Bill knows a lot of stuff.
You might say it’s a good thing to have a husband that knows so much, but sometimes it’s just plain annoying. You see, it’s really hard to talk to him about anything without him saying ‘I already knew that’…
So I was pretty excited the other day when I found out something about Newcastle’s history that he wouldn’t know. I was with my mum and Prince G at the Lovett Gallery seeing the she: true stories exhibition. It’s a collection of ordinary women sharing extraordinary stories, including a story from fellow blogger Elena Terol Sabino about her mother. In the adjacent room was another exhibition called The Mystery of the Canoe Pool. I would have ignored it, but Mum was attracted to the old photographs and wandered in there so I had no choice but to follow with the pram.
For those who know Newcastle, the Canoe Pool is the round shallow ocean pool next to Newcastle Ocean Baths. Its the one where the kiddies play in the sand with their buckets and spades. It also has a fascinating history.
The pool was opened in 1937 and contained a concrete map of the world where children could both play and learn about geography. Unlike traditional maps, this one had Australia in the centre, with the other countries of the world around it. Children could ride little canoes around the outside. Over time, the map wore away and they eventually removed it. Today, you wouldn’t know anything like that ever existed and the pool has nothing but a shallow sandy shore.
I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Bill about this piece of history.
You see, moments like this are few and far between. Often I’m excited about an unusual new fact, only to find out that Bill has somehow already known about it for weeks. Or, something I find absolutely extraordinary will not surprise him at all.
Like today as an example: I was reading the Open Road magazine and there was a photo of these airbags that they now have on Volvo cars that pop out of bonnet and cover the windscreen. I showed the photo to Bill and he stated matter-of-factly that they were probably for when you hit pedestrians.
‘Pffft!’ I said. ‘They wouldn’t go to all that trouble just for pedestrians!’
So I Googled it. And guess what? Yes, they are for pedestrians.
But it gets worse.
When I was reading about these pedestrian airbags on News.com.au, I came across some other interesting facts.
‘Wow! Guess what percentage of road fatalities are pedestrians?’ I asked Bill. The article said 13% was the current rate, which had dropped from 20% in 2009. I thought 13% was still surprisingly high!
’15?’ he said, shrugging his shoulders.
See how annoying it can be?
‘No, 13. But you were really close.’
‘I was going to say 13, but I thought I’d round it up.’
Of course he did.
I read on.
‘Oh my God!’ I said. ‘Guess how much it costs to replace one of these pedestrian airbags once they’ve popped?’
‘I dunno. Maybe $3000.’
I felt like throwing the magazine at his face. He’d picked it. Exactly to the cent.
Sometimes I think he’s psychic or something.
Anyway, I couldn’t wait to get home from the Lovett Gallery the other day to tell him about the Canoe Pool. As I burst through the front door, a sleepy Prince G perched on my hip, I said:
‘Guess what I discovered today?’
‘You know that big round pool near the ocean baths where the kiddies play with their buckets and spades?’
Bill twisted his mouth thouthfully before replying:
‘You mean the one that used to have that map of the world in it?’