Christmas in Photos

15 Frederick Street

Christmas light panorama from Frederick Street, Randwick

These are some of the other photos I took over the Christmas period. I had meant to post them before Christmas but didn’t get a chance to sort through them all in time, so I thought I’d post them now instead.

Most of the photos are from around Sydney, except for the first few which I took during my trip to Melbourne last month. The Christmas lights are all from houses in Frederick Street in Randwick, near where we live.

My favourites are the ones from around the Queen Victoria Building in the Sydney CBD, which was beautifully decorated this year. I had coffee there with my mother on Christmas Eve and was spoilt for choice, walking around, trying to work out what to photograph.

There are quite a few photos so I’ve split them after a page break to make it load faster and you can click on any of them to make them larger as well. I hope you enjoy them and that you had a wonderful festive break. ~ CJ.

Melbourne at Christmas

The Melbourne CBD, decorated for Christmas. I wish I’d spent more time wandering around as there was a lot I didn’t get a chance to photograph and the decorations were beautiful. Next year, I guess.

Melbourne Christmas Windows

Myer’s Christmas windows in Melbourne. This year’s window displays were based on Rob Scotton’s “Russell’s Christmas Magic” and there was also a separate window with a nativity scene.

Melbourne Christmas Windows

“Russell’s Christmas Magic” is about Russell the Sheep, who comes to the rescue when Santa and his broken sleigh are left stranded in Firefly Wood. It really felt like the book was coming to life.

Myer Melbourne Christmas windows

The sheep, Santa and reindeer were fabulous and most were fully articulating. The frogs were my favourite though – very cute.

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Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Christmas Salad

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating in their part of the world today. I hope you are having a wonderful day with your family and friends.

To celebrate I thought I’d post another one of my Aussie Christmas songs. Last year I wrote Deck the Ute, an Aussie version of Deck the Halls, and this year I settled on Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas, an Aussie version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

I’ve written five of these Aussie Christmas songs now and this was by far the hardest one. It took me a long time to choose a song and I think I’m starting to run out of well-known songs as most of the best known ones don’t really suit an Australian translation (Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! for instance), so I’ll have to think carefully about which one to do next year. In the end I chose Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas because it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and also because I wanted to do something a little different this year and try to show what it feels like for Australians spending Christmas overseas, longing to be home with their families and friends. Given the number of Australians who have to leave home for work every year and also our soldiers currently deployed overseas, I thought it suited the rather melancholic feel of the original song.

The two best-known versions are probably by Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra; Garland’s is personally my favourite as it’s more serious and sombre in tone (although nowhere near as depressing as the original lyrics written for the song in Meet Me in St. Louis, which Garland had changed), which often reflects my mood at Christmas, but I like Sinatra’s version as well and so decided to combine the two to reflect both versions and make it a bit longer as well.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Aussie Santa Xmas Train

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Summer sunshine is far away
This cold winter has set in to last
I’m dreaming of a place I loved but could not stay
And warm Christmases of the past…

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
May your winter days be bright
Some day soon this longing will be set right
And you’ll be home

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Tell Santa Claus g’day
One day you’ll see him fly over Sydney in his sleigh
Once again

Here we are in this new century
These happy years of promise and awe
I long to see my loved ones once again
And to hold them close once more

In my heart I know they won’t forget me
And one day I’ll be home if funds allow
Until then I’ll just have to save up somehow
And try to have myself an Aussie kind of Christmas now

So have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Throw a shrimp on the barbeque
One day soon you won’t feel so blue

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Grab a beer and watch the kids play
They’ll be all grown up one day
As life moves on

Here we are in happier times
These memories we cherish and adore
I find myself thinking of old friends
And wishing I was near them once more

Over the years good mates always stick together
So even when distance won’t allow
We’ll still find a way to celebrate somehow
And try to have ourselves an Aussie kind of Christmas now

Christmas Light Painting

Christmas Light Painting

Lights shine brightly
Under the moon’s
Silent gaze:
Christmas is here again

This photo is from Frederick Street, about fifteen minutes away from where we live in Randwick. The houses in Frederick Street are well known locally for their Christmas displays; almost every house in the street gets into the festive spirit at this time of year, decorating their houses and gardens with amazing Christmas displays, and it’s something I enjoy seeing every year.

I will be posting some photos from Frederick Street tomorrow but I found this photo rather interesting as it’s a bit different. It’s of a small bush decorated with colourful lights outside one of the houses. When I took it, all the lights blended together, creating a colourful mosaic that reminded me a little of a painting. I then edited it to remove more of the detail and this was the final result. I quite like it – it’s familiar but not immediately obvious what it actually is and I like that effect.

The original photo is here as well if you want to compare them.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree 2012

Lights and carols
Smiles everywhere
But my heart misses you
This Christmas

Our Christmas tree for this year. We were going to buy a new tree as our old tree broke last year and this spare one is really a bit too small for all our ornaments but as we’re going to be moving soon, we thought it was better to wait. We still managed to get everything on it in the end, more or less.

Putting the ornaments up I found several my grandmother had given us, as well as some beautiful embroidered Christmas pictures she had made for us that I’d forgotten about. I was thinking of her and everything else that’s happened this year when I wrote the haiqua.

With the photo I wanted to try to make it look a little like a Christmas card, so I edited the photo to remove a lot of the detail and make it look more like a painting. I like how it turned out and think I’ll get it printed on canvas at some stage for next Christmas.

The collage below shows a few other angles of the tree as well. I used the Diptic app to create the collage. It’s one of my favourite apps and well worth checking out if you haven’t tried it – would make a good Christmas gift for someone if you’ve run out of ideas too.

Christmas Tree Diptic

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

Randwick War Memorial

The sounds of war
Echo across
The oceans of time:
We remember

Our local war memorial in High Cross Park, Randwick. I took this photo earlier today to mark Remembrance Day. The memorial was originally dedicated in 1925 and contains a scroll with the names of over four thousand Randwick residents who served in the First World War. Over time plaques remembering the soldiers of the Second World War, Borneo and Vietnam have also been added. Lest we forget.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

Another Year Passes


Another year passes
I am older
But no wiser:
Life goes on

I turned 28 yesterday. I don’t like much fuss over my birthday so I just had a fairly quiet day overall; I spent a few hours looking through some old photos and mementos (a bit of a birthday tradition), then had afternoon tea with my parents at our local coffee shop, where we shared a couple of slices of cake (chocolate mud and butterscotch caramel) as a birthday treat. They looked so nice I just had to take a photo. Tasted just as nice too.

On the whole though I spent most of the day at home, reflecting on the past year, something I do most birthdays really. There’s been a bit of a different feel to it this year though, turning 28, knowing the big 3-0’s not that far away anymore. I guess it’s made me think a bit more about where I am in my life right now.

To be honest this last year has been a difficult one for me. I am still not very well at the moment, which is why I haven’t updated this blog in a while. I’m managing for the most part but it’s frustrating, particularly as there’s a lot I’d been planning to do this year like studying that I just don’t feel up to at the moment. It’s also been a difficult year emotionally. My grandmother (my father’s mother) died in May which hit me very hard and a few weeks after that, my grandfather (my mother’s father) suffered a very severe stroke as well. He is improving now but is unable to manage his affairs and assets and that’s caused a lot of division in the family, deciding how best to take care of him and my grandmother. I also broke up with my girlfriend last month, which was very painful. Her family never really approved of me and much as I loved her, it just wasn’t going to work in the end… it was the right thing to do but that doesn’t make it any easier unfortunately.

Given everything that’s happened, I guess I feel like I’m at a bit of a crossroads at the moment and that was what was on my mind most of yesterday, where I am now, where I’d like to be in another couple of years… I guess birthdays often have a way of bringing up those kind of thoughts and reflections. I’m still working out exactly what I want to do but I’m hoping my 29th year will be a better one. I think it will be.

In any case I just wanted to post a quick update to let people know I’m still here. I’ll be posting more regularly again from now on and hopefully will have a new poem to post soon too… I’ve been working on it for about six months now so it shouldn’t be much longer. Honest.

I thought I’d share this song as well as it’s one of my favourites and I think after an eventful year, it sums up how I’m feeling perfectly at the moment. It’s End of the Line by The Traveling Wilburys. Enjoy. 🙂

The Great Clock in the QVB

The Great Australia Clock in the Queen Victoria Building

Watching days
Turn into years,
Pass before my eyes:
Time waits for no one

A belated Happy New Year to all of my friends and readers out there. I hope 2012 will be a good year for you and everyone close to you.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and sent me emails over the New Year. I had meant to post before now but unfortunately I haven’t been feeling that well lately, so this has been my first chance to post since Christmas. I will have an update about my writing and a few other things finished soon but in the meantime I thought I‘d post a quick photo.

I took this photo inside Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building just before Christmas. The clock is called the Great Australia Clock and is one of two beautiful mechanical clocks in the QVB. It’s ten metres tall, weighs four tonnes and is decorated with 33 dioramas depicting scenes from Australia’s history.

The QVB is one of my favourite buildings in Sydney and I’ve always admired this clock, not just for its ornate beauty but particularly because the dioramas show both Aboriginal and European perspectives on our history.

I edited the photo over the New Year, while I was thinking about how quickly the year had passed and everything that had happened, both personally and globally, and I guess that was what was on my mind when I wrote the haiku. Time seems to go by so quickly these days… all we can really do is hope to make the most of it.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011
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