I'm working in one of those offices at the moment - by one of those offices, I mean I'm in a place where they decorate the office at Christmas. It looks like santa has spewed tinsel from every orifice around here. There's a christmas tree next to a pillar, complete with lights blinking away. Somebody's looped some tinsel over my pod. I don't have the energy to argue. I haven't decorated the house at christmas since I left Myponga some 25 years ago.
I'm looking at one of the inmates from one of the other pods hang tinsel from paperclips suspended in the ceiling tiles - as you do. Hope he doesn't fall - I can see the OH&S lady eyeing him off.
There's also a woman doing something with something that sounds like bells.
Of my few fond Christmas memories, the sound of bells is one that always touches me - the gentle tinkling of bells, not the sod off and die cathedral bells that have the capacity to wake you from the best night sleep after the best night out to the worst hangover ever.
Nah, Christmas Bells remind me of my old dog, Sheba.
Like most children of the seventies in Australia, our family had a mixed breed mutt called Sheba. Sheba was a little kelpie/Border Collie cross. She was black with a white chest, white paws and a white. She had the look and personality of the Footrot Flats dog. Most people had a dog called Sheba - it was the name you called your dog back then.
She was the bestest dog ever. My best mate as a kid, she slept on the end of the bed - she even had half a litter of puppies on the end of my bed before dad went and made a nest for her in the laundry.
Sheba also had a penchant for smiling at people - baring her teeth when strangers turned up - though if you looked at the other end, the tail was going faster than a helicopter blade. She was a great guard dog. To send her into a frenzy all you had to do was say "Motorbike!" and she'd go barking out the door. She loved sleeping in front of the fire, chocolate donuts and herding in the chooks at night.
And at christmas time, we had a string of bells that she used to wear around her neck. Some gentle tinkling bells on a soft cord. When the christmas tree would go up, these bells would come out and they would be placed around the dog's neck. And there the bells stayed until the christmas tree went down. You'd hear her coming - the soft tinkling bells meant she was somewhere around the place - most likely scavenging a corner of toast crust or looking for half a bowl of milk.
Just hearing these bells makes me want to go look for the dog.
I also remember what they said in that film "It's a Wonderful Life" (still my favorite Christmas film) - when you hear the bells at christmas, an angel has just earned their wings.
She's been gone twenty years now. I still go home to my mother's place and have to stop myself calling for her.
I'll stop tearing up in a minute...