It's always slightly surreal to talk to my Northern Hemisphere friends at this festive time of year. A lot of them (although I have it on good authority that Alabama at the moment should be called Ala-balmy, it's so warm) are getting all the stuff I see on Christmas cards. You know, snow and ice and frost and robins and people rugged up in their winter best.
Down here in Australia, it's sweltering. And this year, we're having a proper wet season. Or at least we are in the part of Queensland where I live. This is a good thing (in spite of the inconveniences) as we've had the worst drought on record for longer than I can remember. Brisbane, the nearest major town, has been on water restrictions since Noah was a pup. Which means my place is a very popular destination for visitors - just so they can wash their car, something they haven't been allowed to do in Brisbane for years! Really puts you in your place when visitors arrive, say hello, and then start reaching for the hose so they can wash months of dust off the vehicle!
It's the time of year when everybody starts to slow down. It's our long summer holiday as well as Christmas. Everything is a bit crazy up until 25th December and then we all settle down for lots of junk food, visits from friends and family, long days of cricket on the TV, lots of swimming - beach or pool - repeats on TV, the enticing aroma of barbecues sizzling in every backyard.
My Christmas plans involve attacking my to be read pile. It's been growing exponentially over the year. I haven't stopped buying books but I've been so busy, I haven't done nearly as much reading as I usually do. There are so many treasures waiting for me, I'm drooling at the mere thought of getting my hot little hands on it. And believe me, in this temperature, hot is exactly what my hands are!
I've included a lovely photo that my neighbour Anne took of the flowering gum tree in my front yard. Isn't it gorgeous? And the perfect colors for Christmas, wherever in the world you are. And that's how I'd like to finish. Happy Holidays to everyone, no matter where you live. May your 2008 be blessed with much love, good health, great happiness and truckloads of good books!