It's my wife, Lavender's, birthday and she wants to take the clan out to Warrandyte for a picturesque family outing. The first stop as usual is the Warrandyte Bakery, staffed by eager teens who may lack in customer service polish but are always excellent at delivering me baked goods.
My go-to at this joint is a sausage roll that I then stuff into a seeded white bread roll and lather in tomato sauce which adds vital moisture. Known as the "Roll in a Roll", it had cult status at my high school and is about the tastiest thing one can possibly eat. Sadly, it no longer exists as a menu item at the Melbourne High School canteen. I've heard they replaced it with gems such as "Fruit Salad in a Roll" and "Celery in a Roll", neither of which have the same ring or taste good with tomato sauce.
The sausage roll component is top notch, the bread roll an ample ally, and while Michelle Bridges may frown upon such a meal, I can assure you it offers the kind of intense happiness the likes of which she will never achieve. Lavender, T-Bone and Sea Bass munch on some other stuff not really worth mentioning. To be honest I don't really know what they had, so giddy was I devouring my carby friend. I'm pretty sure all the other customers thought I was some kind of freak until they saw me going all Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. After that they thought I was quite normal of course. As a general rule, one Roll in a Roll is too few, two is too many, but three is freaking awesome.
Fuelled by copious amounts of roll I am ready to roll on down to the next phase of the operation – the Warrandyte Federation Playspace, which like many of these Howard Government funded projects, had a requirement for excessive Australiana and the featuring of murals as part of the application process. The playspace has a gold mining theme which I really only pick up when I see No Feet Pete the Prospector plastered on one of the play structures.
Lavender's birthday is somewhat of a pedestrian affair until I see a man wielding a giant stick in the middle of the playground. Surely he is a crazed terrorist and I need to unleash my inner hero to save all these kiddies, but it turns out his son has kicked a football onto the shade sail and he is simply trying to knock it free. Crisis averted, until I look down and notice he is wearing lycra shorts that will surely have a more devastating impact on the psyche of these children than any terrorist attack could ever have.
He jumps, jiggles and gyrates and there is a good deal of flopping and pulsating. The terrifying assault of this man's junk is making these children wail and it is here that my true self is revealed: I am a coward. When the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, I left this man to horrify these kids and meekly escaped to buy icy poles.
By the time I return the individual is gone. I assume he has retrieved his son's football or else a braver person than I stood up to him. As Sea Bass and T-Bone savour their icy poles, I wallow in my own self-pity about the man I have become. What kind of man allows another man to galavant around in lycra shorts as if it's perfectly normal? If he's on a bike I'll look the other way, but in a playground ... with children present? The horror!
Standing there miserable, I am suddenly distracted by a sign on the property adjacent to the playspace that reads: "PRIVATE PROPERTY –ANTIQUE SHOP PATRONS ONLY". I'm no expert in customer relations – well, actually, I sort of am – but this surely cannot be good for business. For I'm a person who is actually partial to bric-a-brac, yet there is no way in hell I would ever step foot in that shop, unless of course it was to see exactly what sort of cantankerous cretin would erect such a sign not once, not twice, but thrice.
Realising that we are actually trespassing on private property, we head down to the mighty Yarra to feed the ducks with pellets we have purchased at the bakery. T-Bone skirts with the edge of the water which alarms Lavender considerably, whereas I am more of a "some lessons need to be learned the hard way" kind of a parent. I grab his hand back begrudgingly and we continue tossing pellets to the ducks who admittedly look a little disappointed we are not feeding them a Roll in a Roll.
It's a lovely spot here by the river and we would consider moving nearby had we the funds and were it not for the constant threat from bushfires and men in lycra. Over the river, perched high up on the bank, is a stunning home overlooking the region. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the antique shop or its owners. It is also private property of the antique shop.
The ducks have had their fill and so have we. We traipse back to the car and just as we are about to drive off, T-Bone tells us he needs to wee, of course. One of the quirks of visiting the Warrandyte bakery and playspace is that there are no toilets nearby. In fact, a sign tells us that the nearest ones are 270 metres away, which with a busting toddler may as well be 270 kilometres. Then, with those famous words - the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - echoing in my ears, I lead T-Bone to the back of the antique shop where he can do his business, and in so doing, strike a blow against theirs.