Why Christmas is Way Better in London than Australia

My latest article for Planet Ivy was published here this morning, but I thought I’d put the whole thing on my blog, since I’ve been lazy lately with the Bum Diaries, so I’m cheating 🙂

Christmas in London is way better than Christmas in Australia. As an Australian about to partake in her fifth Christmas in London, I’ll admit I’m not usually this city’s biggest fan. I moan about the tube, the crowds, the customer service, the expense and yes, of course, the weather. So know this; when I say Christmas in London is better than Christmas in Australia, I’m not being funny. Like Simon Cowell’s hair or Britney Spears’ alleged ability to read, Christmas in Australia just does not make sense.

Here’s why.

australia beach xmas

The Weather

You knew I was going to say this, and why not? It practically needs no further explanation. Christmas in Australia is often in the middle of a heat wave. Being a British colony, we sort of speak the same language and, when it suits, we follow the same traditions. So when I was growing up it was roast turkey for Christmas lunch, even when it was so hot you could sit the bird out on the veranda for a few hours and it would probably cook itself. Each year I would marvel at my mum in the kitchen as the heat of all that cooking turned it into a sauna and eventually she turned into someone who looked like they’d just had a quick dip in the pool. Each year, by the time lunch was ready, the heat had melted away our appetites and we’d all sit down to a feast, the eating of which raised our temperature so much we ended up looking like we’d followed her into the pool.

Nope, I’m sorry, Christmas in London wins hands down. Even when you’re trudging through it to the train station at 7am, only to find services are suspended anyway, the beautiful silence of a world freshly blanketed by snow is hard to ignore. The quiet envelops you and the normally grey London is (for a while) a clean, wondrous white. In Australia, it’s the heat that envelops you, and the only white in the world comes from the deodorant stains in your armpits from all that sweating. Continue reading

Trying to Teach a (sick) Old Dog New Tricks

I have man flu. Apparently I’m making enough grunts and groans every time I move even so much as half an inch that the world is sick of me (and apparently I’ve reverted to imperial measurements since moving to the UK). By “the world” I mean the girl who is stuck at home with me. Oh and the cats. Well, maybe the guy at the corner shop I go to each morning for a Freddo Frog too.

But in my opinion I’ve been unjustly labeled. My symptoms include a cough that sounds something like I’m ejecting a demon spirit, ears that ache like they did when I was pulling some G forces on the Mission Space ride at Disneyworld and of course a nose which alternates between waterfall and dam depending on my angle of recline-age. I also have that damn tickle you get in your throat that makes you choke and cry tears of pathetic-ness because it invariably hits when you’re in public and making it worse by fruitlessly trying to stop it. Plus a strange addition last night was an over production of saliva that made my pillow look like a rabid dog had laid down to rest on it.

So boo hoo for sicky sicky bum bum me, right?

All of this is not helping the fact that this week I’m attending an evening photography course. Normally my brain only functions for a few hours a day, usually around 9am till lunch, 1pm-ish if I’ve had a good sleep. After that it’s a waste of time ever trying to have an intelligent conversation with me. So with my course being 6.30pm till 9pm (normally a prefect length for my attention span) each night, added to the fact that my head is already full of mucus, there’s not much room for new information.

The course is a beginners one, covering the absolute basics, but that still involves wrapping my head around things like f-stops (the most infuriatingly backwards system that’s ever existed – something to do with Pi he said???), apertures, shutter speeds, angles of view, pinhole cameras, sensors, focal length, exposure triangles. Oi vey! I’ve been getting along fine just winging it till now. Maybe I should have factored in my age and number of depleted brain cells before I made the crazy decision to quit my job and start a photography business.

I’m exaggerating slightly, but it is curious to realise that the brain is just not what it used to be. I’m sure it will all slot into the correct files in my head eventually, I’ll just need it explained about ten times more than a youngun. Or someone my age who didn’t obliterate their capacity to learn in their 20’s through copious amounts of Jack Daniels. And vodka. And Long Island Iced Teas. And beer.  Continue reading