I’m currently “Down Under” for a short stint of those rare Grampa privileges that are preferred on me from time to time. This is my 31st trip to Australia over a period of 20 years. Being a divorced father with kids growing up in the other side of the world has been quite an experience – magic moments during my short visits but sad that I have not been able to spend as much time with them as I would have liked. One of the tragic realities of us Zimbabweans is that so many families have been split up with members thereof living all over the world. Few enjoy having grandparents living within a few blocks of the family along with cousins and aunts staying in the suburbs nearby.
The first thing one notices in the “Diaspora”, and oft quotes, is that fact that “Everything works!”. One can ride or be driven along miles of unbroken tarmacadam with traffic lights magically performing as they should. I have, however, digressed
Being such a book worm, I was so chuffed to be driven down to the local library by my elder daughter accompanied by 2 very young granddaughters. This immaculate library houses about 5000 books – from all the latest novels by the likes of Baldacci (you must read “Long Shadows” ) and Grisham on 7 day take outs to so many well written, yet forgotten, favourites from days gone by. All details of the publications are recorded on their computers with several well placed screens allowing visitors to search for their preferences .
Im now reading a one such neglected book based around a Titanic type ship traversing the Atlantic in 1907 – Murder on the Lusitania. Highly recommended page turner with very descriptive, yet grammatically absorbing, usage of the English language along with quotes to remember – eg “A florid complexion hinted at a fondness for alcohol”(Marston). In our school days we were always prompted to seek out quotes worthy of a lifetime remembrance – a habit I perpetuate
Of special note was a section at the back of the library where kids could learn about books interspersed with a few gadgets and toys to keep their interest in literature from waning. One minute Zoe (3) was sitting with a book in hand; the next jumping on the bean bags with a new mate. The best part, of course, was seeing 10 month old Hailey stand unaided saving the best part for when we returned home. She took her first ever step just in front of dad soon after he arrived home from work.
My introduction to modern day parenting then continued with 20 minutes of watching what must be the most educational children’s TV Show – Peppa Pig. So many of life’s lessons taught using comic sketches of a Pig Family – from driving skills to building houses and good eating habits. Click here to see some of these videos.
Late afternoon with all the crying and antics that always complement bath time and supper was a (not so) subtle note for Grampa to quietly disappear to the rocking chair in his room – most grandparents are grateful that they don’t have to deal with that every day so I’m sure I’ll tire of it all before the end of my stay – fun whilst it lasts but I know it won’t be long before I return home to play golf with my Zimbabwe mates. Cheers from dadaland – Mike G.