Before we knew it, we were heading home from our Magical Mystery 30th Anniversary Tour. Little did we know our adventure was just beginning.
Chris and I hired a campervan from transfercar.com.au in Melbourne. We brought home a van that was needed in Adelaide, but was going to cost the company much more to bring it across on the back of a truck than if a middle-aged couple drove it back and just paid for the petrol.
All had gone pretty well. We had wandered through the Dandenongs and outer western suburbs of Melbourne before heading to stay on our friends’ farm out of Bordertown.
A short stop at Tintinara to see the craft shop in the old railway station, and a little too long at Coonalpyn to see the silo painting meant that we were running a little behind schedule.
When we arrived in Adelaide, Chris dropped me off at our daughter’s where we’d parked the Tarago before we left. So I drove the Tarago around to the hire-car company–which was closed. Chris followed me, filling up the campervan’s petrol tank on the way.
Chris arrived at the hire-car company about three minutes before the time we needed to return it. Slightly flustered and with a headache that he’d kept hidden all day he said,
‘I forgot to pay for the petrol!‘
I know that a loving wife should be consoling and supportive. This loving wife burst into giggles.
I know that a loving wife should be composed in such circumstances. But our time away had been so relaxing that my mind went into story mode. I could envisage a movie about this whole experience – or at least a news report.
A middle-aged man of Middle-Eastern appearance has made a sneaky take-away. After filling his campervan with unleaded petrol, the man neglected to pay for it. He can be seen in this video splashing petrol, cleaning his hands, getting into the van and leaving. The van was later found parked in an unattended hire-car company but the man was nowhere to be seen.
Attendees at a church function across the road said that a man fitting that description had been seen kissing a middle-aged woman of short, solid stature before they both drove away in a silver Tarago – getaway vehicle.
By the time we returned to pay, the petrol-station attendant had already called the police. He showed Chris photos of the van, and reassured Chris that he would call the the police back–though that wasn’t very reassuring when we turned from the petrol station onto the main road and saw a police car with flashing lights heading in the direction of the petrol station.
Though we’re quite embarrassed and rather alarmed, I must admit that we were also a teensy bit excited that for a fleeting moment we experienced life as on-the-run criminals.
Life has returned to normal . And we look forward to our next adventure–though perhaps without the criminal bit.