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Last night we had fish and chips by the edge of the lake at Yarralumla. It was lovely enjoying the perfect evening, watching the boats on the water and the fading sun dropping behind the hills, sitting on the beautiful soft grass stretching in front of the lake. So pretty, so pleasant. Then there was one woman who made me angry.

She was perched on a seat chatting merrily away on her phone, seemingly unaware (or at least uncaring) as her two small children tore up the grass right in front of her – with great zeal and considerable accomplishment. A fine little mess they made, rendering the grass totally unusable for anyone else to sit on or enjoy. In fact, just killing a lovely little patch of it.

When she was finally asked to get them to stop, her indignant response was that she was going to put the grass back when the kids were finished. A bit like putting the legs back on the ants when the kids have finished pulling them off. Not much bloody use.

I don’t blame the kids. They were just having fun and were too young to know the damage they were causing. But imagine if someone had gone into that woman’s back yard and done the same?

Come on, Canberrans – these beautiful public areas are for everyone. Let’s learn a little respect for public property and let everyone enjoy it. Let’s take some notice of what our kids are doing when we’re out too, and teach them how to respect and look after other people’s property.

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Pick which one looks better?