If you’re a parent, you’ve heard those words a few times.
‘Name ten things that aren’t boring.’ Ditto.
‘You could go for a swim.’ There are thirty or more kilometres of sand on the Venus Bay beach. The water temperature is fine in summer. One time my heart nearly stopped when a fin went past, but it was a seal, and it surfed a wave or two with me, then took off. A penguin popped up one time too. Crabs are plentiful, along with the odd bit of a seaweed. A nipper got my toe the other day, but he was there first. A wave carried me away.
‘You could take the dog for a walk up the lookout.’ Anderson’s Inlet stretches away in front of the lookout. Kangaroos are always visible. The rule is, ‘A kiss for the first person to see a kangaroo.’ Somebody always scores a kiss within thirty seconds, although they can be tricky to spot. Their brown fur camouflages them against the flood plain the Tarwin River runs through. The dog likes to run through puddles on the way.
‘How about a game of shuttle-cock?’ There’s no breeze today. It’s the calm before the storm. The grass out back is soft underfoot. Perfect conditions for shuttle-cock, although we’re not allowed to damage the two flowering gums struggling for life by the back fence. If ever they take off and flower, the kangaroo paws will breathe a sigh of relief. The wattyl birds sit on the flower stems and poke their beaks in the flowers. The stems move from side to side with the weight.
‘Why don’t you go for a ride?’ We’ve a few old bikes in the garage, picked up over the years. The roads are unsurfaced, although every so often we get asked by the council if we would vote, and pay, for road surfacing. We like the country feel of the gravel roads, although they get a bit dusty in summer. It’s a small price to pay. Last year Maddie and I rode through the reserve to the beach and then along the sand. The sand was soft and we had to push from time to time.
‘Would you like to play a game of cards?’ There’s a full arsenal of games and card decks at the house. I’m leading Shelley two-nil this weekend in Spite and Malice, a rare occurrence. We can play Uno, Spit, Fish, even Twenty-One with the gambling chips my mother-in-law bought for us. Some days, back when my father-in-law was alive, we’d start playing Canasta after breakfast, stop for lunch, and get back into it as soon as the dishes were cleared. ‘Are you heavy, love?’ he’d ask, before finishing the hand. It won’t be long before both girls are ready to play Canasta.
‘Boring. And you cheat.’ How would a ten year old know?
‘Read a book.’ We had friends come to stay last weekend. They forgot to bring books, but we have a few on the bookshelf. They came with the first house, purchased seventeen years ago. That house is gone now, knocked down seven years ago when we realised it was too small for four people, let alone having friends stay. We built a modern house with a dishwasher. The kids don’t have to wash the dishes. We can laze around and read books, and often do.
‘Boring.’ Not quite true. She often reads for hours.
‘Do you want to play tennis?’ We’re members of the Tarwin Lower tennis club, about ten kilometres away. We can be on the courts in ten minutes, and sometimes we’re there every day. The dog comes with us and gets tied to the net post, and watches the balls go back and forth. The four of us can play a decent game of doubles now, and it won’t be long before they’re taking Shelley and me on, and beating us.
‘Boring. Why can’t I play on my 3DS?’