What happen in this town at This Time Of Year is a show of lawn decorations and christmas lights that really bugs me. I mean, *really* bugs me. The lights look like they were done by Chevy Chase in the movie Christmas Vacation.
But the people around me have gone loony with plywood lawn decorations. Plywood santas in plywood sleighs, pulled by plywood reigndeer over plywood elves, snowmen and penguins (they're from the SOUTH pole, you idiots!) The people across the road have a yard full of elves; dozens of happy dancing elves and one Elvis.
My neighbour has covered his yard with white felt to give it a snowed-upon look, and encased his roof-mounted air conditioner in a structure to make it look like a snow covered chimney.
I should point out that it was 35C today and we are approaching the hottest days of the year.
So as twilight went from can see to can't see I sat on the front lawn, listening to the insectivore bat pings, watching a camp of flying foxes swoop overhear, drinking beer, smelling of mozzie repellent and trying to simutaneously cool off and get mildy drunk.
The breeze changed and brought to my ears a faint, brief sound that made me pause mid-sip.
Clop clop clop jingle.
That- that sounded like... Nah.
I opened another bottle of Porter Ale and the noise came again: Clop clop clop jingle jingle. Except this time it didn't fade. I looked down to the intersection and watched a team of four clydesdales turn onto the street. The horses were pulling a restored Cobb & Co coach (the Aussie version of Wells Fargo) that dated from the mid 1800s, and now full of people out for
a ride around the christmas lights. The coach was red with brass fittings, and blazed with the soft yellow light of a dozen kerosene lamps and one blinking LCD light at the rear, a safety feature and the only consession to Today's traffic.
The driver saw me and pulled on the reigns to stop the team. He reached into a bag, and threw something in my direction. A chuppa chup landed beside me. Then he shook the reigns, the horses strained, and the coach moved on to disappear around the next corner.
An hour later I can still hear the occasional clop clop jingle, brought to me on the breeze through the open window.
The lights are ok. I don't mind the lights. Lights in moderation look nice. And I don't feel so grinchy.