It was also hot - hotter than a rattlesnakes ass in a wagon rut. At 35 degrees Celsius, it has been the hottest Sydney Christmas in living memory.
After a slow start, owing to a big night out on Xmas Eve, we headed for Clovelly (myself, Iso, Alison and her brother Phil plus his flatmate Paul) for a pre-planned beach barbeque. Our Christmas dinner to be: Tiger prawns, Satay chicken, rump steak and grilled vegetables skewers. Plus copious amounts of wine, spirits and beers.
On arrival, we changed plans - the heat and humidity wore us down - it was too hot to carry the goods to the beach let alone cook there and with strong gusts of white hot wind, the chances of our not grinding our teeth down on ingested sand were slim.
So - plan B, use the gas BBQ in the back garden after a swim.
But back to the orange... the walk down to the beach, and especially the scene on the beach itself was eerie - like some vision of the end of the World or the second coming of the Lord, the sky was a vibrant Orange - the sun a red disk of flame.
It did not take long to work out what was causing this - great chunks of ash fell around - bushfires - close too...
(In fact, great swathes of the Blue Mountains and the southern edge of Sydney were alight - the fires so fierce that whole towns have been torched in hours)
The beach itself was busy - but no more so than normal - and the main thing was that the water was clear, and cool.
So for the first Christmas in memory, we went snorkelling, sunbathed and had a sandball fight.
Returning to Alisons beachside property, opposite the infamous Clovelly Hotel - a pub which houses its own casino, bookies, comedy club and pool hall - we set about preparing for a major barbeque feast.
With music blaring, wine flowing and skewers... skewering... we lit the gas and put the sausages on the grill.
A few minutes on, the sausages stopped sizzling - still anaemic. Hmm...
After a little tinkering, Phil discovers that the gas bottle is empty. Hey, no problem - we'll just nip to the shop and get a refill. Oh, its Christmas.
Anyone got a spare bag of briquettes???
Thought for the day:
Think about it... Bethlehem, December 25th 0000 - Mary and Joseph mooching around looking for a place to chill out. All the off licenses are closed, the hotels are booked and there's a bunch of delinquent old men hanging around - one of whom is called Frank N. Sense. Was it snowing in Bethlehem? I don't think so. It was hot. QED Christmas should be hot.
And that's the Gospel - according to Flashpacker.
BTW, we got a refill for the gas - and had a great Barbie. Merry Christmas!