When the rain shows no sign of relenting, David and I pack up camp and move on. It’s not so much fun to camp in the rain if we have no chance to get ourselves (and our stuff dry). Thankfully, the sun is only a short drive away, at Kurri Kurri, inland from Newcastle.

David’s father Hugh has moved south from Grafton and is renting a house with David’s brother Tim. So it’s a grand family reunion when we turn up. It’s been over a year since we last saw Tim, and we have very little contact with him in between our brief meetings. It was great to sit casually with him and hear about his life, job and hobbies.

Tim spent most of the summer holidays cycling from Sydney to Perth. Across the country! He described amazing places that he’s seen and inspired us to visit more of the country.

Hugh still has a bit of stuff in Grafton and is arranging removalists to bring everything down. We are pleased to see the car that we gave him is still working well. On rainy days, Hugh can use it to drive Tim to work so Tim doesn’t have to take his motorbike.

Washing on the line, February 2012
During our visit, Hugh offered us the use of the washing machine, and we make the most of it and the sunshine — getting everything clean and dry before the rain moves to this part of the country.

Aisha and Brioni playing with those, March 2012
In the heat of the day, the girls start to play with the garden hose to keep cool. This is the first time we've been hot in a long time. It reminds me that this really is summertime.

Hugh and David Fisher, March 2012
David is Hugh's firstborn son. Tim is eleven years younger than David. There are two more brothers in between David and Tim: James and Ben.

Just as the rain moved us to Kurri Kurri, it would have peaceably moved us on as well. However, before we had the opportunity to announce our departure, Tim asked us to leave. We spent one evening in his company and one day at his house while he was at work, and then that evening he asked us to leave the next day. We’re not sure why our presence was so offensive to him, but we look forward to the day when Tim wants to get to know our children (and us) properly.

After packing up, we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon exploring the op shops in Kurri Kurri and Cessnock. We didn’t want to drive too far as we had plans for a big Friday night out.

Heddon Greta, located outside Kurri Kurri, boasts one of the only remaining drive-in cinemas in NSW. The movie line-up looked good, so after a meal at the local golf club, we took our family to the cinema!

Drive-in cinema at Heddon Greta, March 2012
The drizzle keeps many patrons away, but it means we can jack-knife the trailer and position the truck for the best-possible view.

Drive-in cinema at Heddon Greta, March 2012
Before the films start, the owner of the joint comes to talk to us. Anthony has travelled extensively around Australia in a big bus and encouraged us on our journey.

Tonight, — after the movie — we drove a short distance and parked close to a railway station. We’re due to pick up another friend from the train station and give her a lift north. We’re excited about the future, and so we look forward to seeing Tim another time when he no longer feels compelled to stay away from us.