I’ve always been a fan of watching television.
As a child in England, I can vividly recall the time my teacher asked our class to study a book for a memory test. The next
day we would be required to give a brief report on it
While most of my fellow 7-year-olds opted for classic children’s tales – think Treasure Island, Famous Five etc etc – I memorised the TV listings in our local paper.
Next day in class when asked what I had studied I said the TV Guide and was able to recite the dates and times of all the kids’ programmes on all three channels for that week.
I think today I would be classed as something of a nerd but back then I was fully immersed in what was on the box and had a huge fan club of fellow pupils – who presumably didn’t have time to read the TV listings in the paper – as a result.
For a while after my report, kids would simply come up and ask me what was on telly that afternoon once we’d finished school. I was able to tell them that such and such would be on at 4.30pm followed by another kids’ programme at 5pm and so on.
Fun times indeed.
Now fast forward approximately 53 years and here I am on Grandad duty at the home of the Boomerang Child. And I’m looking forward to watching some telly. The littlies are having a nap and so I thought I’d be able to sit down in front of the gogglebox and watch something. Anything.
But there’s a problem.
The moko have been struggling to get off to sleep for their afternoon nap of late and seeing as the telly is pretty close to their bedroom the decision has been made to keep things quiet and not turn it on.
According to Mrs P my jaw practically hit the floor when that directive was issued so rather than have me sitting around sulking she gave me $10, ushered me out the door and told me to go for a walk and get a coffee.
It felt a little like I was being paid by my big sister to bugger off for a couple of hours so she could get up to mischief with her boyfriend, if you know what I mean.
I decided to take a walk down to the local park. It’s a nice little spot with a small bushwalk leading out onto a marshland. There’s a boardwalk that goes right across the middle with the odd little patch of grass where people stop to feed the ducks.
It was overlooking one of these little beaches that I sat on an empty bench sipping away at my coffee.
Not long after I’d sat down, a bloke I presumed was a dad emerged from the bush about 50 yards from me. He had a toddler in her pushchair and a small dog on a lead attached to the side of it.
As I watched he took the little one from the pushchair, gave her something which I assume was a slice of bread, and then encouraged her to break it into bits and feed the ducks which were already gathering.
What happened next occurred very quickly so I hope I can do it justice.
The same time as the toddler started getting the hang of feeding the ducks, an elderly lady emerged from the bush track and stopped to chat with the dad.
I would say his attention was diverted from the little one for roughly the same amount of time it takes for someone to turn their head and proffer a greeting.
Unfortunately, in that millisecond, a large white goose which had been milling around at the back of the throng of ducks thrust himself through the crowd and grabbed a large chunk of bread from the toddler’s hand, turned and headed back into the water.
Unimpressed, the toddler started to go after him.
Then things got even more interesting.
Dad, seeing his child about to leap into the water in chase of a bread-snatching goose, exploded out of the blocks and grabbed the little mite just as she was about to dip her big toe into the swamp.
Fifty yards away, instinct kicked in for me and I was on my feet. Coffee still in one hand, adrenalin pumping. Man, if I’d had a bag of popcorn it would have been like an outdoor movie.
Back at the scene of the incident things were taking another interesting turn.
The dog, still tied to the pushchair, had been sitting patiently when all of a sudden it hit him. His baby and his dad seemed to be having fun chasing that big white bird so why couldn’t he?
And so off he charged into the water, dragging the pushchair behind him.
By this stage I was on my feet again wondering what I could do to help but Dad seemed to have things under control. He quickly deposited the toddler into the safe hands of the elderly lady and then turned back and waded into the water after the dog and the pushchair.
I would say the pooch was lucky he did.
His attempt to get to the thieving goose was a valiant effort, but once he realised dog-paddle is very hard when you are towing an anchor it then became all about keeping his head above water.
Luckily, he had a master who obviously didn’t mind getting wet and just as it looked like the deeper water was going to come into play Dad arrived with a safe pair of hands – one to grab the dog and the other to grab the now completely saturated pushchair.
Back on dry land Dad thanked the elderly lady for her help and tried his best to clean out the swampy goo all over the pushchair. He appeared resigned to failure in that respect and wearily placed the little one back in the wet seat for the trip home.
The dog shook himself dry and obediently trotted along beside his Dad and baby as they re-entered the bush track and were lost from sight
And somewhere in the distance a thieving white goose let out a couple of honks of laughter.
Well, I sat back down, thought about what I’d just seen right in front of me and came to the conclusion sometimes real life is a lot more interesting than watching television.