Share Your World 2019: 23 December


Do dogs ‘talk’ (communicate) with their own species?   (credit to Marilyn of Serendipity)   And not just on Christmas Eve, as the old legend says all animals do.   I know that Ziggy ‘speaks’ husky (apparently) even though he’s not a husky, he’s a terrier/Chihuahua mix.   The movie the other night proved it, as there were huskies in the show, and when they barked, Ziggy got excited and stared at the TV screen with his head cocked to one side, and barked at the screen.

Of course, they do. Dogs can not only communicate with their own species but with cats too. Anyone who owns both a dog and a cat has probably witnessed them interacting with each other. As we do when communicating with those who don’t speak our language they use gestures more. Recently I witnessed Cindy nudging Polly away from the staircase. It is steep and Cindy doesn’t like it so she wasn’t having her little friend go near it. They are pretty good at communicating with us too, a lick, a wet nose on your face to wake you up, whining, barking or doing cute things to attract our attention. Dogs are excellent communicators.

Polly frequently gives s Cindy a wash..

Have you ever had to work on Christmas Day?

Yes, I have. a few times when I worked for the railways in Adelaide. Luckily on at least two of those occasions, Naomi and I were rostered on together so we were still able to spend the day together. It wasn’t so bad, one time we worked the evening shift so we still had the day to enjoy a family Christmas meal and presents before we went. Another time it was a day shift and we planned out how we would do our work and just got on with it much to the surprise of the big boss when he turned up to check on us.

My former workplace. The Railcar Depot on North Terrace, Adelaide

If someone gifts you something that you immediately loathe, do you pretend to really like it anyway or are you brutally honest about your opinion?

I think there is no call to be rude and hurt people’s feelings. I would thank them for the gift. Perhaps I wouldn’t act as if I were over the moon about it but I wouldn’t be horrible especially if the person really thought that I would like the gift. Sometimes people are just not sure what to buy and they don’t mind if you want to change it anyway.

Which popular drink, found during the Christmas season most often, is called “milk punch?”

I’ve never heard the term “milk punch” but I assume that would be eggnog.

How many ghosts show up during “A Christmas Carol?” 

Aha, a trick question! Of course, we all know that Scrooge walked the earth with three ghosts on Christmas Eve but are we also going to count Marley’s ghost who showed up first? That would make four. Then there are all the ghosts Scrooge sees out the window, the bankers and guilty governments and others who were not kind in their earthly lives.

Ebenezer Scrooge: photo James Vaughan Flickr 2010

Are you all about the holly and jolly or more about remembering the alleged ‘true’ meaning of Christmas?    

I love the holly and jolly but I also think of Christmas as a time to be with family and friends and if you can, to try to make things a little better for those less fortunate, just like in “A Christmas Carol”. I do enjoy Christmas Carols and Nativity plays but I am not really religious the rest of the year so it would be hypocritical to say that I was at Christmas. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Jesus.

Please share a memory or thought about the holiday season if you’d like, whatever kind of celebration you may observe. 

I have many Christmas memories to look back on. It’s hard to pick just one. Perhaps the strangest Christmas that I can remember was one I just thought of again. You see 23 December 1965 was the date that Mum, Naomi and I sailed from England to come to Australia. As it was winter the sea was pretty rough and we spent Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day in our cabin being seasick. Late on Christmas afternoon mum got us our of our bunks, cleaned us up and made us go up to the upper decks. It was all migrants going to Australia on that ship, most of them British and someone had organised for Santa to bring gifts for all the children. Naomi got a doll, I got a sewing set. I was really dirty about that because prior to leaving home I had been given two other sewing sets already and I hated sewing at the time because I had a mean teacher who embarrassed me in front of the class. Of course, I did not complain to Santa but I didn’t pretend to be pleased, perhaps that should have been my answer to the other question. Later there was a church service and I remember the adults singing Carols. I remember that whoever was conducting the service encouraged the singers and mentioned that some very good singers who had been on a previous voyage had gone to a place called Elizabeth. Why did I remember that? Because that is where we were going. My aunt was probably one of those singers, she and some friends started a musical theatre company in Elizabeth and in later years we saw many of their productions.

image Castel Felice
Castel Felice, the ship that brought my family to Australia.

A final thought, many people today don’t seem to enjoy Christmas. I know that for some it is because they have nobody to share it with or have dysfunctional families. Or perhaps they dread it because they can’t afford to provide for their families and it is a lot of extra stress. I understand that. However, I meet a lot of people who don’t have those problems and still complain, everything is too much work, too expensive etc. I’d suggest that perhaps they need to rethink the way they celebrate the holidays, make it simpler and more enjoyable. Most of all I wish that the grinches amongst us would not spoil it for those of us that look forward to this time of year. After listening to people saying “I hate Christmas” and “I’ll be glad when it’s over” all day I would go home feeling quite depressed. Please don’t spoil it for those of us that look forward to it.


I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. We did massive amounts of simplification and it has made the holidays much easier to enjoy. It really take less than an hour to “ready” the house. More like half an hour. And we also don’t give much in the way of gifts. Small things that I hope someone might really need or enjoy. I gave one friend a (specially priced) year of The Washington Post. I wasn’t sure if it was a gift or a curse, frankly. These days, the news is not such a good thing. I gave another friend an audiobook … which, since I already own it, was inexpensive but I think he will like it. They have everything they really need and if they really need it, we can’t afford it. Not trying to break the bank for gifts is a huge improvement. It used to take us months to recover from Christmas. And while everyone would put UP the decorations, no one was ever ready to help me put them away. So now we have lights that are always in place and I just plug them in for the holidays and a decorated tree that I store in a big bag and open up and put on the woodstove for the holiday. Then, after New Year, I pack it up and put it away until next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many people seem to feel that they must buy multiple expensive gifts for their families and put on a big family dinner. Fine if you enjoy it but as one person usually winds up doing all the work it seems fair enough to opt for a simpler celebration or get family members to bring something . No reason why the hosts shouldn’t be able to have a good time too. I listened to a lot of complaining at the Op Shop every year and I just feel hat if it doesn’t make you happy you should do something else instead. It sounds like you and Garry have got yours sorted so you can enjoy it without the stress and that’s good. I don’t buy a lot of gifts now. I usually send David’s sisters some wine for Christmas Day but this year I decided to donate the money to the bushfire appeal instead and they were fine with that.


  2. Thanks Vanda for Sharing Your Beautiful World! Your enjoyment of Christmas time and the festivities are indeed a rare thing to behold and I’m glad you shared with me today! I’m a grumbler in general (am trying to break that bad habit and making little progress. A life time doing it makes it tough to shed) but I do enjoy seeing others enjoy the holidays and I would NEVER poop on someone else’s joy. It’s a very true thing (especially at this time of year) that keeping one’s mouth and opinions to oneself is the nicest thing some can do for everyone. Merry Christmas dear and a very happy and prosperous New Year too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Melanie. I know it is a difficult time for many but the people Naomi and I get annoyed with are the ones who have no reason to complain and still do. They don’t seem to see how fortunate they are compared to others who are homeless, hungry or alone. They would rather complain than try and change the way they do things and seem to look down on those of us that love this time of year. But anyway I hope you have a good day. Pat the dogs for me.


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