Friday, December 12, 2008

Softer Still

Sydney has softened me to the point that I think 11 degrees Celsius is insufferably cold. But it is easy to see why: Your correspondent writes to you from his back-garden hammock; Cold drink in hand on a balmy (32C) December day.

Being December there are abundant reminders that Christmas is upon us. Despite the heat, we are still treated to a diet of woollen-clad Santas and snowmen. However, the marketing is by no means as relentless as I remember from Ireland. The transplantation of Northern-hemisphere festivities has left Australia with the bizarre traditions of hot-puddings and open fires at a time when fruit, seafood and beach-sports are far more appropriate.

I will take little part in any of it. Christmas to me is the light at the end of the tunnel that makes the descent into a cold, dark, wet, winter just about tolerable. As the days lengthen and the temperatures rise there is no need to dangle a carrot over the solstice. In Australia Christmas is rightly celebrated as God intended: in June.