Gertrude’s Diary #15 – The 24 Hours of Christmas

Gertrude's Diary

Canberra is a very quiet place around Christmas and New Year, as people leave town to visit relatives and holiday at the coast. When I write “leave town”, I mean “flee like lemmings”. A place not renowned for it”s vibrant street-life rapidly takes on the aspect of a ghost town, but that”s good if you want to enjoy the peace and quiet of one of our beautifully landscaped public spaces. Or shoot a zombie movie.

I chose to spend Christmas Day in the company of dear ones here in Canberra. But what venue should we occupy? We”re outdoorsy type folk, so we took our picnic lunch and sailed a small OK-class dinghy to Springbank Island, located just minutes from Acton Peninsula, and commodiously equipped with everything you”d want in a picnic destination.

The wind was pretty fresh that day, and we almost chickened out with visions of capsizing. An elderly gentleman arrived with a canoe; we had a bit of a chat and I helped him get the 2-seater off his roof-racks, but after an experimental paddle through the chop, he decided to give it a miss.

One of our company is a rather large man, and also a novice sailor, so watching him get into the boat was entertaining, and I quite expected him to end up in the lake, but he boarded without incident. My new friend with the canoe must also have enjoyed the spectacle, because once they were under way he nodded with satisfaction and remarked, “well, that”s a big man in a small boat”.

As it turned out it we all crossed without incident. However, while we were tying up the boat, I slipped on the mossy surface into the steep drop of the lake. An unscheduled swim in the murk of Lake Burley Griffin. Yurk! After a little whinge ” at which everyone laughed ” I borrowed a t-shirt from the big bloke and spread my clothes on a tree to dry. Well, actually, the big bloke did that too, because I”m vertically challenged and couldn”t reach. Loadedoggy would probably call it public nudity, but as I kept my underpants on and was very discreet, I think he”d be stretching the definition (Ed – exhibitionists in denial will go to great lengths to obscure their peccadilloes behind smokescreens such as the age-old falling in the lake scenario).

I was feeling a bit delicate from the previous evening”s debauchery at Johnboy”s cocktail party, where I”m pretty sure I insulted one of his friends. (On which subject, I would like to now publicly state that I was very tense, I meant no harm, and I herein offer an unreserved apology to the man ” that”s the “numbers man” -” in question.) I kind of worked out that I”d gone too far when everyone in a circle of 10 stopped dead and stared at me. Oops. But that was all behind me, I was full of goodwill and cold roast, and after a little nap in the shade, some billy-heated Christmas pudding and a cup of coffee, our Christmas Day festivities were done.

One day down, seven more to fill with holiday fun. The temperature rose ” it was nearly 40 degrees ” and my apathy increased exponentially. What better way to spend two child-free days of intense heat than inside, by the cooler, with the complete first season of 24 on DVD? For those of you without two days to fritter away with another improbable drama series from the U.S., I”ll summarise it for you.

Bad Guys: “Get Jack”s daughter! Get Jack”s daughter”s friend! Get ’em.”

Jack to wife: “Don”t worry, we”ll find them”.

Bad Guys: “Kill Jack”s boss! Kill Jack”s daughter”s friend! Get Jack”s wife!Hold Jack”s daughter and wife hostage!”

Jack: “I”ll find them… Can I trust you Nina”

Jack”s wife: [Escape. Crash car. Lose memory.]

Jack”s daughter: “Mom! Dad! Where are you”

Jack: “I”ve found my wife! I”ve found my daughter!”

Bad Guys: “Get Jack”s wife again! Almost get Jack”s daughter.” “Hold Jack”s wife hostage! Again.”

Jack: “Don”t worry! I”ll rescue you!”

Jack and Bad Guys: Bang bang, bang bang bang, bang

Jack: Hooray! I can finally get some sleep.

Jack”s wife: “What are you doing, Nina”

Nina: Bang

Jack: “I knew I couldn”t trust you, Nina!”

After a couple of days of that, I felt like I was the one who had been kidnapped. Thankfully, transmission of reality has now resumed.

Comments are closed.