Picnic at Ponging Rock

K. J. O'Rourke, November 1980
"I loathe the smelly city
  And the noises that I hear,
I think it such a pity
  With the countryside so near.
Why don't we pack a hamper
  And leave this place so vile.
No billy tea and damper,
  We'll do the thing in style."

So June prepared a lovely feast,
  She stayed up half the night.
Making chocolate cake and salad
  For her family's delight.
She packed them all into the car
  And drove for miles and miles,
Delighted with the country air
  Her face was wreathed in smiles.

She parked the car upon a hill
  And hastened to unpack.
And eagerly she scrambled
  Down a winding bushland track.
She paused beside a rippling stream
  Beneath a shady tree,
"Now here I've found a lovely spot
  I think you'll all agree."

But Peter said "Now you know Mum
  I don't like the country air
And my leg's encased in plaster
  And I can't get down there."
But she was firm and told him
  "Slide down on your behind
I know you think I'm cruel
  But I'm really being kind."

A lovely linen tablecloth
  She spread upon the grass
Out came the Griffiths silver
  Fine china and cut glass
"Now that we've left the city
  We really can inhale."
As yet she hadn't noticed
  They were all a trifle pale.

But Frank was chewing bravely
  Though his face was turning green,
"Don't give me any chocolate cake
  I'm really not too keen."
Peter and Jenny couldn't speak
  They had lapsed into a coma
And June at last was conscious
  Of a terrible aroma.

Poor Frank was pointing feebly
  At a signpost overhead
Which none of them had seen before
  And this is what it said:
"Blue Mountains Council Sewerage Scheme"
  Imagine if you can
The horror of the awful truth,
  The speed with which they ran.

They drove in deathly silence
  In shock too deep for words.
The salad and the chocolate cake
  They left there for the birds.
She has learned a bitter lesson
  In her search for air that's pure,
You don't drive fifty miles or so
  To picnic by a sewer.

She's a splendid organiser
  On that we all agree
But when she has another picnic
  I do hope she won't ask me.


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