It was hot and I was very sweaty as I arrived to my mates house for some pre-christmas drinks and nibbles. The invitation said there would be ‘cocktails’ so I figured I should dress up, but when I got there in my silk jumpsuit and high heels I found a group of people in swimmers and shorts, thongs, singlets, and bare feet.
So not only did I feel overdressed and a bit silly, I felt hot.
I struggled on for a while,… first the shoes came off… then the hair went up…. But when the silk jumpsuit was sticking to my non-existent cleavage it was time to take action.
So my lovely friend and host said I could borrow one of her free flowing dresses,… AAAAAAAAHHHHH the breeziness was divine and my nether regions thanked me.
The night rolled on and I told my hosts about my Adelaide family,… how much I missed them all and how my dad’s side of the family – The Dutchies – were all getting together at that very moment to celebrate Christmas together, with all the traditional Dutch Chrissy food and drinks that I adore.
This year a new tradition had been started… the Great Christmas Gherkin Competition. Really, it was only a matter of time before a family of gherkin loving Dutchies decided it was the perfect Christmas pastime to turn the ugly but delicious gherkin into a Christmas work of art (is it any wonder the Dutch people have a reputation for being mad?).
The text messages started coming through… photos of ‘Santa Gherkin’ in a deck chair, the ‘Gherkin Eiffel Tower’ (held together with toothpicks), ‘Hipster Santa Gherkin’ and other equally absurd (but surprisingly impressive) offerings.
My host, an incredible cook, asked what my entry looked like and I sadly admitted I didn’t take part due to my distance… I hadn’t even thought of putting an interstate entry in.
She was horrified that I didn’t have an entry in this important new family tradition and instantly ran to the kitchen to get a jar of gherkins. Before I knew it she was slicing and dicing and placing her pickles decoratively on my face as I reclined on her lounge. I soon had a fine green moustache and pickled spectacles that would make Nana Mouskouri and Tom Selleck jealous in equal measure… and between laughing hysterically we snapped some photos and sent them to The Dutchies in Adelaide.
I was so ecstatic to be involved and had the unexpected bonus of getting to munch on gherkin slices,… but mostly I was incredibly grateful for an equally mad and generous friend.
The Adelaide jury started it’s difficult gherkin deliberations.
The heat hadn’t subsided much, the air was heavy and I was covered in sweat and gherkin juice… the pool looked amazing and the adults decided that it was time for a dip.
My gorgeous friend said that she’d swum in the dress I was borrowing from her on more than one occasion and egged me on… so I declared loudly “I’m a lady” (Little Britain style) and slid down the slippery dip into the most delicious cool water.
We frolicked and laughed and in that moment I remembered that famous quote: ‘when you can’t be with the ones you love… love the ones your with’ – and I did.
The verdict was in,…. My phone beeped with a picture of the winning gherkins – Two glistening green lumpy characters sitting on some sort of stick with googly eyes stuck on and a leaf as a hat.
Back in my jumpsuit but feeling considerably cooler driving home later with a huge smile on my face, I thought about Christmas traditions…
I never really know what Christmas will look like from year to year, which family members or friends I’ll be with and whether I’ll be at home or interstate,… but I do know from now on it will definitely involve ‘gherkin sculpting’ and ‘dress swimming’.