December 2015 Newsletter #3

  • By Antiques-Art-Design Sydney

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that you’ve got it made”

Groucho Marx

 Ready …. Set …… Go!!

In just a few more days we will all be breathing a sigh of relief. We will have, yet again, conquered Christmas.

I am sure I don’t have to tell you, the pressure to perform is enormous, let alone to maintain enough stamina to be able to complete the decathlon of events that lead up to this moment.

It all seems to start with the “Christmas drinks marathon”, and the “try to get as much work done as possible so you don’t have to come into the office sprint” which is usually followed by the “clandestine shopping event” (which for the serious contenders can be an archery or a weight lifting event, and sometimes even both). Not far away from this, and often running simultaneously, is the "pick the perfect pressie long jump" – (criteria for this category being that the gift must both “delight” and “surprise” – and it is to be noted that in the case of “surprise” without “delight”, it is instant disqualification, much like the position of the toe over the board is in other versions of this event).… and this is just a small part of it all.

The final showdown is the “Christmas Lunch relay”, which anyone hopes is a short sprint, but usually turns out to be a cross country through a swamp of family intrigues, sugar overloaded kids and roasts and gravy…… only to be finished off by a double helping of Aunty Beryl’s sherry trifle before surrendering to the food coma of physical, mental, emotional fatigue and sheer exhaustion…

Aahhh….. wont it be great!!!

But yet in those few short weeks (….or days for our male readers who like to think they have started with a handicap but have, in reality, just slipped in halfway through the show) that it takes for us to go through this process, we will have actually thought more about the people around us than we do at any other time of the year. It reminds us of who is important and what is important, and in what seems to be an ever increasingly invasive and pervasive world, it gives us pause to try and find meaning in it all. And so in the few days that lapse between the aftermath of what was Christmas and the promise of the New Year, we tend to tally our successes and failures; of things where we fell short and things where we excelled, and come up with the plans to right the wrongs of the past year.

We hope this year has been a successful one for you, and that your scorecard shows that you have achieved the balance you have strived for, and ticked some boxes that are at the top of your list. We hope there have been surprises (of course accompanied by delight) and that above all, health and happiness have been yours.

And all of this is leading up to…… that perhaps, training should begin a little bit earlier next year, so you again surpass your New Year’s goals (just a suggestion of course!).

Happy New Year!!!

From Christopher Becker, Anje Brown and Lorna Lesley
Crystal decanters and assorted glassware at Antiques-Art-Design
January Birthday Dinner for Eight…
Ethel Merman serenades Albert Schweitzer, W.C Fields and Al Capone order the wine. Isaac Newton is introduced to Dolly Parton and rethinks his theory of gravity. Dior admires the table setting, Virginia Woolf says she bought the flowers herself.
Flowers at Christian Dior's Autumn/Winter 2012 Haute Couture show
News From The Front…
My friend Bill has a theory about tradies, he claims they’re the re-incarnated souls of World War I Diggers who died in the trenches: they’re back, they’re not taking orders from anyone and they’ll decide if it’s over by Christmas or not. He shared this insight when I was in the stale hell of a long campaign to renovate and fireproof our building. Located in the heart of Kings’ Cross it had to meet the exacting demands of a council recently found liable by the courts for a gruesome hotel fire made worse by poor building standards. By the end of it my tiny studio had drenchers outside every window, four sprinklers (including one in the bathroom) and multiple smoke detectors wired to the Darlinghurst Fire Station*.

A year or two later I rented a flat in Waverley that had bars on every window, a deadlocked front door and no fire alarms. I realised this was standard practice in the parish the morning I saw flames silently consuming the kitchen curtains behind a similarly barred window in the building opposite, which may be an argument either for or against council amalgamations**. Anyway, back in Kings Cross, the renovations cost a fortune in money and (had it been invented back then) emotional wellbeing. We’d endured demolition, drilling, grinding, jackhammering and the ceaseless torture of “revised” quotes. As the occupation dragged on the civilians suffered: neighbours stopped speaking to each other over disputed colour charts, previously honest tenants did moonlight flits, long-time residents sold up and moved to Chatswood. 

Finally after three long years it was over with only “mopping-up operations” left to do including re-touching the damaged paintwork. My bathroom ceiling was the last hurrah. I left for work that morning full of hope, the end of living on-site in sight. When I returned Dave*** was still in my flat packing up. Packing up! Liberated at last! I was joyful, trusting, and yes, even grateful. I opened the bathroom door… I looked up... and saw a splodge of matte cream orphaned in a sea of gloss white. When at last I could speak it was in the Brighton Conference voice of Margaret Thatcher “it’s… a …different… colour” Dave ambled over, surveyed his work and shared his professional opinion.  

That’s only ‘cause you’re looking at it

It was then that I realised that Bill was wrong. Dave wasn’t some vengeful Digger re-born in King Gees. No, before me was a Master delivering a Koan. All the frustration and stress had brought me to this moment. At last I understood the error that had led to my suffering. I had heard the wisdom of Tradie Zen: the way to contentment is to practice The Art Of Not Seeing.
* The “Darlo Firies”, admired far and wide for their physical charms, appear in an annual fundraising calendar. We had so many midnight call-outs in the first six months that residents started buying more flattering nightwear for the occasion including Peter Alexander pyjamas, Calvin Klein boxers and, in one particular case of wishful thinking, a nude chiffon peignoir. 
** Mother and baby fine
*** the builder, name changed for legal reasons

By Lorna Lesley
If you are feeling the Christmas guilts, support a charity "The Children's Hospital Foundation", by purchasing the above (... feeling better now?!)
The Last Word…
Any strong or watertight shoe: technically a field shoe.  Abbrev:  “vellies”
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