A letter to Santa (Strewth!)


Who remembers writing a letter to Santa and posting it to the Big Fella at the North Pole?

 I certainly do and the list was always long…

 Mind you, the wrapping paper or bag the present came in often got more attention than the present itself…

These past few days TomO and I have been getting hints from Janet-Planet about what she would like for Christmas.

Teasing her we said it was completely out of our control and that she should address a letter to Santa, care of the North Pole, ensuring it gave an account of her behaviour throughout the year, a prerequisite for any letter to Santa.

Of course, all along assuring her we would take care of posting it… 😉

Not surprisingly, for behaviour she simply put “exemplary”.

Who are TomO and I to argue the toss on that one; no guessing where most of the mischief in our household has its genesis.

And yes, it is true, Janet-Planet is always on her best behaviour, well mostly, as you would expect from the girl-next-door!

Anyway, we headed to the shopping centre, um, the post-box I mean, with the letter in hand and as we drove TomO went through the list.

It was fairly straightforward really and we’d be out of the shopping centre and back home in record breaking time…

Chanel No 5, tick.

Happy Birthday!

Phew, this shopping for presents is easy right?

There is a very good reason for sticking to a tried and proved formula of buying Chanel No 5 for every possible occasion; Christmas, birthdays, I love you gifts…

Apart from being a lovely gift, it does take a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for a present!

Mind you, the wonderful lady at the Chanel Boutique did throw a curved-ball when she asked if I wanted the “Classic” No 5, or the “Light” version of the eloquently beautiful fragrance…

Crikey, what had I been buying for the past 30-years?

I took a punt on the Classic, after all, Janet-Planet is truly a classic in every sense of the word.

You can’t get it wrong, right?


Working our way down the list to the final item we were convinced there was some sort of mistake. Surely, this can’t be right?

A “clutch-bag”…

I’m sure we both had that perplexed “boy” look on our faces.

You know, the one that all mums are familiar with…

“Where are my undies I can’t find any” look…

The only “clutch” we know of is in the big truck we use for touring the Australian Outback in and we’ve spent plenty of money on it to make sure that things like “clutches” don’t fail.

The Landy, Outback Australia

But, Janet-Planet is an exceptional person and we thought that maybe she knows something we don’t, after all she has been driving it a lot lately given I’ve “stolen” her car to drive to work in…

And seemingly, she only wanted the “bag” that the new clutch would come in. Each to their own, I guess, but I understood where she was coming from based on my own childhood memories of wrapping paper and presents…

Anyway, I am rabbiting on far too much and risk keeping you from your own Christmas festivities.

So cutting a long story short, here we were, two young men, well one young’un, and another young at heart, standing in the midst of a busy shopping mall, perplexed beyond belief.

Just when all appears lost and we are about to head off to the local motor vehicle spare parts shop a wonderful friend, whom we’ll just call Lisa, recognises the anxiety on our faces and offers to help.

I suspect her credit card had been working harder than a one-arm wallpaper hanger judging by the size of the shopping bags she was carrying. So why not send in mine as a substitute while hers took a rest on the bench?

Anyway, Lisa pointed us in the right direction – an upmarket boutique, assuring us they sell “exquisite clutch-bags”.

Crikey, talk about being confused!

But hey, we’d been thrown a life buoy and we were holding on for grim life despite a flashing thought, perhaps similar to one has when drowning, of what an “upmarket boutique” might do to a credit card…

We headed to that boutique feeling as nervous as a frog in a food blender, after all we still had to choose a clutch-bag, and at that point we were wondering how we let Lisa get away so quickly.

Crikey, I would have bought her one as well if she had come along to help us choose. But perhaps she just needed to go and find a quiet corner of the mall where she could have a good laugh…

Mind you, aren’t we counting our lucky stars that she came across us at that critical time!

Can you imagine, a new clutch for the truck under the Christmas tree, and Janet-Planet receiving the cast off bag it came in for a Christmas present…

I’m sure she would have loved it, that is the person she is, but we boys are hopeful she will like this clutch-bag even more so!

Merry Christmas sweetie…from your boys!


Photos: Baz – The Landy


Shop till you Drop (Gold Medal Result)

Janet and TomO
Janet and TomO

The jet-setters, Janet and TomO arrived back home from London this morning and for sure it is about time we got something to smile about into our lives once again.

And you’ll be pleased to know that Janet stood at the top of the podium…

You remember – the big event.  The dash to spend cash down The Stand, suitcases under one arm, credit card in the other, you know, shop till you drop.

Okay for sure, I did say give it your best shot Janet, you deserve a great win.

But let me tell you – she’s won the gold, hell, a world record…

And I know the little rooster, TomO, would have been cheering her on, but just how did she manage so much, in such a fast time?

Strewth, I’ve had to take a Bex and I’m now heading to the couch for a lie down after lugging all those suitcases from the baggage carousel to the car.

Um, welcome home, darling…and TomO,

And by the way, where’s my present, I did get one didn’t I?


Pep talk from The Coach (Shop till you drop – In London)

TomO swanning around in the south of England
TomO swanning around in the south of England


If you have ever been to one of those end of year sales at a large department store, that seemingly happen almost every other month, you will appreciate they are not for the faint-hearted.

Success depends on just how quickly you can get out of the “blocks” when the whistle blows.

The front doors opened by men of steely nerve, and where a slow start could well see you being trampled as the stampede gets into full swing.

You need to be a seasoned shopper to even contemplate attending…

And speaking of seasoned shoppers, many of you will know that Janet and TomO are currently visiting England, sunning themselves in the spectacularly beautiful Devon countryside.

The weather has been perfect for them, so I’m told!

Devon Countryside
Devon Countryside

But this is rest ahead of the main event when Janet lines up at the top of The Strand in the heart of London, empty suitcases in one hand, credit card in the other, and at least a hundred boutiques to work her way through…

A daunting prospect for any seasoned shopper, a grueling event by any standard and it all comes down to preparation and a great coach.

The lead-in time to this event was quick and afforded very little time to prepare so she engaged the best shopping coach in the world.

In Janet’s own words…

“I put the call into the Queen of Shop-till-you-drop, a pocket-rocket who wields a Black Amex Card with all the precision of a Jedi Master, and who lives to the motto if you can’t decide on which one to buy than simply buy the lot”.

The Coach and Janet - Discussing event day tactics
“The Coach” and Janet – Discussing event day tactics

Of course, Kimbalee “The Coach” has always shied from the limelight so I won’t mention her name, but in the lead-up to the departure of Qantas Flight QF1 to London, “The Coach” ran Janet through her paces.

There were the early morning starts, 11.45am down in Double Pay Bay, an exclusive harbour-side suburb over-flowing with pretty boutiques in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, followed up with lunch down by the Opera House on the world’s greatest harbour, Sydney Harbour.

Shopping is an endurance event and fuelling up is a key ingredient to a successful campaign and there are some divine restaurants dotting the harbour where one can sit back and relax the muscles, aching from the weight of all those boutique bags…

Sydney Harbour - The best place in the world for a lazy lunch
Sydney Harbour – The best place in the world for a lazy lunch

There was speed work to be done…

Standing atop the winners podium, which incidentally simply comes down to being “loaded to the brim” with dozens of shopping bags when the “closed for the day” sign is hung out, will all come down to just how fast Janet can get out the credit card, pay, and sprint move on to the next boutique.

If you think the start of a triathlon is chaotic as entrants jostle for position than you will marvel at the performance of a seasoned shopper. High on adrenalin and with at least a couple of expresso’s under the belt it is best to stand well clear as the “open” for business sign is illuminated on the front door of the first boutique…

Of course, “The Coach” put Janet through her paces with a few sessions of “wait training” after all there are times that you’ll need to stand in line at a cash register.

The bane of all shoppers on a mission…training is key here!

For sure, Janet has had the best of the best work her through the rigors of training for the event.

And as she heads back to London from the English Countryside this week I wish her well as she faces the starters gun in the shadow of Big Ben, ticking away, a reminder that time, or lack of it, is the seasoned shopper’s worst enemy…

TomO - London Town
TomO – London Town

No doubting TomO will be jumping for joy and yelling words of encouragement for his mum from the side-walk as the hours pass by and the fatigue sets in…

And don’t worry, I have been doing some “weight training” of my own this past month. I’m sure all my strength will be called upon to lug those suitcases from the baggage carousel to the car when the jet setters arrive home…

Janet, sweetie, good luck with the event, I know you’ll do us proud, enjoy it and I’ll be cheering you on, you deserve a great win!

And remember those parting words that Kimbalee “The Coach” gave you as the final boarding call was made…

“Shop till you drop and the credit card is exhausted… you can rest on the long flight home!”