THEY were never very short to begin with, but Parade’s visits to see his young relatives on the other side of town are getting longer.
And there’s one reason: shoelaces.
The two middle ones in the family have decided they are going to learn how to tie shoelaces or send themselves mad in the attempt, but their problem is that they need a willing assistant to stand in the shoes.
That’s where Parade comes in – and that’s why Parade has trouble getting out the door at the end of his visits.
The two youngsters, intense concentration on their faces, each take a shoe and launch into the most complicated routines of knots, loops, pinches and various other manoeuvres while Parade watches from above, occasionally offering helpful tips or yelping when his ankles get twisted.
There are only ever two outcomes from all this activity: a bizarre tie is produced that Parade can only undo with the aid of a screwdriver or something else with a small head; or a floppy tie is produced that collapses before Parade gets to his car.
But you have to start somewhere, don’t you?
From the pages to the local stage
PARADE’S ears pricked up when he heard Paul Keating’s former speechwriter Don Watson would be the special guest at this weekend’s Light On The Hill dinner in Bathurst.
It’s been some years since he read it, but Parade remembers finding Watson’s Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart a real eye-opener about what it’s like at the very top of politics in Australia.
The book details Watson’s time in Keating’s office and all the ups and downs that it entailed.
It also provides an insight into the mind of the former PM whose love of language – and most people would remember the way he often deployed it with such devastating effect against his enemies – was well-known.
If nothing else, the book was a reminder of some of Keating’s more withering put-downs – including the “feral abacus” (which, incidentally, is rhymed with “cabbages” in Keating! the musical).