Cemetery trip gravely genial
DAY OUT KEEPS KIDS FROM INDOOR BOREDOM
“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.
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.