Yesterday, just when I thought I was too tired to do another thing, Geoff and I decided to take our grandchildren, who were on school holidays, out on an adventure. … and I am so glad we did. I had a picture on my Facebook feed which said: “As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it!”
So, with this advice ringing in my ears, Geoff and I were soon packed up with children, backpacks, walking shoes and snacks, hopping on a bus nearby to go to the parkland called South Bank, which runs along the Brisbane River and is conveniently located across from the city. A great spot for the family complete with a man-made beach for the children to swim.
Our grandchildren very rarely travel on public transport and were highly excited about the whole thing. When the bus was packed to the rafters (a bit like a Bombay Express train) Alice (11) and Violet (6) were not fazed at all. They handled the whole thing like professionals. Violet had to sit on my knee and ended up talking non stop to the friendly teenager sitting next to us, who told me she loved children.
Our plan was to have lunch at South Bank and then hop on board our ferry service which we call the City Cat (it is a catamaran-type boat) and go down-river to a lovely park called New Farm Park.
You know, when you go on an adventure with children – especially an adventure in your own city – you see everything through fresh eyes, and this is what happened. Alice and Violet only moved to Brisbane in 2012 so they are quite new to all the things that us Brisbane locals take for granted.
By the time, we had returned home (almost 5 pm) we had done everything: watched magic tricks in South Bank, eaten a ‘healthy’ lunch of greasy pizza and chips; chased ibis’ which were trying to steal our food; made friends on the City Cat as we sailed up the river; walked among the beautiful roses in the Rose Garden at New Farm Park and had loads of fun.
But, by far and large, the best thing about the whole adventure, was the discovery of a children’s playground at New Farm park. A wonder to behold. Giant Banyan trees with roots descending from on high to the ground, formed the basis for tree houses and all manner of fun things to do.
Alice and Violet declared that we had to come back and spend the WHOLE day here another day. And what was great about it was parents and minders could sit at picnic tables scattered all around the playground, so one could watch the children at play. Oh, and don’t forget the coffee at the kiosk next to us which kept us going while we came and went to tree houses, swings, climbing ropes and the like.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, along came a reporter and a photographer from our Brisbane Courier-Mail, asking would we be willing to give an opinion for the paper. Next minute, Geoff and I were all geared up to see our photos and our comments in the paper today and tomorrow. We are now celebrities!
The reporter asked me, “Are you retired?” to which I answered “Well yes, but I have a blog and I am presently studying.” Without battering an eyelid, she replied “Oh, I’ll put down that you are a blogger and a student!” Sounded very impressive to me so I didn’t resist. With promises to look up my blog, they left the playground.
Now, all we had to do was to retrace our steps home. We had promised the children Cold Rock ice cream on the way to the bus at South Bank. Alice and Violet were definite in their choice – both the same flavour – Bubble Gum and ‘Nerds‘. Had I heard right? Did they say ‘nerds?‘ Yes they did. Little tiny pieces of candy that are sweet or sour or fizzle depending on the colour, and they are mixed into the blue ice-cream.
Oh how things have changed since I was a child! What happened to soft serve ice-cream in a cone? No. Not any longer. Just when I thought I had seen it all, along came ‘Bubble Gum and Nerds’ to make the girls day complete.
And they told me later that, apart from the amazing playground, Bubble Gum and Nerds had to be THE best thing that had happened all day! In fact, when questioned, they meant it had capped off a perfect day. I could only agree …