So that’s it. The office phone is on ‘Leave a Message’. The Gone Fishin’ sign is on the door. Work is over for another year.
I am now officially ‘on holiday’ until after the New Year. Yay!
All around it’s been a good year at work, but a very busy one, and I know it’s going to take me a little time to wind down. But I am really going to try. I do have a list (I know, I know, me and my lists) of things I should do over the holiday break. It runs something like this: catch up on my reading . . . and sleep . . . do some writing . . . and sleep . . . go to the movies (‘Star Wars’, here I come) . . . and sleep . . . play with the dogs . . . and sleep . . . eat too much . . . and sleep . . .
I may, or may not, get to everything on that list.
Apart from the fact that this was the last week of work and things should have been slowing down but in fact seemed to be doing exactly the opposite, we did manage to finish the week off in a really nice way with our staff Christmas Lunch. We are a little college so it was only a small group of lunchers (lunchees?) who got together—only 11 of us, but, as Gandalf said, “Oh, they’re quite a merry gathering. Once you get used to them.”
A number of our team don’t work regularly out of the college premises (they train students at other venues) so in some cases people hadn’t seen each other since the last Christmas lunch, and the newer staff members hadn’t met some of the others at all, so it was a really good chance to catch up on everyone’s latest news, talk about holiday plans—and swap our latest doggie stories.
Oasis by the River had been warned of our impending arrival, but in spite of that they had set up a lovely table for us, all decked out in Christmassy fashion with little Christmas trees, tinsel, Christmas crackers, tiny gingerbread men—and a great many wine glasses on the table. (Like I said—they knew we were coming). No really—I am joking—we were all very well behaved (it was only lunch after all). Having said that, we did manage to get a good number of those glasses filled up, and emptied, and filled up again in very short order . . . In our defence—although we don’t technically need a defence as the Christmas rules do state ‘eat, drink and be merry’—we had to have something to wash down the very yummy ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner of roast turkey, ham and all the trimmings that was laid out before us.
(There was so much food that I don’t think anyone completely finished their meal, and the leftovers were all passed along the table to me, wrapped up in serviettes and went straight into my handbag to take home for my girls. Courtesy of the college staff they will be getting some extra yummies with their dinner over the next couple of days. Christmas is for dogs too, you know.)
But—and there is always a ‘but’—for all the lovely table, and the food, and the drinks, there was one thing really not quite right—the Christmas Crackers. It turned out that the Christmas crackers supplied by the restaurant, although very pretty and Christmassy and sparkly—TOTALLY FAKE. Shock. Horror. No bang, no pressie—no joke! It could have spoiled the whole day (or at least it could have spoiled Joneen’s whole day). Just as well then, that Santa (Steve in a Christmas baseball cap) had also seen to it that the Santa Sack was not only stuffed full of Secret Santa pressies, but also an abundance of (fully functioning) Christmas Crackers. Phew.
So the crackers were passed around, cracker-pulling-partners chosen and then the usual bangs, shrieks and scrabblings about on the table as we all went search of our hats, jokes and prizes (which, after the explosion, always seem to shoot across the table and vanish into the table decorations).
Once all suitably decked out in our paper crowns (having swapped them back and forth across the table so as to make sure each of us had one that complemented our outfit) we all took it in turns to read our jokes out, tried to guess the answers, and groaned loudly in the appropriate places. Joneen actually came up with some better answers (and when I say better, I mean more groan-worthy) than those that came with the jokes. It could be a new career path for her should she ever decide to leave the adult education sector.
Towards the end of the meal, when we had finished our desserts and were on to the coffees (or just one last glass) the chef came out to tell us that there was a hail in Port Macquarie and the storm was heading our way. We didn’t think he was trying to get rid of us but it was enough to start breaking the party up. This turned out to be a very good thing as the chef was later vindicated when we did, in fact, get hit by a humungous storm, complete with lashing rain, wind and bone rattling thunder. With luck, everyone was home and dry, or very near it, by the time the storm struck.
So, now we are all done and dusted for another year. We have now all gone our separate ways for the holiday season and hopefully it will be a happy and safe time for everyone.
I am going to do my bit to help with the safety side of things.
After I sign off here I am going to go and write a very stern letter to Santa about a certain person’s Secret Santa gift—a Balloon Animal Making Kit. Why? you might ask. Surely a fairly innoucous type of gift you might imagine. And you might be right—in the hands of any other person. Judging by her enthusiasm for, and her antics with, her new toy at the Christmas lunch, the local ‘elf and safety officer’ is going to need to know where to find her.
I really don’t know what Santa was thinking . . .