Public transport scenes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Yesterday while walking to the tram stop during peak hour I saw traffic banked up four or five cars deep around a roundabout, at every entry point. Nobody was going anywhere, but nobody was honking their horns, either. When I came closer, I could see that a mother duck and her nine ducklings were waddling across the road, and all the cars were cheerfully, patiently, waiting for them to safely pass.

You know when you are talking really loudly over music and then suddenly the music stops and everyone hears you say something and it's really embarrassing? That happened to a lady at a tram stop in the city today. One minute she was having a perfectly private conversation with the young man next to her, and the next minute two trams rolled away at the same time and all the traffic stopped at the lights and she yelled to just about all of us, "LET'S GO TO A SEX SHOP ON THE WAY HOME."

On Bourke Street, a busker was playing the didgeridoo to a hip hop backing track. I don't know if that was culturally appropriate. Is it culturally appropriate? Anyway he was pretty good and the music was pretty catchy, and I think the old woman in front of me thought so too, because she started singing "bap-bap-bap, bap-bap-bap" along with the beat. The old man next to her disagreed. "I'd pay him $50 to shut up!" he said, and the old woman stopped singing. "Yuhumph," she responded, and I'm guessing that answer was deliberately obtuse. Then, subtly at first but with increasing gusto, she began to nod her head to the music again. "Do you think that music this loud is even legal?" grumbled the old man, and the nodding stopped. "Hmm, it's loud," she gave him. The old man huffed and puffed and turned his back on the busker. And then I saw the old woman's foot begin to tap...

Mysterious letters

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The “mysterious letters” project is as quirky as it is lovely, and probably impossible, but nevertheless delightful.

Artists and writers Lenka Clayton and Michael Crowe have set themselves the task of writing a letter to every household in the world.

Yes, EVERY household.

Don’t think too hard about it, because once you do you’ll be running statistics in your head: population numbers versus the time you estimate it takes them to learn a name and address, write a letter, scan it, stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and post it. Proving Lenka and Michael can complete this job is like proving Father Christmas is real. Stop trying and just believe.

They are working towards their goal one town at a time, delivering the letters en masse on one day. As they arrive, the letters create confusion, consternation and a lot of joy in the residents, first as they read their letters, and then once they begin to discover that all their neighbours received mysterious letters from strangers that day as well.

When they dropped the letters on an unsuspecting little town in Ireland, it caused such a stir that the BBC picked up the story.

So far, they have dropped letters on towns in France, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and the USA. All of the letters are scanned before they are sent, and you can read them on the Mysterious Letters blog.

Scout says


"When I grow up I will be Father Christmas. Ralph can be my elf." ("Father Christmas" is pronounced "Farmer Kitmass")

* * * * *

Scene: the cherubs are yelling at each other.

Me: Use your words. Scout, what words do you have? Scout: Umm, PINK!

* * * * *

"When I grow up I want to be Mummy."

* * * * *

Ralph (pointing at TV): Daddy! Me: That's a talking boat. Is Daddy a talking boat? Scout: No, silly. Daddy is a person. Me: Daddy is one of our favourite people, isn't he. Scout: Yes. (Pause) But he is not very good at cleaning.

* * * * *

While baking biscuits...

Scout: Are we using your special recipe book today Mummy? Me: Yes, and when you grow up and move out of home I will give it to you so you can cook all your favourite recipes. Scout (dissolving into tears): Why do you want me to move away from you? I don't want to go!

Scout got two biscuits that day.

* * * * *

Scout: Why did the button fall off my jacket? Me: It's just getting old. Scout: No YOU are getting old.

* * * * *

Said every night at bedtime, like a litany of love:

"Mummy I love you forever. I never want another Mummy. I never want another Daddy. I never want another Ralph."

* * * * *

"We are going to have noodles and croissant! That's what I'm going to type on the Internet."

* * * * *

"Not 'boddle' Mummy, 'bottle.'" And just like that, my child calls me a bogan.

* * * * *

Scout (wearing her pink, plastic high-heels and carrying two hand-bags): Bye-bye Mummy, I'm heading out. Me: Oh ok. Where are you going? Scout: To the Lost City.

* * * * *

Scene: kids are playing with their doctor kit. Without warning, Ralph jabs me in the leg with a toy needle.

Me: Yoww! Scout: We are doctors Mummy. It will only hurt for a second. Me (nursing actual bruise): Oh good. Will you both be doctors when you grow up? (This is a previously-stated ambition) Scout (bursting into tears): WAAAH! No! I want to be a duck when I grow up! Can I be a duck? Me: Um. Okayyy... Scout (after a thoughtful pause): But will you still let me come inside the house when I am a duck?