LifestylePersona January, 5th 2012 by

Welcome the New 2012


As splendid as Australian Christmases are, it has never been quite the same for me.
It has been years since I have seen the flames lick the sides of the chimney in my parents stone cottage set deep in the heart of my home land, the English Lake District.
I remember My Mother telling my brother and myself that Santa watches all the children at Christmas time, and if they are good he will bring them lots of presents. When we did dare to fall a little out of line, she would say, “quick look, I just saw  peeping through the window”. However fast we ran to the window we always missed him, disappointed she would say “Oh! He has gone he must be peeping through some other children’s windows to see if they are behaving themselves!”
It worked well for many years and guaranteed that her two angels would be as good as gold for two or three weeks leading up to Christmas.
Each Christmas my Mother seemed to stuff more into the Christmas turkey than the last. In my eyes it got bigger and bigger with ever year that rolled by, until I realised that as my family, and their friends grew older with added extended families my turkey had to grow too!
In Australia the traditional Christmas Turkey and plum pudding with lashings of brandy sauce is a big family favourite, with sea food running cap in hand alongside it, and of course we are never allowed to forget the wonderful Aussie Pavlova which Australian Mums are expert at making.
It is the height of summer at Christmas time in Australia. On Christmas Day people gather together with family and friends around the Christmas tree to open their presents.
I was invited to spend Christmas with my girlfriend and her husband, and her two sons whom I had watched grow up since they were babies. I was horrified to realise that I did not understand one thing about their newly acquired games, and that the strange monsters were completely alien to me. They endlessly tried to explain and show me how they worked, one little press of a button for them was a major brain twister for me.
When I finally got the message they screwed their heads off and changed them instantly into another alien with another odd name, then disjointing their arms and legs turned them into a strange looking vehicles again, totally alien to me! What happened to creating moveable coloured felt shapes on a simple felt board that everybody could play together and understand?
I have always had great admiration for a dear friend of mine who relentlessly every year dresses up in his father Christmas white fur trimmed red outfit, beard and heavy black boots to walk up and down the twin towns of Mulwala and Yarrawonga, my home towns Main Streets ringing his bell in one hand, talking and taking children’s Christmas orders, and whipping his brow with the other in the baking heat. I dread to think after my Christmas Day experience what their the orders could possibly be! On Boxing Day bike stands out side the supermarkets are full of brand new bicycles, evidence that Father Christmas had been.
Endless queues of thongs (Australian flip flops), shorts and tea shirts crowd the aisles in the supermarket, pushing their trolleys to the jolly smiling faces at the checkouts waiting to take their money. Big boys empty the shelves at the bottle shops and are replenished by the small boys earning a few extra dollars during their summer holidays.
Every petrol pump at the bowsers are busy with spotlessly clean vehicles filling their fuel tanks ready to take to the crowded roads on their journey to their holiday destinations.
In Australia the children’s summer and longest school holidays are in December until the end of January. It is an extremely busy time of the year for families whose children are returning to school, or going on to university. It is also very expensive, new uniforms; text and exercise books are only the start of the long list of shopping to be done before they return. I guess if it had crossed our minds that one child only would be great at this time of the year, it would not be held against us!
2011 faded away on the wings of darkness and Australians welcomed the New Year in.
Thousands of fireworks invaded the warm summer skies unveiling their spectacular synchronised displays engineered by skilful talented pyrotechnists enthralling millions of eyes in thousands of locations all over the world.
I would like to thank my Australian and Spanish friends for their support during the last year and wish them a healthy Happy New Year and that together as one we step forward into a prosperous 2012.

Copyright – Dianna Collen 2012

Lake Mulwara


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