Monday, 3 March 2014

Stop #1: Children's playgrounds in Brisbane

I remember when going to the park was fairly exciting because there were swings made out of old car tyres, a  scarily tall metal slippery slide sitting on its own and maybe some monkey bars. And I was happy with that. Throw in a see-saw or a spinning wheel and I was in heaven. So I've always thought my children were incredibly lucky to live in very close proximity to a great park with all of the above plus lots more in modern plastic all under a huge shade sail.  However, as we travelled to the big city, the first stop on this around Australia trip, I realised how provincial our park really is...

I'll spare you the details of our last week in the house. In short, it was 15 hour days of packing, cleaning, yelling, swearing and manoeuvring our way around endless hiccups to at last pull away from our spotless and empty house.

We drove straight down to Yeronga, Brisbane, where our good friends Geoff and Peppa live with their two daughters (of 1770 fame). Yeronga was one of the worst hit suburbs of the 2011 floods, and also one of Brisbane's most exclusive. Luckily these guys now live in a great house well out of the flood zone, having been around 10cms from water entering their previous stilt home in Tennyson, one suburb upriver. They evacuated that house with a 9 day old baby and all their possessions within a 36 hour period.

Three years on, we had a lovely dinner, drank wine, gossiped and went to bed absolutely exhausted. Waking up feeling decidedly shell shocked, we took the kids down to the Tennyson playground, opposite the Queensland Tennis Centre and home of the Brisbane International. Marguerite laid eyes on this playground and didn't close them for about half an hour. There were age related areas, a water play area, a cubed climbing area, bike and scooter tracks, educational signs explaining historical buildings and the role of the river, a cafe serving good coffee and food... all looking out over the Brisbane River. No wonder kids are so overstimulated these days- God knows I felt like I needed a little lie down after wandering around trying to keep an eye on each of my children. There were also a few kids parties on the go at the park too, just to keep things interesting. Anyone would think I never feed my kids: as soon as they see bunting and party hats, they become Scabby McScabsons and weasel their way up to the chip table quick smart. Luckily for us two out of our combined four children threw wobblies that only food and sleep could cure, so we headed home after 45 minutes. Marguerite thought this was quite cruel, but I lured her out with the promise of TV. She's been on quite the come-down after pretty much watching ABC4Kids for 12 hours straight every day for the last 2 weeks.

We headed out that afternoon to another park on the Brisbane Corso, this one was a bit older but still impressive by Sunrise Beach standards! Caesar managed to fall off a 1.2 metre ledge onto the sand floor of the park (he cried, but only because he wanted to get back up on the ledge. I am a bit fearful of what's to come with him, honestly!) and Marguerite sat quietly enough in one of the tunnels, eating the entire contents of a jar of olives (I think she left most of the pips in the jar, but definitely drank the olive water/oil).  We attempted to catch up with friends who had come along and all of whom had children or one on the way. Great plan to meet at the park so the kids are entertained and we can chat- clearly the bleach fumes were to blame here as I am certain not one conversation came to a natural end, but instead were interrupted by some child-related incident. It was fun, but let's face it, catch ups are always vastly more efficient without children. Fell asleep on the couch at 7:30pm.

So it's Monday. It's March. We're in Northern NSW at my parents' house for a week, more than enough time to re-pack the camper- we've already identified a few things that need to be culled from our overloaded house on wheels before heading off into the unknown. For now, we are slowly decompressing and enjoying actually being able to give the kids a bit of attention. I even promised to read a long book to Marguerite during the day tomorrow, maybe go to a park. And not a box or piece of packing tape in sight: I'm feeling more vacation-y by the minute!

PS apologies for the lack of photos- I packed the camera into the car a few days ago and have only just found it again.

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