December 3rd 2010
"Daddy, can we take a photo with Santa? Please?"
John Snow glanced at the bulbous red shape on the sleigh and scowled. It was only midday and the line stretched from the sleigh to the bookshop fifty metres down. It twisted and turned with the hundreds of Christmas shoppers that packed the shopping centre, their hot sweaty bodies jostling against him and his daughter Maddy. She strained towards the line with her head, eyes wide and desperate.
"Please, Daddy! I want to see Santa."
"You can see him from here."
Maddy's lips formed into a pout. "You know what I mean, Daddy."
John could feel the blast of cold air from a hidden air-conditioner, but it was not enough to dry up the sweat running down his face. The temperature outside was fast reaching thirty degrees Celsius and set to hit mid-thirties. He pictured his car melting alongside the pitiful Christmas shopping they had done so far: a couple of books, some toys, wrapping paper that was already torn on the corner. Maddy tugged at his hand, ten year old fingers wrapped around his parchment skin. He tightened his grip on her.
John pulled her back. "Enough, Maddy."
"You promised, Daddy! You said we'll take a photo with Santa."
"I didn't promise anything." Bile climbed up John's throat as he watched the crowd swell in number. Hot air sidled through the open doors of the shopping centre and caressed his skin. Suddenly the sun loomed large through the skylights, bathing his skin with burning yellow. He cringed and turned away.
"Where are we going, Daddy?"
"Home. We've shopped enough."
"But what about the presents, Daddy? You said you were going to get the presents!"
John dragged Maddy through the shoppers, past the line of excited children clamouring for their turn with Santa. From the distance, he really did look like an overlarge jelly blob, oozing on the fur-lined coach attached to the fake reindeer. His lips curled with disgust. Christmas. Just a fucking charade. Maddy was still protesting, her voice tinny in his ears. Something about presents and Santa. They stumbled into the open-air carpark towards their Holden. It was hot, too hot. John felt the sun's fingers down his neck, like bits of red and green confetti that fell from the ceiling of the shopping centre. He shaded his eyes from the sun and struggled to find his car keys. They slid from his grasp onto the bitumen.
presents for Mummy. You said you'll get presents for Mummy."
Crouching, John felt his body seize up. Mummy. Do you know where Mummy is now? Maddy, she's not here. She won't be here for Christmas. Why not, Daddy? Why not?
"Maddy, what did I tell you about Mummy?"
Her eyes went round and huge and she backed away, her white dress against the hot metal of the car. "You said not to say anything about Mummy."
"That's right. I thought you would remember."
"But I remember Mummy. Don't you remember Mummy?"
"Yes, Maddy, I do. But I don't want to talk about her, okay? It's not the time. It's Christmas." John shoved the key into the car and turned it sideways. "Get in, Maddy."
Maddy stood by the door, unmoving, even though the sun was turning her pale skin angry red. "I miss her. I miss England. I miss everything."
"Get in, Maddy."
"Why don't you want to talk about her, Daddy?"
"I said get in!" John grabbed her by the shoulder, opened the back door and threw her in. Her head jarred against the car door and she began to cry. Great, just great, he thought, as he slammed the door after her and got into the driver's seat. Shoved the keys into the ignition. Put on the air-con. Her crying permeated even through the radio music that automatically boomed from the double speakers near his steering wheel.
"Shut up," he said over her crying.
"Shut up. Just shut up. You've said enough."
He was crying too. The tears sprang unbidden from his eyes; he wiped them angrily and reversed out of the parking lot. A car beeped from behind him.
"What do you want?" he roared despite the drawn up windows. He was shaking all over. The therapist had said something to him about that but he forgot her words. All he saw was Tanya, her smile on that fateful day at the beach. Her laugh as she plunged into the sea. He twisted the steering wheel and she was gone, sucked into that imaginary vortex. The sun blurred his vision. Everything blurred before him. He was going to crash. The traffic lights blinked like Christmas lights. Red, green, red, green, yellow like the sun that burned his skin
Home. Dark green ferns, soft brown soil, recently dug up from the last garden foray. He grabbed the shopping and staggered towards the door, with Maddy right behind him. She had gone quiet at last, still clutching her head. Her blue eyes had lost their shine. You have to be careful with her, John. How exactly? We're all just porcelain ready to smash on command, he thought in bitter reply. The house welcomed him like a bear's den. He tossed aside the plastic bags and pointed to Maddy's room.
"Leave me. Don't come out till I see you."
He waited until she had disappeared into her room before slumping onto the sofa. His knuckles left indents in his skin. They added to the lines that had crawled across his skin in the last few months, pits fast filling with his tears. He turned his head towards the mantelpiece, where his wife's photo stood untouched where she had last put it. His mouth went dry.
January 26th 2010. A sea of blue-clad bodies swamped the sand. Australian flags fluttered in the breeze that rolled across the park from the ocean. Earlier, Tanya had laughed at the heads that bobbed on the surf. Look, Maddy, she cooed to her daughter under the beach umbrella. Look at them. Don't they look like beetles? Maddy shrank from her grasp, her skin flushed from the heat. John leaned to pass her a water bottle, his hand rubbing her forehead.
"You okay, Maddy?"
"It's just a bit of sun." Tanya laughed as she trickled wet sand between her toes. Her skin was bronzed in the sunshine, free of freckles, while John rubbed at spots that had appeared on his elbow. It was getting unbearably hot. Tanya had insisted sitting out here with the rug and umbrella making sandcastles, but it was soon clear that Maddy would not touch the sand so long the sun was burning overhead. Tanya made a wobbly one that collapsed as soon as she put a finger on one of its turrets. With a sigh, she crushed it with her foot and announced she was going to take a dip in the ocean.
Maddy shook her head, her golden curls draped over her latest book. She looked like a melted snow cone, sticky fingers clutching at pages that might transport her out of this desert. John shrugged and sat closer to his daughter. "Sorry, Tanya, someone has to take care of the kid."
"Hopeless, the pair of you," Tanya turned and ran gracefully across the sand. Her feet barely made imprints on the wet sand as she joined the laughing children and adults in the water. Watching the first wave swamp his wife, John laughed. The heat faded to a dull warmth. Maddy shifted away from her father, her eyes still glued to the book. John would never forget that, the way Maddy would continue to stare at the pages when they sat in the hospital. The way she wouldn't let go even as the doctor tried to prise it off her.
He heard a scream.
At first he thought it was just a kid screaming at the waves that were coming in. It was approaching high tide after all. But the screams got louder, more piercing. John scrambled to his feet just as the whole beach seemed to come alive; the sand flew everywhere as dozens of people ran past him. Some were screaming, some were just silent, holding the arms of children and spraying sand into Maddy's lap. She sat up with a scowl only for her expression to change.
"What's going on, Daddy?"
John sprinted towards the water. Something thick and hard had lodged into his chest like an air bubble that had expanded. It made him wheeze as he ducked and weaved around the beachgoers, stumbling, tripping, shouting questions that nobody wanted to answer. Tanya was nowhere to be seen. If something had happened, she would have been first out of the water. She had won the annual triathlon three times in a row. She had won far too many half-marathons, she hadyellow shapes streaked across the sand. Lifeguards. There were at least a dozen of them splashing knee-deep into the seawater, as though oblivious to the crowd going the other way. One of them saw John approaching and stepped in front of him.
"What's going on?" Where's Tanya? She should have been here right now, explaining what was happening. Taking Maddy back to the car. He floundered in the rising water. It had already cut a wet block into his jeans. "Have you seen"
Tanya was in the arms of a lifeguard, her hair still wet from the sea. She swallowed the sky with her eyes but it was just an impossible blue reflection, sunless orbs that were covered by a gentle sweep of a lifeguard's fingers. John's eyes dropped from her shoulder towards her legsor what was left of one of them. He could see bone and flesh, scissored down the middle, strips hanging off. Blood still leaked from the gaping wound onto the lifeguard's jacket. Crimson roses. Her favourite flowers on the jacket of a stranger. He turned and retched. Something yellow splattered onto the water, to be retracted as the tide drew back. The resulting wave knocked him off his feet, down onto the sand. The water is so cold. The water is so cold. The water is so cold
Arms, hands. They pulled him up, away from the sand, away from the water that seared his skin. He struggled, he shouted but they were too many, too strong. They took him away from the beach, carrying him like they carried Tanya, although she remained still while he thrashed and called her name. Tanya, Tanya. The wind answered him with a howl that echoed in the now empty beach. The slowly rotating red and blue lights of police cars skipped over the silent faces. At the sight, John crumpled. Maddy was standing beside a policeman, her eyes bent towards her book. She still hadn't taken her eyes off it.
"Maddy." John hurried towards her but the policeman stepped forward and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"John Snow is it?"
"Yes, and that's my daughter." She's the only one left, she's the only one left. Oh god. Tanya. How could it happen? There weren't supposed to be any in this area. You even checked it yourself. You did, you did.
"I'm sorry, sir," said the policeman but John had sunk to his knees, his head to his chest. Maddy still didn't look at him, still didn't register her Daddy. He had never been close to her. It was always Tanya, always her. He saw blue uniforms, yellow uniforms, white uniforms crowding a stretcher. He got to his feet but the policeman stopped him again.
"You have to stay here, Mr Snow."
"She's my wife! I need to see her. She should be okay. She'll just need an operation, but she'll be okay. I know, I know." John twisted and struggled but the policeman only held him tighter. There was a sympathetic glow in his eyes.
"I'm sorry, Mr Snow, truly."
And Maddy, finally detaching herself from her book, looked up to her father at last. Her bottom lip trembled as she spoke.
"You're right, Daddy. Mummy will be okay. I know too."
December 3rd 2010
It must have been hours but it only felt like minutes for John lying on the couch, thinking of nothing but that day. The house mourned alongside him with its dusty CD albums and piano, with the Christmas tree rotting downstairs, with the mistletoe infested with bugs. The stereo was disconnected. Windows were grey, like English skies. John wondered if he could take out the panes and place them across the unyielding blue outside. Rather than the suburban barbecue, there would be the soft drone of London traffic. Rather than loud, coarse Aussie accents, there would be soft, English voices. Proper, orderly, a monotone. Not this wild snatch of life Down Under, cobbled together by a love now buried under six inches of earth.
"Daddy, can we go back to England?"
John hadn't seen Maddy emerge from her room. A book hung from her fingers as always, dog-eared and rumpled. She stared at John with eyes that almost matched the window colour. Just a little trace of sky blue differentiated them from the eyes of dead people. He bit his lip.
"For Christmas." Her lips trembled and John anticipated her to say 'please', but the word never came. She just hovered by the doorway like a ghost. Staring at him. Making him sweat.
"Honey, we're not going anywhere for Christmas."
Maddy shrank a couple of inches. John shrank in his chair too. How easy, he thought, it would be to just disappear from this place.
"I just want to see snow."
Snow. The white stuff their names were full of. John's blood warmed at the thought. She and him were born for the snowflakes that floated through the air. They were born for the mornings when the windows shone white, not grey, when they opened the door and saw clumps of white tipping onto their carpet. They were born for footsteps tying themselves into lassos as they chased each other around the frosted trees, born for the snowmen that grinned at them with stony eyes and mouths. Tanya had been the best snowball-thrower of them, and Maddy a close second. Yet the white balls that streaked across his memory dripped with red. Dripped with Tanya's unseeing eyes, her missing leg. Her unmoving shape in the coffin. He got to his feet. He grabbed a cushion. He leaned to throw it. He put it down, took a deep breath. Maddy had shrunk another few inches until she was barely level with the piano, her eyes wide with terror. John's eyes filled with fresh tears.
"We can't go back, Maddy. Not now, anyway. It doesn't snow usually at this time of the year."
Maddy's eyes hardened. "It's snowing now. Jade told me."
Jade was her friend from England. The only friend Maddy ever really had, John realised. He had never seen Maddy with friends in Australia, not since they moved here a year earlier. She treasured those letters as though they were pieces of gold.
"We're not going back," he repeated.
"Why not?" Maddy's eyes flashed. She straightened until she stood taller than the piano, her book crushed in her balling fists. "You said we'll go back this year. You said that to Mummy in January. She agreed. You agreed. Don't you remember?"
"She's gone, Maddy."
"She's okay. I know, Daddy. She's okay. She's just waiting for us to fly home."
"She's dead! Goddamn it, Maddy, she's dead!" John's hands scrabbled; he needed to throw something. A cushion, anything. Just something. Maddy didn't even move. Her eyes were locked on his. One of her moments, John remembered. What was the term the therapist used? Delusion? Bereavement? Something, something to do with her problems.
"She's okay! She's okay!" She was screaming back. John had never seen her so enraged, so animated. All these months she had been numb, still. Dropping her schoolbag by the door. Heading straight to her room. Staring at the wall, homework unfinished. Countless calls about dropping grades that John could do nothing about, because work was always priority. Always, always reading something. He balled his fists, kicked at the sofa.
"We're staying here for Christmas. We're not going back to England. No snow, just the sun. And Mummy's dead. She's gone, she's not coming back."
Maddy silenced. Her shoulders drooped.
"If you think she's still alive, I'm going to burn all your letters from Jade. All of them. I don't care anymore, Maddy. I have enough. I have enough."
Maddy fell to the ground. She shook her head. Rocked backwards and forwards. It was pitiful, almost pathetic, but John had not finished just yet.
"We're going to the beach this Christmas, whether you like it or not. And you're going to come with me."
With a wail, Maddy got to her feet and fled to her room. John watched her go. Tanya swam into his vision, nodding, he thought, almost approvingly. He smiled even as bitter tears coursed down his cheeks. His hands stretched out to touch her. The picture disintegrated.
"I've tried my best, Tanya. I've only tried to raise her the way you would raise her."
Yet, he swore, at the corner of his vision, Tanya started shaking her head.
10th December 2010
John couldn't sleep tonight. The double bed had always felt empty since January, but this time its vastness dwarfed him until he woke up in cold sweat, fingers scrunched on the doona to avoid falling into an abyss. He grunted and flicked on the lamp beside him. Its yellow glow comforted him, even though it reminded him too much of the Australian sun. Below, just by his feet, was the last collection of books Tanya had bought for Maddy. The last Christmas they all had together. John had took the whole collection back when she died, spurred by a selfishness that he did not realise he possessed. He thought he could smell her scent in the pages, to relive her through olfactory memory, but he only smelled Maddy, her stubborn fingers clutching the page.
He leaned to grasp one of the books from the collection. The black cover glinted, its title in bold white letters: Uncovered, by Paul Jennings. Australian authors had always been a favourite of Tanya's. But then again she had grown up here, to a large Australia family, to a family whose roots traced right to the first convicts that arrived at Botany Bay. And himself? Just another Pom who fell in love with an Australian gal.
He flicked through the short stories. A part of him wondered if this was even appropriate for Maddy. A live face on a wall, for heaven's sake. Carnivorous birds. Even the story titles freaked him out. Pubic Hare. What sort of twisted humour did Australians have? It disturbed even more to read that Jennings was English-born. Had Australia corrupted his British humour?
He flicked back to the front of the book where an innocently-titled story waited for him. "For Ever", he said aloud. He started to read. Tanya, Maddy, work, they all faded away as he read. He missed reading, actually. He hadn't read anything since Tanya had died. And now he was reading a children's story, which was not sick or twisted as he thought. After all, it was one word that caught his attention.
"Snow. I want to see snow."
He was glued to the end. All the tension in his body was released; he sank deeper into his pillow. Minutes ticked by without him realising. As he turned the last page of the story, he was caught between smiling and crying. The last words lingered in his mind. He placed the book down beside his bed and turned off the light. For the first time in weeks, the darkness felt okay. Not wonderful, but just okay. He closed his eyes. He thought of Maddy in the next room, her chest rising and falling, surrounded by her beloved books. He thought of the snowflakes outside the window so long ago back in England. And of course, the story he had just read. A daring idea formed in his head.
"It's gonna be okay," he said to the approaching dawn.
17th December 2010
John was lucky. A rumpus room had been built as part of an extension to the house and while it was dusty, it was empty. The room had been one of Tanya's grand home plans, plans laid to dust just as her bones were laid to dust. He and Maddy never came here; the room had only just been finished when Tanya died and it was soon forgotten by them. After a week's cleaning though, the room looked new, just like it did eleven months earlier. Its white walls shone with such intensity that John had to draw the curtains across the windows to cut out the glare. He traced patterns on the oak wood below his feet and smiled.
John jumped; Maddy was standing by the door, her eyes wide. Her school uniform hung limply where it had shrivelled under the sun's heat. Despite the air-con blowing gently through the house, her face was still as red as a tomato. She touched the white walls with her fingers.
"What are you doing, Daddy?"
"Spring-cleaning. Before Christmas." It sounded pathetic in John's ears, a terrible excuse that surely would reveal his true intentions. But Maddy had already drifted away, back to her room. He heaved a sigh of relief and bent down to pick up "Uncovered" from the floor. He flipped through the first few pages. Made notes on his hand with a pen. Car keys jangled in his pocket as he walked out of the room.
"Time to go shopping."
24th December 2010
All week, he lugged in packets upon packets of toilet rolls. Buying the whole shelf of them in his local supermarket would have been extremely odd, not to mention highly suspicious, so he spaced his visits over the week to different supermarkets. No one questioned the unusually high number of toilet rolls that he had bought. He smiled a lot more than usual, even wishing fellow shoppers a Merry Christmas, to their astonishment. The project he had set himself had buoyed his spirits. Suddenly, the Christmas decorations didn't seem so threatening anymore. They were just part of the season, just what you had to put up with at the end of the year. It felt good for once not to sneer at Santa or the reindeer he was propped on.
Back at home, he tried putting the toilet paper through a paper shredder but it only jammed the machine, so he had to tear it all up by hand. The process took hours; he had to do it when Maddy was safely occupied in reading or some form of activity, for she had become extremely curious of his activities in the rumpus room. Luckily, he was able to lock the rumpus room so that Maddy could not get in, and any question that she asked of himself spending hours in the room were met with quiet smiles.
"You'll see, dear," he chuckled, "you'll see."
On Christmas Eve, with Maddy reading her book on the sofa in the living room, John sat down on the floor of the rumpus room and allowed himself a huge sigh of relief. The shredding of the toilet paper was done. The floor was covered in it at least a few inches thick, soft, white, beautiful in his eyes. On the walls he had pinned pictures of winter. Some of them were kept downstairs, where Tanya had stored them after moving from England to Australia. They depicted trees weighed by snow, sleds down snowy slopes, snowballs scurrying into the corners of golden frames. They made him smile, even though the scenes were so at odds with the burning sun outside, with the shouts of children diving into their swimming pools.
He got to his feet and tiptoed through the doorway of a mini castle he had built with toilet rolls. It was only a few metres high, since he was no carpenter, but it was better than any sandcastle that he had built at the beach with Tanya and Maddy. His elbow brushed against the rolls and the whole structure trembled. He held his breath. As soon as the shaking stopped, he tiptoed back out.
The confetti launcher stood at the furthest corner of the room. After a few frustrating tries, John had finally got it working with the shredded toilet paper. It burst from the launcher with a muffled sound, floating through the air before landing on the ground. Another new layer of white. He touched it with his fingers. It wasn't quite like snow, but it was close enough. Closer than flying to England, at any rate. He crossed the room towards the remote control and turned on the air-conditioner. Cool air flooded through the room. Almost finished now. There was only one thing left to do, and he would have to get up early for Christmas morning to do it.
With a smile, he left the room. He did not lock it.
5am, 25th December 2010
John rose from bed, and tiptoeing past Maddy's room, grabbed a bunch of toilet rolls. From the kitchen, he grabbed several pots of honey, golden syrup like Maddy's hair, and tiptoed back to his room. Standing in front of the mirror in his walk-in wardrobe, he wondered how to pull this off. It was ludicrous, but he had come so far now. He couldn't give up not when he had just created the winter wonderland of Maddy's dreams. It was just one piece left of that wonderland that he needed to create.
Almost against his inclination, he read the story again. Tim, the protagonist of the story was dying. His last wish was to see snow, and especially a dancing snowman, except that was impossible in summertime Australia. He had a brother called Richard, who was autistic and absolutely obsessed with toilet rolls and honey. Tim had cared for Richard all his life but now he was about to die. As he laid on his deathbed, he saw the impossible become possible. He saw snow descending from the sky, covering the world in white and he saw, amidst the flurry of flakes, a snowman dancing in the snow. He died with the image imprinted in his mind. Little did he know that it was actually Richard who had torn off the tiles of the roof, ripped up all his toilet paper and threw it out to the sky, and wrapping himself in toilet paper with the help of honey, stumbled outside to dance for Tim for the first and last time.
John wiped a tiny tear from his eye as he stripped to his underpants. He cracked open the first jar of honey and rolled off a sheet of toilet paper. For the first half hour, he wrapped himself like a mummy, covering his legs, arms, even his face except for two holes for his eyes. He started the whole process again, layer over layer, until he felt it was enough. He felt sticky all over, the paper sticking out in awkward places. But he was a snowman.
Now came the tricky part. He timed his steps with Maddy's snores until he was standing over her. He watched her chest rise and fall. At this time, Maddy was so deep in sleep he hoped that she would not notice when he carried her to the rumpus room. He braced himself as he lifted her slight figure out of bed. She was unbelievably light for her age, and she did not stir. John edged down the hallway towards the rumpus room and nudged the door open with his shoulder. The room was freezing cold; he had let the air-conditioner run all night at the lowest possible temperature. He set her down in the middle of the room and threw a thick blanket over her. Still, she snored, her head nestled in a patch of toilet paper. Like a sleeping angel, John thought, about to wake up in her heaven.
He started to stuff the confetti launcher with shredded toilet paper. The process took fifteen minutes, and in those minutes John swore he saw Maddy's eyes flicker open, before closing again. Her head was still nestled against the same patch of toilet paper. He crouched down next to her head, and with a light hand patted Maddy's head, just as Tanya would do to wake her up on Christmas Day.
"Wakey, wakey, it's Christmas."
Maddy's eyes flickered open, fazed and unadjusted. John took advantage of her disorientation to hurry across the room towards the confetti launcher. He pressed the button. Shredded flakes of toilet paper took to the air and danced in spirals. The soft white lights of the rumpus room shone upon them. Maddy woke up to snow landing on her cheeks and to the sounds of sleds across snow. The stereo, once disconnected, had been hooked up in a discreet corner to play a variety of winter sounds. John watched her sit up, stunned by the sight. After five seconds, it kicked in. She pushed aside the blanket and picked up a handful of toilet paper. She threw it in the air and watched the flakes fall down again. She laughed. The delightful sound threw John into action. He leapt from behind the confetti launcher and started to dance. He twisted and turned and leapt and fell, rolling in the makeshift snow. Maddy squealed as her father gambolled around the room, throwing snowballs that disintegrated before they reached their target. As he ducked and weaved, he sang the first song that came to mind:
"Dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh, o'er the fields we go, laughing all the way
"We need a sleigh!" said Maddy, but it hardly mattered. She chased John through the castle and promptly knocked the walls down with her wayward hands and feet. The falling toilet paper rolls only seemed to further delight her though, as she used them as snowballs. John rolled to avoid her shots and copped one on the nose.
When the castle was completely demolished and they had thrown enough fake snow at each other, they collapsed onto the ground. Maddy scooped up the pieces of paper before her feet and tried to build a tiny snowman. John laughed at her pitiful efforts.
"Why do you need to build a snowman? I'm the snowman here!"
"But you smell like honey. Snowmen are supposed to smell like
snow." She sighed and gave up. Her eyes, which had regained their blue, now slunk back towards grey. Her smile turned downwards. "If only Mummy was here. If only this was all real."
John's heart collapsed within. All that effort and Maddy still yearned for the real thing. He started to pull off bits of toilet paper from his arm. A light hand landed on his. To his surprise, Maddy was smiling.
"But it's okay. All this
it's better than I thought. It made me smile. It made me
" She paused, her tongue against her cheek. "Happy."
John's heart rose. He shifted over and placed a sticky arm around Maddy. She didn't protest even though bits of toilet paper stuck to the back of her neck.
"I'm sorry it's not real. I'm sorry Mummy isn't here."
"Don't be." The two words fell out of Maddy's mouth like icicles off a cave ceiling. They crashed and crinkled in John's ears, words he had not dreamed of hearing from her. She blinked in surprise, but somehow found her tongue again. "She can't be here. I wish she was. But she's gone."
"She's in a better place," John said, "But she would be proud of this. It's what she would have wanted me to do with you. I can't bring her back, but I can do what she used to do." He took a deep breath. "Merry Christmas, Maddy."
As father and daughter hugged, the morning light drifted through the curtains and pooled at their feet. It was going to be another warm day. Little kids would be waking up right now, stumbling towards their presents under the Christmas tree. They would scream and laugh and play with their newfound toys, and then they will beg their parents to let them swim at the beach, or at their swimming pool, or trail through the park sucking on ice blocks. None of it would happen for the Snows, not this year anyway. On Christmas Day 2010, in a house on Australian soil, it was snowing. And nothing, not even the weather could stop them.