Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

Mondays Column – Drinking In The Scenery

Hi All!  This was one of those, “Why don’t you write about the time… ” suggestions.  The event in this column certainly made a lasting impression on my girls!



In the not so distant past, I can recall when the many waterholes and creeks around Gladstone were full of young folk seeking a place to cool off during the heat of the summer months.  During the holidays, most of us could be found swimming, dangling off Tarzan ropes, or just lazing about in the cool, clear water under shady trees, in spite of dire warnings from parents, teachers, and the stern faced greenkeeper who patrolled the golf course.

The fact that these waterways also catered for the runoff from the towns gutters, or had sewerage treatment plants located on them, did little to deter we carefree kids.    I can recall passing several treatment plants one afternoon when a tribe of us navigated our inflatable mattresses through to the saltwater section of Auckland Creek, and we were as right as rain afterwards; although our mats sustained a fair bit of damage from hidden snags and, according to one unverified and overly dramatic report, an eel attack. 

But these days when I come across the same creeks and waterholes of my youth I hesitate to walk through them, let alone go for a swim.  And as for drinking out of them… 

But recently, while driving south on the back road to Bundy, we crossed a bridge over a clear running creek, and on impulse I pulled over.  Long Suffering Wife turned to me, “Not another toilet stop?” she said, “You really need to get a check up!” 

“No, oh light of my life,” I muttered through clenched teeth as I flung open my door, “I heard Nature calling, and I’m going to give the girls a quick life lesson.” 

“Who wants a drink?” I asked, opening the back door, my face wreathed in smiles. 

“We’ve got water here dad,” said the eldest Princess holding up a plastic bottle. 

“Ha!” I cried, “Come down to the creek with me, and you’ll taste the sweetest water in the world.”  They looked at me dubiously, so I resorted to yelling, and threats of allowance docking to winkle them out of the car.   I frogmarched the three of them down to the waters edge, where I knelt reverently on the sand; “Ah nature,” I beamed, and leaning forward, scooped a handful of water into my mouth.  It tasted brackish.  Undeterred I swilled down a couple more handfuls before turning to my offspring.  “Right, who wants to go first?” 

All of them were wearing expressions of horror.  “Come on, it won’t kill you,” I said. 

Middle Princess, her eyes wide open, pointed silently upstream to where a cow was standing knee deep in the creek merrily emptying her bladder into the flowing water

I lurched to my feet, gagging and coughing, “Why didn’t you say something?!” I spluttered.  Eldest Princess shook her head, “We thought you had seen it,” she said. 

“Do you think daddy makes a habit of drinking cow urine sweetheart?” I cried, desperately trying to remove the taste by frantically wiping my mouth on my sleeve.  She shrugged, indicating that she didn’t have a clue what daddy made a habit of. 

Long Suffering Wife got out of the car and wandered over to see what all the fuss was about.  Middle Princess told her, and moments later the four of them were rolling about laughing while I stood by clenching and unclenching my fists.  “Right!” I yelled eventually, “Everyone back in the car!” 

As I gunned the family hotrod back onto the highway my dear wife asked, “So, what ‘life lesson’ do you think the girls learned today?”  I kept my eyes on the road and my mouth firmly shut.   

Although I soon learned that no-one wanted to share their water with me, and just how expensive bottled water is when purchased at shop in the middle of nowhere.  Before leaving the store, Nature called again, and as I gazed into the porcelain bowl I wondered where they got their flushing water from, and where it went afterwards.  For some reason, I’d developed a keen interest in the subject…


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