Christmas approaches.

The weather in Brisbane has been unseasonably cool though certainly welcome and preferable to the thin bead of perspiration that I would otherwise be wearing.

In a brief but now unwelcome moment of organisation I had put all of Gabriella's heavier clothing away in favour of sundresses, mini-skirts, sleeveless tops and summer pyjamas so I was really caught out on Monday night trying to dig up something warm for her to wear while we dined on the deck. It makes me wonder hope whether we will have a cool Christmas Day.

I can recall only two non-heatwave Christmas Days in Australia within the past five years such welcome days and it makes the preparation and eating of masses of food so much more enjoyable. Other than that, my other cool Christmas Days were spent in England one year with P and his family and in Toronto with P, his sister and her in-laws another year.

I really enjoyed sitting in the basement of a home in Toronto roasting chestnuts, eating loads of Turkey and other Canadian/English Christmas fare and then joining in to play their traditional family game of "Darts and Farts (D&F)." Usually only the men play D&F. I decided to play but declined to participate in the Fs - in fact that year I think a few men didn't pass a F due mainly to my presence and I think they were mightly put out. I recall that my dart's partner and I won that year too - I am not too bad with the darts having done my darts playing apprenticeship in London.

A bit about my life in London
I spent about 9 months living with P in a pub in Maida Vale, London where P worked, so the pub became my living room. While P tended bar I played with the other punters brushing up on my pool and darts skills.

We had some fun and some interesting times at that particular pub it was very close to Kilburn (an Irish section of London) and not the heart of the more gentrified Maida Vale consequently we got met some very dodgy characters in there. I was certainly exposed to some interesting people that otherwise I would never have met if we had not travelled and P chanced upon working at this pub.

I always remember one criminal fellow reassuring P and me that if something ever happened in that pub he would always take care of us. His having to say that to us and not just once really scared the bejesus out of me and I always knew that something meant violence. A few times while we stayed at that pub I felt tension in the air when I thought something could happen. That mood I can clearly recollect after all the years since. My memory is that the air was thick as if filled with heavy smoke although there is no smoke, voices were subdued and solemn and words hung in the air, people did not laugh or giggle it was simply a gathering of people drinking and waiting, drinking and waiting....... I have never had that feeling again I am happy to say.

The staff and I were always prepared if something were to happen, the drill was you bolted to the back of the bar and up some stairs to our quarters, locking a huge door behind you and you kept racing up the stairs bolting doors behind you every two flights. Of course you hit the panic button that was a hot line to the police before you left.

I remember one night when we were warned that something might happen and although nothing eventuated, after the pub was closed we were told by the Assistant Manager that a small hatchet had been found in the men's toilet.

Not long after we returned to Australia we heard that the pub had been broken into one night and Bill the Governor had been tied up while everything was taken. We used to live two floors above his. In life, timing is everything.


At 10:09 am, Blogger OLS said...

We tend to do Christmas in air conditioning. Makes life much easier. Though it does seem a little weird to be packing jeans and a jumper for Christmas Day when you're sitting in 30+ degree heat. ;o)

I know the feeling with the cold snap though - I had packed all of my warm clothes up into boxes and stuff while living with T&S and only have a skeleton wardrobe I kept out. Not a major problem, but it does mean that I've been living in the same cardigan for the last two weeks whenever I'm not at work.

Nice story about the London pub. I could just picture it.



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