How do the children play?

I have so many memories of times as a child spent on playgrounds.

Not all of them are pleasant memories, such as burnt bums on metal slides and blisters from monkey bars, but memories nonetheless. I’m still one of the lucky ones not to have come out of one with broken bones. Plenty of bruises and blood loss though.

My family travelled a lot when I was primary school age, so we spent a lot of time cooped up in a car. Shade was created via a towel wedged in a window. Air-conditioning was acquired through opening those windows. Fights were had (she’s touching me, Mum, tell her to stop touching me) and a lot of eye spy was played.

But when we eye-spied a playground there was a back-seat call out to stop and let us loose for a while. I do recall driving past plenty, with wishful (wistful??) eyes watching as we drove past, but there were plenty we did stop and explore.

Pushing each other as high as we could on the swings, watching the frame sometimes leap wildly out of its concrete framing, all added to the fun. There was always something funny about making the person on the other end of the see-saw cling on for dear life as you tried to make them fly off into the air or plummet back to ground at a hurtling speed. Competing with the other kids over who was in charge of the playground was always another added part of the experience. Sometimes you would start as enemies and end up as best friends… for the day, anyway.

We saw some pretty cool playgrounds in our time. More than just your average rope swing and tyres painted different colours to look fancy. Dinosaurs with a slide down their back were some of the more memorable examples. But nothing can compare to the amazing playgrounds you find now.

We took our teenage boys to a local playground Frew Park last weekend to have a look around. It was a playground like I had never seen. Climbing walls, fireman’s pole, climbing nets and covered slides to prevent those burnt bum moments. While our kids hung about for a while pretending they were too old for the place it didn’t take long for them to join in with the dozens of other yelling screaming kids who were having a absolute blast. And yes, there were a few adults joining in too, on the pretence of looking after the kids. (It’s OK, we know who the big kids are).

My favourite piece of playground equipment back in the day was always those roundabout spinning rides. You could fit a dozen or so kids on, with one or two pushing from the side to make it go faster and faster. Sometimes you would fall off. Sometime it would make you feel deliciously ill. Sometimes the smaller kids cried and you had to stop and let them off, before they spewed all over you. Those rides were the best. You don’t often see them any more.

Workplace health and safety and all that. It’s a shame, really. Mind you, they still have those monkey bars, so there are still plenty of opportunities to spend the afternoon waiting at the emergency department of the local hospital.



Growing a love of nature

Among the many things that found its way through my thought processes when I found out we were moving to Brisbane was ‘what about our garden’.

I have never been much of a green thumb. I was lucky to water the grass. There was always something a bit OCD about me that I got easily annoyed at out of shape hedges, plants growing willy-nilly and leaves falling where they shouldn’t. It was easier to not get involved.

That is, until I discovered the world of succulents. I had them in my hair as I walked down the aisle not yet two years ago and also as decorations on the tables. Some of those succulents made it home with the guests and a few remained and were taken care of in our garden.

As our succulents grew, so did our love of them. They had babies, and we re-potted them and watched the next generation grow. Then we bought a couple more in different colours and varieties. Just a few here and there. And a few more. And they just grew and grew too. And so did our collection. You might say addiction, but the next thing you knew, we were regular little green thumbs spending weekends tending to our garden and creating a haven to relax in and enjoy.

Just when we had it looking the way we wanted we found out we were going to be moving. To Brisbane. Over 600 kilometres away. We were moving from country to inner-city.

When it came to looking for a place to live in Brisbane we looked at quite a few inner city apartments. Oooh, they were so tiny. For someone used to spreading out it was a bit of a culture shock to see what my new living conditions would be like. No gardens either, just a balcony space in most of them, so I had pretty much resigned myself to having to leave behind most of our new additions. Then we found a place that had all the inner-city elements we needed, with the bonus of a small garden space. I was bloomin excited, let me tell you.

So yes, our succulents came with us and have thrived in the Brisbane conditions. And we have thrived in the Brisbane conditions of so many nurseries. Because of course what did we do from the moment we arrived in Brisbane? We checked out all the local sights…. well, sights of a few nurseries anyway.

From little things big things grow. Our garden is a classic example.


New Year musings (amusings)

With a New Year comes the opportunity for new beginnings. That’s why we all make resolutions, after all. To be better. To do things different. To live a more (insert inspiring word here) life.

So when we fail that challenge (to be honest, you were really never going to give up all forms of chocolate were you darling?) should we feel bad about ourselves?

Maybe there is too much pressure of the whole New Year’s resolution thing.

For the past five or so years I have made only one resolution I have stuck to. That is because it is a resolution I would always want to have. It is to read a certain number of books in the year. Thanks to Goodreads I can easily set the challenge and keep track of where I am at. And yes, sometimes I’ve had a huge number to read in December but I have always got there.

While I have been pretty vocal about that resolution (my one for 2017 is already pasted on my Facebook wall to prove it), there are plenty more that have filtered through my brain that I dared not say out loud in case someone held me to them, or reminded me every time a vanilla slice headed towards my lips.

Those horrible resolutions like getting fit, losing weight, de-cluttering the house and living a low impact life. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think those ambitions are horrible at all. In fact, if you have achieved those things all hail to you. I mean to say I believe they are horrible choices for a New Year’s resolution. Why? Because any major life choice made on a tipsy whim just before the stroke of midnight is bound to be a struggle.

These are the sorts to things that take planning, deep thought and perseverance. They take talking to the family and friends to let them know your plans and that you need their co-operation. They also need your own acceptance and will power.

So don’t take on those challenges on a New Year whim. Do it on a new you whim, and that can start any time. If you have tried and already failed, then forget they were ever a resolution meant to start on  January 1. Think of it as a lifestyle choice and you haven’t failed. You can just try again tomorrow.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
L.M. Montgomery