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With thanks to Rosemary, who provided me with the essential map when she knew I might spend time in Brisbane.


What a day! My grandchildren are great fun to take out. When I got lost, and lapped the M1 three times trying to find the right exit for the station, they remained good humoured. That set the tenor of the day. The train trip in itself was a novelty. Their delights were varied and individual: the peak experience at the Museum of Science was – wait for it – lying on a bed of nails, but they also enjoyed creating a whirlpool; playing a game involving sperm; walking through a tilting room. They found a subway under the road quite creepy and spent ages watching the levitating golden man and trying to figure out how he did it. They were adamant about buying a cheap lunch, even though they were ravenous, when we couldn’t seem to find a takeaway joint that met their exacting requirements. Then they despaired of my lack of savoir-faire in ordering three kebabs. They humoured me as we circled around far too high for my comfort in the Wheel of Brisbane; swam for an hour or so to cool off; and crossed the river to the city by ferry. The heart of the city was hot. I lost my way. They lost me. My grandson collapsed in a bar, too hot and headachy to proceed. So we finished the day with their first taxi ride: “Nanny Meg, I can’t believe we’re getting in a car with a stranger!

The train took us back to our car, and I proceeded to take the wrong exit again. My granddaughter directed me, into a traffic jam and home, where two parents were just beginning to feel anxious at our nine-hour absence.