Those who know me know that shy, retiring, little flower is possibly over exaggerating the case, though I would claim along with most of the known world, particularly those interviewed on radio, that I am by nature shy, (does make me wonder whether there is anyone out there who describes themselves as a complete exhibitionist). Self-effacing nature or not, it is undoubtedly true that I am fond of bright colours and could often be accurately described as “that one over there in the bright pink.” Given my love of vibrant primary colours it is particularly unfortunate from the harmonious, colour-clashing point of view that I drive a metallic green car of a shade that were it about to appear on a colour chart could possibly be accurately classified as “Shrek snot.”
It is fortunate I don’t lead any kind of double life—if I did I would have to leave the immediately recognisable car at home. The stand out nature of the car has been made worse by Husband suddenly having a festive rush of blood to the head and attaching antlers—to the car I must add, rather than onto his own forehead—perhaps he’s saving that Christmas treat for the actual day.
The car has an unfortunate design fault in that being a ubiquitous non-flash family mover and shaker, it is roughly the size and shape of a small tank and fails to take into account the fact that small drivers will have the seat rammed up against the steering wheel in order to reach the pedals which means the buttons to operate the windows are not immediately obvious – this is a long winded way of saying that I often absentmindedly open the back windows rather than the front. This particular habit is fine normally as the only consequence is that the drama queens just get an unexpected blast of fresh air, however when you have a pair of tinsel festooned antlers attached by dint of being wedged into the rear window then what happens is they fall off. Unable to bear the humiliation of being that woman in the Shrek car with only one antler I then have to pull up and hurl myself through the traffic and retrieve the battered antler with what I hope is a casual and sophisticated air designed to cloak the farcical and humiliating nature of the errand.
It has now become a matter of pride to keep the damn things in one piece until Christmas Eve. As it is I’ve already had to conduct running repairs with a stick rammed up one antler after a particularly unfortunate encounter with the tires of a Land Cruiser.
I am sure all this kitsch attachment to the antlers, and while on the topic I can hardly bring myself to mention the man sized pop up inflatable reindeer that is ready and waiting to burst upon our unsuspecting neighbours, is because secretly Husband and I are both mourning the Christmases of our youth. Because if you are by birth a Northern Hemisphere person then Christmas is indivisibly associated with dark evenings with houses lit up like advent calendars, cold, snow, rain, Christmas lights, and fir trees. I really love our Southern Hemisphere Christmas with morning swims on the beach, heat and sun, palm trees and a glorious mix of a lunch with oysters, sushi, roast potatoes, turkey, salads, Christmas pudding and ice cream cake, but somehow it just doesn’t feel the same. Though as Sydney is having its coldest December for fifty years, and the rain is lashing down with particular ferocity as I type, I have to admit I am beginning to feel we might be in for more of a traditional UK Christmas than I would actually like—so just keep those antlers crossed that the sun shines for a traditional Aussie day.