Tracey and I took the kids 50k down the road today to Tin Can Bay for a bike ride and muck-around. It’s flat, there’s a nice bike path, and there’s a fantastic park and beachy area to splash about in.
However, it was the drive to get there which still has us talking, with some drivers performing road gymnastics around us. It was like an auto Cirque du Soleil – defying logic and truly breathtaking.
But it was the red Greyhound bus who really stole the show – the driver slipping between other vehicles like the Knight Bus from Harry Potter. He even pulled out and had to slam the brakes on to pull back in because of some inconvenient oncoming traffic.
“Where are the police when you need them?” Tracey muttered beside me. “Slow down. Put some distance between us.”
I was already on the brake.
“I’m glad you’re not a hoon like that,” she said.
It wasn’t just sheer common sense and choosing life which stopped me. We were in the Paj and pulling a trailer with all our bikes in it. That we could reach the speed limit at all was a miraculous feat worthy of its own show.
Of course, our kids in the seats behind us were soaking all this up. They were ohhing and ahhing along with us. But it was the police comment which set them to talking.
“Mum,” said Master8, “you’ve been in trouble with the police.”
“I have not!” said Tracey.
“Yeah, you have,” insisted Master8. “You swore at a policeman the other day.”
I looked at my wife. This was news to me.
“I was there too, Mum,” said Miss9.
“I didn’t,” Tracey said to me.
“Do you swear?” I asked her, and got an eye-roll for my efforts.
“Don’t you remember?” Master8 asked. “We were parked at school and the policeman pulled up beside you with his siren and everything.”
“That was just to let me know I was parked in the wrong spot,” said Tracey. “And I was very polite, thank you very much.”
“You said, ‘Ah, shit. Sorry about that’,” said Master8.
“Sure sounds like you swore to an officer of the law to me,” I told Tracey. “Nice example you’re setting.”
“The thing is, I’ve never been booked or had a ticket,” said Tracey a little shrilly, trying to get the conversation back on track.
“And you, Dad? Have you had any tickets?”
“Ummmm,” I said, to stall for time while I did some quick maths in my head. “I think I’ve had six tickets? Six or seven?”
The silence behind me was fairly condemning. I felt I had to justify myself.
“But I do most the driving,” I spluttered. Plus, I’m ten years older than Tracey, so I’ve had nearly 30 years to accumulate tickets. “You’ve got to remember,” I told the kids, “I’ve been driving a lot longer than your mother.”
But Master8 was having none of it. He found his voice at last.
“So shouldn’t you know better?”
Ouch. Burn. Out-parented by one of the kids. Again.
If there’s one thing worse than a greyhound on your tail it’s a kid.
“You’re driving home,” I told Tracey.
“Probably best,” she told me. “We can’t afford a ticket at the moment.”
“Just try keep the language down,” I countered. “There’s children present.”
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’