Last Saturday I got back from Bagdad in the late afternoon. Not Baghdad in Iraq. Bagdad the small town in central Tasmania.
My sister Julie had an invitation to go to the races up north that weekend, and she could get a lift with a friend of a friend if she could get to Bagdad.
It was a nice Spring day, so I didn't mind the drive. I wasn't quite so happy about my car -- the clutch is slipping and it doesn't like going uphill.
Usually we would have taken Julie's car and had mine repaired, but hers was already in dock. She was driving home one evening when the motor suddenly died and clouds of white smoke began billowing from the rear of the car.
Fortunately years of living in the modern world have given her the training to remedy this: she went on-line and bought a new engine.
But getting back to the trip north, I had to have a refresher course in looking after the animals. I ran through the mechanics of feeding the horse and the poultry morning and night, giving the dogs their dinner and keeping the cats happy.
"Every night, walk around the horse to check he doesn't have any injuries on his legs or flanks. Have a look at his eyes to make sure they're OK," she said. "And if one of the dogs dies, don't bury him till I get home."
I looked at her patiently. "How long are you going to be away? 36 hours? I'm sure everything will be all right."