We are reaching a somewhat golden age of family life where evening outings are possible, as long as we're not out too late. Of course, we still have to have the altercation about whether one needs a woolly jacket when going out on a winter's night.
And following that, the tantrum on the footpath at the indignation of being forced to wear said jacket.
And, not forgetting the threats made through clenched teeth that if-the-jacket-does-not-go-on-without-another-word-you-and-I-will-be-sitting-in-the-car-instead-of-going-out.
Unfortunately, on this particular occasion, that statement was somewhat prophetic.
As many of you are aware, the Vivid light festival is currently on around Sydney. Being the oh-so-grown-up family that we clearly are now, we thought we'd go. I was a little wary, however, of stories I'd read of mammoth crowds and small junior recipe testers getting lost. The senior recipe tester and I are well aware that we have produced at least one junior with a high propensity to stop paying attention and get lost, and so we devised a clever, stress-free plan.
We drove to Manly for an early dinner intending to board a ferry into town. Rather than wander through the night continuously counting the heads of juniors, we thought we could observe enough lights from the relative confinement of the ferry and simply stay aboard to head back.
Turns out we weren't the only ones to think of that. As we approached the ferry terminal, one of the juniors asked, "What is going on there?" The crowd was milling in their hundreds. Thousands even.
What was going on there was the queue to hop on the ferry. It was approximately 4,698 people, three ferries, or ninety minutes, long.
Realising that the plan was foiled and there may be just a little disappointment brewing, the senior recipe tester and I leapt immediately to our fall back consolation prize. "How about we have an ICE-CREAM?"
The juniors, unfortunately, immediately read the subtext: "We're not going on any ferry tonight, perhaps not ever, and we will NEVER see the lights." One junior, in particular, also read verse two of the subtext: "You made me WEAR THIS JACKET FOR NOTHING."
The floods of tears were stemmed only by the choice of flavours. We headed out onto the pier to eat ice-cream and watch the ferry that we couldn't get on, leave.
It wasn't long before we encountered the next problem. The most junior of the tribe began to howl that it was too dark. "I can't see my ice-cream," he wailed. When we assessed the situation, he was right. He had chosen chocolate ice-cream so chocolatey it was nearly black. Indeed, it disappeared into the night.
In the end we did find the lights. Just not the ones we anticipated.