It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … time for some shopping!

With the mercury rising in Brisbane to the low 30s and the sound of willow on cricket balls resonating around suburban parks, I am now prepared to declare that once again Christmas has snuck up on me and is, as it the time of writing, on 91 days away. That shock, principally the usual lament about “how fast the year has gone”, has now passed for yours truly but is met with another fact to furrow my brow: sooner or later I am going to have to Christmas shopping.

Let’s be direct here: I do not like Christmas shopping (not to be confused for shopping in general at which at certain points during the “black dog period” I could nearly have been considered an expert). Indeed my negativity towards this annual event is such that for many years I avoided the spectacle all together and, like any good bachelor, gave funds to my long suffering mother, Irene, to purchase the presents for the family. It is only in the last couple of years that this approach has been jettisoned.

It also needs to be pointed out that I do not buy presents for many people: I do not buy presents for my close male friends (we just never have) and I do not send Christmas cards (I actually have so few friends that I will generally see them or speak to them in the lead up to Christmas). So my list of persons that I buy for has historically been limited.

Of course now I have my nephews (and this year my niece) to shop for the need to shop at Christmas time has lifted to a whole new level. In this regard, I remain in awe of my mother who will have already purchased all of her presents and will now just need to wrap them. She is just unbelievable when it comes to this stuff: last year she was done by July and I am sure that this year was nothing different.

However, just because my mother is a black belt when it comes to Christmas shopping that does not mean that I am. Frankly, in part because I am lazy and in part because I am not generally all that “Christmassy” when I have been called on to purchase Christmas presents (since Irene restrained the use of “Mum’s shopping service”) I have done my shopping on the 23rd day of December.

Anyone who has shopped for Christmas presents on 23rd December knows that shopping on that particular day is a “shit fight” of epic proportions. Between the pre-pubescents loitering, the desperate husbands who have remembered at the last minute and guys like me who have been “just to busy” the shopping malls of Brisbane on 23rd December reek of the perspiration of desperation of those who know they are in the last chance saloon (unless they wish to buy there gifts at the local service station).

There is a definite art to shopping for Christmas presents so late in the game: you have to have low expectations and be prepared to purchase whatever you see first that might suit the person you are buying for. On 23 December there is no time for perusing the store to find the best gift because it is a battle of the fittest to get all of ones presents purchased.

That leaves me with this year: I know I have to purchase my gifts early to get them to Port Headland in time for Christmas Day and I have already made a list of what I need to buy so really I am ready to go now. How much do you want to bet me I will ignore my inner monologue reminding me to shop for Christmas under the 23rd day of December again? I reckon the odds of that are pretty short.

Shumpty on tour: a slow day in Qtown

A very quiet day on tour today. Part of the idea behind this holiday was to not have too much planned and if the day dawned and I did not want to do much I simply would not. Today was an overcast and drizzly day for most of it and to be frank I did next to nothing but eat, write my preview for this weeks round of Super Rugby (viewable at and do some shopping for gifts for family and friends.

This blog is fast becoming all about food and that is fine with me: I love good food. This morning I headed into the city centre and visited Eichardts Private Hotel right on the front. I confess, as I noted on twitter, that Eichardts is not the usual place I would breakfast but the again the food was grand and the service was good. As I was dining on account of a voucher kindly given to me by a friend, it made the nosh all the more sweet. I will be back there for lunch tomorrow to check out the main menu (there are still funds left on said voucher).

A tapas lunch in the dining room at the hotel (my usual objections to tapas and other forms of shared food dissipate on holiday) was followed by a curry takeaway. No complaints about either.

As I said today was an extremely lazy day! Tomorrow will be much more interesting as I brave the Gondola. For the uninitiated I am a little bit bothered by heights, so tomorrow mornings events could be amusing for all sharing the Gondola with me!

Sorry to all for the abridged post but I really have little to say today. Bring on tomorrow!