The main reason to stay in a suburb close to the city was that I could check out, but leave the car in their back yard. And walk. A morning constitutional along the Brisbane River would be a fine thing to do, I thought.
It was only a few blocks down to the water – with a Woollies supermarket and a bakery conveniently located on the way. Some vitals for brekkie purchased, then consumed on a seat overlooking the river and Story Bridge, and I had some fuel to keep going. Brisbane city has a wonderful promenade right along the river bank, and I knew that there were cafes along there. Problem was I couldn’t make up my mind which one to stop at, and then ended up beyond the options and into the Botanic Gardens. I should have kept going over the bridge to Southbank, but I was starting to get a bit desperate for my breakfast coffee, and the Queen Street mall (and airconditioning) was the stronger attraction. That morning sun was packing a punch – and I’d walked about 4km already. On no coffee, that was quite an achievement, especially given it was already mid-morning. It’s not like I got up early after the night before!
I could have made the most of city shopping then, but one cappcuccino didn’t do anything for my tired, hot feet. I wandered aimlessly around the Myer Centre, and Myer itself, for a bit, then decided on an early lunch, another coffee, and to get the heck out of Brisbane before everyone started heading down to the Gold Coast for the weekend.
Just before I left the Myer Centre I spotted some clay casserole pots in a homewares shop. Years ago I’d given one as a wedding gift, and always wanted one for myself. (And now I had a family of five; a big one would be good so I didn’t have to divide family casseroles over two pots anymore.) Add a bit of weight lifting/carrying for my last 1.3km back to the car. (Just weighed it – 4.6kg – 10 lbs – lugged by me along the city streets!)
That’s the route of where I walked (starting from top of shot there) – a total of about 6.7km (about 4 miles). Not a bad effort, I thought. (I also just plotted approximately where I walked round and round the night before, and it was at least 3km – getting on for 2 miles!)
Back to my Brisbane morning. Bush Babe would be so disappointed with me – I didn’t pull my camera out for anything – except to get a snap of the mangrove walk which is a part of the botanic gardens
What I don’t like about Brisbane is the motorway – I’ve decided. I’d strapped the Commodore to my bum (a colourful, colloquial expression I’ve borrowed from my father), and I was outta there. I breathed a sigh of relief once I was over the border. Not for any parochial reasons, but simply because, with the Gold Coast behind me, the bloody traffic has thinned out.
This was where I started really appreciating the upside of driving by myself. I finally got my mp3 usb transmitter thingy working with the car radio, and with music playing loud, I realised I could sing out loud to my hearts content – with noone to tell me to shut up. I can’t tell you how much this, suddenly, affected me emotionally. I don’t listen to a lot of music usually – I don’t really know why. I do know that I like to hum or sing along, even though I don’t have much of singing voice. Most of the time I don’t realise I’m doing it – till I’m told to stop by some member of my ever-loving family. (I know that I’ve never really wanted an iPod – maybe because deep down I know that I can’t sing along with the music I’d be listening to.)
Anyway – there I was, belting it out, tunelessly no doubt, but actually thoroughly enjoying the driving. I made a stop at a place called Billinudgel, at the Humble Pie Co. They had a cafe in an outdoor setting, and I also bought 3 frozen family pies to take home. (Always the mum looking for family meal opportunities – it just never ends.)
Back in the car, and back to my sing-a-long, I had one eye on the petrol gauge, wondering if I’d make it to Woodburn – a town south of Ballina that, I’d realised, had the cheapest petrol on my route.
I knew there was a secondary road by-pass of Ballina (which is currently a bit of a nightmare with roadworks all around as they build a proper by-pass of the town). But I thought I’d leave it to Karen to lead me (Seeing both she – the sat-nav- and Google Directions automatically choose this route). Ahem. Karen. I knew she’d have to make her point somewhere along the way. Turn off here, she says. And the road is a dead end – so I discover after I’ve driven a few kilometres. Perhaps if my husband is insistent on her worth within the family, he will have to pay the $80 or so it costs to upgrade her (I told him she was high maintenance.) But I will always have this niggly doubt about her motives. She had totally missed the correct turnoff, so I’m not really sure what she was trying to do with me.
I switched her off then, and resisted the urge to throw her out the window. A full tank of petrol at Woodburn, and with music on LOUD, another two hours on the road didn’t seem like a drag at all. I had let the family know I’d be home, and that they could keep me some zucchini slice if I didn’t get there in time. Well, that’s what I told Ms 16 on the phone. However, what she heard, given I was interrupting her viewing of a TV show at the time, who knows. (You know that “yeah, yeah, whatever” vibe you get from them?)
So my bubble burst when, barely 20km from home, a text message comes in. I glance at it – should they make zucchini slice? FFS!!! I kept driving, muttering about lack of initiative, and the fact that I still had to give dinner instructions while I was on the road.
Then Himself rings. I hit the answer button and shout that I will have to pull over and call him back. I find a spot to pull over, then get his answering service when I try calling him back. Another text comes in from the eldest daughter – so I ring her up and spit the dummy. And I spit the dummy at Himself as well when I get on to him. Pies? Why would he think I’d get home in time to heat frozen pies for dinner? OK, so I didn’t give him updates, but he knows how far away Billinudgel is. I sat by the side of the road and cried.
I know that I was being irrational, but, just for once, I wanted to come home “whenever”, and not have think about dinner. Like he often does. Yes, I call him, I suppose. (He has a hands free – I don’t. And I don’t ask him what we’re having for dinner!) Couldn’t they have just made the damn dinner, and said “Hey Mum, welcome home, come to the table, here’s dinner.”
They were still making zucchini slice. We usually make it in a muffin tray (one for a ‘what’s 4 dinner’ post someday)- but somehow, once they were out of the oven, these ones looked weird. Not flat, but like a savoury muffin. It transpired they’d only found a half a zucchini in the fridge (despite the fact that there were three more). And so just used that. Like, whatever! Who knew that zucchini might have been a rather essential ingredient in zucchini slice.
Home sweet home, where they can’t do anything much without me. I suppose it’s nice to know you’re needed. Maybe it takes trying to run away to make you see that. (Either that, or to realise that you simply haven’t trained them as well as you should have.)
Btw, what do you think I saw this week, for the first time, in the local kitchen shop at our local town plaza? The same clay pots, that’s what.