Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It must be Christmas - the Agapanthus is out

Getting back on a blog is a bit like getting back on a bicycle I’ve decided – you’ve got to just tell yourself it’ll all come back and push off – though I do have a very clear memory of hurtling down a hill on a friend’s borrowed bike years ago and thinking “OOPS” in the best cartoon character manner.

I stopped writing the blog in May because one of the Drama Queens became seriously ill. At first there was no room for anything trivial in my life and then as things calmed down a bit I realised it was her story, not mine, but I found it impossible to write as if nothing was happening in my life. Fortunately we are now emerging from what has been a challenging year – and that’s been polite and restrained in my assessment of it, and there is a definite sense of everyone picking up their lives again, so I feel it’s time to mount the bike, perhaps not close my eyes, but certainly push off down the hill and see where it takes me again.

There are certain signs that that the Australian summer season has kicked in.

1. The Geese getting fat is obviously a traditional sign of Christmas and in the spirit of things I am swelling in a Magic Pudding type manner owing to the amount of chocolates floating around the house.
2. Sydney is a swag of blue as all the Agapanthus flowers are out, although they are originally native to South Africa, they line the streets here and are such a joyous counterpoint to all the festive green and red.

3. The lawn had suddenly sprouted large pits and holes overnight where the deranged dog has attempted to dig up the crickets that come out at this time of year.
4. This ritual rearrangement of the lawn leads directly to the annual inclusion of a stuffed and mounted dog on Husband’s Christmas wishlist.
5. One of the most fabulous things to do in Sydney in January and February is to go to the Outdoor Cinema in the Botanic Gardens and yet again I have managed to miss getting the tickets I wanted. It is a totally magical experience as the screen rises up against the back drop of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Tickets went on sale at 9am on December 13th and in what has become a annual event – I went online at 9.05a.m. and discovered that I was too late and far from the anticipated treat of gazing at Hugh Jackman in ‘Les Miserables’, the only thing left I fancied was ‘The Sweeney’. However actually the whole thing is such fun with pre film drinks and food in one of the most spectacular settings in the world plus delicious ice creams to clasp as the music starts up, that really the film isn’t that important – plus there is the added bonus that now the Botanic Gardens have persuaded the huge colony of fruit bats that dominated the gardens to move on, one’s chances of being shat on by a bat mid film, have decreased significantly.
6. Wishlists have mysteriously appeared on the fridge – including one for the dog who as mentioned will be lucky to survive the festive season intact. The unfortunate downside of these lists is everyone in the family seems to seize upon the easiest object resulting in the lucky DQ who is about to receive 2 identical tea strainers – a girl can never have enough is what I say. (Though in an aside here I should point out I have just been informed by DQ no.2 that she knows of 3 separate people who are giving me identical family organiser calendars – an unsubtle theme going on here I feel.)
7. The Christmas tree – or what passes for a Christmas tree in Sydney is looking shaky in terms of lasting to the actual day. Our first year here we travelled miles to purchase an “American style” tree, hotly and bear in mind how hot it can get at this point of the year, pursuing an unrealistic dream of a fabulous spruce or Norwegian fir that would recreate our New York State Christmas experience – ho ho ho are the only appropriate words to mutter as we discovered that American style translates into an unfortunate native conifer hacked into a rough triangle.
8. It is at this point in the festive season too that it dawns upon me that one of the very few downsides of Christmas on the beach is the realisation that this is going to entail me donning suitable beach wear on Christmas morning and I have a suspicion that last year’s miracle hold swimsuit might have in a display of fellow feeling, succumbed to middle aged sag.
9. I also realise how much I love the Aussie Christmas season, it’s hard to be too uptight when the sun is shining, the back of the house is opened up to the breeze and the hammock is up in the garden. Plus one of the great benefits of the climate is the opportunity to mix hot and cold traditions so we’ll be having oysters, tuna tartare, prawns, turkey, roast potatoes and a number of salads in a glorious mix of cultures.

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