A few months ago I zapped down to Tasmania and spent a few days there for the Tassie Branch of the CBCA. I thoroughly enjoyed being down there and I was able to meet up with a few of the Tasmanian SCBWI crew too – and I met Christina Booth. She is the rather talented creator of my amazing (yet to be named) dragon at the top of my website.
And wonderfully Christina jumped on board to share her memory of Christmas … a lovely memory of caravans and a bush Christmas. Read on to discover her loving and formative Christmas memory.
I love Christmas. Despite the hassles of organising a busy family, a ‘bah-humbug husband’ and tussling over ‘who hosts Christmas this year’ I find it a refreshing and wonderful celebration. It is a special time of the year for me as I believe in the spiritual celebration which is a wonderful promise of hope, love and forgiveness.
I remember one Christmas as a child in particular and now, as I reflect, I realise it may have been a tough one for my parents. As children it didn’t occur to us if times were good or bad, we just did what we did and made our own fun.
Mum had been unwell and my brother and I had been cared for a little while by family and friends so it was nice to be back together. My father is blind and he had to close up his business and retire at the young age of thirty one. Just before Christmas they packed up the house, my Grandfather and two caravans and we moved away from the city to the east coast of Tasmania to start again.
Christmas morning couldn’t have been more Australian. A Christmas tree in the annex strung up between two caravans. I can still smell the canvas as it warmed in the early morning sun and the crushed and slowly suffering grass that was our floor.
Under the tree a bike for my brother (mine arrived in February for my 8th birthday!), a sewing machine for me to follow in the family tailoring tradition, fishing rods each and a kitten each. We spent the day pulling crackers, swatting flies, swimming on the beach (it was just across the road) and rolling up our towels and putting them on our heads pretending to be Christmas wise men.
Apart from the abundance of gifts, that was to be our lives for quite a few months, until the caravan became too crowded and the warmth of summer left us. We lived in those caravans with only water pumped out of the caravan tank and no proper toilet for a few months until we got ourselves established.
That Christmas was the beginning of an adventure that introduced me to the bush, building cubby houses out of anything we could find and riding to school on our boat and fishing the holidays away. I now know Mum and Dad did it tough, but they still had fun. They followed their dreams and that was a great gift, to teach us to pursue our goals regardless of the adversity.
Christina Booth is an award winning author / illustrator. She lives in the bush surrounded by echidnas, wallabies, lorikeets, cockatoos, pademelons, bandicoots, her chooks and her family. Christina had a childhood full of adventure and creativity so she decided not to grow up and became a children’s author. She loves that she colours in for a living.
Her latest book is I Wish There Were Dinosaurs (written by Amanda Niland).
And do check out Christina’s website … but you won’t find my dragon there!
More on the Carolinas later but Pam Vaughan (official photographer for the New England conference last weekend) has just sent me oodles and poodles of photos … so if you don’t want to see piccies of me in action – then look away now! There are photos of me with friends, of me panelling, photos […]