A year in people #47 – the Down Under Crew

Sydney, 2014.

I was at a winery out in the Hunter Valley somewhere, with 3 women I’d not long met. We’d done some wine tasting and decided it was time for a little picnic.

Pans had already been out and bought picnic stuff. Actual adult picnic stuff. Like meat and cheese and olives and crackers and all that grown-up picnic stuff. Chips and dips. No sausage rolls or cold pizza here. There was a picnic blanket, knives, forks, plates and glasses. A proper, many-items spread. Pretty sure there was some Tupperware too.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I’ve never laughed so much. We looked for a spot outside the winery where we could have our picnic; the grounds were free for customers to use.

“What about over here?”

“Ooh yes, that looks nice and flat, and a lovely view of the valley.”

We spread the blanket out, ladened it up with all the food, crockery and other paraphernalia and poured out some fizz.

“Cheers! To new friends.”

We tore off crusty bread and munched on chips and dips, enjoying the scenery and serenity. There was a distant humming, not enough to notice really. Then it got a little louder, and then louder still. We looked up to see a helicopter in the air.

“Wow some people are really rich, helicoptering into a winery”, we laughed. “Bit bloody loud though.”

We saw someone coming over to us.

“You can’t have your picnic here.” he said.

“Why not? We thought the grounds were OK to use? They said so inside. We bought wine. We’re CUST-O-MERS, don’t you know.” We drew out the word customers, just to drive home the point.

It was like being teenagers again, being told off. We were adamant – we really didn’t want to move all the picnic stuff, we had a great spot and…

“You’re on the helicopter landing area.”

He pointed upwards to the helicopter, where the pilot was frantically waving. And not a happy friendly wave either.

Oh. Oh shit.

That pretty much set the tone for the Down Under Crew. Mishaps, laughter, fun and bending the rules. I don’t see these women in person very often (one of the downsides of living in different countries, although at least we’re bit closer now) but we chat A LOT. They are always there, in our group chat, being supportive and wonderful and funny and just so bloody AWESOME.

I still feel like the kid in the group and they are the grown-ups. Not an age thing, but more that they are wise and knowledgeable and eat adult picnic food. I skip around with very few responsibilities and don’t always have what I feel is grown up advice or conversation to contribute (and eat sausage rolls).

I go to them for advice all the time, because I know I will get honest, sensible, wise answers. With a kick of badass attitude and protectiveness (“yes, he IS a dick Paps”) where needed.

Pans, Jo and Nic, I love you all ❤

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