Saturday, 26 July 2014

Life Is Full Of Meetings And Partings

A cinema can be a strange place to work if you aren't used to long days and nocturnal ways of life.
I started working in one in 2008, and I guess I loved it so much I joined two more after that one. Everybody has somewhere that they go to visit and unwind- mine has always been the cinema. I suppose I thought it'd be a good idea to work there because I loved it so much.
And y'know, it was. I came back from England in 2010 completely penniless and got a call from a certain company offering me an interview. I turned it down, thinking, "I've done cinema twice before, better not". My sister overheard me, and instructed me to get them back on the phone immediately.
I met a series of wonderful people and went through quite a bit with them. I remember doing a sixteen hour shift and coming out beaming. Then I got promoted, and it was a different kettle of fish- with responsibility comes the obligation to be vaguely sensible. I got to put some 35mm films together under the guard of the projectionists (who will always be projectionists) and I still have the mistakes I made! Along with some celluloid scraps that I rummaged out of the dry film bin, under the illusion that it'll make me money someday. I reckon I'll keep it though.
I had my last shift today. I've known it was coming for a week or two, and I have dreaded it. I teared up at the thought, and cried like a little girl when it finally came around. The sadness that came with leaving is so great because it's been my world for a very long time.. Because of those anti-social hours, and bizarre experiences only gained from such a place, the people you work with become a kind of family.
There were wonderful times, for example when someone came in with a toddler and said "This is her first cinema trip!" And there were slightly more dramatic times, like when you watch security guards sit on a drunk before the police can arrive, or when four people get sick all at once because of the same scene.
But the magic has not been lost- it has been marred by The Future coming in and making everything digital, but I am a fan of stories, and film is one of the most enjoyable story-telling forms around. When you put it on a giant screen, turn out the lights, see the beam of light coming through a tiny window... There's nothing like it. I have enjoyed being a very small part of that in my naive, romantic head.

And I will miss it, very very much.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

T-Shirt proverb: Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost/ New Zealand.

...I saw that on a shirt out there and haven't forgotten it!

I have been lucky enough to come from a family that loves to travel. I used to hate it- sitting cooped up in the middle of a very hot car, driving for hours on end. But as I grew up I came to love it; the freedom, the chance to see something new.

So me and my very dear sister Elaine had discussed going to New Zealand, a good two or three years ago now. She suggested a month. I thought this was far too long, but somewhere along the line we agreed. Within that two years I piped up to a lot of people about how I was going and what I would do, and received quite a few understandably pessimistic glances of "Sure...yeah..!" But thankfully, it wasn't a pipe dream, and we left in January.

Most people don't like the idea of a 29 hour flight, myself included, but I have a lovely little naive corner of my mind that I can sink into when things like that occur. We'd both worn our walking boots onto the plane to save on rucksack space, which probably wasn't the most comfortable choice. I constructed a new method of staving off DVT and boredom, the best way that I know how...sixties music. It allows one to bop gracefully at the feet and stop thinking enough that time flies by. Again, I was in the middle seat, so had what I like to call bathroom guilt.

We eventually arrived into Auckland- a city famously hated by Wellington-dwellers. It sits atop an active volcano (didn't know that until we went to the museum...), which makes it a good climate for living on..unless it blows up, obviously.
Auckland used to be the capital city until they handed it over to Wellington for a more central location. But to be honest, there wasn't that much to do in Auckland. It was an ideal location to rest our weary heads for that reason, because we didn't feel too bad about going to sleep when we got there! Our hostel was surrounded by highway signs and Asian supermarkets. The roads were wide and the buildings high. At the city's highest hilltop there are Botanical Gardens, and since it was summer, they were in full bloom. When the wind came down off the hill into the city I swear everything smelt like flowers. Elaine was less convinced of this. We found an Irish bar called Father Ted's but swiftly left again, chugging down Guinness never being a good idea, after hearing some sectarian songs! Even across the world...but anyway. The museum here is excellent- we got tickets to see a Maori cultural display, which means they broke out the hakka, and talked us through their weapons and various songs and dances. We had a look around Parnell, which was supposed to be huge and awfully posh- but it was a few shops. Very very nice chocolate shop though, with a sweet shop selling 'Gummy Chicken Feet'. Classic.
We left Auckland on the Kiwi Experience Bus, the vehicle that would take us all around the country and look after us. Today, the bus was headed from Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands. There are over one hundred islands up there, towards the northernmost point of NZ. We stayed in a hostel that was a stone's throw from the beach. On the ride up, we befriended Jamie, our English gal, and she and Elaine signed up to do a skydive the next day. I couldn't afford it, but also slightly chickened out... We continued to get stuck in- the first thing we did when we got off the bus was a dolphin swim boat. Here we met Steve, the Englishman. None of us were able to swim with the dolphins because they had a baby with their...flock? Pod? I can't remember the collective. But we saw them anyway, and whizzed about on a boat in the middle of the blue sunny paradise we'd just found. Nothing better than wind in the hair.
That night we went to a barbecue put on by the hostel, where we met The Norwegians. After stereotyping Roymond correctly as a black-metaller, friendship was born.
The next day, Elaine set off to do her skydive. I wandered the shops, sent some postcards and enjoyed the beach. When she came back she was in a bit of disbelief, so we went for pizza as a reward.
Our daytrip to Cape Reinga followed. This was one of my favourite days of the whole trip...there was just so much packed into it. First of all, we drove up further north to see the kauri trees which can grow to be 300 years old, 5 metres wide and 50 metres tall. Our driver claimed it was National Tree Hugging Day so of course...we did. We then drove up 90 Mile Beach (a registered highway but a beach first!), before sandboarding down some dunes. I fell off, but I got back on again. Climbing up that sand dune was easily the hardest thing about this trip! Driver took us up to the lighthouse which stands overlooking the point in which the Tasman Sea collides with the Pacific Ocean, creating an almost whirlpool effect. The sand boards then came back out of the bus, this time as plain body boards, and we all jumped into the Pacific for a bit of surf time. To round the day off, we had what is said to be the best fish and chips in the country. Or as they say in NZ, "Fush n'chups".
We decided we'd be badasses and have a few quiet beers in the hostel. Enter Bronwyn the Aussie and her red wine! There is a photo somewhere of me sneaking bottles out of the room in my cardigan...oh dear.
This concluded our time in Paihia, so everyone boarded the bus and we had to go back to Auckland for a night...eugh. But, we got free pizza at the hostel. Domino's no less. I made the most of it and was judged for going eight times...but c'mon. Penniless travellers gotta eat! We stayed in a room without windows. That was weird. But cheap...
Another excellent day followed- Hot Water Beach. This is another top three location for me. Our hostel had a playground- swings, and a bouncy castle. I think we scared the kids away... More fush and chups from the convenient van located near our little hut. Hot Water Beach is named so because of the geothermal activity you can find there. Under the sand, about a foot down, springs sixty-something degree water. It BURNS! So what you do, you dig out a bit close enough to the shore that the sea comes in and mixes it into a nice neutral temperature. Then you sit in your wee bath. It was excellent. took about twelve of us to get any success, because the tide was so strong that it just obliterated our digging efforts. The Norwegians and Steve decided to go human-body-surfing- make yourself flat and jump into a wave. So naturally, I followed. I've never been so full of salt water! As the sun started to set, we had our communal bath, and all was well.
The next day we sleepily drove off to Waitomo, where there ain't much, but there are caves. I'm claustrophobic, and most of the caving activities you could do were pretty hardcore.
So we opted for a guided tour, to the mass ridicule of our friends :D Glow worms lined the formations above our heads, and at one point we walked too fast, and ended up waiting in the dark, 20 feet underground, for our guide to catch up. Eep.
Rotorua has been described by a few as a smelly place. It's very geothermally active, again, so there's a sulphurous tinge about the air. Natural hot springs crop up everywhere here it seems. The activity that we chose for our first day here was lugeing, which is basically go-karting down a volcano. It was great fun. We signed up for an all-you-can-eat buffet that a Maori Experience centre. We were greeted traditionally by a chief and his warriors, then walked through a forest where they demonstrated their dances and rituals. It was a bit touristy, but it was fun and interesting. The feast was amazing. Finally some pavlova- NZ's national dessert!
We stayed one more day in Rotorua in order to go to Hobbiton! It was beautiful and peaceful. It felt to me like a giant English garden, and I could've stayed there all day. We had a pint of ale in the Green Dragon, looking out over the lake and the functioning water wheel and the Party Tree. HOBBIT FACT: with all the billions of sheep (more sheep than people) in New Zealand, all of the movie-star sheep were British. Apparently the NZ ones looked too exotic with their white faces. Bless...

Rotorua was done, and the next stop on the map was Taupo. This place is famous for skydiving, mountains and it's huge lake. On the first night, we settled in to a hot spring with the rest of the bus. It was beautiful. A steaming hot waterfall, leading into a cold river under a blue open sky. The effect of sitting in a jacuzzi, getting too hot, climbing into cool water, getting back in, repeat.
We set out to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing the next day- when you get to the top you can see emerald lakes. It's kind of spectacular. However getting to the top was a bit of a mission. At each stage of the game (I believe there were four) you found a sign, saying "IF YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY FIT TURN BACK NOW". And a lot of stuff about how it's okay to turn back but you have to tell us so we don't send out our search party and you get fined for wasting our time. We passed the first sign, anyway, and came to the Devil's Staircase....... Man, I don't even know how many steps are up that thing. But I know that it's 300m high. It was mental- I broke out the banana bread halfway up just to keep me from having a breakdown. But sweet relief came at the top, with a huge deserted plateau to bring you to the final portion of the climb. On our right at this point was Mount Doom- and another "DO NOT CLIMB THIS UNLESS YOU ARE EXTREMELY FIT AND VERY MOTIVATED" sign. AND my favourite part...the Volcanic Hazards notice. Basically it said that if you feel rumbling or see smoke or if the whole thing blows up, you should leg it in the opposite direction until you find someone with a car. Classic.
We did eventually get to the top, after some sliding up/down a gravelly hill for an hour. A german took our photo and we descended.
That night we dined out with Jamie at a little Italian place. I can still taste how good it was... And we went to the lake to watch people try and hole-in-one a point on the water for $20 000. Nobody did, not while we were there anyway..
(I also discovered here that NZ McDonald's still sell the hot fudge sundae. This was a big deal.)
We left after our two days on the bus to River Valley. Now I quite liked River Valley but everyone else was put off largely by the sandflies. This was our first experience of the dreaded sandfly and it was not a good one. After throwing our stuff into our rooms... I must tell you at this point that I stayed in a 32 bed dorm where the beds were all joined together. Two bunks across two rooms, I stayed on the bottom, and was by myself. I had eight beds to myself!!! Sweet! It was fecking freezing though because I didn't rent a duvet (who RENTS a duvet? Sort it out River Valley). Anyway. After throwing our stuff in, everybody packed down to the river to jump in, and off the rocks around it.
The water was so cold because the sun couldn't get to it at the bottom of the valley, but it was kind of refreshing in an adventure context. I climbed up the other side of the bank to the rocks, to jump in. But the rocks were uneven and I got scared that I would smack myself off one on the way down. People noticed my hesitation and started to say "why doesn't she just jump", so I thought, "oh crap I better jump...but.." It was only when I noticed the amount of sandflies on my person that I actually found the will to jump. Shudderrrr.. It was awesome though. Weird little place, that, but I'd go back.
The big smoke awaited us- Wellington, the last point on the North island, where we would stay for three nights. My old friend Nick is a Wellington local, so I made sure we had a day with him. He came with us to the cable car- this thing is famed, and it's on all the postcards, but it lasted thirty seconds. It's hilarious! Everyone got off and we were like...errr... It took us to the botanical gardens and we walked down from there into the city. Wellington's set up is kind of like Belfast in that it is blocked in by hills and sea. Except, it's warm, so everyone's at the beach all the time. Or jumping off the designated diving board areas that this city just happens to have, directly into the sea! What a place!

We climbed up to a lookout and had some ice-cream. We visited Te Papa museum, and went to see The Hobbit at the Embassy Theatre where it had premiered. It had a very good vibe, Wellington, Elaine said she would live there.
With great sadness we said goodbye to the North island- neither of us wanted to continue South because it meant the end of the trip was that much sooner. But that's a decent enough problem to have, in the grand scheme of things.
Our voyage downwards took us first to Kaiteriteri, home to Abel Tasman National Park. A very huge and beautiful place, we only managed to scratch the surface because we had one night here. It is the first thing to revisit when I get back there. We took a 'water-taxi' (how cool is that?) round the coastline to Split Apple Rock (it looks like a split apple) and then to Abel Tasman, where the water is clear, the sand is pale, and the lush forest houses you snugly beside the horizon. Beautiful.
We spent a lot of time on the sand, making little sand sculptures before the sandflies started rearing their heads again. Fush and chups once more! And may I say, New Zealand does a wonderful, wonderful ice-cream. They mix it up all proper with fruit so it just tastes like you're eating summer. I'm a lady what likes her ice-cream. That evening we caught up with The Norwegians in the hostel, after losing everyone in Wellington. It was a relief to see familiar faces.
Heavy heartedly leaving Kaiteriteri, we made for Westport. Our driver Mangee stopped at a place called St. Arnaud's- a giant lake with a we all just...jumped in. For the craic. A couple of times. Then got back on the bus! I love these people!!
We pulled over for a burger before stopping properly at our hostel, Basil's. It has a hammock in the kitchen, beside a punchbag, and our dorm had a VHS player. I LOVE VHS. It was decorated kinda sixties-ish, and wasn't far from the beach so obviously that's where we went. We met Nadia and Fran here, English gals, who are excellent craic. We all had a bonfire on the beach, equipped with marshmallows.

Another one night stop, so, back on the bus to Lake Mahinapua. Our hostel as it is known, for short, The Poo Pub. It lies betwixt a lake and the sea, the beds are creaky and old, the roof is corrugated iron, when it rained in the night you hear every drop...but I loved it. The first sign of rain since home. They put together a huge steak dinner for us all and it was GOOD. Tradition at the Poo Pub with the Kiwi bus is a dress up party, so tonight we had a P Party (dress as anything beginning with the letter P) Elaine chose Pirate and I chose Picnic.
There was plastic fruit coming off me all evening. The ceiling of the bar was adorned with signed hats from passing travellers, so I added my new picnicking hat to the collection.
Franz Josef followed. 'Josef is home to a glacier, oddly enough, but at this point we found we were too poor to get to do it. Franz Josef is also in a rainforest area, and characteristically it poured all day. I quite liked it, it was a novelty at this point, and the locals seemed kind of relieved that their plants would get some water. Bizarrely welcome, that attitude!
That night, we had a pizza buffet to smother our money sorrows. The glacier hike was called off anyway due to rain, so everyone waited until the next day to hear if they could do it. It was cancelled again, though.. So. The Norwegians decided to walk around the glacier, on a hike that people had died doing, and was in fact supposed to be closed to the public. Myself, Elaine and Steve took to the road to do a much more sedate version. We got lost in the bushes, so it was still an adventure. We had some drinks that night with the crowd, we'd found Jamie again!
The next morning we were supposed to leave early to get to Wanaka, but the heli-hike up the glacier was announced to be on, so we had to wait for those that could afford it to go up and have a go. Our driver took us to do various little hikes while we waited. It was a shame only because we had one day in Wanaka, and it was so beautiful. Mountains, a lake...and a quaint little cinema. I think I'll retire there.

With a very very heavy heart we left Wanaka...the only consolation being that we were headed to Queenstown, which is the South's Wellington essentially. Except I think it's better than Wellington (sorry Nick!!).
It has everything that New Zealand has to offer- adrenaline, scenery, night life, culture, amazing food, wonderful people... It has a frisbee-golf course. Yeah! From our hostel window we could see folk paragliding off the mountain. Yeah... The lake was a short walk away, at the end of the street actually. There is a little hub of boats beside a market on the grass. On the main street you find Fergburger- world famous and incredibly justified to be known as the best burger in the world. Fat Badger's pizza isn't far away either- 20" pizzas all made to order. Why did I leave!! Anyway. Queenstown is where everyone stops for about a week on the bus, so we found a lot of people we'd met previously but hadn't seen in ages. It was pretty cool. Our hostel had a sauna beside our room, and a free dinner every night.
The first proper day was Bungy Day. We had all been given the option to sign up for a bungy or a swing, if we wanted to. At this point in the trip, everyone had done a skydive, or a mental caving activity, or climbed Mount Doom... And I felt a bit of a wuss. It seemed a waste to come to New Zealand and not indulge in some adrenaline. So I signed up for a Nevis Swing...134m high, I think. I watched the promo video in the AJ Hackett centre and felt physically ill. I chickened out. I walked outside to the Kawarau Bridge where the first bungy was done, and it didn't look too bad. Terrifying, yes, but compared to what I'd just watched... Hmmm. The water below was a bright blue. The railway atop the bridge added some charm. It was 43m high, which meant only a 2 second freefall and then it's all over, give me a t-shirt, see ya later. And it was half the price of everything else... So I signed up.
The next day I felt sick, all day. Elaine rode the bus back to AJ Hackett with me, and we talked about the reward Fergburger that would come afterwards. I know that nervousness is hard to control, especially In The Moment, so I tried my very best. Once I was up there of course it all hit, my instructor counted down from three...and I didn't move. He said something like "This is no time to start thinking about this" and all I could say was "Can you help me!" He pretty much walked me off the edge. I closed my eyes until the rope tensed and I bounced, after which everything was awesome. The wee men in the boat held out this big pole for me to grab, and they pulled me in. I couldn't stand up, or walk, and for some reason I was really emotional. But it was over and I had done it and everything was awesome. Of course, I then saw Roymond on the street, who was sporting the 134m Nevis bungy t-shirt... Whatever, man!
The burger that followed was glorious, and there was much rejoicing.

We sampled the Queenstown nightlife- World Bar filled up teapots with shots, we bought one for our table, and played Yaniv (yan-eth) which is basically gin rummy. I did not win. Neither did Elaine. Grumble.
We daytripped to Milford Sound- I think it was four hours on the bus, at 7am, but when you have that view out your window it doesn't matter. We stopped for coffee and to look at the ever-interesting landscape.
Milford Sound is a lovely fjord. We took the boat out to get closer, it was great fun at the front of the bow when it got rocky, or when it drove in close to the waterfall so you could get splashed by some raw NZ nature. Fantastic. Again, wind in the hair...

Saying goodbye to everyone in Queenstown was genuinely sad. I didn't want to go. But we had to, and we did.
Christchurch was an odd place. I have so much respect for all of its inhabitants. After the earthquake, their city centre was destroyed. It is still cordoned off. You can see the tall buildings, the businesses, the billboards through the tape, but there is no one there. You're staring in at a ghost town. We visited the shops that were open, able to survive and function in temporary units. Little boxes on the street. They were just getting on with it, and what else could they do?
A lot of people were in the city working on the rebuilding, which meant a lot of accommodation was booked out, and the rest had been taken in the earthquake. We had to stay in a YMCA, which was fine, but the kitchen had no forks and was smaller than my bedroom. That night I ate noodles from a saucepan with a spoon, and we watched Australian Traffic Cops, who were having trouble catching an escaped crocodile. I think it was one of the only times we watched TV on the whole trip. There just wasn't really anywhere else to go.
We'd booked two nights, though... We had to find separate accommodation and ended up a little bit further out. There was mistranslated English all over the place in there, it was awesome- "Stairs to Up". We visited the museum, and got ready to leave for Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is whale-watching country, something Elaine had been looking forward to since we booked this trip! We booked her in, but it was mad, a sunny, warm paradise of a seaside town clouded over in the space of a few minutes and a torrential rain pummelled down. We fought through the wind to the whale watch centre and were told all trips were cancelled, maybe try tomorrow. So we went back to our hostel on the hill and sat on our sheltered patio, listening to the rain and eating dinner. It was kinda cool.
The next day was our last day. I had a surf lesson while Elaine got out on the whale boat. We met for fush and chups, thinking it'd be nice to eat them on the shingled shore, but we got full on attacked by seagulls and had to leg it.
I dragged Elaine to the supermarket to pick up reams of NZ chocolate, and we watched the sun go down. Alas.
Getting the shuttle was heartbreaking, the driver said "Oh you're Irish, I love the Irish, you're not allowed to leave!" But lo and behold fate was kind, we bumped into Steve and Bron at the airport! That was a nice little end to the journey.
Going home was odd- I just remember thinking how much I didn't want to forget any of it. I have never been sad to go home before from a holiday. There is a particular peace that comes with travelling, but it was magnified in New Zealand. It combined the best elements of adventure, scenery, people and culture like nowhere I've ever known. I can see why everyone moves out there after going once. Having experienced such freedom and happiness it was hard to come back to's all about location, sometimes. Normal 9-5 work for a New Zealander could be surf instructing or Hobbit touring or park ranging.
Here, it's all indoors- we focus on television, and drive two mile distances, and dare not go to the beach in case we catch a cold. It's so...indoors.
I came back and everything looked bigger. I thought I could walk to the mountains one day, why not? I go into my work which has to be dark by its very nature, but I know it's just one very small spot on the big bright green earth. As long as I can continue to look at things that way, I've brought New Zealand home with me.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I Got Rhythm

po·et·ry [poh-i-tree]

1. the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative,or elevated thoughts.

          Generally, you might find that if you say to someone, "I like poetry", or "I write poetry", they'll more than likely give you a facial reaction like this:

        It's a very subjective thing because what comes across as 'beautiful, elevated thought' is something that will obviously differ greatly from person to person. A great deal of people see forms of hip-hop as poetry, for example. It is a very big, umbrella term that doesn't necessarily mean Lord Byron, or the sonnets of Shakespeare.

        The definition of a lyric is 'poetry intended for song'. Rhythm is the core element both in poetry and music; because of rhythm, we've all ended up singing some pretty ridiculous things because we're caught up in the music. For example, would you EVER actually say to someone, "Don't leave me hangin' on like a yo-yo!"
If you did, you would see that face again. This is not the eighties. Even the eighties would be ashamed.

          I admit that I love poetry in its many forms and I am not a teenager full of angst, or a beatnik with a beret. Granted, I come across as a pretentious bastard because I write this blog...but here is some from my favourite poet, W.B. Yeats, to illustrate my point... Much better than the yo-yo based example from before.

"When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face..."

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

We Learned More From A Three Minute Record Than We Ever Did In School

Méliès and Scorsese

When I heard Martin Scorsese was making a kids film I was pretty excited, but it wasn't until I heard it was largely abot George Méliès that I ran to see it at first opportunity.
Méliès is largely tied to this image here below:

This is from the 1902 silent movie named Voyage Dans La Lune or A Trip To The Moon. It is often speculated to be the first science-fiction film.
Like many of Méliès movies, this one uses animation and illusions to create something that at the time was not possible in any other means. Its director is responsible for many effects and techniques that are now standard practise in film making today- such as stop motion and fade ins/outs.
He began on the stage as a magician, wowing audiences with his tricks and disappearing acts. He always found a way to achieve the illusion he wanted in ways that then seemed impossible and now seem primitive. In my opinion he is the most important director of all time, simply because of his attitudes towards challenges (that they could always be overcome).
He achieved success but it did not last his whole life- he ended up with most of his films destroyed, poor and working in Mountparnasse Station in a toy stall which he described as "An icebox in Winter and a furnace in Summer."
His life is portrayed this way in Hugo, and whilst it leaves out some detail of his decline as a director, it revives the joy that he found when his life and works were celebrated shortly before his death. In a way, it gives him a happy ending, though it may be half a century later.
This is what I found remarkable about Hugo- it tied Scorsese and Méliès together, two completely different directors across time, and showed the primitive, magical scenes from A Trip To The Moon  in a 21st century, three-dimensional movie. It blended the past and the present, the beginnings of film with the modern. I found it a warm hommage and at a very important time- digital is taking over cinema as we know it, it is entering a new phase. It does us well to remember the humble, impossible start of celluloid and the vast phases it has gone through in such a short time.
Good on y'George.

Monday, 16 January 2012


So new year, resolutions and stuff.

I am in a full time job, which I am grateful for. But I can't help noticing that I'm nearly 23 and I have not filled my time with the things I wanted to originally. QUARTER LIFE CRISIS!

So. I need an adventure, something to plan and look forward to..... I have made a decision, to use my new boring full time job to fund my journey to this place:

I like the freedom that comes with travelling, it reminds me that there's more to everything. Puts you in perspective. There's something happening somewhere, always, and it's nothing to do with you. So go and see it? Yes please. I'll start there...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Guide To Feeling Christmassy

First of all, regress. Immediately. Remember when the month of December was the slowest moving time of the year, and Christmas Eve would never end? We've all got too many distractions from the Christmas time and spirit which is why far too many people are saying, even on the 24th, "It doesn't feel like Christmas".

SO. Force yourself into it. Make the most of the time- this is why you will always hear me say that Christmas begins on the 1st December because the build-up was the most exciting part of childhood.

Go to events- Christmas movie screenings,  markets, parties, carol services, EVERYTHING- whether you want to at the time or not. You won't feel Christmas if you don't surround yourself in it.
Appreciate the decorations everywhere- the magical lights, trees going up in every window, wreaths... It's really quite fantastic to watch.
AND THE FOOD! Get it down ye! Mulled wine, turkey dinners, every place in town has a Christmas option coming up to the holiday! Saturate yourself in egg nog, it's the one month of the year that you can get away with it.
And movies! There are so many Christmas films, and again only one time to watch them. Everyone has a favourite, or maybe one you used to watch every year without fail. Bring the traditions back.
I had a one when I was a kid, that every night before the 25th I would sit on the floor under the tree, with only the twinkling lights on, and count the presents. I absorbed the atmosphere. Granted I was a weird child, but it was awesome :P

But of course, it's the people that make it the warm fuzzy time that it is. My favourite part is getting away with being sentimental, and giving gifts that you can't wait to see their faces when they open them. It doesn't have to be an insanely expensive time of year, you can give memories or keepsakes or photographs- things that only mean something to you and whoever you're giving it to.

That's my two cents, or rather my inner child's. There you go. Merry Christmas. Now listen to George Bailey...