12 Days of Christmas, Day 9 – Deb Abela

On the 9th Day of Christmas we have the wonderful author Deb Abela. She lives in Sydney and was our featured guest at our SCBWI NSW Christmas dinner – last year! See photos of that gala event and Deb in action here.When Deb was young, she imagined she was on great adventures until she could go on them for real. She’s slept beside alligators, been harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail by armed men in Africa. She’s written TV and novels for kids, including Max Remy Superspy, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) and her latest title The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, which was inspired by her Nanna’s stories about friendly ghosts.So here is Deb’s reflection of a very different sort of Christmas:

Deb abela

One of my favourite Christmas memories isn’t very Christmassy.
I’d been learning to kayak on Camden Lock in London with friends. We’d rug up and paddle at night with houses on either side of us alive with dinner clatter and into the stretch of lock where we sidled alongside enclosures of Regents Park Zoo with its snores and grunts and squawks of animals.
For Christmas that year we were going to test out our skills at Mumbles in Wales, a rugged coastal stretch we found at the end of a winding narrow road. It was a bleak, grey day; we’d camped just behind the beach and were wearing almost everything we’d brought. We stood on the shore with our kayaks ready, lifejackets on and were facing the sombre, bubbling surf. I dragged my kayak into the water and got in quickly so my feet wouldn’t lose all feeling from the cold. I paddled out, over the breakers and eventually reached the back of the set.
There were no Christmas trees, presents, piles of wrapping and turkey, only meandering hills and coastline and roiling sea and clouds and the promise of a pub lunch in front of a fire with my friends.
It was a perfect.

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