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Showing posts from December, 2010

Boxing Day Sales...rude people...but good service...sometimes

Cottesloe Beach Today I am going to take my daughter to the airport for her return to Sydney and then I am going join the crowds and try to get a new TV at a bargain basement price…and be amazed at the appalling manners of generally well behaved people during end of year sale season as they push and shove to get the “best” deal they can.  It will be quite a contrast to the quiet tranquility of Christmas and I am sure quite confronting. Christmas Day was wonderful this year despite the heat. Here in Perth, Western Australia it reached 40 degrees and so it was difficult for me to relate to the icy conditions of Europe – they actually seemed rather appealing As is traditional in my family, Christmas Eve was celebrated with a huge, traditional English-style dinner at my sister’s home. Christmas Day lunch was shared with my children and their father, and this year my menu included a few of the favourites of both deceased grandmothers. From the Italian grandmother a ravioli in a tomato

Christmas and Blended Families....manners matter....

My Christmas Table My phone has been ringing with people wanting to know how to handle the difficulties that arise during occasions such as Christmas with “blended” families. The old adage that you can choose your friends but not your family is often relevant at Christmas, and particularly with families which have divorced and perhaps remarried partners. Unfortunately there are very few happy melded families like “The Brady Bunch” least initially. If having good manners is about behaving well around other people and treating each other with respect, then at times of probable stress and possibly strife, the need to be even more cautious with words and actions is really important. My children’s father and I have been divorced for many years. But over the years we have developed strategies to make our shared Christmases with our children and our new partners as pleasant as possible. We have always attended Christmas church services together, and afterwards had a glass of champa

Office Christmas Parties and Alcohol....faux friends....

It’s that time of year again when the office Christmas parties start and my phone runs hot with enquiries about what should, and shouldn’t be the behaviour, and then after the parties, how to apologise for disasters which have occurred. Having recently given interviews to the The West Australian newspaper and Radio 6PR regarding Christmas party etiquette I was reminded of some of the hilarious instances I have heard about over the years. Invariably, of course, the main culprit is an over enthusiasm with the free alcohol on offer. The story of the meek and mild secretary who , after a few cocktails, turned into a candidate for Playboy; and the quiet, IT geek, who after way too many beers tried to chat up the office vamp and when successful had no idea how to take the “opportunity” further. Both of these situations I learnt about when the protagonists involved rang me to find out whether it was necessary, and then how, to apologise for their out of character behaviour. It’s important

Labuan Bajo and the Gold Coast...different worlds...

(View from Bintang Flores Hotel) A mere three weeks ago I was on the remote eastern Indonesian island of Flores, staying in a comfortable 4-star hotel in Labuan Bajo, the Bintang Flores, which overlooked a “squatters” camp which had no fresh water or electricity but which shared the view over the sea. The children played happily. Today I am a world away on the glitzy and glamorous Gold Coast of Australia visiting friends. And while I enjoy a view over a scenic canal bordered by luxurious mansions my mind returns to beautiful Flores and a world filled with gentle people who need little in life but their families, their health and a few rupiah to buy rice for their bowls. It is difficult not to be cynical when I compare these two very diverse worlds. But I actually feel more lucky because I am content in both. When I first arrived at Labuan Bajo I found the poverty confronting. The streets, where they were paved, were dirty and filled with rubbish which nestled in amongst drying fish,