When my brother and I were youngins, my parents had a fetish for visiting countless plant nurseries on weekends. We tried to entertain ourselves by racing each other along the nursery aisles or borrowing a plant trolley and taking turns riding in the cart and on the odd occasion ramming things, just because we could. The day seemed to take forever.
The only time I remember our family being adventurous was when we were away on holidays at my Nan’s in Laurieton, New South Wales. My father had his sights set on trekking down North Brother Mountain. We tore and pushed our way through the recalcitrant rainforest scrub on our way down the steep, uneven terrain. For sixty clenched minutes we were pushing through what seemed a living wall of ferns, flies, gullies and undergrowth which kept bouncing back in our faces. Fine scratches covered the back of our hands. Then came the rustling and tickling feel of bloodsucking leeches. Our tolerance of these critters was not exactly high. So we tried to find the road on the hill which coiled tightly down through the forest. I heard Dad COOEE off to his right. It was an unsettling sound. Only by good fortune the bush spat us onto it. We flagged down a passing motorist and high-tailed it back to the comforts of civilisation.
I thought of our progress that day. There is something oddly embarrassing about it. But, I suppose there are worse things to get addicted to than nurseries.