Ceme­tery trip gravely ge­nial

DAY OUT KEEPS KIDS FROM IN­DOOR BORE­DOM

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mur­phymi­randa

“MUUUM! I’m booooored!”

Wel­come to mid-Jan­uary, where for some fam­i­lies the long sum­mer hol­i­day has gone from shiny to whiny.

It’s an­other week un­til we can dis­tract the kids with back to school build-up, so we’re try­ing any­thing to avoid the hol­i­day dol­drums.

Many par­ents are back at work, mean­ing the daily house-of-cards ar­range­ment of camps or play­dates or some other child­care.

The lucky ones might still be on hol­i­day with their loved ones, per­haps trapped in a shack or a car­a­van or — god for­bid — a tent, fast run­ning out of ac­tiv­i­ties that don’t in­volve sand or get­ting hu­mil­i­ated at Mo­nop­oly.

Or per­haps they are hav­ing a ‘stay­ca­tion’, hol­i­day­ing at home.

This is where you try to cram 11.75 months of house­hold jobs into one week, while your kids mope around, fight­ing.

When I was a lass I learnt early not to com­plain of bore­dom, as our par­ents’ dis­mis­sively chirpy re­ply would be some­thing like: “Read a book! Write a let- ter!” Or worse, they’d make us dust the skirt­ing boards and pol­ish all the brass — good train­ing should I ever au­di­tion for a maid in Down­ton Abbey.

Con­se­quently, I’ll have no truck with this ‘I’m bored’ non­sense.

Es­pe­cially now I’ve dis­cov­ered the per­fect school hol­i­day ac­tiv­ity to end the whin­ing.

It’s a day trip to a ceme­tery!

Now, hear me out. It ticks all the boxes — it’s out­doorsy, it’s ed­u­ca­tional and it’s free.

Hype up the spook fac­tor and it’s got more thrills than Luna Park.

And bet your life there are no queues to get in. I should ex­plain. Tak­ing a coastal walk on a moody day re­cently I coaxed my chil­dren into an im­promptu wan­der around one of Syd­ney’s his­toric grave­yards.

Sure, they were wary at first.

Maybe

“to­tally

creeped out” is a more ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion.

But as we tip­toed be­tween the crum­bling tombs it got less fright­ful and more fas­ci­nat­ing. We played “find the old­est grave” and “find the most dra­matic death”. Good times.

The nine-year-old re­ported solemnly that most of the dearly de­parted had died of old age. “Ex­cept the ones that were killed by lasers,” added the four-year-old. (Hon­estly, his grasp of 19th­cen­tury Aus­tralian his­tory is rub­bish. Thank good­ness he starts school shortly.)

I should as­sure read­ers it was all, er, un­der­taken with the great­est pos­si­ble re­spect.

Then, just as the chil­dren’s cups of knowl­edge brimmed over, the heav­ens opened, drop­ping rain on Syd­ney last week.

And be­lieve me, five cooped-up, wa­ter­logged days with bored kids later, be­ing buried alive started to look pretty good.

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