My eighth birthday was spent at KFC in Katherine in the Northern Territory. Fried chicken was a treat, a step away from the Deb instant potato mash we'd been eating every night for the past six months - or at least that's how I remember it. We were travelling, you see. In a big, blue bus around Australia.
As it turns out, mum tells me we rarely ate Deb. Memory is a peculiar thing.
Most people, studies have shown, experience the phenomenon of childhood amnesia, meaning you often can't remember things before about the age of six, but it's different for everyone.
I'm not sure what my earliest memory is, but the bus trip around Australia, in our slow-moving True Blue, holds some of the most significant from my childhood.
We left in early 1996 from the far south coast where I'd grown up. We'd been on some shorter trips before then, usually four-wheel driving and camping with family friends.
But the bus was something different. The plan was to travel Australia for 12 months. Mum, a hairdresser, would find work in the caravan parks and camps along the way. Dad is a boilermaker by trade and an all-round handyman, so if any odd jobs came up he'd scoot off and earn some money.
My parents had explored the country when they first got together, before having us kids. They felt and still feel strongly about the importance of exploring your own backyard.
So when I was seven, and my sisters nine and 10, we packed our belongings into the bus and we were off.
My favourite part by far of the travelling was sitting on the engine of the bus, next to dad who was driving.
I forgot to say goodbye to friends at school, thinking I'd be returning the next day. I have no memory of that feeling now, but mum tells me it was a source of agony for weeks.
The trip was a magical part of a fantastic childhood. We weren't rich, not even modestly. My parents worked hard. I remember getting $2 as pocket money every time mum could afford to spare it. I would rush down to the now-extinct corner store, Buggsy's, to spend it on lollies. My sisters would stow theirs away, saving up for something special.
Later parts of my childhood I can recall like they happened yesterday. There are some particularly significant events burnt into my brain.
But I have a few vivid memories from my year travelling Australia with my family.
Like that time we had a picnic in Kings Park in Perth only to return to our car to find mum's purse had been stolen.
Or when I don't know which town we were in but my sisters and I watched mum crying into the receiver at a phone booth from the window of the bus. She came back in to tell us our dog, a maltese named Bundy, had been hit by a car when he'd escaped the clutches of my grandparents back home.
Then there was that time an enormous cricket landed on my head at a playground somewhere really warm, Darwin perhaps? Eugh!
We made so many really happy memories too. I clearly remember dad calling out down the bus for us to look out the window on one of our long drives in the desert - we saw an emu and her chicks sprinting away from us.
I remember playing Scrabble after dinner, the whole family sitting around the booth that, when we'd finished for the evening, would fold out to become a bed for one of my sisters.
Or that time we spent a whole day at Mataranka Falls in the Northern Territory playing in the water.
I'm not sure if I'm jumbling up this part of the trip or if these things did actually happen in the same location but if they did: Litchfield National Park - what an absolute dream.
We spent our day splashing around the waterfall and climbing behind it to the rock ledge. That night, we were invited to try turtle, cooked on the fire and eaten right out of the shell, by a group of local Aboriginal people. And then, my dad found a didgeridoo that had naturally formed from being eaten out by termites, and he played it for us.
What an adventure.
My favourite part by far of the travelling was sitting on the engine of the bus, next to dad who was driving. Chatting, singing (On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again...) and watching the world go by. It's funny, because mum says we used to complain non-stop about the constant driving.
Then there are the memories that will haunt me forever.
Have you seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Probably more like who hasn't seen it. Just a quick note to say the Cadbury factory in Tassie is not in any way like the chocolate factory in the film.
Then there was the Staircase to the Moon. So disappointing! Now I can understand why it's called what it's called. The tourism blurb says it all.
"Staircase to the Moon is a natural phenomenon which occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay," the Visit Broome website reads.
It only happens about 24 nights of the year.
Well this sounds great; for an adult. For a child, I thought there was a literal staircase to the moon. Imagine my disappointment.
Anyway, on my eighth birthday my family gathered around the table at KFC in Katherine, having spent the day in a boat spotting crocodiles in the gorge.
Happy birthday was sung, the food was unpacked, the crispy chips looked delicious. Just as we were about to hoe into the feast, I grabbed the big bottle of lemon squash to pour myself a glass (the big eight-year-old that I was) and I spilled it all over the table. Another memory, burnt into my brain.