Earlier this year T had a school trip to Fort Canning Park, a verdant, leafy green oasis which overlooks Orchard Road. He had a marvellous time and was bursting to tell me all about it when he got home. He still talks about the excursion, so we decided to go there today and let him play tour guide.
I’m constantly surprised at how everything I say to him seems to go in one ear and out the other, but clearly he pays attention to his teacher. T led us all around the park – which is 18 hectares in size – with remarkable confidence, keeping up a running commentary as we walked.
“Look Mum, there’s Raffles House…and over there, see – that’s the 9-pound cannon.” And after the kids had climbed all over it and I tried to convince S that no, there weren’t any cannon balls to play with, T took us to the Spice Garden. Out of everything we’d seen, this garden was the thing that he took the most pleasure in showing us.
“See Mum, rub the leaves between your fingers – you can smell the spice.” So we did, and he was right. The little monkey had also remembered the ones that didn’t smell so good and pointed those out quite happily. “You’ll love this one…” and I was left with a foul, bitter smell lingering on my hands for quite a while afterwards.
I’ve always wanted a spice garden but we’ve never been anywhere long enough to establish much more than a few plants in pots on the windowsill. It was wonderful to be in such a fragrant green space and it was at that moment we started to plan our garden back home.
“We have to have mint!”
“Basil, that smells sweet.”
“We need chilli…” said the three-year-old just as he was about to rub his eyes after touching the plant. Love the way he thinks, but suspect he won’t be allowed anywhere near it until he can cook it in a curry.
It was great to see the kids running around the garden, trying to decide what we’d need and arguing over what they’d plant. H took it a step further and started mapping out a secret garden down the side of the house, just for the girls to share.
Flower garden, secret garden, spice garden – whatever we end up with, I’m just really happy that the kids are starting to view Australia for what it is – home.