It probably wasn’t the best day to introduce Kate, Will and Pippa to the land, which Mr Smarts and I envisaged as being the site of our new home. It was drizzly, grey, the sort of day really, when we should have been tucked up in front of the fire, with a hot toddy, (obviously not the kids) in our hands. But not to be deterred, we ignored their whining and complaining and headed for the hills.
After the usual, “Are we there yet? Will won’t give me the iPad! I’m hungry. Move over. You’re squashing me. Turn the radio up please. I need to pee!” And with Mr Smarts and I resisting the urge to lean over and clobber the lot of them, after thirty four minutes, we finally arrived at our destination.
Stepping out of the car I was surprised to see the look of utter distaste on Kate’s face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked with concern. “Surely you can’t hate it already? We’ve just arrived.”
“Take a look at what you’re wearing” she said in exasperation. “Gum boots, pink spotty socks and a dress. This is the first time I can actually say I’m embarrassed by you.”
“Mr Smarts, did you hear that?” I asked gleefully. “Kate’s finally embarrassed by something I’m wearing.”
“Well done Kooky. It’s only taken fourteen years,” Mr Smarts said giving me a high five.
“She’s finally acting like a teenager,” I said proudly. “Perhaps we should take a photo?” Kate rolled her eyes and fled up the hill as fast as she could.
Hand in hand Mr Smarts and I ambled up the drive, breathing in the fresh country air when we were rudely interrupted by Kate’s angry screams.
“What now!” Mr Smarts grumbled as we walked faster. Actually, in reality, we slowed our pace but I had better write faster so we give the impression of being responsible parents. Better yet, we ran. We ran as fast as we could, like Olympic champions. In the speed of light we reached the top of the hill to find Kate running around like a maniac with Will chasing her. A worm dangled from his fingers.
“Get away from me!” Kate screamed. “Get that thing away from me.” Laughing, Will picked up another worm and pretended to throw it at her.
“Will, that worm is a living thing,” I reminded him. “Will!” I shouted as he threw it. Kate screamed louder. With threats of him being banished to his room for the rest of his life, peace was, (reluctantly on Will’s behalf) restored.
Slipping and sliding we made our way down to the creek. With images of picnics and frolicking in the water we spent a happy few minutes looking around until Mr Smarts grabbed Kate and began swiping at her legs.
“What are you doing and what’s this thing between my fingers?” she asked.
“It looks like a leech,” Pippa said watching it curiously.
“You’re covered in them,” Will shouted. “Look at your legs! There’s hundreds of them.”
I put my hand to my ears and waited for her deafening screams but none came. Instead, she very calmly watched the leeches fall away and proceeded to walk on. We did find out later, that the leech between her fingers almost made her bite her tongue in half. She just didn’t want to give Will the satisfaction of watching her lose it again.
By this time the rain was coming down harder and faster so we stopped under an enormous tree to wait it out.
“Is that a snake?” Will asked pointing to where Pippa was standing.
“Snake! Where’s the snake?” Pippa shouted anxiously.
“Right there. Near your feet,” Will said. Sure enough, a long black snake was sleeping peacefully beside her.
“Don’t move,” I hissed at Will who had picked up a stick. He looked like he was about to poke it. “Stay still,” I hissed at Pippa who was ready to run. “Everybody calm down. If we don’t move it won’t attack us.”
“But it’s asleep,” Will said. “What’s it going to do?”
“Kooky,” Mr Smarts said. “It’s asleep. It’s cold. It’s not moving. I think it’s safe to leave.”
“Of course it is. I was just testing,” I said as I trudged after them, pretending I couldn’t hear Kate’s frantic screams nor see Will chasing after her with a handful of worms, but I could smell the cow pooh under Pippa’s shoes. That one was impossible to ignore.
Needless to say we stopped at the local pub on the way home and didn’t leave for a very long time.