Monday, 21 November 2016

Up on Manning River

On Friday I got in the car about midday and drove north onto the Pacific Highway on the way to my cousin's place on the Manning River, which is located a couple of hours north of Newcastle. The trip up took four-and-a-half hours. I could feel the steering wheel start to vibrate at around 110km/hr but as usual I sat at around 90km/hr to 100km/hr for most of the trip even though the highway in that region is now completely divided and the speed limit is 110km/hr for most of the way.

I arrived in the late afternoon and was soon sitting in front of a beer as the family circulated around me. The house is built on a hill in front of a curve of the river, with the upstream side curling around to the left in the photo. The river in this stretch is tidal and they say bull sharks breed in the deep waters off the bank. Around the dining table conversations formed and broke up as people came and went. I retired later than the rest, had a shower, and went to bed.

On Saturday morning we all piled in the car - my cousin, her husband, two of their children, and a friend of their oldest daughter - and went to a lagoon fringed by scrubby eucalypts. I stayed with the clothes on the bank while the rest of the group went swimming. It turned out to be a hot day. After swimming, we went further down the road and had fish and chips for lunch, then headed back to the house. We sat around talking for a while then I had a nap. Later, we drank beer and sat on the balcony overlooking the river and ate chips.

Yesterday morning I woke up early as I had previously on the river and then had some breakfast before getting back in the car for the trip home. It seemed to take less time going south, than it had going north. I stopped a couple of times for coffees and food and water. Coming back into the confines of Sydney I felt slightly claustrophobic, as I usually do when I get off the highway at Hornsby. After arriving home and napping for a couple of hours a friend came over and we had dinner.

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