21.09.2014 22 °C
The Driver and his mate
All of his life he’s loved driving and does it well. Many many years ago now, back in December 1967 when David and I lived in Sydney, a group of us were invited to a wedding in Adelaide. One has to remember that back then, Sydney to Adelaide was just as far as it is today but so much more difficult than it is today.
But this was an important wedding . Their friend, Les Southwart whom Dave and Chris met on their ship coming to Australia back in November 1964, was being married to an English girl, Audrey Drake, and because no one in their English families could attend their wedding, they invited the few friends they had got to know in Australia. It was a small wedding with just a handful of guests and comprised mostly of the good folk who made Dave and Chris, in particular, so welcome in their early days before they went to Woomera to work. And that was a Very Hot Place to work – Woomera in December is one of the hottest places in this country.
I mention this wedding because it was a great excuse for us from Sydney to go and “see Adelaide” – or so we thought! However, this wedding was on 27 December, high summer and the holiday season.
David, Chris, and I went across in one car and went directly there in one drive – around 22-23 hours straight; we went to the wedding on the day after we arrived – and then turned around and drove back to Sydney the day after that – another 22-23 hours straight.
Phil Smith (now in Canada) also went but drove his own car and joined us all at the wedding, but afterwards, he kept going to Perth.
The lion’s share of both longs drives in the car carrying Chris, me and Dave was done by Dave. It was a formidable drive – and still is, but the difference is that back in December 1967, the roads were terrible, cars were not air conditioned and the summer heat across the Hay Plains and in South Australia was about as hot as it gets in summer.
The wedding was a happy occasion but Dave and Chris and I had to be back at work on the 29th December. Stoically, we left Adelaide on 28 December, determined to get back in one drive. We each had a turn at driving the 1410kms distance but found after such a long drive to Adelaide just 2 days previously, turned out to be far too much for Chris or I to do.
We handed the wheel to Dave and he drove us at least three quarters of the way back to Sydney and we arrived there as dawn was breaking and all three of us went straight to work!!! A trip none of us will ever forget.
This is a rather long winded way of telling you what a good driver my Dave is. Over the years, we have often talked of that never-ending two-way hot drive and wondered at how he did it. Neither Chris nor I could have done it.
I have always admired the way he focuses on the road ahead, steady as he goes, unrattled by any other driver be it truck, bus, Pdriver, or caravan!! Driving is something Dave does exceptionally well and it is always comforting to know that he is behind the wheel.
On this trip, I have often offered to drive, but no, he chooses to do so and is really so much better than I am – and knows how to drive when towing a rather long caravan too and that does take a bit of skill. (He’s not a particularly good passenger, by his own admission!) And despite the fact he’s almost 72, Dave is just as good a driver today as he was in the 60s. I hope he’ll never change.
However, not only can he drive steadily and well, he manages to fix what seems to be all sorts of little problems we might have with either the car or the caravan.
Light globes don’t light up, the jockey wheel isn’t quite right, the water hose needs a filter – and simply dozens of other jobs inside the caravan have been fixed, after just a mention to him……. I’m impressed and very proud of how he has brought us safely to (almost) the end of our tripl.
For my part, I just cook, wash, wash up, shop – keep an eye on the finances and help him both set up camp and prepare to be on the road again.
I don’t know what I’d do without MY mate – but he’s done a terrific job, My Driver and he’s Mr Fix It too .. and I’m so grateful.
Skippy dog gets back on board tomorrow and we are soooooo looking forward to seeing her again. From all accounts, the Kennels describe her as “a lovely dog” and indeed she is. I’m sure she’ll be as happy to see us as we will be to see her. She's got fresh meat and the best biscuits IGA sells!
We will be staying on the Sunny Coast this week, catching up with quite a few friends, then to Brisbane for a week and after the long weekend, we’ll be heading south again.
S’all for now
My Driver and his mate!
We are wondering whether he might just have driven around 200,000km or possibly even more in the 50 years he’s been here … anyone care to work this out please ….