Friday, 17 December 2010

Seventeenth Day of Advent

- December 17th -

Today's Advent blog is all about those golden Aussie Christmases of yesteryear by award-winning novelist Kaaron Warren, plus a special guest appearance from her Mum!

My childhood memories of Christmas revolve around lunch at my grandmother’s house. She had a tiny place, so the backyard was the only option when all the cousins showed up. She had a lot of old stuff back there. It was a place full of adventure. A huge wagon wheel that we climbed on till it rotted. A meat safe, that no longer held meat but still had the scent of old lamb. And a fantastic shed, full of junk and treasures and my grandfather’s secret part, where the men went to drink his homemade rocket juice. My dad told me not long ago this was cheap port mixed with cheap brandy. The men would be summoned up the back there during the day. There was an old mat on the floor, and an old dog, and my old granddad. The times I snuck around to see what they were doing (all the cousins following along) you could see the heat haze shimmering out of the door.

We always got the same gift from my grandparents. A little something, because there were ten of us. The one I remember best was the little skeleton chomping teeth. Those ones you wind up and chomp chomp chomp, chomp chomp until the adults screamed with irritation. Or it could have been the rocket juice setting them off.

For us, Aussie Christmas was about the dessert. Pavlova, plum pudding with coins stuck in, lots of lollies, soft drink; it was a sugar frenzy, and my cousins and I would often end up running around the shed at the back, shouting. We’d be in the swimmers we’d all been given by Santa Claus (Aussie kids get new swimmers every year) , and someone would set off the sprinkler to cool us all off. Then we’d be soggy, and muddy, and full of sugar, and we’d show off our Christmas presents. There’d be tears at hometime, because we didn’t want it to be over. I never wanted the day to end; I still remember how sad I felt when the day cooled, because it meant it was almost over.

This is Kaaron’s mum. Just a little adjustment to the rocket juice recipe. Not only brandy and port, but peppermint essence was an essential ingredient and a nice little bottle of cheapish red wine.

*Thanks to Kaaron and her Mum for taking the time to write this fab blog post

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