I drove the mini men up to my parents’ place two weekends ago so they could spend time with Ma and Poppy as well as their great-grandparents, my Nana and Pa.
Two minutes on the freeway and Chick let his stomach contents fly, but we won’t make this about carsick children again.
Sitting at my Nana’s table in New England, I overheard my mother ranting about her annoyance at longer having a chicken pen.
I stood up to get the tomato sauce for Beau when my mother said to me, “Why don’t you get all your mates up one weekend and build me a chook pen?”
The room went partly quiet and I said, smiling, “You really want my friends to do it, Mum?” She smirked as she knew where my mind was going.
Picture this. A two-car convoy heading north full of boundless building energy and a few little surprises.
The cars stop, the front car door is flung open. A pair of long hot pink stiletto boots hits the red dirt and the owner booms, ‘Oh cabaret, oh cabaret, oh cabaraaaaay’. We have arrived.
We sit at the kitchen table for lunch. As we’ve travelled via the Hunter, only the sound of clinking glasses is evident. We stagger down to the back ‘yard’ and unroll the chicken wire. My resident straight mate, wearing his trademark pink gingham shirt and RM Williams boots, cuts the strings. As the roll unwinds it catches on the stockinged and heeled legs of my Lebanese girlfriend who’s clutching a bucketload of fresh felafel to feed us, lest we go hungry… ever.
Dad watches in horror as Pink Boots does a show in the paddock, scaring the cattle and birds off up the hill. Ma sits on the veranda, astounded that she never really made an exceptional sangria up until now — thanks to our Spanish cocktail mistress who we call Conchita.
My dear friend summons the two disco shorts-wearing out-of-towners tangled up dancing among the palings of wood to deploy a glitter-encrusted cock to the top of the pen roof. His hands flap enough to make the weather vane spin crazily.
I notice my gorgeous blond mind-altering friend is telling the new residents of the pen to think only good things and to “be the egg” with such conviction, I feel she may cluck when she stands up.
As the sun goes down and we dislodge Pink Boots’ wig from the branch of a dead tree, we clink our glasses again and salute our building and the marvellous weekend we had away from our lives in Sydney.

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