With us barely having noticed, by the time we had got as far south as Queenstown, it was Christmas. For the first 26 years of my life, Christmas had been cold and wet and the weather outside was almost without exception always frightful. The next year I had my first experience of the famed White Christmas, the joy of which was tempered by the fact that it was also the first time I have ever had to work on December 25th, the price one pays for living in a snowy, Norwegian dreamworld.

This year I spent Christmas Day walking around a beachy, boaty, pretty little town, eating ice cream and enjoying all thirty of the degrees that were radiating off the sun all over my face. In truth it didn’t really feel a lot like Christmas, so we went on a jet boat ride to try and make ourselves feel a bit more festive. The results were quite astonishing.


I promise I haven’t made that face since I saw my present stack under the tree in 1994, the year my mum went to the newly opened Sheffield Wednesday Superstore and got me pretty much one of everything. The spirit of the season was clearly very much alive in me. Either that or I was sitting on a boat going 80 km/h with AC/DC and Kenny Loggins turned up to eleven on the stereo, while our grizzly old Kiwi captain Neville made everyone shit themselves with a series of death-defying spins and life-flashing-before-your-eyes scrapes with low bridges and trees.

Not exactly Christmassy but not exactly not life-affirmingly brilliant either.

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