Seasons Greetings from the Australian Outback

Western Deserts

 Crikey, it is Christmas day in Australia…

Janet, TomO and I would like to wish all our friends around the world a happy festive season however you may celebrate it.

And if it isn’t something you usually celebrate, that’s okay, just give your family and friends a big hug, or something like that and have a little sing-a-long with us anyway…

Jingle Bells – The Aussie Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A letter to Santa (Strewth!)

Clutch-Bag

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?

Wrong…!

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

 

The loss of a loved one

The enormity of losing a loved one, a friend, is only surpassed by the haplessness one feels that they did not hear or recognise those faint cries for help…

Six years have now passed since we lost a very dear friend, a sister, a daughter.

The Fawthrop Sisters...
The Fawthrop Sisters…Marion, Janet, Mary and Leah

Marion, one of four Fawthrop girls and Janet’s sister, suffered greatly from a terrible affliction called Meniere’s disease. Tragically, just ahead of her 50th birthday the pain of Meniere’s, which had come and gone throughout her life, became far too much to bear any longer and she sought the refuge, the comfort of another world where she could be freed from the bondage of the pain it caused her.

In those early times following Marion’s passing we all shed many tears, and a day never passes where Marion isn’t still a part of our lives, a casual smile here, your mind’s eye seeing her dressed up in all her finery.

Marion loved to dress up, to party.

Millie Marion
Millie Marion

And still, there are those moments where the tears well in our eyes…

Please take the time to understand the suffering that people afflicted with Meniere’s experience, and if you are able, please support either the Australian Meniere’s Research Foundation, or perhaps locate one in the country you live in.

 

Millie Marion
Millie Marion

Personally, I take great comfort knowing that wherever Marion is, she will be dressed to the ‘nines, holding court, a small glass of champagne in one hand, and a packet of fags in the other. It wouldn’t be any other way – and crikey, ain’t that the truth…

Baz, The Landy…

A Superb Fairy Wren (In the Australian Bush)

A Superb Fairy Wren (In the Australian Bush)

A couple of days ago we were “Out and About” in the Australian Bush at Gloucester Tops and what a glorious day it was.

Ham left over from Christmas lunch on freshly baked sour dough bread, a swim in a mountain stream, and company of family and friends.

Crikey, it doesn’t get any better than that, hey!

Anyway, while we where there I managed to snap a picture of this beautiful Blue Wren…

Photo: Baz, The Landy

The Pain of the loss of a loved one (Meniere’s disease)

The enormity of losing a loved one, a friend, is only surpassed by the haplessness one feels that they did not hear or recognise those faint cries for help…

Five years have now passed since we lost a very dear friend, a sister, a daughter.

The Fawthrop Sisters...
The Fawthrop Sisters…Marion, Janet, Mary and Leah

Marion, one of four Fawthrop girls and Janet’s sister, suffered greatly from a terrible affliction called Meniere’s disease. Tragically, just ahead of her 50th birthday the pain of Meniere’s, which had come and gone throughout her life, became far too much to bear any longer and she sought the refuge, the comfort of another world where she could be freed from the bondage of the pain it caused her.

In those early times following Marion’s passing we all shed many tears, and a day never passes where Marion isn’t still a part of our lives, a casual smile here, your mind’s eye seeing her dressed up in all her finery.

Marion loved to dress up, to party.

Millie Marion
Millie Marion

And still, there are those moments where the tears well in our eyes…

Marion was a great lover of the Arts and had many friends in the art world.  And it is something that runs in the family, as Leah, the youngest of the girl’s is a wonderful artist, having studied artistic photography, among other things…

As a tribute to Marion, Leah came up with the idea of creating Marion’s Artree, where works of art with a Christmas theme, along with Christmas decorations are handmade by artists’, craft workers and designers.

Christmas Decorations
Christmas Decorations

People whom Marion touched, and others whom she never knew generously donating their time and works for sale, with proceeds going to advance Meniere’s Research.

Please take the time to understand the suffering that people afflicted with Meniere’s experience, and if you are able, please support either the Australian Meniere’s Research Foundation, or perhaps locate one in the country you live in.

Leah and Janet’s Facebook Page, Marion’s Artree, provides more detail…

And bravo, Leah and Janet, and mother, Clare, you have all shown tremendous courage these past few years. We can’t bring Millie-Marion back, but she is always with us, and what a great way to bring an awareness of Meniere’s disease and to help and support others who also suffer…

Millie Marion
Millie Marion

Personally, I take great comfort knowing that wherever Marion is, she will be dressed to the ‘nines, holding court, a small glass of champagne in one hand, and a packet of fags in the other. It wouldn’t be any other way – and crikey, ain’t that the truth…

Baz, The Landy…

Jingle Bells – The Aussie Way

Baz, Terrigal Beach, Australia
Baz, Terrigal Beach, Australia

 Strewth, it is Christmas Eve in the land “Dowunder” already and Janet, TomO, and myself would like to wish all our friends around the world a happy festive season, however you may celebrate it.

We’ll be down on the water for sure!

And if it isn’t something you usually celebrate, that’s okay, just give your family and friends a big hug, or something like that and have a little sing-a-long with us anyway…

TomO, Paddle-Boarding
TomO, Paddle-Boarding

Janet - the one and only

Jingle Bells – The Aussie Way

Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs,
It’s summer time and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer’s day, Hey!
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine’s getting hot, we dodge the kangaroo’s,
The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too.
All the family’s there, sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way, by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer’s day, Hey!
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Come the afternoon, Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce, are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes ’round to go, we take a family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through, before the washing up.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer’s day, Hey!
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Translation (for those who might need it!)

Holden Ute – A make of car

Esky – ice container to carry drinks in (usually beer!)

Boot – Trunk of a car

Kelpie – Australian dog

Singlet – Undershirt

Thongs – Footwear (hum, not women’s underwear)

Swaggie – Someone walking the country looking for work

Family snap – a picture

Shoot through – leave