Being fifty-something, I grew up during the halcyon days of the Sunday drive.
A time when ordinary families like ours could afford to own a car and, with it, the freedom to escape the suburbs come the weekend.
The Sunday drive was a highlight of the week. As five little girls, my sisters and I anticipated it with giggly excitement.
It always meant donning our “Sunday best” – in winter, hand-knitted mohair jumpers, tartan kilts and shiny black patent leather party shoes.
In the summer heat, it was hand-sewn, sleeveless shift dresses and jelly sandals.
Here we are, lined up in age order and ready go, in a more trans-seasonal attire (me second from left).
The destination was often a surprise – perhaps the lion safari park, an historic homestead or the Ballarat Begonia Festival (always a winner with Mum). We ventured into art galleries, museums and every municipal botanic garden within driving distance.
Here we’re captured, mid-winter I’d say, at the Geelong Botanic Gardens (me second from the right):
Mum always packed a thermos and white bread sandwiches for the trip. Inevitably someone was car sick (usually me) and there was fidgety unrest about seating arrangements.
We loved it. It was happy family time away from our little house and the suburbs.
These days, Mr P and I carry on the Sunday drive tradition. Not every Sunday, but every few.
We pack a thermos and head off to explore.
On a recent Sunday we went west planning visit the Timboon Distillery. We love our single malt whisky and had tasted the Timboon Single Malt at last year’s Lara Food and Wine Festival.
I had written an article about the Timboon area for a magazine and learned about a rich history of illicit whisky distilling in the area.
First we headed to the nearby Boggy Creek Pub for lunch. Local legend describes a rogue whisky still hidden in the marshy banks of the creek, just behind where the pub now stands.
I wouldn’t rush back to the pub for lunch (or the décor), but the history is interesting.
I needed coffee (the thermos would not do), a clean toilet and fresh ambience so we hotfooted it over to the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery. What a delight! The large, light and open café burst with local produce and cheerful staff. A wide, sunny deck overlooking the river was a perfect spot to while away a couple of hours.
We accepted an offer to taste our way through the liquid product range of single malt whisky and several liqueurs, all made on site.
The distillery itself comprises a single copper still – the same familiar shape, but nothing on the scale of the distilleries we’ve visited in Scotland. This is a young distillery, making the most of the local history.
We chose a table on the deck, ordered coffees and a huge slice of house-made lemon meringue pie to share. Yum!
Eventually, we dragged ourselves away for a saunter along the river before heading back to the suburbs.
We managed to bring a taste of the distillery home with us:
Delectable Strawberry Schnapps and Coffee Cream Aperitif.
The Sunday drive has grown up.
Same, but different.
Not a shiny patent leather party shoe in sight.