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Living in the southern hemisphere, we don't have Christmas to banish the midwinter blues.
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Australia's community outbreak of COVID-19 is growing and the bubble with New Zealand is on a hiatus. I hope that is the case until we get the vaccine as the delta variant is a lot more contagious. According to the government, the earliest I will be eligible for vaccination is August.
 
We are in the middle of my least favourite time in New Zealand. Midwinter. Since Lyttelton is near the bottom of an ancient volcanic crater and we face south (this being the southern hemisphere the sun moves from east to west via the north), we lose the sun behind the ridge of the crater rim. And at this time of year that happens at 2 pm. We have had masses of rain all at once and the ground is sodden. There isn’t enough light for anything to grow in the garden, not even the weeds! So it’s a pretty miserable time of year here, even though it has been mild, around 10°C, during the day (as I write this, a cold southerly has blown in, it's hailing and it is 5°C).

I celebrated the shortest day by going for a very brief swim in the harbour. It lasted two minutes. You can get very cold in two minutes and even a flask of hot chocolate wasn’t enough to bring the blood back to my fingers for a good hour.
 
The other thing we did to banish the winter blues was to have a sparkly soirée. 39 people plus a dog fitted into our little house and it was tremendous fun. It’s the biggest party Duncan and I have had and we learned a few things from it.
1. Brighten up the house with candles and lots of fairy lights (bought secondhand or borrowed from friends), but make sure your ancient electrics can handle all the lights being turned on at once.
2. Solar powered outside lights are great for decorating the front of the house unless the sun hardly comes out because it has rained all week and the batteries run out of power before the party has started. I had to charge them up inside.
3.  Make a note of what food people bring so that you can thank them when you eat it later. I have no idea who made the little caramel tarts but they were delicious.
 
4. Hide the remote for the smart TV.If it took you weeks to make the perfect Spotify playlist, you don’t want to give control to your friends when they’re drunk.

5. Leave tea, coffee, mugs, sugar, etc out by the kettle before the party starts. You’ll be in no state to make people tea and coffee towards the end and guests will try to do it themselves.
4. Hide the remote for the smart TV. If it took you weeks to make the perfect Spotify playlist, you don’t want to give control to your friends when they’re drunk.

5. Leave tea, coffee, mugs, sugar, etc out by the kettle before the party starts. You’ll be in no state to make people tea and coffee towards the end and guests will do it themselves.

We've just about finished the tidy up, so it's back to work!

Ta ta for now.


 
PS. It was a good party, but I miss the parties of decades past, when there was a lot more snogging. At least in middle age there are fewer breakages and no vomit to clear up!
PPS. If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it on.
 
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Copyright © 2021 Alex Hallatt's Cartoons and Writing, All rights reserved.


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