Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Where was I?*

We were wending our way through the South West Slopes and Plains and across the Riverina. We'd finally made Griffith and keen to get to Hay for the night, we pressed on. I drove. He navigated. Dusk wasn't too far away.

Within a few Kms, we had left the main road (which took you up to Goolgowi and back down the Mid-Western Highway to Hay over a section we knew was already partially closed by flood water - the map for all this is here) and alarmingly, the paddocks were already flooded.

You think things like: there'd be signs if the road was closed, surely; wandering stock and roos are the main worry; no, water over the road is the main worry; no-one wants to be out here after sundown; do the phones work; what if ...

Anyway, completely unexpected, we then hit unsealed road, in good condition it must be said, but just where you don't go in floods, now heading south toward the Murrumbidgee, the road seriously slowing us up and the sun now just one finger above the horizon. Gates and mailboxes of distant farm pass by, grapes and citrus either side, gravel and dirt and more gravel and dirt till finally a signpost, a blessed T-junction and we turn onto Murrumbidgee River Road, heading west again, the green snaking river gums marking the river just below us, and the prospect of getting somewhere before first stars looking better.

In the relief of it all, I insisted on stopping. This wonderful open place was darkening quickly, but I needed to step into it, feel it, smell it.

K pushed the flashing trouble lights on 'just in case'. I leant in and snapped them off. My unnecessary 'There's no-one here and we're not in trouble' was broken, yes,  by the sound of a distant engine. Quickly back in the car we sat watching as the head lights came up behind and drew alongside. It was a 4 door ute, the back piled with machinery. Two young boys in hats too big peered out, chins just above the bottom of the windows, one in the front, one in the back. 'Everything alright?" asked the unnervingly handsome father leaning slightly forward across the elder son in the front with him. 'Saw your lights and wanted to check you're OK'. 'Heading to Hay -- we got sidetracked a bit -- just wanted to take a quick (feeling pretty stupid now) photo --- thank you very much --- all OK thanks ---'

And he smiled, a nice smile, a handsome smile, and the boys stared on as he turned and headed back into the night.

*(Actually trying to upgrade this Mac operating system to get photos from my new phone to upload - these things take time for some of us.)

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