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Happy Christmas

Nick Bryant | 13:01 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

A happy Christmas to everyone, and one, I hope, that will not be affected too much by the chaos at Heathrow and elsewhere in Europe.

I know some of you have already had your travel plans obliterated or curtailed, and, again, you have my sincere sympathies.

Forgive me if I am over-sharing, but we are celebrating the birth of our first child, who, much to my disappointment, did not arrive on Melbourne Cup Day.

I rather thought it might confer special powers, like those imagined by Salman Rushdie at the midnight unfurling of the Indian tricolour.

Presumably, the closer an Australian baby is born to three o'clock on the first Tuesday of November, the annual start-time for the race, the better their tipping skills, bringing both enormous riches in later life and a mantelpiece buckling under the weight of invitations to cup day luncheons.

Alas, the race that has such an immobilising impact on the nation had much the same effect on our baby boy, who waited another week before making his move. Still, for us his mere presence is magical realism enough.

In between nappy changes and other parental duties, I will obviously be keeping a very close eye on Australia's greatest sporting cathedral, the MCG.

The fourth test throws up so many questions. Will England be able to cope with Mitchell Johnson's swing? Will Ricky Ponting's little figure go the distance? Will Shane get back together with Liz? How many of the crowd will turn up sporting "Australia Loves Oprah" t-shirts? It promises to be a belter.

Part of me hopes the series goes all the way to the final test in Sydney, so as to build the drama, but that, of course, would require either a draw or an Australian win. My seasonal charity, and the spirit of goodwill to all men, simply does not extend that far.

Whether you are celebrating Christmas or not, have a super festive season. We will reconvene soon.


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