Tuesday, December 20, 2005

T'was the week before Christmas

Ah yes, the week before Christmas - always a bit of a bazaar time at Universities, as I am sure it is in most work places. The ANU is no exception. Slowly but surely, everything grinds to a halt. First, the food outlets start to shut. My usual source of cheap food, the Union bakery (which is also a contender for worst bakery in the universe) has closed, along with the equally dodgy Italian food outlet - even the old bloke that fixes bikes on campus for next to nothing has disappeared! Actually, he has been gone for quite sometime, which is a little concerning because he was getting on a bit! And of course, work colleagues themselves start to disappear. My hope is that by tomorrow a majority of people in my department will decide not to come in, thereby making it pointless for those of us persisting to do so, to keep doing so. So today may in fact be my last working day of the year (actually, bugger that, it will be!).

In truth, I probably need to take at least two days off this week just to get the much dreaded Christmas shopping done, as well as other preparations. Aff, yet again, has been consumed by the overwhelming desire to make homemade substances like jam and tomato sauce. Of course, her grand plan didn't really take into account the fact that she has absolutely no time to do it. However, after seeing the anguish in her eyes as this heavy dose of reality sunk in, I couldn't stand by and do nothing - and so it was that I, Chris McCarthy, agreed to take on the task of making homemade tomato sauce - thus completing my domestic training. While this was not exactly on my list of "things to do before I'm 30", I am quietly looking forward to the opportunity of boiling down tomatoes en mass, as well as the obligatory label making, complete with catchy slogan (yet to be decided - suggestions welcome).

So what are the plans for Christmas - well, I am pleased to say Aff and I have finally lodged our official itinerary with the powers that be (our parents), a task that involved intricate negotiation skills, complicated sheep trading, and just a little compromise while still retaining the core elements of our Christmas plan. The itinerary appears to have achieved consensus, and so now can be published for the world to see.

This year is officially "the year of the Macca", thus giving my family the rights to host Aff and myself for the majority of Christmas day. However, we seem to have successfully managed to fit all the major Christmas players into our grand plan, while still maintaining the core principles of "the year of the Macca".

The plan is:

We head down to Melbourne on Saturday (yes, driving down the Hume Hwy on Christmas Eve - probably the least cunning part of our grand plan). We are spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Aff's Mum in Carlton, before heading out to The Basin for Christmas lunch and afternoon festivities. Of course, there is nothing quite like a drive through Melbourne's Eastern suburban sprawl on Christmas morning to really extinguish any reminense of Christmas spirit. The drive always takes a lot longer than I expect, and usually culminates in me abusing some family of 5 in a 4WD who cut me off at the intersection of Springvale rd and Maroondah Hwy - when that toll way is finished, I expect my Christmas' to get a whole lot merrier.

Assuming we arrive without incident, the day itself should be relaxed. Both my sisters, with partners, will be in attendance, as well as my poppy (there is no way to say "my poppy" and not sound like you are three years old), and my step-grandfather, Tom (my late Nan re-married after her first husband, "my poppa", died many years ago). I am really looking forward to spending the afternoon around the pool, and yes, maybe drinking a few beers - as Christmas was intended.

In the evening, Christmas dinner will be consumed at Aff's aunt's place in Vermont, where Aff's Dad, and perhaps Aff's "not so little" step-brother Lincoln, will also be. We then head back to The Basin to sleep off what will undoubtedly be a very big day of Christmas merriment.

The whole Christmas period is set to be a frantic one (is it ever anything else?). Aff and I will only be in Melbourne for a few days, before flying off with our friends James, Claire and Alec for a 7 day hiking trip in Tassie. So don't expect too many blog posts over this time .. In fact, I am not entirely sure how many more posts I will get in this week - though perhaps at the very least, a special Christmas day post can be fitted on - live from the McCarthy Christmas lunch.

In any case, let me take the opportunity now to wish everyone out in the blogosphere, a very merry Christmas and a safe new year.

... be careful out there! The real world is dangerous - keep your fridge magnet handy and watch out for renegade party popers - you could have an eye out!


Blogger Miss Eagle said...

And, if you get thirsty somewhere between The Basin and Vermont you can deter to a blogger fan at Upper Gully. Merry Christmas, Macca & Affie

12/21/2005 07:59:00 AM

Blogger macca said...

and merry Christmas to you EC! I might just take you up on that :)

12/21/2005 09:47:00 AM

Anonymous Delightful Cousin Laura said...

I've always been told that ANU food was like the equivalent of being in heaven. The food at UC is so poor that it doesn't even serve as a successful paperweight, with it leaking grease and who knows what else over one’s belongings.

Before now, I didn't realize it was possible to make a potato cake that didn't taste like anything and as for the “fried rice”, well, my friend and I built dams out of it with the addition of coke and water. Whilst you can't eat it, it does keep threatening levels of liquid at bay so should there ever be a flood in Canberra, I know where I'm going instead of searching for sandbags.

12/21/2005 09:12:00 PM

Anonymous Robert Merkel said...

Delightful cousin Laura, by "UC" do you mean "University College" (the Melbourne Uni College on the traffic island) or "University of Canberra"?

By the way, that is indeed a delightful blog nickname, if a little reminiscent of the American Deep South...!

12/22/2005 07:37:00 PM

Blogger macca said...

Laura - I'm impressed you've managed to find a potato cake in Canberra ??? they don't even call them potato cakes here .. they call them potato scallops!! whats with that!

IMHO here are two things Canberra misses terribly, a decent fish'n'chip shop, and a pub that serves chicken parma's.

And Laura (and family), thanks very much for the Chrissy card! :)

Rob - my delighful cousin Laura is referring to The University of Canberra.

merry Christmas

12/22/2005 10:23:00 PM


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