By Vita ForestOn Sunday, the kids and I opal-carded it around town. ($2.50 all day travel. Bargain). We caught two trains and four buses. Our mission was to find a good place to stop for lunch and we were a bit Goldilocks about it. First we went to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, but Max didn’t want to eat there (the grass area was “too small”). Then we went back to the city and got off the bus at Hyde Park. But there was some kind of loud thudding outdoor concert going on, and I thought it was “too noisy.” Lucy also tried out a few cartwheels on the grass and pronounced it “too hard.” So after another short bus ride, we went into the Sydney Botanical Gardens, one of my most favourite places of all. The grass was soft, there was plenty of it, there were nice things to look at and it was not too noisy. We all declared it “just right” and sat down to eat our picnic.
We sat just outside the fence that encloses Government House. Our backs against the stone, sitting on the “just right” grass watching the world go by – the ferries dancing on the harbour, the people strolling by under their sunhats, the myna birds darting for scraps. We took off our shoes and wriggled our toes, as we ate our food and sipped our tea (Earl Grey and Rooibus with milk poured from a tiny jar I keep for just this kind of outing). Max tried to fit through the bars in the fence around Government House. Although he could fit his legs and arms through, his head and hips were “too wide”.
Everything was lovely.And then it was not.
Max and Lucy began to bicker and then there was some pushing. Then there was some shoving. Words were thrown. Then socks. One sock sailed over the fence and into the garden of Government House. The sock belonged to Max. He tried to fit through the fence again. But as before, his head and hips were “too wide” and his legs and arms were “too short” to reach the sock. Muttering in an annoyed kind of fashion, I said – there was simply nothing for it, we would have to walk ALL the way around the fence, past the fig trees, past Fiona Hall’s Folly for Mrs Macquarie, past the stand of bamboo, past the sculpture-that-everyone-wants-to-climb-on-but-you-are-not-supposed-to, up the lawn and into the gate of Government House.
With much huffing and puffing, we followed said-route and arrived in the gardens of Government House.
It wasn’t half bad – there was a tinkling fountain, there was the softest of soft grass, there were luminous titian clivias in the depths of the shade beneath the fig trees. (The gravel was uncomfortable under Max’s bare feet, but that is what happens when you lose a sock…)“You get the sock!” I ordered the siblings and went to look at the herbaceous borders. There were some quite lovely plantings all in mauve and violet… Lucy declared that she would pay $5 to whoever retrieved the sock, but then changed her mind once Max grabbed it.
He sat down near the wisteria to put on his shoes and then discovered…
He had lost the other sock!So we retraced our steps, past the fountain, past the clivias, under the fig trees, over the gravel, out the gate, along the path and over to Fiona Hall’s Folly for Mrs Macquarie. Where he found his other missing sock, waiting for him on the grass.
That soft green grass.
And there ends the case of the mysterious missing sock.