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"Lord, we humbly pray for Travelling Mercies and ask that you will keep us and protect us from harm as we go forth. Amen."

My father used to pray thus. Seventh-Day Adventists don't like to do anything without the prior blessing of Almighty God. Of course, you can't usually be sure that you've received God's blessing at all, but that certainly shouldn't stop you asking.

It worked a little like this. Time to leave, 5:30am, the entire family crammed into the Arctic White HQ Holden Kingswood. Mum and Dad on the front bench seat, kids across the back, the three of us seated on pillows, travel chess-sets, Uno cards and personal stereo devices at the ready. Then came the Big Request. We knew it was coming. We already had our heads bowed, our eyes already closed in preparation.

"Shut your eyes, kids," Dad would say. Then began the BR, as quoted above.

Then came the bit where he drove for six hours without a break.

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