Today it was announced that we would be going for a drive to St Albans for lunch at the Settler’s Arms. So, at 11:30, Bob, Mirinda and I hopped into the Tiguan (who I have decided to call George) and drove to Wiseman’s Ferry.
So off we went, across the Hawkesbury on the car ferry, and along, beside the McDonald River until we reached the tiny confluence of roads that is St Albans. I hesitate to call it a town because it’s not much more than a pub and two houses.
We weren’t the only people who decided to do this. It was a lovely Sunday, blue skies and sunshine…and the Settler’s Arms was packed. Bob joined the queue for food, I went to find the small drinks only window and Mirinda took Susie for a walk across the road. Mirinda had decided to bring Susie rather than leave her at home in her crazy paved back garden area. While initially rather pleased, Suzie had an amazing day which she’ll remember forever.
Meanwhile, having waited for quite a while, I was eventually served through the little back of the bar window and took Bob a beer at the front of the bar where he was still queued for food. I managed to save him from thirst. He sent me in search of Mirinda. She was sat with Susie at the furthest picnic bench from the pub that was still in the state.
“They won’t bring food all the way out here,” I remarked in my strongest Aussie accent.
“Tell them they have to,” was Mirinda’s reply.
I then spotted Bob, having finally ordered, racing round the back of the pub. He looked like a man on a mission, clearly with advance seating availability information. I took off to see what he was up to. Sure enough, he had set his claim on a table just to the side of the Hammond organ tribute band and was looking around for us. I gave him the universal wave, indicating I’d seen him and was now going back to show Mirinda the way – very handy mechanism of communication, the universal wave. Instantly recognisable the whole world over.
So, we all settled down, in the dappled shade, listening to the Hammond organ tribute band. Actually I should stop saying that. True, they had a Hammond organ but they played a lot of trad jazz and a wonderful medley of My Fair Lady songs. They were perfect for the setting and we applauded wildly every time they stopped playing.
Lunch was, as expected, delicious. I had an amazing steak sandwich (so nice to eat Aussie steak again) while Bob and Mirinda tried the handmade pasty which they declared was lovely.
While we sat, enjoying the peace and tranquility that a pub beer garden can deliver on a sunny (not too hot) day, Susie was enjoying the attentions of quite a few dogs. She was rather keen on a twice her size Airedale who was just as keen in return. Then there were the two big, beefy dogs who wanted to play. Mix in the aromas of old dropped food that, no doubt, was present on the ground and you have a recipe for doggie heaven. She was so zonked by the extreme overloading of her senses that she curled up asleep beside me in the car on the way back.
Lunch was followed by a leisurely drive back to Dural, this time via the other car ferry, affording lovely views of craft available for hire from a Hawkesbury river boat hire place.
All in all, it was a lovely day out in the country…well, bush, really. Susie enjoyed it, particularly.
Something else I enjoyed was the final days play in the first test between England and New Zealand. Lord’s was being very kind to bowlers, particularly Stuart Broad and James Anderson. NZ almost scored the least innings total at Lords (this is 42 and was by an India test side in 1974) but managed to get 68, one more than their total in 1978. It was an amazing session of cricket which NZ looked like taking in hand but which the English just ploughed through gradually removing all the Kiwi batsmen.
I love test cricket. And, as Ian Botham said in commentary, it’s REAL cricket, not the argy bargy stuff played by people with no patience or any real appreciation of the subtleties of the game.