It’s December, so we can officially talk about Christmas, can’t we?
We’ve got a story for you.
Around Christmas time last year, an honest politician, a generous lawyer and Santa Claus all got into a lift at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.
As the lift began to move, the trio noticed a $50 note lying on the floor.
Which one, do you think, picked up the $50 note and handed it in at reception?
Why Santa of course. The other two don't exist!
OK OK. Just one more Christmas story, we promise.
On Christmas Eve, a bloke named Brett went to do his Christmas shopping for his wife.
Brett, a successful accountant, wasn’t short of a quid.
He went to the cosmetics section at David Jones at Westfield Kotara.
“I’m looking to buy some perfume for my wife,” Brett said.
The sales girl, who was immaculately presented like most David Jones staff, showed him a bottle costing $200.
“That’s too expensive,” Brett said, shaking his head.
The assistant returned with a smaller bottle worth $100.
“No way. That’s still too dear,” he said.
The sales girl thought Brett was mean. But it wasn’t her job to judge.
She offered him the cheapest fragrance they had.
“It’s on sale – 20 per cent off,” she said.
Brett wasn’t happy.
“I'm looking for something really cheap,” he said.
So, without missing a beat, the sales girl handed him a mirror.
The point of the story is, don’t be a Scrooge this Christmas!
Why not follow the lead and generosity of the bikers who do the Newcastle Toy Run each year.
The bikers will be part of a big Christmas party at Wickham Park on Sunday, with live music, markets and amusements.
Topics has been reliably informed that the park will come alive with Christmas cheer. We could all use a bit of that.
Toys can be donated to the Salvos’ Christmas Appeal, bringing joy into the lives of underprivileged families.
A big donation point will be designated for new and unwrapped toys, with Salvation Army mascot “Shieldy” roving the park and greeting guests.
The event runs from 10am to 3pm.
The bikes will start arriving about 10.30am.
School’s Out Forever
After 28 years as Black Hill Public School principal, Brian Adamthwaite is headed for retirement.
In a couple of weeks when the school bell rings for summer, Brian will vacate the principal’s chair and start settling into a life of freedom.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
He is a Lake Macquarie councillor, which means he’ll still have quite a bit of work on his hands.
But there’ll still be plenty of time to kick back and appreciate the blue wrens that live out his way at Seahampton.
Brian might be leaving Black Hill Public, but his family will still have a connection to the school.
His grandson Jack Newman will start kindergarten next year.
Reflecting on a long career in education, Brian said: “When I retire, it will be 42 years since I signed on as an 18-year-old with the Department of Education”.
“Teaching has been a pleasure,” Brian said.
“As I say to younger teachers, it’s the best job in the world.
“In this profession, you have the potential to change someone’s life for the better every day.”
Brian has never tried to hide his passion for education … or politics.
He once gave an emotional speech about Gough Whitlam at a council meeting, after the former prime minister’s death in 2014.
Brian was particularly grateful for Whitlam’s policy of free university education.
So to mark Brian’s retirement, here’s a famous Whitlam quote: “We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation.”