After a good night’s sleep it is time to head back to Sydney and home. It’s already a quarter to ten by the time I exit the hotel and carpark. I set the music to John Williams’ complete score to the original three Star Wars movies.
Being a Sunday, the traffic is relatively light and not in a rush and I don’t have to stress too much about navigating my way along the motorways out of the city. I’m glad I chose to drive rather than fly. As I head past the airport the wind is ferocious, buffeting the car. It would be a rough flight.
The car needs petrol, but I skip past the first few service stations until, an hour and a half later, I arrive at Avenel. On the way down I’d spotted hand painted roadside signs advertising smallgoods and a mysterious “bacon jam”, so I thought I’d take a look on my return.
I bought a jar of the bacon jam, a savoury spread, from the roadside stall near the service station and grabbed some hot items for a brunch. A “sweet chilli chicken” (piece of chicken with flavoured crumb) and a couple of deep fried classic Victorian dim sims.
Then off again until Euroa, where I thought I’d look for a bakery and a different supplier of jelly slices.
Sorry, Burke’s jelly slices are not up to scratch.
I’m feeling pretty yuck by the time I reach Albury. I’d woken up with a mild case of the runs and I just want to lie down. I stopped here to grab some additional delicacies from the Beechworth Bakery branch outside of Myer, but I don’t want to end the day’s travels here. Maybe I can keep going a couple of hours and stay the night at Gundagai or Yass.
After using the facilities, I allow myself a wander of the two levels of the Myer department store. It brings back memories of when B was a student in Albury and I’d come down to visit her.
I buy a few treats from the bakery for the others and a piece of sushi for my late lunch. On the way out I pass a Dymocks bookstore and end up buying a book for myself. I miss bookshops.
After the walk, a sushi and a drink I feel a lot better. Once I’m back on the highway I’m more comfortable, for this is familiar territory and the traffic is relatively light.
I look at the time and I’ll be lucky to make Sydney before dark falls. The tank will need another filland I’m just going to play it by ear. If I need to stop for the night, I will, but the other two want me home.
I just keep driving and driving. Occasionally another car will annoy me and it’s almost always a Volkswagen. It’s like they cannot stop speeding and weaving in and out of traffic.
As the shadows lengthen the landscape is bathed in a wonderful golden light. I only wish that I had the time to stop for the day and admire it.
Gundagai and Yass come and go and I do not turn off. I really am feeling a lot better now.
The traffic gets worse after the merger of the Federal Highway from Canberra. Using the GPS history I set it for Marulan, where we filled up the car for the last time of the previous trip.
When I pull into the service station at Marulan there are a couple of Queensland cars with red ensigns hanging off them, indicating that their feral mulleted occupants were part of the idiotic “freedom” protests in Canberra. I wonder if they’ll start bitching about the N95 mask I am wearing into the petrol station.
Thankfully they leave first. I fill up my tank and head back to the motorway. I’d wanted to have a look around Marulan, but there is not the time now.
The traffic entering Sydney is not too bad this time. I ignore the usual hoons and just give them the rightmost lane to be stupid in.
For this last leg I have set the audio to the Cinematic Sounds podcast’s final episode of six celebrating John Williams’ 90th birthday. I have timed it impeccably, because, as I turn off into my home suburb, his “Birthday Variations” play, the final piece of music.
And so it is that my own celebration of his music comes to a conclusion.
I’m very glad I made the effort to drive down to Melbourne to attend the concert. Of course I wish that I had longer, but I’ve seen and done a surprising number of things along the way and had a chance to enjoy some wonderful music.
Happy 90th Birthday Maestro!