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Saturday 11 February 2012: Paddy's Knob (Another Victorian story!)

A busy Saturday..... started off the morning with a trip out to visit a stables where Immy is going to start riding lessons next weekend. She has wanted to learn to ride for a while so we're going to begin with eight half-hour one-on-one lessons so she can learn the basics and decide whether she likes it.

Following that it was back into town to meet up with J & L and the children for coffee at a cafe where the outdoor landscaping includes the - almost inevitable, nowadays - decorative pebbles around the bases of the trees. Of course to Alexander and Simone, aged two-and-a-half and one-and-a-half, the sun-warmed pebbles proved irresistible and they just wanted to pick up handfuls of them and cast them onto the ground. This, of course, resulted in them being ordered by their parents to cease and desist from such behaviour and I wondered just how many times I have seen small children being admonished for exactly the same thing in various cafes around the world!

This afternoon Immy and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. First we went to have a look at the area near our house which was badly affected by landslips in the torrential rain before Christmas. We saw a couple of houses that have been 'red stickered', meaning that entry to them is restricted, even for the owners, due to safety concerns. They may have to be demolished. Also completely demolished by a landslip is the upper section of Day's Track, a walkway leading down the hill from the top part of the road above our house. Some children have erected a wooden cross at the site, on which they have written "RIP Day's Track, a track that everyone loved to walk. Please rebuild Day's Track."

After that we went up to Paddy's Knob (clearly in the 19th century the word didn't carry a double meaning!). The views from the three, multi-level wooden viewing platforms are spectacular, and I've posted some additional pictures here. All went well until we decided to walk back and I was replacing the lenscap on the camera. As I did so, I thought briefly how awfully annoying it would be to drop the lenscap off the platform.... and then, as so often happens when one has thoughts like that, it just flew out of my hands and disappeared through a crack between the planks!

I couldn't believe it! I then had to leave the camera with Immy and asked her to stand at exactly the spot where it had fallen and make my way past some barriers erected at the entrance to the footpath down Paddy's Knob, with signs announcing that it was 'Temporarily Closed'. Once I was beneath the platform I had to climb up the steep bank underneath it and scrabble around on my tummy till I managed to locate the lenscap with my fingers, then pull myself up and climb over the railing back onto the top of the platform, with Immy laughing her head off and photographing me with the camera set on motor-drive, shouting "Come on baby, work with me here!"

I believe that the Paddy after whom this 'Knob' is named grew up to marry and have a large family. His father and uncle (Irish immigrants whose family name was actually O'Dea, mis-spelled by an official when they landed) founded an undertaker's business which Paddy and his brother continued and which is still Nelson's leading Funeral Services provider, Marsden House. What impresses me most about the tale of his toddlerhood escapade is that he managed to climb all the way up there, through the dense bush, aged only two years old - it's a steep climb even on a pavement. Was he following something, or did someone take him up there? I suppose we'll never know.... maybe they just had to be tough toddlers in those days!

We finished off the day with a lovely supper at J & L's house - some of that steer (roast beef this time!) and an apple and strawberry crumble that we brought with us, though it had to be cooked when we got there as we ran out of time, having frittered the afternoon away on - and under! - Paddy's Knob.

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