Today I have friend and fellow rural author Margareta Osborn as a guest here at Pilyara. She has just released A Bush Christmas, a festive novella and fantastic holiday read. I’m thrilled to announce that, following in the footsteps of her debut, Bella’s Run, A Bush Christmas has just hit number 1 on the ITunes charts!!! Congratulations Margareta! I’m hugely excited for you, and proud to be able to host you on this very special Sunday. And now, it’s over to Margareta …
‘And a lovely Sunday to you too, Jen. Thanks for inviting me to visit Pilyara. I’m delighted to be here to chat about Christmas. Specifically ‘A Bush Christmas’. When my publisher Beverly Cousins at Random House, Australia, rang to ask me could I write a novella about Christmas, I was absolutely chuffed because I LOVE Christmas. Well, I love anything to do with celebrations that involve presents. Christmas, Easter, birthdays … I adore them all. I’m a presentaholic. Seriously! And I don’t mind if I’m giving the gift or receiving it, I still get that same fission of pleasure.
Christmas in the bush for the Osborn family always involves mountains of food, many presents (of course), everyone (who can be convinced) doing the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey and Here Comes The Bluebird followed by someone (nowadays my brother) having to dash off to milk the cows in a half inebriated state from the ‘cocktail of the day’. My sister, who lives in the Northern Territory, instigated this tradition. She arrives every second year having spent the entire previous two years deciding which cocktail will do the honours. We’ve had Fruit Tingles (lethal no. 1), Midouri Splice (it was a hot day), Blue Lagoon (shouldn’t have worn white), Jelly shots (lethal no. 2) and, my favourite, cowboy shots (refer to my novel, BELLA’S RUN!)
And that’s just the adults.
The children on the other hand, wake up to Santa’s white ‘snowy’ footsteps tromped through the house, upturned furniture, sleigh marks out on the gravel driveway and presents in all sorts of places including – one year – the oven. (I mean where else does Santa hide motorbike boots?!) The day continues with visits from a bicycle riding, lolly distributing Ms Santa Claus (wearing black gumboots and a red fluffy dressing gown). Great uncles and Grandfathers duly checking out the billy-lids bounty, followed by the scramble to get everyone (and their favourite haul for the morning) jammed in the Land Cruiser while mum (me) stresses over potato bakes, pavlovas and salads surviving the trip across the river to my father’s farm so we can continue the party. (My husband is usually to be found still in the paddock playing with the remote controlled car No. 2 son got as part of his loot.)
I should mention we do attend church the night before, sing carols and actually remember why we are celebrating Christmas. (ie. It’s actually not all about presents?!) After Mass we drive around the district taking in the spectacular Christmas lights adorning houses, gum trees, gateways, windmills, massive TV and radio antenna’s, dairies, and even the odd stack of hay bales. The occasional nativity scene appears in the headlights as well which all helps to remind us of the wonder and beauty Christmas (and indeed God) brings to our lives and reminds us of the true meaning of it all.
The week before we also have partaken in our local Christmas Tree, a custom that has been running here in our part of the bush for a century or so. My grandmother, mother and now my sister-in-law and I, have all taken our turn at welcoming Santa to the local hall to sing carols, hand out lollies and icy-poles to the districts kids. It’s a great yearly get-together for our community.
I had so much fun writing this little book, available to download from your e-book distributor for a couple of dollars. And you just might recognise the odd Christmas tradition from your own community, bush or otherwise. Give it a try and I hope you feel the spirit of the coming festive season brighten your life.’
From the author of Bella’s Run, a gloriously rural and hopelessly romantic Christmas novella.
Jaime Hanrahan does not want anything to do with Christmas this year. She’s just been retrenched, and if that wasn’t bad enough, this is her first Christmas without her beloved father Jack, who died last Boxing Day. Determined not to spend it with her mother, who has already remarried, and her friends, who still have six-figure jobs, she jumps at the chance to house-sit a mansion in rural Burdekin’s Gap. Two problems. Number one, the property comes with a handsome station manager, Stirling McEvoy, who doesn’t take kindly to a city chick destroying his peace. Especially when she needs rescuing from stampeding cattle, falling Christmas trees and town ladies wielding catering lists and tablecloths. And two, in Burdekin’s Gap there’s no chance of escaping the festive season. For the town has its own unique way of celebrating Christmas – big time, BUSH style!
Includes an extract from Margareta’s upcoming novel, Hope’s Road.
Link to download A BUSH CHRISTMAS (in a variety of formats) http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/margareta-osborn/a-bush-christmas-9781742758237.aspx
Many thanks for sharing your family Christmas traditions with us, Margareta. Thanks also for telling us about A Bush Christmas. Wishing a very merry Christmas to you and yours. xx