Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas song)

Christmas Roast

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I hope you’re having a wonderful day with family and friends, wherever you are in the world.

I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs today to mark the day. This is the fourth song I’ve written now after The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas, Aussie Jingle Bells and We Wish You an Aussie Christmas!

This year I did an Aussie version of Deck the Halls. Originally I wanted to do Silver Bells but it was very hard to translate to Australia. I think Deck the Halls works better and it’s also easy to sing along to.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Deck the Ute

Deck the ute with lights and wattle
Fa la la la la la la la la
We’ll take it for a drive and go full throttle
Fa la la la la la la la la
Kids are singing in the back seat
Fa la la la la la la la la
Spreading Christmas cheer to all we meet
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon we’re pulling up at the rellies
Fa la la la la la la la la
And getting ready to open the pressies
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hope it’s not more socks from Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la
Oh well guess I can sell them on eBay
Fa la la la la la la la la

Come one o’clock and we’re by the pool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Drinking beer and trying to stay cool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Jamie’s pulling on Susie’s hair
Fa la la la la la la la la
While Dad’s nodding off in his chair
Fa la la la la la la la la

We say g’day to the neighbours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hear all about their yearly labours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tom and Amy are getting married
Fa la la la la la la la la
No wonder they all look so harried
Fa la la la la la la la la

Everyone gathers around the table
Fa la la la la la la la la
Eats as much as they are able
Fa la la la la la la la la
Aunt May’s brought a giant fruit cake
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tastes just like Grandma used to make
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon it’s time for everyone to go
Fa la la la la la la la la
We say our goodbyes and Ho Ho Hos
Fa la la la la la la la la
Pull out of the drive and speed away
Fa la la la la la la la la
Waving behind us to Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la

Back home and the kids are fast asleep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Carry them to their beds without a peep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Quietly we turn off all the lights
Fa la la la la la la la la
And sleep away another Aussie Christmas night
Fa la la la la la la la la

Christmas in Randwick

Randwick Town Hall, decorated for Christmas

As it’s Christmas Eve I thought I’d post some of the Christmas photos I’ve taken near where I live. Randwick comes alive at this time of year, with lots of houses and businesses putting up decorations and it’s a lot of fun walking around and seeing what’s new. These are some of my favourites from this year.

Most of the houses are from Frederick Street, which is known for its Christmas displays and has won awards in the past; there are a few photos from Bondi Junction as well which I took while shopping. There are about 20 photos so I’ve split them after the jump; you can click on any of them to see larger versions as well.

I’m just finishing my annual Christmas song now as well… will have it posted sometime tomorrow. This year’s is an Aussie version of “Deck the Halls”. Should be fun! 🙂

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Cenotaph at Christmas

Bronze soldiers
Monuments to war
From another time:
We remember

I was in the Sydney CBD yesterday, looking at the Christmas decorations and doing some late shopping. The crowds were awful, particularly in the shops, but the atmosphere was quite festive and pleasant and I actually had a lot of fun walking around, taking photos.

I took this photo in Martin Place, outside the Sydney Cenotaph, where people were leaving Christmas cards and flowers in remembrance. The cenotaph was constructed in 1927 to remember the fallen from World War I; it is used extensively in the ANZAC and Armistice Day dawn services each year, drawing thousands of people.

As of December Australia has approximately 3,000 personnel stationed overseas, 1,500 of which are in Afghanistan. 2011 has been a horror year for Australian casualties; of the 32 deaths Australia has suffered in Afghanistan, 11 have been this year alone.

Please keep all of our soldiers and their families in your thoughts this Christmas.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Christmas Rose

A single rose
Its fragile beauty,
Slowly dying:
All things must end

I took this photo a couple of nights ago while looking at some of the Christmas lights around Randwick. This was taken outside one of the more brightly decorated houses in Frederick Street; the rose really stood out against all of the lights and decorations and I thought the way the colours reflected off it was interesting.

The lights were excellent this year; I’ll post some photos once I’ve finished editing them. I enjoy seeing the light displays going up each year… they’re much more widespread now than they used to be and the displays seem to get better and better each year. I am glad I don’t live next to any of them though… I think it’d all drive me nuts after a while!

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Another Christmas

Westfield Reindeer

Another Christmas
A time of mirth and laughter:
My heart misses you

Listening to carols
Thinking of old friends:
Must be Christmas

Sphere and Reindeer

I took these photos on Thursday night in Bondi Junction. Every year the two Westfield centres are beautifully decorated for Christmas and this reindeer display is my favourite; it hangs down across all six levels and is exquisite when the light catches it just right.

It always amazes me how quickly the season seems to come around each year… it hardly feels like more than a few months since last Christmas. Time goes by so quickly these days.

I enjoy the time of year but it always feels a little bittersweet to me as well as I often think about family and friends overseas and others who are no longer in our lives. I guess that’s what was on my mind when I wrote the haiku, the mixed feelings the season often brings.

Photos and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Mossy Rocks

Mossy Rocks

Sitting by the sea,
Watching a distant sun set
On another day 

I took this photo on Wednesday afternoon near Bondi Beach. I’d just been to see the Sculptures by the Sea exhibit; it had been raining heavily all day and I was well and truly soaked but just as I reached the promenade overlooking the beach, it stopped and the sun came out. The light lit the water beautifully and I took a quick shot with my 60D. I really like how it came out, particularly the colours.

It started raining again a few minutes later and the light disappeared. I hurried to get under shelter but I guess I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time; a minute or two later and I’d have missed the shot completely.

I took a number of shots at the Sculptures exhibit as well but this ended up being my favourite of the day, mostly because it was so unexpected. It just shows how much natural beauty there is all around us… we just need to know how to see it.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Blue Motorcycle

Blue Motorcycle

Dirty Streets
Whisper my name
Fill me with longing
To find my way home

I took this photo last week. I saw the motorcycle out of the corner of my eye and took a quick photo without really thinking about it at the time but looking at it now, I find the contrast interesting, the shiny bike propped up against the run-down garage and street.

What you can’t see in the photo is that the entire street was in a similar state; most of the houses looked slightly rundown, with paint peeling and tiles missing and overgrown gardens – but they all had expensive cars in their driveways and satellite TV. I guess having a car and staying connected is more important for many people these days than if a house needs new paint, particularly in the current economy.

I thought it seemed like an apt analogy for the world at the moment. I wonder how many other streets and houses are like this around the world… probably too many to really comprehend, sadly.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Ferry

Ferry & Bridge

A Letter of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany Bay
Erasmus Darwin (1789)

Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells
Courts her young navies and the storm repels,
High on a rock, amid the troubled air,
Hope stood sublime, and wav’d her golden hair;
Calm’d with her rosy smile the tossing deep,
And with sweet accents charm’d the winds to sleep;
To each wild plain, she stretch’d her snowy hand,
High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand.
‘Hear me,’ she cried, ‘ye rising realms! Record
Time’s opening scenes, and Truth’s unerring word.
There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There ray’d from cities o’er the cultur’d land,
Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand. —
There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride
Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
Embellish’d villas crown the landscape scene,
Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between. —
There shall tall spires, and dome-capt towers ascend,
And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
And northern treasures dance on every tide!’
Here ceased the nymph—tumultuous echoes roar,
And Joy’s loud voice was heard from shore to shore —
Her graceful steps descending press’d the plain;
And Peace, and Art, and Labour, join’d her train.

I took this photo during a recent trip to Taronga Zoo. I was waiting for the ferry at Circular Quay and realised that I’d been there dozens of times before but had never actually taken a photo of the Bridge, something I’d always wanted to do… I guess living in Sydney I’d always assumed there’d be some other time and had just never got round to it. So this time I made myself take a few shots.

I particularly like how this one came out. The couple looking at the Bridge were tourists and they walked into the shot by accident at the last moment but I think they add a lot to it… they almost make me feel like I’m seeing it anew through their eyes.

The poem above is one of my favourites, A Letter of Hope to Sydney Cove, near Botany Bay by Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s grandfather). He wrote it in 1789 to accompany a small number of medallions created by Josiah Wedgwood to commemorate the settlement of Sydney Cove and it’s always struck me how eerily he predicts the city that would one day rise in its place. I thought it made an interesting contrast to the photo.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2011
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Where the Dead Rest

Waverley Cemetery

Marble tombs
Forgotten by the world:
Where the dead rest

Went to Gosford yesterday to look at a few houses to rent (no luck unfortunately). It was a long drive and on the way back I went for a short walk around Bronte to stretch my legs. I took this photo outside Waverley Cemetery, just before sunset.

The cemetery opened in 1877 and is one of the most historic sites in Sydney. It’s a lovely spot on the top of cliffs overlooking the ocean and many notable people are buried there, including poet Henry Lawson and Edmund Barton, Australia’s first Prime Minister.

I’ve walked around the cemetery before but for some reason the condition of many of the graves seemed to jump out at me yesterday. The cemetery is well cared for but many of the graves are so old now that they’re almost impossible to read and walking by, I kept wondering who they were, what lives they had lived – if they were remembered. I guess we’ll never know.

It makes me wonder how we’ll be remembered, in 140 years.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011