Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the map

The unfortunately named Titwillow, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.

Last week Bundanoon became the first town anywhere to ban bottled water. Bloody good, I say; do away with all that unconscionable landfill and pop a few bubblers into the footpath. A fine way to save the planet.

While such a ban is indeed cause for celebration, I must confess my water-related euphoria was rather quickly replaced with wistful child-based recollections of time well spent in Bundanoon. Ah, for a town of one's family-holiday experience to be so fully in the world's gaze; exciting times indeed.

My parents were keen on weekend adventures and could list, without stopping for breath, the 47 towns within two hours drive of Canberra (they were also big on all things wholemeal and carob but that's another story). So it was that we discovered Bundanoon, not two hours drive from Canberra, that proved the site of so many delightful childhood experiences.

So what did I learn during our trips to Bundanoon?

1. All about the lyric genius of Gilbert and Sullivan, whose cassette of greatest hits we liked to play on a loop. Bear with me; these eight lines are really worth the journey:*

On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
Sang "Willow, titwillow, titwillow"
And I said to him, "Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing "Willow, titwillow, titwillow"
"Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?" I cried
"Or a rather tough worm in your little inside"
With a shake of his poor little head, he replied
"Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!"


2. That small bar heaters in large old houses are almost entirely ineffectual.

3. That an eight and nine year old together can construct a fully functioning, multi-level tree-house with faux smoking chimney.

4. That sometimes parents are prepared to forego their children's company so they (the children) can make finger puppets with other children while they (the parents) must resort to quietly reading the paper and eating croissants.

5. That tennis courts planted with daffodils look flippin' awesome.

Ooh! I'm off to wipe up all this sticky sentimentality before someone trips in it.

* Not really. Don't be a chump; skip them!


the projectivist said...

i went to Bundanoon for my 6th grade school camping trip. mostly what stands out from that trip was the bad food, (apart from the time we made honey coated damper and stews whose crucial ingredient was vegemite) - and the running.

the running at 6am.

Bundanoon could be the reason why i don't like running?

where did you go for your 6th grade school camp?

those weekend trips with your parents sound nice. my parents like beach barbeques with our extended family. those were some good times. back in the days when you could light fires, and sparklers and fireworks. happy days. now it's all about safety. they took the fun away!

Kettle said...

Running at 6am is enough to ruin anyone's experience of anything! Good lord, what a cruel and unusual thing to make a child do. Although, for our sixth grade trip we went to a 'nature' camp where we learned about protecting the planet which involved, amongst other strange things, weighing out plates at the end of each meal to figure out who wasted the least amount of food... I always felt there must be another way of demonstrating this point than getting 60 twelve year olds to mess around with their food scraps?

Anyway, dear Ms P, you are right to have been traumatised by running at 6am. I think you should have Thursday off work to cope with the re-emergence of this shocking memory.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I like the word "chump", as well.

squib said...

I don't know, those lyrics are growing on me, Kettle

Yes! More water fountains. We only have one in Fremantle. It has a very fine working class matyr plaque, doesn't it, Ramon?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Yes indeed Squib.

I have a photo of myself giving a clenched-fist salute beside it.

Puzzled passers-by are not pictured.

Kettle said...

Ramon I agree, 'chump' is a fine word. Imagine coming across a chumpy mammoth or a mammothy chump. Forget money or drugs or cabana boys, I'll know I've made it if I hit upon a chumpy mammoth.

Squib to be honest if I'd written the Titwillow song I'd be pretty bloody pleased with myself. The pacing of the line "'Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?' I cried?" is just magnificent. Mercy indeed.

A friend of mine arrived in Fremantle yesterday! Will he recognise the bubbler by the crowd of fist-clenching saluters or the crowd of puzzled onlookers?

Kettle said...

PS Squib, check out the pencils at Project's blog: http://theprojectivist.blogspot.com/2009/07/pencils.html


squib said...

That reminds me, must get some mugs, thank you kettle