Yesterday, on the lo-o-ongest day ever (what is it about turning the clocks back after daylight savings that makes the day last for 48 hours?), as the air in the house grew ever-more toxic and my tired little boys ran in circles of ever-diminishing size, we packed them into the car and drove out into the fresh air.
To a tiny town, with a park and a bike track and an ice-cream shop. Where the fishing boats come in to the wooden pier and the catch is unloaded in bright blue trays full of ice. Where people sit about, with not much on their minds beyond tidal changes and whether the fish are biting.
We watched men in singlets and thongs wash down huge, gleaming boats called ‘Wideload’ and ‘Mama’s Cookin’. Mr8 tried the gears on his bike for the first time – ‘Mum, it’s like wearing flippers when I swim’. Mr5 came to a dead halt every time a bike came in the opposite direction, which made it much easier for me to keep up with him.
And we sat on the rocks among the seagulls, ate lemon iceblocks and watched the patrols of pelicans gobble up dinner in their huge beaks, marvelling at the blue/black colour of their legs. They drifted along and then, suddenly, rose as one, as if by telepathic signal, and flew overhead, casting ‘hunormous’ (Mr5’s favourite word for general bigness’) shadows on our out-stretched legs.
All that, and it was still only 3.30pm when a storm drove us back to the car to go home.