Outside: Our Comfort Zone

Well, folks, the week has been a bit chaotic. I’ve (a) not been well, and (b) swamped with each and every kind of work I do and (c) Lady Devotea has been flat out as well.

The Friday night climax of that busy week was that we won tickets to the opening night of the new production of “Cats”, which is really hard to describe if, like me, you’ve never actually taken acid and so have nothing to compare it to. It was good for all of the second half and some of the first, which makes it considerably better than the other Andrew Lloyd Webber piece I’ve seen, “Phantom of the Opera” in London, which was consistently rubbish from ticket collection to train ride home.

Anyway, so after a week of tea, memos, meetings, a sad passing within Lady Devotea’s circle, more tea, more memos, more meetings, no sleep, aloe vera tissues and vapour rub we were feeling a little flat and planned to “do nothing” on Saturday.

Not quite sure what “do nothing” means to most people, but in this case, it just meant that we had nothing planned.

I came up with an idea, which was basically walking around the city parks,  but Lady Devotea came up with a better one, so we headed to Cleland Wildlife Park.

We took with us two flasks of tea, some biscuits and an uneasy conviction that it would rain.

Cleland is a wonder, and apart from it being educational and great exercise, it also means you get to feed kangaroos.


In this area, the kangaroos were so well fed that you pretty well had to put the food in their mouths. They either can’t be bothered moving or are too full.IMAG0179

Or, if kangaroos are too big and scary, you can hand feed things that look like little kangaroos, such as bettongs, potoroos or bandicoots. Here’s Lady Devotea hand feeding one (or more correctly, here’s Lady Devotea’s hand, feeding one.)IMAG0181

In fact, if the whole marsupial thing makes you fearful – after all, a kangaroo does look  a little like a six-foot long rat, then there’s always other critters, such as this Whistling Duck, seen here being out-muscled by a Not-so-much-of-the-whistling-but-more-of-the scoffing Duck.

Anyway, the first point is that communing with nature in the shape of overfed fauna and lush flora is pretty special. We got up close and personal with a Koala named Stephen and even saw a wombat actually moving, which is rare during the day.

But I think the best bit was this bench, which we encountered after half an hour:


We sat here, and got out the flasks. Drinking 1910, munching a biscuit.

After all, if you believe the extremely dodgy Chinese legend: tea was invented out of doors. And as much as I love it in an elegant dining room, on fine china, brewed to perfection, there is a charm to tea out-of-doors.

Sitting here, with the lake in front of us, the water burbling over rocks nearby, bandicoots sneaking up behind us to beg for a treat, the smell of rain in the air and no one else visible, the tea didn’t need to transport us anywhere, because were were in the best place we could have been for that quarter-hour.

The world outside the park slowly receded, outshone by this simple pleasure.

Two hours later, we had another tea near the gift shop, bought a few bits, did a bit more communing via a few wild kangaroos that have learned that if they hang around the car park they can gently accost people with roo food still in their pockets, and got back in our car just as the rain finally, and softly began to fall, washing away the last remnants of the week.


Robert Godden

Certified Tea Nutter. Blender. Author of "The Infusiast" and Tea "Stories"

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