It’s been a hectic couple of months here at Chez Oldfield, I’ve had major spinal surgery, filmed an all pervading reality TV show, juggled two corporate gigs and seen my 17 year marriage teetering on the precipice of divorce.
But things are getting back on track. I’m taking some time off from my busy schedule to refocus and re-centre and focus on my two little boys, Harry (6) and Bertie (4).
So I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve been doing the last few weeks.
Most of my activities have centred around Bertie (since he’s not yet at school) and we’ve had a ball.
Bertie is, like most little boys, dinosaur mad ! There is nothing that little man does not know about the Mesozoic, so our first stop was the Australian Museum.
The Australian Museum is a veritable treasure trove for budding palaeontologists like Bertie. Based in College Street in the city, it is a short walk from my favourite bars on Oxford Street. Sadly, Bertie didn’t have his fake ID, so Midnight Shift had to wait and we stuck to the museum.
Once inside this hallowed hall of history, I was soon parted with an extortionate sum of money as an entry fee. But it was worth it, to take my little man back in time. We traversed antiquity; the Industrial era, the Middle Ages, the Victoria Rees era, all the way to the Age of Reptiles !
The museum contains 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and eight life-sized models. The high-tech interactive displays allow you to look learn and listen about these fascinating creatures.
So impressed was I with the exhibition, I could even smell the foul sulfuric odours of a primordial swamp. But Bert assured me he had just farted.
An elderly volunteer sidled up to Bertie carrying a lump of rock.
“Hey little guy, do you know what this is” asked the crumpled looking gent motioning at said rock.
“It’s a fossil !” replied Bert brightly.
“But do you know what it is a fossil of ? probed the volunteer.
“I do not know what it is a fossil of” admitted Bert.
“It’s coprolite !” revealed the volunteer “I bet you don’t know what that is ?”
With an eyeroll, Bert replied “That’s fossilised dinosaur poo !”
“Wow ! How did you know that ?” asked the volunteer with delight and surprise.
“I know my shit !” smiled my little smartarse as he sauntered off to find something else labelled “Do not touch”.
A great day was had by all, with perhaps the exception of the volunteer who looked a little pale as we left, which reminded me that we needed some sunshine and Vitamin D.
So I planned a lovely picnic for Bertie and me down at Sydney’s famous Narrabeen lakes.
Nestled behind Narrabeen and Collaroy Beaches, Narrabeen Lakes is pregnant with wildlife, activities and pollution.
Armed with a bag of lettuce leaves and frozen peas (it’s not a good idea to feed them bread – apparently it is the avian version of junk food) we set out to find some ducks to feed.
It wasn’t long before a flock of ducks followed by a gaggle of geese figured we were packing food.
Surrounded by fluffed-up feathers and snapping beaks, Bert and I attempted to equitably dole out salad. The rabble turned rowdy. Turns out these bird brains are destined for a stint on The Biggest Loser and actively dodge salad.
Eschewing their greens, the largest goose started attacking my Louis Vuitton Ellipse, which I was now swinging to try and cut a swathe through this murderous mob.
With Bert on my hip, kicking out at the barrage of beaks chasing us, we made a break for the car. Thank God and a bunch of German engineers for keyless entry, we made it to the driver’s side door, I threw Bert in the passenger seat and shut the door, narrowly avoiding slamming the neck of the ringleader, I hit the central locking (which in hindsight was ridiculous, because you know, they’re birds, but I wasn’t taking any Tipi Hedren-esque chances).
Refusing to be overcome, Bert (now in his car seat) and I drove around to the other side of the lake to hire a paddle bike and explore the lake.
Clearly I was still rattled by our recent run in with the feathered residents of the lake and didn’t put a great deal of thought in to our next adventure.
After handing over $25 for a half hour on one of these contraptions (essentially a bicycle for two with floating wheels) and a couple of life-jackets, it quickly dawned on me that my companion was effectively a foul-mouthed midget at no more than 120cm tall.
Undeterred, I committed to do all the pedalling whilst Bert would be responsible for steering.
Like every 4 year old, Bert has the attention span of a butterfly with ADD. He plotted a course to one of the mid-lake islands. 30 seconds later he chartered a new trajectory towards the bridge. 30 seconds later he’d had jack of it and jumped in. Fully clothed. Apparently to fight a shark.
The lactic acid burning my legs after a solid 90 seconds of pedalling made me somewhat wobbly as I attempted to maintain my balance and rescue said shark from Bert.
Refusing to defy physics, the paddle bike and I went arse-over-tit.
As I bobbed my head out of the slimy water, I could just make out Bert wisely dog paddling away from his mother who had transformed in to a raging swamp monster.
Dragging the water-logged paddle bike to the shore, Bert sat happily on the beach commentating on proceedings for an ever-growing audience of by-standers.
Handed some towels from a kindly on-looker (which I later returned freshly laundered) I took my delinquent son and whatever dignity I had left and squelched back to the car.
Driving home in silence, I began to itch. Everywhere. It seems we had taken home a delightful souvenir of sea-lice.
Sitting together in a bath of oatmeal and Pinetarsol, Bert opined he’d had “the best day ever !” and had enough material for two weeks’ worth of “News” at pre-school.
Figuring one day, in the very distant future, that I would laugh about this, I scooped him up for a big cuddle and vowed our next adventure would involve not leaving the house.