Choosing Your Weapon: Apple VS Windows

The computer you choose for study is important. Whether or not a computer works well, fast, slow, has the correct programs for the job, plays games, doesn’t play games, is old or new – as well as cost are all things to consider.

 Another thing to consider of course is which way you swing. Personally – I’m an Apple fan.

 blog11.1

I have an Iphone and a MacBook Pro. My family is also Apple users. My Mum and Grandmother each have an Iphone, MacBook Pro and Ipad. Sister = MacBook & Iphone. Cousins, Aunts and Uncles are the same, having at least one of the above. You might say that the Mills family likes their Apple products.

On college though, much to my grief, I found myself surrounded by Windows computers! It was a sad day indeed when I realized that to most others – I was the strange one. I had to contain my horror, but luckily I survived those first few weeks and realized that Windows people aren’t as crazy as I was lead to believe.

I mean – these people can actually play computer games besides the Sims. Talk about a revelation! Back to the point however, everyone has a preferred computer. At college, computers are vital to survival. One can’t submit assignments, let alone do all the research or access course materials without access to the internet. Luckily for those who need it, the Book Bursary is available which can be turned into a computer. Apparently this computer (for those out there thinking maybe they can use it for gaming) is pretty much a dud in the gaming department which could very well be intentional because the university wants people to study with the computers they give out, not play games.

Though people do still find ways to procrastinate without the gaming outlet, for example – looking at funny pictures on Facebook is a favourite of many.

 blog11.2 blog11.3

Watching the Simpsons is the current study-break material of H Block Steele Rudd  – though it does change. I digress though – we were talking about computers.

Simmering underneath the calm surface of college is the battle for supremacy – which computer is better. I know the answer of course – it’s Apple, but then, some might say I’m biased. Those people are probably Windows users though.

Truthfully, each type has its pros and cons. Some require a MacBook for their studies – some programs Apple products get are much better than Windows ones – usually these are Arts people. Others, doing engineering for example, need Windows for the programs that it provides. I can see both sides of the argument, but I do prefer my side.

I leave you reader, to ponder which type you prefer and why? If you’re a Linux user… well you’re excused from discussion.

Cheers, Laura

College Zombies

They aren’t the typical, undead type of zombie that first comes to mind – but if you’re a zombie hunter, a university college is the perfect place to find what you are looking for. The university zombies can even be classified into the manner they became zombies; allow me to enlighten you.

First we have the Sleep Deprived Zombies. As the name suggests, they became the walking dead when they didn’t sleep for several nights in a row, or perhaps went to bed at 4am and arose from their slumber at 7am for long periods of time.
These Zombies are fairly easy to spot, because if you see them at breakfast they communicate using the ‘Common Zombie Tongue’ which sounds a lot like “Ggggrrr….mmm…ahhh…ooofffff…” This translates to ‘Bugger Off – It’s way to early for this, I just want to sleep,’ excepting of course when it doesn’t translate to anything because the zombie is so sleep deprived that even forming coherent zombie words is to much. These zombies are less likely to attack, but caution is still advised.

One must look out for the Caffeinated Zombies. These zombies were once ‘Sleep Deprived’, however a misguided attempt to cure these people by providing them with beverages such as tea, coffee, ‘V’, Mother, RockStar, Redbull or other such drinks caused them to morph into far more dangerous versions. Caffeinated Zombies are faster, smarter, and generally more aggressive – especially when they are running low on caffeine. The writer suggests that wannabe zombie hunters should carry an energy drink in case needed as a distraction – but it should only be used as a last resort due to the increased risk factors that a freshly caffeinated zombie provides.

Then there are the Fried Zombies. These were created after many hours of staring at a screen. Usually from playing video/ computer games or playing on ones phone for hours. Everyone knows one, hell – I probably am one. This breed is significantly less dangerous, as they cannot stray far from their electronic device, and should the zombie hunter get hold of said device and destroy it the zombie may be rendered helpless long enough to escape. However, one must be careful when destroying the electronic device as it carries the possibility of backfiring; enraging the zombie. In such events, the advised course of action is to run for your life.

image1 image2

Hungry Zombies are another breed. These are the fairly typical zombie. This type is always hungry; they might have had a delicious lunch of brains not half an hour beforehand when they suddenly feel hungry again. They’re always taking study breaks so that they can eat something. One needs to be careful of this kind – they can smell brains a mile away and will happily ditch studying with their fellow zombies for a tasty morsel of ‘ze’ little grey cells’.

image3

While these four are not the only types of zombies that the up-and-coming hunter will cross paths with, they are the most common and if you decide that you want to join the league of college zombies it is best to know what you are likely to come across; so don’t forget your weapons – a pillow, an energy drink, a computer and brains when you come to college.

Best of Luck and Happy Hunting,
Laura Mills

Behind the Curtain: The Emergency Room through the eyes of a nurse

At one point or another, most people will go to a hospital emergency ward. They might come with a friend or family member, they might just be passing through to get to another ward, or they might be the person sitting in the chairs waiting to be seen. However, you do not have to go to hospital to know about the infamous ‘waiting period’ of the emergency ward. Even I have fallen prey to the dreaded wait. A friend went to the emergency room in Toowoomba and I accompanied them, we arrived at 1900hrs roughly (7:00pm) and didn’t get seen by a doctor until 2200hrs (10:00pm). Three, long, mind bogglingly boring hours we sat there.

It made me wonder, ‘what on earth could they possibly be doing back there?’.

I wouldn’t get the answer to my question for another two months, when I looked at my allocation for my final clinical placement.
“Emergency Ward – Princess Alexandra Hospital”

I was over the moon. Who could ask for a better placement? High acuity patients means lots of tasks that need doing, which means as a student I get to do more and see more. It’s bad for the people in hospital, but great for me and the other nursing students.

When it was time for clinical, I drove to Brisbane and greeted my grandmother who kindly allowed me to stay at her house for the four weeks. Then the next day, clinical began. As far as placements go, it was fantastic. In my opinion, the people in charge of allocations for nursing practicals should put everyone in an emergency ward all the time because you see some many different things and get to do more than you might in a normal ward.

Due to privacy laws, I didn’t take any pictures so I don’t have any show readers of my time there. However, I did hear some good stories.

One particular day, we had a man present to emergency with a nail in his knee – he had been building in his backyard with a friend when the nail in the nail gun ricocheted and landed very snuggly in his knee causing pain, agony and a little embarrassment. It caused great excitement among the nurses, because one interesting patient always makes everyone talk about other interesting patients they’ve had. This man, unbeknownst to him, started the story train.

Two particular stories stood out for me. There was a man who came into the emergency room once with a nail in his eye. How on earth he got it there, nobody knew – as he wasn’t very forthcoming on details.

The second story, having moved from the topic of nails to eyes was about a man who came in with his eye hanging out of its socket. Every time he moved his head from side to side, it would almost ‘flap in the breeze’ the buddy nurse described but, luckily for the man, he went into theatre, they popped it back in and he could see fine. (I suspect there may have been more involved that just putting the eye back in its socket but I’m not down pat with those sorts of details).

But that doesn’t answer the question. The elusive question of “What the hell is taking so long?”

If I may be so bold, allow me to answer on behalf of all nurses.

The Doctors.

We (nurses) are usually fairly fast, once all the initial paperwork is done. That’s because we’ve only got about four patients – and that’s on a busy day, unless we’re covering someone else’s break in which case then it can be about six. That, however, is our limit. It means we’ve got time to do all the tasks that the patients need.

Sometimes we have patients that take a little more time. For example, while you may be lying in a bed after having finally been taken behind the triage desk, wondering why the nurses leave you alone for ages, we may very well be dealing with a septic patient, whose bowels aren’t working thereby causing gas build-ups and I could natter on about how bad their prognosis is but you get the idea. If you’re not too bad and there is someone who is worse, the nurses are going to be with the other guy. However, we do still have some time for you.

The doctors on the other hand might have about 11 or 12 patients. They might not directly see the patient, but they need to know what is happening, what treatments they might need and so forth. Basically – if we’re busy, you can be sure the doctors are even busier, which causes the delays. Then there are problems like beds not being ready on wards and waiting for test results, all of which takes time.

I think I’ll end this entry with a couple more patient stories and a non-specific funny picture.

We had a lady (not a child) present to the Emergency Room because she couldn’t remove a band-aid from her finger. (No, I’m not kidding.) Apparently it hurt too much to take off. The nurse, being the kind caring lady you expect all nurses to be – ripped it off and told her to go home. The nurse then told me that people have come to hospital for dandruff related issues. Again, not kidding.

We also had our fair share of drug seekers. A lady was sitting in bed reading a magazine, and when I walked past she waved me over and used these words…

 “Can you get me a glass of water, a band-aid for my foot and some Endone please?”
If I’d been drinking something I might have sprayed it over her face in surprise.
“Oh yes… some Endone,” I said hesitantly, “What would you say your pain score is?”
The lady leaned across the bed to rummage around in her bag for her phone.
“Oh…” she seemed to think about it for a moment, “I guess it’s about a seven…”

Please note, anyone who has a pain score of 7/10 is usually lying on the bed clutching something or sweating a little or groaning or all of the above. None of which she was doing.

It’s a shame there are people like that abusing the system, but you have to take the bad with the good – and as promised, the non-specific funny picture.

image

Bye for now,
Laura

Hollywood Unveiled: My Film Making Experience

It’s not often that we university students (or really anyone I suppose) get an opportunity to try other fields of expertise. However, in the mid-semester break of 2013 I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of a film.

Not a multi-million-dollar James Cameron undertaking, just a fairly low budget film designed to make people aware of the dangers that are inherent with overseas travel and to urge people to seek advice before they go overseas. The aim was not to specifically advertise the organization,, instead it says ‘seek advice before travel’. It was an interesting, exciting and enjoyable enterprise.

Because it was a low budget film, the actors were all volunteers and most of them were either drama students or amateur actors. However because, as was previously stated, they were all volunteers there was no incentive for many people to keep their commitments and often throughout the course of the filming we would get a call from someone saying  “I can’t do it anymore – sorry.” This, as you might imagine, caused major dramas. However, usually we’d manage to get someone in at the last possible moment.

We needed an Asian lady to play a Chinese store-owner at one point, but the person we had pulled out at the last minute. Luckily my aunt (who was the main talent scout) knew someone who could take over the role, so crisis averted there.

IMG_1999

While we started with mainly actors of some form, we finished with reception staff, cleaning ladies, nursing students (myself), science students (my sister) as well as a few other people.

 I asked a few of the drama people on college if they would like to participate, as if would be a great thing to put on a resume, however sadly no-one was particularly interested. How sad.

On the topic of the filming itself, it was incredibly fun. All the actors, as well as the film crew were funny people, and many of us would stand around cracking jokes and telling stories while we were waiting for the film crew to ‘get the light right’ or to fix angles or whatever it is that they spend forever doing.

The photo below is of us waiting in an airport to film a scene (which never even got used!) we were waiting around for nearly two hours. Boy, were we bored, we were all paying on our phones by the end. The man with the red shirt standing in the middle of the picture was our director.

IMG_1948I’ve got lots of photos from the different scenes, but they wouldn’t mean very much to anyone without me explaining what was happening in each photo – which would take a while.

 However, I will show you one more that I am somewhat partial too.

This third picture was taken when we were filming the Rabies scene. We spoke to a very lovely lady who agreed to let us borrow her pups for the day, and they were the sweetest things.

IMG_2078

The completed video is now on YouTube with nearly 4000 hits. We’ve had lots of really nice feedback, and if you decide that you do want to check it out, the video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6oRXMW72iw.

My segment is after the Altitude Sickness bit and in the mosquito scene – I’m Malaria and my younger sister is Yellow Fever. I’m also in a few other scenes momentarily. Can you spot me?

That’s the story of my exciting holiday program, it’s a little different to most.

Hope you like the film if you do check it out,

Regards

Laura.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

images

Almost everyone knows of a science fiction show. Star Trek and Doctor Who are the big ones because they’ve been around for such a long time. Doctor Who for example, is the longest running sci-fi show ever. They’re celebrating their 50th anniversary this year (2013) as a matter of fact.

Readers who are unfamiliar with Doctor Who won’t understand the meaning of the title, so allow me to explain…  The T.A.R.D.I.S. is the spaceship of the show; its gimmick is that it looks like a blue police box. The Doctor ‘borrowed’ the T.A.R.D.I.S. from a museum back on his home planet when he first started his adventures because he failed all his exams and wasn’t allowed his own ship.

In one of the more recent seasons, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is described by the old wedding saying that you need “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.”

Honestly I could talk about the semantics for hours, but since I don’t want everyone to know how much of a nerd I can be, I won’t.

Science fiction is a subject that is near and dear to my nerdy heart. To me it isn’t just about the aliens, but how does it relate to college, or indeed university?

To see how it relates, we have to travel back in time about fifteen years. When I was five, I was first introduced to science fiction through Stargate SG-1. A show that even today I enjoy. The most intriguing thing to me was Space, and travelling to new and exotic places – something I inherited from my mother.

I decided I’d be an astronaut when I got older.

I didn’t become an astronaut. However, I continued to dream about the stars and about travel. I started watching Doctor Who because my Mum watched it when she was little and wanted my sister and I to do the same. That’s how I became acquainted with Tom Baker (Doctor No.4) – the guy with the outrageous scarf.

Now here was this exciting alien, who traveled around earth having adventures and saving people with two big rules.

Number 1: Don’t use weapons i.e. Guns and

Number 2:

IMG_0029

Both rules I liked and agreed with.

It was by this point that I was starting to gather a picture of what I wanted to do. My ultimate goal was to make the world a better place by me having been in it, and with a doctor as a mother I had already been exposed to medicine.

I wanted to travel and help people, and for me the natural leap was to nursing which brought me to University. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my course and found that over the past three years I’ve learned lots of new facts about caring for people.

For me, science fiction became the start of a passion that guided me towards my chosen career, with a little bit of help along the way from my parents of course.

The decision to go to university, or what one ultimately decides they want to with the remainder of their time on this little blue-green planet can have a very strange path.  Some come to university because family push them and others come because they don’t.

Whatever the reason or the story behind the university decision, it is an important one. While it might seem bizarre that I came to my choice through science fiction, it worked for me.

The advice that I offer freely today is to think hard about the field of study that one has chosen, how that choice came about and is it really something that you want to do.

It might just be a story out of this world.

douglas_adams_quote_wallpaper_by_dredfonnelly-d5a706z

(P.S. If you’re looking for a good book to read that’s a bit out of the ordinary – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a good one)

The Formal

Twice a year on college, even the shyest and most unsocial of us rear our heads and ready ourselves for the most popular events. The first of which is our Semi-Formal, which is really just a glorified costume party. However, even the most enjoyable of costume parties doesn’t compare with the excitement that twists its way through college at this time of year.

The Formal is coming.

It’s not quite the same as your school formal, since dates aren’t expected, sure you can have them, but for the most part you appear at the dining hall in all your refinery with the friends you’ve made in your block and all the work you’ve put in is because you’re trying hard to look fantastic for the cameras.
boys

For the boys, it’s easy, they have a shower, shave, and if they’re really dedicated, spray on a bit of cologne. Then, they don their suits. The theme for Steele Rudd last year was masquerade, and so the boys put on their batman masks, or in one case – a brown paper bag with eyeholes, throw the finishing touches into their block video and then they make their way to the party for a meal that fills their stomachs.

For the girls however, especially H Block, there is far more time involved. For weeks beforehand, we are leaping in cars and making expeditions to the shops for many various odds and ends that we may feel we require and each part is generally a different shopping trip.

dress
First the dresses, then the shoes and the accessories, then the masks – I was lucky, I bought mine off eBay – but you’re not finished here. There is still hair and make-up to do. Generally the most fashion-inclined of the group will whip out their hair curlers and straighteners and set to work on everyone else’s hair, trying to find the most glamorous and photogenic way to place every strand to hair. Once that has been done, it’s onto the make-up.

“What mask are you wearing and what colour is your dress? Oh, is that so? Well then, I think this colour will suit you best.” At that point, another girl will walk past and say, “I think that colour is better, and you should really do something about that foundation, it makes her skin look orange”

girls

But that still isn’t everything. There are block videos to create. Each block creates a video about the members, at the Semi Formal it’s to introduce everyone, at the Formal its five minutes of frivolities. The prize for the best block video is a free movie ticket, one for each member of the block. Not bad really.

Once all these steps have been completed, you are ready for the formal.

It’s certainly worth all the effort.

Group Assignments

 You know them.
You love to hate them,
And no university blog is complete without them.

They creep from the shadows into courses you’d least expect, and force you to do things you wouldn’t normally do, associate with people you would normally have never spoken too. They destroy friendships and make our hair go grey.

Group Assignments…
Group assignment

For some unknown reason, teachers think it’s a good idea to group people who have never met and give them a task that involves working together and give them all marks based on the overall presentation…

The only positive about that scenario is that you don’t know anyone so you’re free to love or hate him or her as you desire. If you’re already friends with someone in the group, then things tend to get awkward when they don’t do any work and you have to whip them into shape.

image1

However, there are methods to make sure people do what they are supposed to. The particular method that I favour is called a ‘Team Contract’. Basically, everyone writes their name and their allotted task then they sign underneath a couple of sentences that state that “if you don’t do your task then you don’t get any marks” – or something to that effect. A copy is posted on the forum so that everyone, including the teacher can see what you’re meant to be doing and if you’re actually doing it. It doesn’t guarantee that the work people do will be in any way good, but at least they do something.

I heartedly recommend Team Contract’s to anyone about to go into a group assignment. It makes the whole thing a bit more business-like. Plus then you can threaten to stick a lawyer on anyone who doesn’t pull his or her weight.

While not all nursing courses have big group assignments, most do have teamwork. For anyone who has done, or will do, an OSCE (which is the term used to refer to our exam where we dress up and give dummies medications, wound dressings, respiratory assessments or something along those lines) is probably the most hated thing in nursing.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve done the stuff a thousand times. When you’re asked to do a certain number of things in 20, 30 or 50minutes, with someone staring over your shoulder and coughing when you might not be doing something wrong – your brain shuts down and starts wailing like a three-year-old.

The first few OSCE’s that I had to do were done alone, and I confess that after my second one I had a bit of a cry because I couldn’t remember a single thing I was meant to do. But that has nothing to do with teamwork. In later OSCE’s, one requires a partner. This can be both a blessing and a curse – depending on the person. If you get a partner who is fairly confident and doesn’t let their nerves get to them, then the experience isn’t too bad. If you get one who is a nervous wreck then you become a nervous wreck and both of you do terribly. Not fun – let me tell you.

My motto with teamwork and group assignments is to expect the best and prepare for the worst. In OSCE’s for example, if you have to fake a bit of confidence then your partner thinks that you’re confident and that may calm them which will in turn calm you.

In group assignments, if you’re like me and worry that a certain person won’t do their part and be ready on the day then have a fail-safe in place. Don’t do their work for them though, because then that teaches someone they can get away with doing nothing. Before the talk, tell the teacher that so-and-so hasn’t fulfilled their requirements – show the team contract, and let the teacher mark the team based on who pulled their weight. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, usually not everyone in the team is terrible.

That’s about all I have to say for now.

Here’s a funny picture for your enjoyment.
hokey pokey
Bye for now, Laura.

Pets and College

Unfortunately, there is a rule on college that states that the only pets one might be allowed to keep are Hermit Crabs or Fish.

Neither of which are particularly exciting creatures, since they pretty much keep to themselves all day, everyday for the entirety of their existence unless they have a fellow fish or hermit crab to keep them company.

Therefore, I feel duty bound to inform you that if you are under the impression that moving onto college is in anyway like moving to Hogwarts – you are sadly misinformed. There are no Hedwigs’, or Scabbers’ not even a Crookshanks’.

Personally, I’m a dog lover. Look at our adorable Jack Russell; Whiskey. In the first picture he’s curled in with some bluey’s in the car (yes, bluey’s is the technical term) and the second picture is of me giving him a cuddle after a bath but putting my own pet to the side for the moment. Much to the grief of all, no pets are allowed on college.

dog1dog2

Given their propensity towards larger and smellier bowel motions (Sorry folks, but it’s true) it’s somewhat understandable. No cleaner wants to come to work and find smelly little presents everywhere.  It just isn’t pretty.

Surprisingly, one manages to survive fairly well without the constant exposure to adorable furry little creatures. Sometimes though, one wanders into college of its own accord. Recently an orange fluff-ball was wandering around, it was a very sweet, although apparently some might disagree, stray cat. It was duly picked up a cat-loving youth who worshipped them on the Internet everyday – after all, who doesn’t love a bit of Tardar the Grumpy Cat? – after everyone had a turn at ‘ooohing’ at it, it was taken to the vet to get micro chipped and taken to a shelter.

Moments like these are rare on college, but they remind one that having a sweet little creature in your life that is dependant upon you for it’s survival and will, in most cases, love you unconditionally if given the chance, is a very enjoyable thing.

Well, I’ve nattered on about pets for long enough at the moment,

Laura

#success

At present, I am just about to start a clinical for uni at the Royal Children’s Hospital – the main focus being mental health.

This is getting me thinking about mental health in general, and how our western culture, with our constant exposure to technology and media affects our mental health.

laura blog 3

To my mind, it seems as though many young people – some of whom I’m friends with, are on anti-depressant medication, along with scores of other pills aimed at making one happy. To me, it seems to be a loosing battle because our society has very specific guidelines, if you are to take subliminal messages at face value.

“Girls should weight this much, have their hair in this manor, wear these clothes and have this many friends. Then they will be beautiful”

It might not be something we’re conscious of, but its most definitely there. The other thing that I have noticed is that everywhere we look; there are subliminal messages that we need to be ‘successful’ in order to have a good life and be a good person.

This week, I wanted to look at success; how I view it and how others advise we obtain the increasingly desirable, and yet ever elusive ‘success’.

Laura blog 3

I’ve read books and articles on the theory of success. All say the same thing, which is very aptly summarized in the above picture.

Success is not necessarily determined by how much money one has. In order to say that one has been ‘successful’ in life, one must first have a goal to reach, without a goal, there can be no success. An example of this could be that the boy sitting next to you in class wants to be a business tycoon when he gets older. Everything that I have read states that if he writes what he wants to be when he is older and the steps he must follow to attain that goal then he greatly increases his chances of becoming the person he wants to be. Simply thinking them, saying them out loud, or even writing them on a computer is not enough. Writing your goals on paper, gives them life that is not the same as simply speaking the words aloud.

 He might write – ‘I want to be a business tycoon when I’m older. This means that I have to do accounting in high school, and then a business course at uni or tafe, I have to read business magazines once a week, and pay attention to the things that other people do and say so that I know what they want and can make good business decisions.

This is pretty fair afield from my goals. I didn’t write a long-term goal quite like the one above, I wrote an ‘In 5 Years goal, which basically said,

“In five years, I want to have graduated Uni and be travelling the world and helping people,”

easy to achieve and what I want to do.

If someone were to ask me what I though success was, I’d say something along the lines of,

“We were all born on this planet for a reason, and that reason is to make the planet better for those who follow, and to be successful we have to make the planet a better place”

I’m sure there are people who would say that we were born to give birth or that there are far more complicated reasons, but that about sums it up for me.

images

But how is any of this relevant to university? My advise to those just starting is to set goals and strive to achieve them. But don’t set goals you know you’ll just ignore. Perhaps set a goal for one semester that states,

“ I’ll pass all of my courses this semester. If I get better – fantastic, if I just pass, then I have succeeded.”

But make sure to leave time for friends, family and relaxation because without downtime it is easy to give up on one’s goals.

IMG_1037

 I hope I’ve given you something to think about,

Cheers all,

Laura

Christmas Day as a student

The morning starts like every other. One wakes, yawns, and a quick thought flashes across the frontal lobe;

“Gosh, I want to go back to sleep.”

Then the rest of the brain kicks in with an uncustomary speed, usually only attainable with at least one of cup coffee.

It’s Christmas.

Laura Mills Blog 2

Depending on your age, this may mean different things. For example between 2-16 years of age it means Presents. For 17-27 year olds it’s a cross between Presents and Party Time! 28 and above its one of several things

“Oh bugger its my turn to cook,”

“Do I really have to spend all day with them?”

or

“Gosh I want to see what they think of their presents,”

There are variations of course. Not everyone adheres to those guidelines. Take myself for example, my thoughts upon waking in the early hours of Christmas day bounce around incoherently until they hit a wall, fall on their arse, sit up and look around feeling rather bemused until they finally stumble upon,

“Oh Damn, there goes the diet,”

As a student however, Christmas comes with an additional sense of foreboding. Any money one may have had left after their bank account was sucked for cash, until they were as dry as a Twilight novel, immediately has the last drops drained to buy Xmas presents for family and friends.

However, despite the lack of funds, the age differences between members, and the new addition to the iPhone as an integral part of the family from which each member must not be parted, Christmas celebrations in the Mills household are jovial affairs. The aunts and uncles arrive, each party bringing at least a kilogram of prawns so that by the end we easily have 5 kilos of the nasty little bugs (My sister and I don’t like them, we stick to chicken shiskebabs). The cousins arrive, bringing bottles of wine, beer, and iceblocks. Someone in the mix has brought a tray of mangos, which will be lucky if it sees the sunset. I don’t know much of how other families do it, but for us, it’s a seething mass of talking, eating, drinking, swimming and general frivolity that even the Romans would be proud of.

Laura Mills Blog 2

And luckily for me, someone else is paying.