“Watch out………you nearly hit that car”
In the back the two youngest teenagers are plugged into oblivion. With cords dangling from ears and connected to multiple devices, they don’t make a sound.
We bicker and argue for not much longer. The game breaker is when the passenger likens me to Damir Dokic on a bad day at Roland Garros. We laugh. Occasionally we hear random giggles from the back seat. The passenger smiles.
We cross the border into New South Wales. The Tweed River is looking ‘still as a dill’s pickle’, which in surfing parlance is a good thing – no wind….. rain beckons. The flat land of cane fields is backed in the distance by Mt Warning – a beacon to first light on the east coast of this dam fine land. I love NSW, just not particularly on Wednesday nights in the middle of Winter.
We stop at a hamlet beside a river. Some idiot has forgotten to transfer money so in what is now a filthy backwater that only takes cash, the best the ashtray can produce is two small coffees and two party pies for the natives. Thank god for small mercies! Gratitude is conveyed by vociferous invective and award winning scowls.
We move out and I announce in my best southern drawl, “I do declare. I will paddle down this goddamn river to some metropolis that will be as so kind to do us business on the plastic card.” No one is listening.
We arrive at the Inn which is some of the cheapest accommodation money can buy. I test the bed. Not bad. TV looks tricky, bits missing, might leave it to the technocrats. Then straight across the road to the beach and surf break which will be the competition venue for the comp that starts in the morning which by the way happens to be called the…. ‘Be the influence Pro Junior say No to Binge Drinking’. Highly commendable but allows idle minds to think of next year’s event which may well be, ‘The 2014 don’t have any Bad Thoughts Pro Junior Fight against Mood Swings Be Level Headed’ or the more powerful ‘Say No to Salt on Chips Pro Junior’.
The night has taken the rain out to sea. Beautiful cool mid coast winter weather summons the best male and female under twenty surfers in the country. It’s the sort of weather that sends southerners into a sunbaking frenzy. The wind is blowing gently from the land and air brushes the 3-4 foot waves. It looks awesome but to the trained eye is a little tricky…so I am told.
The heats come and go and is tainted with mixed emotion. The last man standing in our tribe is gonski so we prepare to leave on the morning tide.
I say, “well done guys which is code for well done guys.” Not just … ‘wait until we get home and I’ll beat you with a rubber hose sort of sporting parent well done’ .
We begin the long drive home and the phone rings. The passenger answers.
“No No …What France….France no we’re not in France. Of course we would have told you. No we haven’t been at home. Look I am sure…Biarritz…. no we’re at Coffs Harbour, just leaving Diggers Beach.”
The passenger looks at me and the smile turns to hysterical laughter…….
Apparently there has been a mix up. Lucy is on the score board at the world tour event in France. The passenger can’t help herself and before she hangs up says, “You better go this call will be costing you a fortune…..Au revoir.”