Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nature, red in tooth and beak

We were forced to have a barbecue at Lake Tuggeranong Town Park.  The park is green and pleasant, with a sandy lakeshore beach, skate park and playground equipment.  Trees, shelters and barbecues round out its parkly attributes.  It rained.

Then adult swans beat up juvenile swans.  Skaters came to the rescue of the young fellers and chased the adult swan away and sat quietly until the juvenile swan managed to get back to its feet.

The Honolulu zoo says that black swans are 'belligerent, ill-tempered and territorial, they will not tolerate other swans, except their mates and young.' Youtube also has a clip of a swan trying to drown a duck, which I won't link to because that doesn't seem very sporting.  I must say, I feel a little less self-conscious about my general running away policy towards black swans after reading all this internet wisdom.

Also, black swans really do have red beaks.  With a white stripe.  No teeth.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taking advice

If I had anything nice to say I would most certainly say it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Miss Lou Lou's Tapping Starlettes Elvis Extravaganza

When I remember what it was like to live in Melbourne I like to think of the time I went to see Miss Lou Lou's Tapping Starlettes Elvis Extravaganza.  It's not so much that there was a tap dancing Elvis extravaganza on, although I have yet to see one held in any other city of my acquaintance.  It was more that the queue to get in went right down the block and around the corner.

I don't know if things like that still happen in Melbourne.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On driving

I have been driving for more than a year, and have had two low-speed incidents, one botanic and one diplomatic. The tree looks the same and so does our foreign policy, but there's a ding on the back of that hatch that makes me embarrassed to see it so I look away.

The shaking cold-wet sweats are over, but I wish if I had to drive you would all stay at home.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A family holiday with the family

So in New South Wales they have a south coast.  It is not the south coast of the continent, you know, because that would have to be Victoria and South Australia and Western Australia.  The south coast of the country probably only includes Tasmania if you are a purist.  You can tell that I have just spent many days with Mr Precision Instrument, as the junior is becoming known.  We have had several conversations about the meaning of 'pedantic' over the past week, but I am left feeling that the meaning has yet to be communicated.

Here are towns we have seen: Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, Bega, Tathra, Tura, Nimmitabel and Bemboka.  I find the names of towns in NSW hopelessly romantic, and was beyond thrilled to lay eyes on Nimmitabel, although I can identify no reason why. I can't remember it being in a book I love, or being spoken of fondly by people I care about it or anything like that.  Having seen it, I am sure I don't know why I have ever heard of it - it's a tiny, pleasant, highway town with no cheese factory or brewery or any brand name item that might carry its name proudly.

Other towns we saw have proud histories, or histories of which the townspeople are defiantly proud.  Eden has a long history of whaling and chopping down trees, Tathra has a wharf with a substantial-looking wooden building on top of it and Merimbula has clearly been catering to frivolous beach goers for a very long time indeed.

The junior was interested only in the beach and the ice cream shops, and generated a very high level of enthusiam for ten pin bowling on our last evening in Merimbula.  I remember desperately wanting to go roller skating while my parents insisted on looking at views and going bushwalking at a similar age. Ten pin bowling was fun.

On another day, the junior developed a massive anxiety attack, with subsequent sulking and shouting, because we could not pay the park use fee at one of the national parks near Tathra because the machine was busted. He claims he wants to grow up to be an evil scientist, but heavens I never met anyone so law-abiding in all my life.  He wanted us to immediately drive out of the park so we were not taking advantage.  And then he berated us the entire time we were there, until we became that family that you are embarrassed to see at national parks, stalking along the track sniping at each other.  I wished I lived in Iceland, on my own, with no telephone and no other humans within twenty kilometres.

Luckily things improved when we got to the beach, but it's the kind of thing children hark back to when they have grown up and left home and are remembering how much they hate their families, and Christmas is rolling around.