Icing on the Cake, Louis Armstrong

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When I heard Louis Armstrong singing, “I said to myself … what a wonderful world …” I thought, “It’s sentimental, but I like this man”.

At the end of our year, at Christmas-time, our lives adjust another notch. I can’t say they pause, because we often seem in a state of panic – not how it should be. It’s a time we come together, with special services, concerts and parties and contact people we haven’t seen for a while. And overall there is the core message of Christmas that has to do with simplicity, hope and goodwill – not trees, sleighs and red-faced old gentlemen.

We all look forward to different things. I’m pretty much Armidale land-locked, but I know on December 15 I’ll be listening to an Operatic Recital by our own Hannah Fraser and friends at St. Peter’s Centre. Home from successful engagements in Italy, it’s great to hear her again, however fleetingly. 

I’ll also at some stage be watching the sun set from the new deck at the refurbished golf club, thinking about our region. And I’ll pop out to that elegant powerhouse, the National Trust’s Saumarez homestead, fizzing with activity and planned tourism. I’ll visit its Heritage Rose Garden, where the Northern Group of the Australian Garden History Society has created a landmark through their dedication … and check the gift shop. I’ll also check the gift shop at the Aboriginal Keeping Place and see their long-awaited additions to the building, sadly missing their 30th anniversary celebrations. I’ll visit the Fairy Lady’s Christmas Adventure in Kmart Plaza. I’ll take in some Live Music – popping up everywhere around town – including the first Welder’s Dog Craft Beer and Music headliners, ForageFest, December 8. And I’ll enjoy Christmas spirit in the Mall, seeing people and finishing my Christmas shopping. Don’t forget we have a thriving “publishing hotspot” in Armidale, and Readers’ Companion stocks lots of their children’s books. So sad we’re losing Boobooks from the Mall.

The ARC website has a “What’s On”. And the new ARM/EVENTS website, brainchild of Helen Fraser, is another useful tool for knowing “What’s On”. To join, go https://armevents.groups.io – with the calendar very handy. Spread the word – sample what’s on offer. 

It’s good Servies’ long awaited $7million motel has the go-ahead, adding another option for visitors. Before opening, I hope they reconsider their misguided ban on women’s headwear – it‘s appalling that a 40-year member on chemotherapy was ordered to remove her turban.  

A Christmas present for the environment, please: commercialised fads can appear normal so quickly now, with plastic water bottles everywhere. Undoubtedly we need water to live, but only a few years ago people didn’t clutch water bottles wherever they went.  And they lived! Australians are lucky generally to be able to drink from the tap. But when often less pure water in our dry continent can be commercially pumped from our precious groundwater – thousands of years old – into plastic bottles destined for global waste, and we PAY … illogical, to say the least!

Mahalath Halperin’s first in the national 2018 Sustainability Awards for a New Single Dwelling stated the “humanity of the work” as well as the design “tipped it over the edge, validating her architectural approach”.

Our region has opportunities and values to be proud of, and I was appalled to hear on the ABC a speaker’s confident statement that e-sports would overtake actual sports this decade! Are we all to turn into obese, tick-shaped creatures clutching our fizzy drinks and takeaway as we stare into our devices? How absurd!

Hurray for NECOM’S Corinne Arter, who made New England Sings happen again. We have access to much that many believe is only confined to big cities. Remember the facilities and museums at UNE … indeed, let’s thank ALL the galleries, museums, businesses, teams, musicians, clubs and groups that make up the total on offer.

I’ll be enjoying the company of old and new friends this Christmas, and I hope the same for you – pick up that phone and make a date …

Remember “what a wonderful world” it is. Let’s try hard to keep it that way.

Susie Dunn.

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