Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the flats ¹ Not a creature was stirring, not
even the cats.
The stockings were hung on the liquor cabinet with care
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The baby was screaming her lungs fit to burst No matter how gently her Mum and
We tried to meditate, use the power of Zen But Imogen has just filled her
When out on the lawn there arose
such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the poor
sun burned grass
That gave a parched gasp in the drought that holds fast.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But the relo’s who turned up lugging their gear.
So up came the family bearing their gifts
for Christmas is time to mend all your rifts.
With presents and food and cartons of beer
and Santa Claus hats to add to the cheer!
"Now possums! now, magpies! now, willy wagtails!
On, blue tongues! On, spiders! on beetles and snails! ²
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Careful of the steps kids in case you may fall!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane leap
A family will under the Christmas tree heap.
Presents, and I tell you, they brought not a few
With tucker bag filled and one brought home brew.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the tin,³
The possums cavorting and making a din.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
I begged for the baby’s sake that they don’t make a sound.
But Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts can’t deny
That though sleeping babies on Christmas day try.
To ignore all the rowdy and bubbling noise
They must soon be wakened to play with their toys.
The table was set and the food was all very
scrumptious to look at as we all watched the telly.
For the cricket was on and we watched the ball bashers
As they finished the poor pommies hope for the ashes.4
I opened the BBQ and took out the meat as the rest of them all fumbled around for a seat. Dads served their children and husbands their wife,
some poured the drinks and one grabbed the knife.
He spoke not a word yet, but went straight to his work
And cut up the ham and the turkey, then turned. And he said a few words to the family that gathered, Then onto his bird the gravy he
He said Merry Christmas and wished us all cheer
so we toasted his kindness with plenty of beer.
And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he sank out of sight
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Merry Christmas to all. Just a quick warning. I have been roped into busking Christmas songs on Thursday afternoon out the front of Northbridge plaza. None of us have a scrap of talent, so if you are in the area, I apologise.
Poetic licence. I live in a house.
It rhymes, so sue me.
Actually we have a tiled roof
Actually the last test starts on boxing day. Poetic licence again.
Flashman. I can't remember my password to electron soup, and my emails to you have been returned by the daemon who works at the e-post office. When I request a new password I get a
Unable to send mail. Please contact the site admin. message. If you read this please email me a solution.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Tea or perhaps beer followed by tea if I run out of beer.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I wish he would because I suck mightily at present wrapping.
3. Coloured lights on tree/house or white? No lights anywhere. This is the first year we bothered to get a tree (because of our new daughter), and it's a second hand one filched from the mother in law. It's waist high and has 3.2 baubles and sits sulking in the corner. Mrs A. is in the process of remedying the situation so she tells me.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Only if I cut it with my golden sickle whilst dressed as a druid. So....no.
5. When do you put your decorations up? When I'm nagged hard enough.
6. What is your holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Australia's abundance of fresh summer fruits or ham with hot English mustard on toast.
7. Favourite holiday memory as a child: Long hot summer days with no school riding bikes in Balmain streets with my mates.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember precisely, but I assume it had something to do with other kids in the playground doing that supercilious "you don't still believe in...." that seven year olds do so well.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. Mrs A's family do the "pick a name out of the hat and buy a present for $30 for that one person" thing. Traditionally we gather to give those gifts on Christmas Eve.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I make sure I have 20 or 30 seconds to spare and chuck the 3.2 aforementioned ornaments onto it.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Christmas is generally stinking hot and I spend as much of it as I can in the pool. I would love it to snow.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, and when they invent ice skates for my backside I'll get better at it.
13. Do you remember your favourite gift? If it's music or a book then it is perfect. Generally it is music or a book.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
15. What is your favourite holiday dessert? I'm a savoury guy. Not really into sweet food.
16. What is your favourite holiday tradition? The annual gathering of my maternal relations. It's a very relaxed time with good people.
17. What tops your tree? Pretty much everything in the house. Oh, I see what you mean. Nothing yet. I'll wait for my daughter to start school and bring something home for it.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I am a bad present giver. No matter how many hints I get I never remember what it is I'm supposed to buy. On those rare occasions when I do get the right gift it's a great feeling.
To be honest that's pretty selfish. Many others closer to her have lost a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt a work colleague &c, and I can imagine the rage and pain and tears, but I don't know them to console them.
I never even physically met my friend. She lived thousands of miles away in the USA. I knew her only through words and comments and photos and laughs. She sent her congratulations when my daughter was born. She left witty remarks and interesting tidbits on my blog. She was someone to read. Like a personal author who you can talk to. Someone who made the events of her every day life worthy of a story. From sit com to soap opera she and her faithful robot roamed Philadelphia and the wider world with an enthusiasm that was reminiscent of a child's first vision of a wonderland, and I know that enthusiasm was infectious to those she knew.
I think that it is a measure of her personality that when I heard the news today I felt loss for someone that as I said I had never met. I sat at my desk in stunned silence. I read the news again. I phoned Mrs A. who sounded genuinely sad too. Although I didn't know her our thoughts are with those who did. I'm proud to let you know that she touched people across the globe.
Remember when you used to spend a huge amount of time with a select group, always going out, always partying? Then ten years pass and you bump into one of them and the awkward conversation begins? I hadn't seen 3 a.m in I don't know how long. Then Saturday night I'm sitting there nursing Midge so Mrs A. can get some shut eye when in walks 3 a.m and sits down.
It was a little surreal at first. The usual, "So....how you doin. It's been a while." chit chat to clear the air a little. Then he looked at me and said, "You've changed man. Sitting there with a baby. You used to party dude, every weekend we were out there man, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, down at the Rocks. What happened to you?"
"What does it look like. I settled down. I got older. My priorities changed. You're still in nightclubs night after night wasting peoples lives when they should be sleeping. Is that all you do with your life?"
3 a.m looked sheepish and apologised. "Nah, I branched out into waking poor bastards who do shift work and new parents like you. I suppose we all need a change. Your looking well for an old bastard." "Up yours!" I rejoined.
We talked of times gone by. Some of the old haunts had changed some were the same. I asked what he thought of the music now. Not much was the answer. But he wasn't there for the music, he was there for the fun, always moving on to the next scene. I wasn't going anywhere but bed. We did the manly hug thing for the old memories and then he waved as he headed west. Finally Midge was asleep. Ten minutes later so was I.