It was summer and Mr. and Mrs. Barriball bundled their three children up and loaded them into the car. They were off to the beach for the day!
The Surf Lifesaving Club had put up flags on the beach. People were to swim between the flags if they wanted to be rescued if they got into trouble.
Mr Barriball thought that was silly. “There’s a lot more space to enjoy oneself in the water without a crowd of fat people splashing around.”
At the end of the day Mr and Mrs Barriball bundled their three children up and loaded them into the car. They were off home! “See,” said Mr. Barriball,” I told you that swimming between the flags was a silly idea.” He gesticulated grandly as he spoke.
“Slow down a bit on the corners, dear,” said Mrs. Balliball.
“The speed indications they give on corners are always far too slow,” said Mr. Balliball. “You can almost always double the speed indicated.”
Mr. and Mrs. Balliball and their three children arrived home in no time.
When Chadwick mowed the lawn in his bare feet his mother gave him a lecture:
I don’t know how many times I have told you to wear proper footwear when mowing the lawn. Your father’s cousin lost a finger while mowing the lawn by fiddling around with the grass-catcher while the lawn mower was still running. You don’t seem to realize just how dangerous these things are. You have also left a width of long grass over there by the gate. I wish you’d take more care and do things nicely. People can see our lawn from the road and goodness knows what they think when they see the haphazard way the lawn is mowed. You wouldn’t get a job as a caretaker at a sport’s field. Also I don’t know how many times I’ve told you to use the grass-catcher. This mowing the lawn without a catcher leaves grass clippings all over the place and I get grass on my slippers when I go over to the fence to tip the used ground coffee beans into the neighbour’s. The grass is impossible to get off simply by wiping shoes on the front door mat. I have to take my shoes off and remove the grass by hand. Now since you appear to have cut off all your toes I’d better get inside and make a phone call. I hope you realize the cost of an ambulance.
Cedric had to cross a railway line to get home after work. It wasn’t a direct thing. He would get dropped off next to the railway line after his ride home from work. Then he would walk through a small line of trees, cross over the railway track, pass through another line of trees, cross an unbusy road, and he would be home.
He did that every working day for nearly five years. The trains came through at regular times, so he didn’t need to look as he crossed over. Besides, who couldn’t hear a train coming?
And so it was; get dropped off; go through trees; cross the railway track; go through more trees; cross the road; home.
After five years, Cedric decided to move house. On his very last day in his old house, before moving, he crossed the railway line, and was tragically hit by a car while crossing the road.
SAVE THE TREE! SAVE THE TREE! chanted Colleen standing beneath a derelict, old, and rather dilapidated gum tree.
The protest had raged for weeks. Years ago, a visiting celebrity had planted an Australian gum. It was to commemorate the union between the two countries; Australian troops had fought alongside local troops in some forgotten war. The gum tree was planted ceremoniously in the park. And now the town council wanted it removed.
The village had grown over the years. The road out of town had been straightened and widened. There was still a dangerous curve. The gum tree was in the way. It had to go to make way for progress.
SAVE THE TREE! SAVE THE TREE! chanted Colleen and her friends. Colleen even enlisted the help of her fourteen grandchildren. That certainly swelled the numbers!
The dreaded day arrived. There is an almost iconic photograph (forget the man in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square) of Colleen standing, hands on hips, brazenly blocking the advancement of a bulldozer. And she won! She won! What a celebration! The tree was saved for the enjoyment of future generations!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, a few months later a phone call came around eleven at night. Colleen’s grandson was killed in a car accident. His car hit a tree on a dangerous corner on the way out of town.