Home from work and packed and gone by 6.30 pm, out into Friday night long-weekend traffic on the freeway. Bumper to bumper to Cranbourne, 40km/hr or so, always wary of the one in a hundred idiot determined to do something stupid in the heavy traffic in the rain.

Somewhere around Lang Lang we started getting hungry, will it be Korrumburra or Leongatha for dinner? Joked about stopping in at the Loch pub, which we’d done two years ago when heading out this way, then realised that it wasn’t such a joke — we were just about to drive past Loch!

Off the highway and down the main street, not a car to be seen. The pub looked shut, but half a dozen cars were parked outside. Dead quiet as we walked up to the door and stepped inside — all voices stopped and ten heads turned to see who had arrived. A dozen people were lined up at the bar, sitting and singing and talking and laughing, one guy at the end playing along on a ukulele.

Ten to eight was just in time, the kitchen closes in ten minutes, we can have dinner if we order right now. Two big plates of slow-cooked beef casserole are ordered, and just as promptly arrive, then sitting in front of the fire they were just as tasty and filling as the we had a meal here. It was getting tempting to just stay, have a beer or two and stay overnight in the pub, but people were expecting us down at Tidal River, so we dragged ourselves away.