Peace, quiet and fishy friends

Of all the places that I’ve sat to write a post, I have to admit that this one sure beats my sofa. Not in levels of comfort perhaps, but definitely when it comes to the view.

Today I’m stretched out on the boardwalk at Manley wharf as I watch the ferries arrive and the sea gulls bobbing around on the water as they wait for someone to drop their chips. My new MacBook Air is being given its first official outing and I’m completely alone – give or take the several 100 other people milling around me having a drink. So granted I’m not strictly alone alone, but on my own, if that makes sense.

I know to many this wouldn’t be a particularly special event, but for me it’s a very rare occasion indeed to be out on my own during daylight hours – let alone out with my laptop and two free hands no less.

Weekend trips out are normally far more child-orientated affairs for us, involving a playground, somewhere dispensing food, hot drinks and tranquilizers and the necessary toilet no more than a quick sprint away.

There’s usually ice cream to be administered and squabbles to be broken up.  There’s always a pram loaded up besides me with at least 10 bags containing sandwiches (that never get eaten), spare clothes (that never get worn) and 5 litres of water (which never get drunk). It’s the basics of Parenting 101 – always be prepared.

On this trip however – or for this precious hour and a half at least – my beloved offspring are being entertained by Daddy, a clown fish and a couple of sharks. No, they aren’t on the set of ‘Nemo the Seaquel’, just gazing at all things with fins across the water from where I’m sitting in Oceanworld.

Now I don’t normally like to be absent on such outings with them, after all, one of the perks of being a parent is watching your child see new things and have fun. But over the course of the last few weeks we’ve already covered most of Sydney’s attractions – including all the fishes, turtles, sharks and stingrays that the average adult can handle.

So no offense to Oceanworld, but I think I’ve had all the aquatic action I need to keep me going for a year or two. Besides, I’m safe in the knowledge that two cameras have gone forth and at least 100 photos will return.

My daughter has an air of Japanese tourist about her when it comes to picture-taking. If something happens to be in front of her, whether it’s standing, sitting, sleeping or even stuffed, then it’s snapped – several times over. If it’s a particularly large object she’ll take a series of pictures, presumably so they can be joined up at a later date.

I do keep pointing out to her that taking a photo of a very small fish in a very large glass tank won’t really result in anything except her reflection and a rather grainy looking blob, but she is determined to prove me wrong. And indeed she has on a number of occasion. Most recently with her in-depth study of a sleeping turtle in Sydney Aquarium.

Bless her, if I printed out everything she photographed there would be a gaping great hole the size of England in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest, or wherever it is that Kodak harvest their photo paper from.

I can’t complain of course. Her shutterbug nature was passed down through the umbilical cord and all of her compulsive tendencies to document are learned direct from the master herself – me.

Right, my time is now up so I must go reclaim my family and make a hasty beeline for the car park. We’ve got 5 minutes till our 2 free hours are up and then we’ll be charged a small fortune for every extra minute that we take.

I may not have had long to sit and relax on this occasion, but it was just enough to remind me how much fun it can be to trail behind my children as they dash from bored-looking fish to bored-looking fish – camera at the ready.


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