Saturday, 17 December 2011

An Aussie Christmas

As many (probably four) of my readers are from overseas, I thought it would be nice to give you a glimpse into what the Australian Christmas entails. I imagine it would be rather different than the cold Christmases of the northern hemisphere. While you're huddling around the open fire, we are searching for ice cubes for our drinks that haven't evaporated yet.

Here are a few things that I think would be different:

Carols by Candlelight

As Christmas in Australia is usually characterised by sweltering heat what better way to celebrate the occasion by gathering in a park after dark and singing along to Christmas carols? This happens all over the country from small local productions to massive crowds like the photo above. Popular with families and young children the night includes guest singers and fireworks at the end. I imagine if this was done in the northern hemisphere you would all freeze your little butts off!

Cold Meats and Pavlova

Another weather orientated tradition. Because it's so freaken hot outside there no chance that we'll be cooking a hot roast for Christmas lunch/dinner. Instead we have cold meats like ham and chicken and seafood, accompanied by salads and bread rolls. Best of all, dessert is pavlova. A fluffy meringue full of sugary goodness with fruits and cream. Doesn't matter how much food you've eaten, there's always room for pav!

Christmas Crackers

Simple tradition, but one of my favourites. When everyone sits down to Christmas lunch or dinner, they take a Christmas cracker (or bon-bon) and pull it apart. The one who gets the large end gets the prize. Usually some useless figurine, a lame joke and a paper king's hat. It is very normal to see everyone having lunch all wearing these paper hats. Maybe not the dog though (just an excuse to post a cute puppy photo).

Boxing Day Cricket

After an exhausting day of dividing yourself between multiple family events on Christmas Day, there's nothing better than spending Boxing Day (26th December) getting up late, eating left over Christmas food, putting your feet up and watching the Boxing Day test match. Doesn't matter if you like cricket or not, this is what you do.

I'd be interested to hear what others do over the holiday season . . . . 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sea Changes - City Verses Country

Where do you live? The city or the country? Do you ever visit the other side and think what it would be like to live there?

I was thinking about this the other day when a rally for marriage equality was taking place in Sydney. Although I'm not of that persuasion I would've liked to have joined to show my support on the issue (plus did you see the awesome rainbow umbrellas they had?). Unfortunately for me, Sydney is two hours away. This is always the case for anything that happens in the city. Coming from a regional area means that going to those sorts of things needs planning and possibly overnight accommodation.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to be so close to everything. Major sporting events and concerts, everything open 24/7 . . . Starbucks . . . (god I miss those frappuccinos). There are pros and cons for both.

The City
- Short distance to major events including sport, concerts, theatre, exhibitions, rallies and festivals
- High density of services and public transport
- Extended opening hours for stores
- Starbucks

- Concrete to tree ratio is too high
- Extreme traffic problems
- Too many people in one place
- Pollution

The Country
Photo -
- Wide open spaces, fresh air, beautiful landscapes and wildlife
- Awesome local pubs
- Being able to see the stars and constellations at night
- Everybody knows everybody

- Long distances to services and entertainment
- Mosquitoes and snakes
- The onset of extreme boredom
- Everybody knows everybody

Luckily for me, where I live is a nice combination of city and country. Half an hour one way is vineyard country and half an hour the other way is a regional city. And right out of my doorstep is this:
Lake Macquarie

Not bad. I guess a two hour drive to get to the city isn't that far after all.

Can anyone else shed some light on the comparison of city and country?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

My Automatic 'Dislike' List

** WARNING. This post may contain humour that is not to everyone's liking. If you are easily offended or have no sense of humour, it is recommended that you do not read on **
Many people fall into my automatic dislike list. I mean the people that I automatically judge simply by one fatal flaw that I don't like. You know the ones. They could be perfectly reasonable people if you knew them personally, but our snap judgements place them instantly into the dislike list.

People with 'My Family' stickers on the window of their cars

Nobody cares that you have four kids two dogs and a cat. We can tell from the people-mover you drive and your general ignorance of all people around you. I can't understand why people are creating a helpful guide for all thieves, serial killers and pedophiles to profile your family without even trying. It's this 'me culture' our society all plagued with. Good on you for wanting to celebrate your family, but keep it in the photo album.

Probably lovely people. But I want to ram your car. Personally, I prefer these. At least they're honest.

Charity street workers

Oh, she's not going to say something bad about charities, is she? Yes, I am. Well no, I have no problem with charities and I have a great deal of respect for people working for their cause. What I don't appreciate is being solicited in the street by people that won't take "No, thank you" as an answer. Or when I'm silly enough to hang around to listen to their spiel, they tell me that the charity I currently donate to monthly isn't as worthy as their own (true story). Whatever happened to the charity buckets where they collect cash on the spot? These days they need your credit card or bank account details and have you sign up to a monthly plan. You feel like you're entering into some never-ending scheme. Take my cash and loose change, but please don't take my credit card!

Probably lovely people. But I can't fund every charity that approaches me.

People who insult the English language

"Oh yeah, I seen that movie last week". No. No. No! How many years of school did you miss? Do you realise that language is one of the only things that separates us from chimps? If you speak this way, you may as well be swinging in the trees. I'm happy to forgive the odd typo and auto correct can make some interesting mistakes, but basic spelling, grammar and sentence structure is important. You have been privileged to grow up in a country that provides a high level of education for all.

Probably lovely people, but stop hurting my eyes and ears with your spelling errors and bad pronunciation.


This is a serious one (although the picture doesn't suggest it).

I'm sorry, but the instant I see people smoke, I know I'm not going to spend much time with them. There are people in hospitals terminally ill that would give anything to have more time on this Earth, while they're sucking away at those cancer sticks. Annoyingly, this smoke tends to be shared with everyone surrounding them. Short of running in the opposite direction to every smoker on the street, passive smoking can't be avoided.

Probably lovely people. But have some respect for your life and the life of others.

Ok everyone, what is on your automatic dislike list? Who do you narrow your eyes at?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Parents with Prams Car Spaces

If there's one thing that really gets up my nose, it's people that view themselves as more important or special than the rest of us, for no good reason. People that have children often fall into this category. Suddenly, they're more important than everyone else. And society encourages it. We're forever hearing how "working families are doing it tough" or about the tax breaks families receive.

Well, this train of thought has infiltrated shopping centres. Over the last few years I have noticed these so-called 'Parents with Prams' special car spaces popping up. Now, I have no problem with special parking for the disabled or the elderly, but special parks for people that choose to bring their young children to the shopping centres? Please!

I had no idea that when you have children, your legs fall off. What a disaster! Thank goodness I found this out before taking the plunge into motherhood. However, last time I checked, being disabled isn't a choice, but parenthood is.

I'm not going to deny that these parks would make life a little easier for parents who do have young children. They most certainly do, but I don't see why this should be at the expense of everyone else. There seems to be a sense of entitlement from parents to these car parks. While we're at it, maybe we should start introducing special car parks for women that wear uncomfortable shoes?

The world population hit seven billion last month, which goes to show that people are quite successful at the breeding game. And you must wonder, how did they do it before 'Parents with Prams' parks!

Maybe this stems from my lack of experience with prams, but wouldn't they make great devices to hang shopping bags from, kind of like trolleys? Think about that next time you see me struggling with heavy shopping bags that are cutting my fingers off. Now, where are those 'People with Weak Arms' car spaces . . . . . ?