frenetic activity on our getaways. Now that we're adults, we've got plenty of noise and clatter and frenetic activity. Peace and quiet is what we're looking for now.

Anneal said...

Is that a new "Nat Mobile"? Your words bring to mind a great song by the Talking Heads...Road To Nowhere..
I was lucky(?) enough to see One of those V-Shaped (billion dollar babies)invisible to radar thingies in the sky a few weeks ago in central Missouri....spooky

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

ANNEAL: No it's just a loaner.

YANKEE: Hail the P&Q and thanks for the kind words.

BONDI: OMG that Chev Coupe must have been a sight!

STEVE: The LH drive thingy...yeah I hadn't thought of Americans do have the advantage!

DD: I have family up that way and tend to avoid it like the plague!

NOWHERE: Whaddya talkin' about? Didn't you get my itinerary???

DRE: Hilux Schmilux!...the 'silly' car (ahem) is in the shop having some work done.

AMANDA: Great story love!

YOBBO: Weapon? bet! Must agree on the New England Highway and the dead weight!

Steve said...

I live about 15 miles from where they build the F22 stealth fighter and the C-130, and occasionally see them in the air (the latter more than the former). I have to say, it's a lot more impressive seeing 4 C-130's flying in formation on the way to or from Dobbins AFB or the Lockheed plant (they share a runway, actually) than one F22.

As for road trips, I'm constantly reminded of the time that I was about a year old and we were travelling in Canada to see an eclipse (work-related for my dad...about a 2-day drive from home), and I managed to open up a supposedly child-proof sippy cup and spray Tang all over the family Volvo. Good times. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Bull ant in the pants... lol
Only in Australia!

Wicked humour... nicely written !

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

SANTORINI: Why thank you!...and whilst the Bull Ant stings the GREEN Ant will take a leg off!

STEVE: Ah there's always an unexpected friend on the trip home...a blow fly...a tea towel full of sick...good times indeed!

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