As a boy who is mad about Christmas (ask my old boss, the budget for Christmas decorations was never enough) it was a daunting thought that I would be spending Christmas on a beach, with sand in my Yorkshire puddings and a sea breeze blowing away my paper hat. Not chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Fortunately, the festive period, although not cold, not snowy and certainly not filled with mulled wine, did have a certain air of je ne sais quoi. But that could in part be due to having more than 10 sunshine hours during summer, and wearing shorts for more than a week for the first time in my life… #GrowingUpBritish
The high (and to follow, the low) of the Christmas period was without doubt the works Christmas party. Having made friends with mostly work colleagues, it was great to have the opportunity to drink lots and eat a little with my new extended family. On reflection, maybe a weird place to have a Christmas party, we were all bundled on a bus and headed for the new Christchurch adventure park, complete with a chairlift to the top of the port hills for panoramic views of Canterbury (said hills feature in some of my blog articles)
This may come as a shock, but lots of alcohol + small amounts of food (by choice) = not so memorable chair lift ride. What I do remember is hysterically laughing when a group of people who weren’t overly familiar with how chair lifts work did the whole journey with the safety bar still above them and not across their lap wondering for the entire ride why the chair lift was so unsecure (nobody was actually harmed).
(Lisa looking lovely)
After yet more drinks and being cut off, because everybody really did get into the christmas spirit, it was time for a game of Garden Cricket (kiwis is that what you call it?)
I myself hate cricket, but fill me full of fizzy wine and instantly I recall those boring PE lessons on how to catch a cricket ball, how to bat and engage my long legs to accumulate ‘runs’. All was going well, I weirdly excited to play a sport I hate.
I’m fielding. I’m poised, ready to catch that ball. The batsman, in my mind, does not stand a chance if that ball comes anywhere near me. My reflexes are somewhat dulled from the day drinking, and I can barely see straight and focus, but I was determined to make the catch. The bowler throws a blinding ball, I think, the batsman connects with the ball in the sweet spot, I assume. If this was a world cup match the crowd would have gone wild. But it wasn’t, so they didn’t.
The ball is flying through the air, my beer eyes locked onto the ball. It’s going long, my legs spring into action, running back at full speed its almost within reach, I leap up, clasping my hands and returning to earth with an almighty thump, and no ball.
I had jumped right off of the side of a little bridge and into a dried out creek bed that came with all the niceties of a creek bed – jagged rocks, dirt, stones, long grass. As everybody I had come to know over the previous 6 months watched on in shock, I jumped straight back up, told everybody I was okay (not convincingly) and ran for the ball, ankles bleeding, thigh and ego seriously bruised.
It was at this point the party was called to be over and we wrapped up the afternoon at the adventure park and headed for a bar where I couldn’t fall into any more creeks.
(significant injuries for a staff party)
Looking back, I should have been far more embarrassed than I was. But it’s a story to tell. I’ve also got a scar on the foot as a permanent reminder that I can’t handle Prosecco.
I’m also still waiting on confirmation that I’ll be invited to the next Christmas party…