Wednesday, March 28, 2012


                (long weekend return on the 1Kings Highway)

                ‘not road works again!’
                a girl with her arm out of the window flicks cigarette ash
                car-doors open at the front of the queue
                engines turn off, a car pulls-up behind
                ‘what’s the hold-up, mate?’

                the fellow behind who tailgated up the 2Clyde
                talks at an open window
                ‘an unscheduled rest stop … ’
                someone’s mobile rings
                ‘it will be a couple of hours, …’

                some start eating lunch
                ‘remember you have a book under the seat’
                one guy is boiling water at the side of the road
                others turn their cars around
                a bit hard for campervans and those with boats

                ‘it could be some time yet, I’ll ring home again … ’
                an arc of people gather further up the road
                then the heavy thump of rotor blades
                chopping the Sunday morning air
                ‘thankfully, the bend and queue hide’

                at last there is much movement
                a rush to return to cars, the relief palpable
                an immediate cortege
                slow, serious momentum
                the long line of vehicles show respect

                ‘don’t look! ’ she says
                (I know she will,
                and of course, she knows I will)
                momentum increases
                the day restarts

                but for unsuspecting family and friends
                the worst of news awaits
                Richard Scutter 15 March 2012

Footnotes …

1 ... The Kings Highway connects Canberra to the South New South Wales coastal town of Batemans Bay (160km). Long weekend refers to a holiday weekend.
2 ...The Clyde Mountain rises from the coastal side of the journey and at this stage the Kings Highway has many hairpin bends.

The accident involved a double fatality. One person survived and was air-lifted by helicopter to Canberra hospital.

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