Ann's Blog

Published on January 16th, 2012 | by Ann Rickard


Ann’s January Newsletter

  • Slack at keeping in touch yet again
  • Very messy Christmas with the babies
  • Something I wrote before Christmas
  • Still have 2 places left for France

Hello my dear friends….yet again I must apologise for the delay in newsletters.   I hate making excuses, especially the “I’ve been so busy” excuse because we all have the same 24 hours in each day to do what we have to do. You are just as busy as me, so I’m not going to rant on with an excuse about not writing to you because I’ve been so busy even though I have!

Hope you are going into the New Year with a new sense of energy and purpose.   I know by now that you’ve broken all your New Year resolutions, and I’m glad of it, because it means you’re normal.   It’s a bit unnerving being around people who are full of willpower and determination and strength.

I’ve barely been able to get my head up off the pillow in the early mornings since Christmas Day ( just like our new baby Jacob – isn’t he cute?) to go for my morning walk.  I think I’ve only managed one walk since Christmas.

I had to work right through, only had one day off, and it’s hideous working through the festive break when everyone in town is on holiday.    It feels so lonely being the only person in the office…well, not the only one.   Our editor, Gail, broke her ankle before Christmas so she is off, and our senior journalist is on holiday.  So, the people at head office have sent two hunky young journalists up to work with me, which is a nice compensation.  I sit in this tiny room with my computer and these two young hunks.   Rather good.

As much as I adored having my grandchildren stay at Christmas, OMG, the mess.   I didn’t see the surface of my dining room table for two weeks.  It was covered in baby things: nappies (unused), baby bottles (little dribs of milk in the bottom), nappies (used, but in little perfumed bags), wipes, baby bubble bath, bits of tinsel, one teddy bear wearing a tutu, one worn piglet with an eye out, Dora doll with her hair all messed up, half eaten peanut butter sandwiches, champagne corks (I had to be a small part of the mess), rotting apple cores, empty crushed beer cans. (Geoffrey Rickard’s contribution),(how cute he is with his Christmas red outfit and his beautiful granddaughter Shaya),  scrunched up wrapping paper, DVD covers (if I have to watch Alice in Wonderland one more time I’ll run around the house screaming), bit of jigsaw puzzles, tiny wet swimsuits and many damp towels.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and didn’t gain five kilos like I did.  The pre-Christmas party season nearly killed me.   Here’s something I wrote for my newspaper before Christmas when my lips were tired from all the pre-Christmas kissing we are  all expected to do.


I like kissing as much as the next person, but at this time of year I don’t enjoy it at all.
I’m talking about social kissing. Not the other kind. You can never have enough of that.
This festive time of year means more than the usual number of parties which in turn means so many cheeks must be kissed you could wear your lips out.
Social kissing at parties is often awkward and sometimes downright embarrassing.
There I was on Saturday night, having just slurped down an oyster topped with jalapeño when someone snuck up on my right and puckered up for a greeting kiss.
I had no choice but to breathe oyster and jalapeno all over him.
But that was sweet compared to the waft of chorizo and onion the next kisser got when he rushed up to greet me, lips at the ready, just as I stuck a bit of pizza in my mouth.
It’s not uncommon to go to up to three or four parties in the same week at this time of year where the same people are in attendance. No matter that you saw each other the night before, the kissing must be repeated.
It makes me feel awkward.
“Didn’t I just kiss you last night?” I’ve been known to say to a pair of lips coming at me.
“Yeah, you did. Thank God they’re not serving oysters tonight,” comes the reply, which can be a bit hurtful.
I don’t like wet beer lips landing on my cheeks either.
Nor do I like greasy lipstick (sorry ladies) leaving its imprint on my cheeks.
And as for the bloke with the bushy beard hurtling towards me, lips ready to spring from their hiding place in the forest – well, he just about finishes me off.
I’d opt for the air kiss along with a loud “darling,” if it didn’t sound so theatrical (and fake.)
The trouble is, we all feel obliged to do the social kiss, when I suspect most of us don’t enjoy it all.
And let’s be frank here – most of us are not adept at the social kiss. Just as you’ve proffered your right cheek in readiness, the lips coming at you make a sharp turn and go to the left. Even if you both get it right the first time there is often that awkward moment of withdrawal when the kisser goes in for a second round on the other cheek while the kissee, thinking it’s a one-cheek gig, has already turned away and is downing another oyster.
I never get the kiss right even though I go to France every year.
Meet an acquaintance at the market in France in the morning and you must go through the three-cheek kissing ritual. Twice. Once when you greet and again when you take your leave. Even if you’ve only spent two minutes discussing the weather.
Run into that same person in the afternoon at the patisserie while buying a baguette and you must kiss him in greeting all over again. Talk for a moment about the quality of the baguette, get ready to take you leave and pucker up all over again.
It adds a good hour to every shopping expedition.
You can’t escape the social kiss even if you’re sitting quietly at home in front of the telly. Male television hosts will greet their male guests with a handshake, but it has to be the kiss for the women. Male politicians can greet each other with a firm handshake, but put a female politician in front them and in they go for lips on cheek.
Watch how Julia Gillard and Hilary Clinton are greeted by male politicians and you’ll see what I mean.
But what am I banging on about?
Kissing really is pleasant and friendly and shows someone you’re happy to see them.
So forget all the above, put on some lip balm, practice your pucker and off you go with a confident pair of lips.


I’ve snuck in a couple of photos of the granddaughters above.  How cute is Shaya kissing her doll?  And that is Tilly and Shaya above.

South of France

We have had four cancellations for our Provence tour this June.  Illness and the Global Financial Crisis to blame.  (Although at the moment the Australian dollar is really favourable to the euro for travel to Europe.) ? Two places have already gone but there are two left if you feel up for it.   It’s from June 16 to June 29 and it’s going to be the usual joyful time of touring,  drinking pale pink wine (lots and lots of it) and trying new Provencal foods and trawling the markets and partying like we are 30 years younger than we actually are.  Check it all out on the website, click here or direct to Ann’s tours,  click here.  Who knows, we may be together in France this year.  You’ll love it.  You can take a photo like this of you standing in the middle of a lavender field.

Lots of love and good new year wishes to you…

Ann. xxxxx


About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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