New Year Lament

Well, another Christmas has passed me by and I have come out the other side relatively unscathed, if you don’t count being insulted by a brother incessantly, and stuffing myself full of artificial colourings and preservatives constantly.  I’ve made it to the light at the end of St Nicks Christmas tunnel and am now preparing to run the gauntlet of  New Year’s Eve invitations, function offerings and the odd reveller who plants themselves on my front lawn because they can’t find their way home.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I live on an island, which is well placed just 800 metres off the mainland. Far enough away to deter a regular weekend invasion throughout the year, particularly in the winter months, but close enough to attract an assortment of holidaymakers during the end of year festivities, the highlight being the new years’ eve celebrations. For the most part, the locals can generally report low to moderate carnage that involves random beach bonfires and the usual unwanted debri that goes with it, but every now and again there are more marked displays of unpredictable behaviour that are brought about by the shared notion that being in a perceived place of  constabulatory isolation has certain extra merit for misadventure.

In the last few days I have noticed a more pronounced police presence here and there. I am not too worried by this, as I have nothing to hide and I don’t drink. I just have to remember to keep my motorcycle helmet on for a quick spin around the island, and resist the temptation of wanting to feel the rush of the wind through my hair, no matter how liberating.

I’m sure the majority of our local species will do their own liberating thing on year’s eve and have enough sense not to drink and drive. Having said that, our island is a small community surrounded by beach, so there is not much trouble rustling up a lift home from a sympathetic neighbour, or using the elaborate and mass mobile communication service at hand to warn of impending visits from the law. Sadly for the local law enforcement, as fast as the police barge is, it can be heard a good 3 kms out from the barge ramp, therefore giving those in the know a chance to hide, stash, get to where they need to go in relative comfort, and stay put for the duration of the visitation. This is usually a bad thing for the troublemaking tourists, who are the only ones left outside of the ‘magic circle’ to apprehend, fine, or let off with a stern warning.  This in turn can be a good thing for the local element, as it tends to cull the real troublemakers that are intent on misbehaving away from home as much as they can and hang the consequences to themselves or anybody else, including the aforementioned local element. It’s basically a win/win situation, where the locals get to have a relatively trouble-free and decadence packed function without to much interference, and the police get to do their thing with a reasonably good reward for effort.

I’m probably starting to sound like the ‘fun police’, but don’t get me wrong. I like to see people having a good time, but it’s like anything else in this world. Move into a new neighbourhood, country, community, group.. even for a short while, it pays  to learn the code, play the game, keep a low profile, go with the flow and see what happens. If you aren’t generally a player then your inability to confirm, indifference, and ‘me’ mentality will serve as a neat beacon and draw the heat off the more interesting activities that are part of the circle.

I have observed many incidences  and apprehensions this year, none of which were of a local undertaking. It’s working already.

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With love, for Christmas

I probably should be posting a little more than what I have managed in the last few weeks, but I’ve been busy. And life is just about interesting enough to write about now as Christmas approaches at a rapid rate, and the relatives and presents come out of the woodwork.

I’ve had the usual Christmas cards, the odd phone call, and a handful of low-maintenance return-the-favour enterprises that have involved stamping and posting, but nothing out of the ordinary up until a few days ago.

Santa (with a little help from my husband) has gone all out a little early this year and managed to provide me with a new set of wheels with all the trimmings. The first I knew of this major undertaking was my husband’s self-satisfied smirk, and a jostling of a set of keys in his right hand as he led me to his quarry and ran his hands over the gleaming silver body of a VW Polo. It was love at first sight of course. I am a big fan of the VW range, and my enterprising husband knew it.

He did it all by himself, and I am in awe of him. I am usually the computer geek and the mastermind behind a well-orchestrated surprise-and-a-half.  I am also usually the bargain hunter, the savvy shopper, and the smart buyer of good quality merchandise on the Internet. Two years ago my husband couldn’t send an email. Now he’s buying cars and accessories at the touch of a few buttons.

I’ve taken her on her maiden drive to the first fancy restaurant I could find to celebrate not only my gift, but the precious gift of love that I am lucky enough to have in my life. It’s great to have a new car, that’s for sure, but it’s even greater to have my wonderful husband.

Shop til I drop, not

I went out today with my husband to a shopping centre. Shopping city would probably be a more appropriate term for it. I’m not generally a shopping centre person. I especially dislike massive consumeristic gatherings in one place, full of agitated people with only 3 things on their mind. Get in, shop, and get out again alive and solvent.

The silly season is now upon us, and I suspect that the term ‘silly’ has been derived from observations of just what lengths some will go to to secure that ever elusive parking spot closest to the entrance. I try to park as far as possible from the fray if I can. I prefer to walk a little further than suffer the anxiety of jostling for position and running the gauntlet of  a recently vacated space, or even worse, one that is about to be vacated. We’ve all been there…waiting patiently for the aforementioned space with blinker at the ready, only to have some inconsiderate sod zoom into the space before you can even get into first gear. I’ve seen some nasty results from such  scenarios, and it has taught me that parking a little further away can sometimes be the better part of valour.

My husband isn’t really deterred by all the shenanigans, and will bravely forge ahead to any potential opening he can find as close to his point of entry as possible. By the time we have finished trawling for a good vantage point and securing our position, I could have gone and parked up the other end and been in for a milkshake and a browse.  On these occasions I find myself reaching for the rescue remedy before I even hit the shops.

Once inside it becomes a game of tactics. I must get what I need to do done before my husband starts to exhibit signs of agitation borne from what he sees as  a penance, and try to distract him before the rot sets in. I have devised different methods over the years to gain maximum benefit for minimal effort.  Plan A has been the availability of the ‘while-u-wait pressure point massage centres catering to the everyday stresses of the tired and harassed shopping populous. I don’t even have to ask any more, he heads straight for them and takes the longest session available. Then it’s all plain sailing, as long as I can do the required tasks in the allotted time frame.  More often than not this tends to work out well for the both of us, but today it was too much to hope for.

As I have mentioned before, I’m not one for shopping centres, especially ones filled with pre-Christmas shoppers intent on making it as difficult as possible for not only themselves, but for all those around them. Okay, so I am generalising, but it sure felt like it as I negotiated screaming children, irate mothers, distracted fathers, pottering pensioners, disoriented foreigners, disorientated locals,  gangs of teenagers, and in-betweeners, in every bit of breathing space imaginable.  I had nowhere to go, except back  to my husband in order to get out of there before I lost my marbles completely.

He decided to cut his losses and, at my suggestion, head for his favourite restaurant.  I reserve this as backup plan B if plan A isn’t resolved. So far I have never had to resort to plan C, which involves one of us finding our own way home, preferably not the writer of this post. As we both have a set of keys to the car, it could go either way.

I have decided that my Christmas shopping for the year will consist of cards, money in envelopes, and a good method of delivery.  Sadly, this trend has been developing over a number of years and looks like setting in for the duration of my existence.

It could be worse.  It could have been plan C.