FIELDS OF CLOVER
About this time each year, City of Sydney councillors and senior staff get a gift from the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. This year she changed tack. Everyone got a bottle of wine but she donated, on their behalf, various things through the international charity Oxfam as the rest of the gift. For three of her councillors, she donated medicine for a village ($393); on behalf of another, John McInerney, a bicycle to help carers in Mozambique and Zimbabwe get around ($100). She picked a buffalo ($486) from the three ALP councillors to help plough the land, soap that prevents diarrhoea ($18) for the Liberal and a village well ($1528) for senior staff. But for the Green councillor, Chris Harris, who is standing against her at the next state election, she chose a toilet ($54). "Even Santa asks what children want for Christmas, but not the Lord Mayor of Sydney," he said. While supporting the idea, he wished she had asked him first. "Actually, if I had chosen to donate a toilet it certainly would have been a self-composting one, not the standard issue, white, ceramic, western flush loo depicted on the card that the Lord Mayor handed me." That said, we liked the idea. Onya, Clover.
From: Mrs J and Family
To: Clover Moore
Is it Christmas already?
Thank you for the pig. I must say I didn't think you'd be able to top that 'Buy a toilet for the third world' idea you had last year, but there you go. It's so wonderful to think that somewhere, a poor, wretched, pathetic, oppressed, starving Ethiopian family who are the victims of our inequitable capitalist system will now be able to share their gratitude with a pig.
Please accept, in return, our gift of a yak for a Mongolian family. As I am sure you will know, Mongolia is currently suffering from a dreadful yak shortage as a result of global warming. When will people learn?
I am still not sure how to break the news about the pig to our eldest, Tarquin, who is currently off at a tofu-knitting camp in the Blue Mountains, or something. Anyway, I'm sure we'll work out an excuse before he gets back.
Have you any plans for Christmas dinner? Come to our house, do! We're having the most divine dish: roast pork - with crackling!
Christmas again! The same date arrives faster every year!
Thank you for the mule - how exciting! I wonder, what do you do with a mule? I've neve had a mule before - but then, I guess I don't really have a mule now. (Well, that saves me the trouble of worrying about where to put it, I guess.) And I'm SURE that a mule will cheer up some members of the miserable third world no end.
I hope that you can find it in your heart to accept, in return, my humble gift of an ocelot to the Namibian International Zoo for Autistic Wildebeests. It is a little known fact that I am sure you are aware of, this exciting zoological enterprise provides meaningful employment - much needed - for up to eleven local Namibians!
You needn't worry about Tarquin, by the way: on hearing of your mule (of course) he went on a hunger strike (of course) muttwering something about the suffering of innocent animals (or some such) and the desperate unsustainable circumstances we find ourselves in (etc, etc). It doesn't matter, though: last night, one of his school friends rang up and invited him to a summer camp for anorexics with operatic ability in the Hunter Valley, or something. Anyway, we're packing him off tomorrow. It will be just Mr J and myself.
Oh, and by the by - shall we pencil you in for Christmas dinner this year? We have a wonderful meal planned: Venison! Cooked in the traditional Namibian fashion, with a side-serving of rare African turkey, oven roasted! (You can't believe the trouble I went through to get this!)
Anyway - LOVE it if you could come!
I do declare! If Christmas came any sooner, it would arrive before the previous Christmas!
I don't know how you come up with all these presents, I really don't. I mean - fancy that! - buyingh a whole barnyard of pigs, yaks, mules, ostriches and autistic ocelots for an oppressed African family suffering from the ravages of drought! Pure GENIUS, Clover, even if you do say so yourself!
Cynical souls, of course, might wonder how you coughed up the spondulicks to fund such an extravagant barnyard, but far be it from we, the mere tax-paying public, to be so gauche as to inquire!
Although it is impossible for us to match your gift, we'll just have to try. (And let's jmust close our ears to those naysaying conservatives who observe that we have turned charity from a project for helping the poor into a status symbol for the rich - shall we?)
So to you, Clover, we give the following: 1 (one) Ugandan school for orphans from the recent war they had with Sudan (or Gabon - I forget now). Oh, it might not seem much - a mere 10,000 dollars - but believe me, the wretched orphans of Uganda from their war with Sudan (or Gabon) will be sooooo grateful!
On the home front: Mr J has not been well. He has a dreadful cold! And Tarquin hasn't eaten for months now! He says it's the 'new world order'! Fancy that! Anyway, it stops him from running around the place, so at LAST I can keep everything neat!
Our Christmas dinner this year will be so worth it! Do come: we have a delicious barnyard theme. We're dying to have you here, Clover!
Christmas. Again. It must be Christmas again, mustn'tt it? Well, we've seen your present for this year, so I do believe that Christmas has no excuse but to arrive.
A little over the top, don't you think, Clover, m'dear? A little extravagant? I mean, you or I might appreciatye an elephant as much as the next person, but do you really think that the world's oppressed, driven into drivelling idiocy by the dreadful malnutrition and lack of education in the third-world, REALLY have the mental or the moral faculties to appreciate a fucking PACHYDRERM as a present?
But still, thank you for your thoughtful gift. I am extremely grateful not to receive an elephant. Every time I look out our under-sized window into our far-too-cramped inner-suburban backyard, I think, how wonderful, how fortuitous there is not an elephant out there: we would hardly have room for our pool or for our acacia, if there were!
I must confess: I have been unable to think of a present for you this year. I mean, let's face it, Clover, the world's poor are still going to be poor next year. It's not as if our wretched trading of charities in a desperate attempt to appear more generous than one another makes any actual difference.
But in the absence of presents, you'll be happy to know that we're giving the third-world the next best thing: Tarquin! Yes - our dear boy, after subsisting for the first half of the year on a diet of prune juice and figs (and in the process attaining a rather attractive limp and sallow complexion) has gone to help the poor in India, via a meditation retreat in Tasmania. (Around this house, Mr J likes to refer to it as 'Visiting the 3rd world with a stopover in the 4th' - rather wicked of him, I think!!)
So that is that, Clover. But it would be unforgivable of me to conclude my lettger without begging you to attend our Christmas dinner this year. It will be divine - simply divine!!! A surprise theme this year: but you'll love it, I promise! I got the idea from Tarquin, but he wont'be able to attend, obviously. Still, I think he will be there - in spirit!!!!
Anyway. Please come. It's been so long since we saw you!