It was in that time between receiving my posting to Butterworth in 1971 and departing Williamtown that this event took place.
Col Winter, the proud owner of a Toyota Crown 2600, Stan Jarosinski and I decided on a trip to check out one of the wineries in the Hunter Valley. Two details that have long escaped my recollection are the name of the winery and the other bloke who came with us, although it may have been an Instrument Fitter Heinrich Hermann.
On the way we picked up a hitch hiker – from memory a young bloke not much older than us. As we chatted he asked after our destination including, of course, the name of the winery. Before we came to the end of our trip our passenger asked us to drop him off. I still have a vague recollection of a long drive leading to a large house.
As we drove on we joked among ourselves at his parting comments: ‘I fix you up later.’ ‘Later’ we thought. How could he ‘fix us up later?’
We are arrived at our destination, dispensed with the formality of a tour of the winery, and headed straight for the bar to sample the wares. Obviously we were unskilled wine tasters, for there was none of the pour it into the glass, raise it in the air and gaze at it for a while, sniff it, or allow the sample to rest on our tongue before spitting it out and washing our mouths out with water. We followed a simpler process.
Not long after we arrived we noticed our hitch hiker friend appear on the opposite side of the bar. He pointed us out to the bar staff, muttered something to them, and disappeared. Needless to say, from then on we had trouble emptying our sample glasses.
Came the time to depart and our friend appeared again. This time he ushered us into another room. There he gave us an empty cardboard box – maybe more than one – and helped us to fill it with a collection of the firm’s produce, and not just the cheap stuff.
He certainly did ‘fix us up later.’