Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express on Wednesday 9 June 2010. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because the Express columns are not on line. You can see all the columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010It’s raining in Sydney as I write. It feels like it’s been raining for ever. It’s also cold.
Well, perhaps not by Armidale standards. But once Sydney gets damp and cold, it gets miserable. The place simply isn’t geared for it.
Life goes on in the midst of damp gloom.
While the girls were at school, weekends were dominated by sport. Getting there, watching, getting back.
Sydney has some very good sporting facilities, but most sports do involve lots of travel. There simply isn’t the ready availability of local grounds that we take for granted in Armidale. There isn’t the space.
Today with the girls at university, weekend sport still features heavily, but with less parental driving.
Saturday is always netball.
Eldest is coaching two junior teams and also plays. This means two netball time slots, separated by a time gap of several hours.
I usually take Helen to the first game, the ten year olds, and then watch. This Saturday I found a place by a tree somewhat out of the wind.
I did feel sorry for the girls in their light netball tunics. Still, they did not seem to mind.
The worst thing about a wet Saturday is that my wife cannot get her obligatory exposure to the sea at Bronte.
Every fine Saturday she gathers there with her side of the family for coffee and just to sit.
I cannot share this obsession. Growing up in Armidale, the sea is a place to visit on holidays. Then it’s great. Otherwise, I get bored rigid.
The practical problem that I face is that Dee gets quite crabby without her Saturday Bronte exposure. It’s a bit like a heroin addict on withdrawal!
Sunday is always ZClare Agrippina Belshaw’s hockey.
ZClare Agrippina? Well may you ask.
The Z was added first. When queried by a Facebook friend, the answer was why not? Then Agrippina was added after a famous if somewhat strange lady from Ancient Rome.
ZClare Agrippina is a hockey goalie. It seems to suit Clare’s character: periods of danger and intense excitement, broken by longer periods when she has absolutely nothing to do!
When Clare first started playing hockey and I wanted to encourage her we worked out a deal. For every save she got a coke, for every goal she lost two cokes.
As she got better, the rules were changed to loss of four cokes for a goal.
Some other parents were just a tad appalled. Fancy giving the girl a coke!
I must say that I took the view that it kept her playing sport, and also gave us a personal fun thing that we shared. The coke has now dropped by the wayside, but the hockey continues.
At the June long weekend, she is playing her first representative match in the NSW State Women’s League Championships at Bathurst. She is playing in Division 1 just below the main State league. We have to work out whether or not we can get there.
Mind you, this raises another issue that will be familiar to many parents. Clare will want to stay with and mix with the team.
There is nothing wrong with this. It’s all part of the normal adjustment process that all we parents go through as our kids grow up. However, I still find it hard to get used too.
I seem to have come some distance from my starting point.
It’s still very gloomy, but at least it’s stopped raining. I have to try to dry some clothes now for the week. Talk to you again next week.