I was all set to start with a joyous paragraph of how the forecasters had been proved wrong yet again, as despite warnings of continuous rain, it has been relatively good weather in Sydney all week. However, the news has been full of flooding in inland areas—absolutely typical. You don’t see a drop of rain for ten years and then the next thing you know, you are perched on your roof waiting for Noah or the rescue helicopter.
To say it is great good fortune that the forecasters got it wrong so far as Sydney is concerned over the last ten days is putting it mildly, because, after all, this has been Sydney’s moment to be center of the universe: the week that Oprah put the o into Sydney Opera House. The Australian tourism authorities must be weak with relief; no point importing a superstar if the photo opportunities are only achievable with the aid of a large umbrella. As it is, she has climbed the bridge, paraded outside the Opera House, got up close and personal with numerous bits of Australian wildlife, of both the native and thespian varieties, under brilliant sunshine and dazzling blue skies.
I feel for Oprah and her issues handling the more prima-donna, couch-Cruiser types on her show. I’m having a few problems in that direction myself. You would think I would have more sense than to let the Christmas photo become a democratically based committee decision. Just to put things into context, to most Brits, sending out a photo of your family verges on the naff, whereas it is commonplace in America to treat one’s friends to a stunning image of your offspring or indeed whole family, often in matching outfits and sometimes with whimsical Christmas touches—dog in reindeer antlers gives you an idea on the whimsy front. Having lived in America for five years, I have to say I love and treasure my photo cards and love seeing everyone’s family change and grow (reindeer antlers excepted). Being a typical hoverer on every fence in sight, I have over the years achieved a compromise position: I don’t do a photo card but I do stick a photo into the card, and am willing to defend my position on the grounds that as a serial expat, there are lots of people who I call friends who haven’t seen my children for years and when we get to that glorious party where we all catch up, I would like them to have some glimmering of what those darling little toddlers they once knew now look like.
Normally, I select a number of photos that I feel show the Drama Queens and Husband in best light, combine them into photo card, and, Bob’s your uncle, we’re off on the Christmas-card production line. Fatal error to allow teenage input this year as they either select sultry shots, claim that everyone else’s photo is better, or Photoshop themselves and/or siblings out of all recognition. We are now reaching the tipping point where if decision is not made soon the Christmas cards are going to morph into Valentine’s Day offerings—in which case perhaps the sultry shots may have more value. Perhaps I should just settle for a self-portrait with dog, both of us wearing antlers, obviously.