WHAT a whirlwind week.
I have gone from shock to disbelief, to excitement, panic and then back to excitement again.
No, I did not win the lotto. I won a Walkley.
Yes, I am still coming to terms with it myself.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would receive one of Australia’s most prestigious journalism awards.
Well I probably did dream it, but I never imagined it would become a reality.
I found out I was a finalist in the Walkley Foundation Our Watch Awards last month, but because the awards night was being held in Sydney, I had to reluctantly decline.
Then early last week, I received a phone call from the Walkley Foundation suggesting maybe I should come or at least email through an acceptance speech video because I had, in fact, won.
After being sworn to secrecy, I rang my boss immediately and the next thing I know I am heading to Sydney — flights and accommodation paid for.
Yes, I love my boss.
But I still had a problem.
My sister was flying down on the Wednesday to spend a week with me and the girls and I was due to jet off the day after.
After much panic and lots of organising and almost $1000 later (thank you daddy), we managed to re-direct my sister’s flight to Sydney so she could attend the awards with me.
And what a night it was. Mixing with the hob nobs of the journalism world and some amazingly talented writers.
And with lots of free wine involved, no wonder my boss was worried.
But he needn’t have been. I was on my best behaviour — too busy rubbing shoulders with Natasha Stott-Despoja, her famous journalist mother Shirley, Sandra Sully, having pictures taken with Rove McManus (see me at left), the evening’s MC, and swapping small talk with his wife Tasma.
Yet when my name was finally called the only thing going through my mind was ‘why the hell did I wear such high shoes to the most important event in my life?’
I stood ever so slowly and I walked ever so slowly and carefully past the hundreds of guests and onto the stage to accept my award, my mind going blank — my carefully rehearsed speech disappearing from my memory replaced by a looped warning of ‘do not fall, DO NOT FALL!’
Thankfully, I managed to make it onto the stage in the vertical position, not a la Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars, and regained enough composure to recall most of my speech and thank everyone I needed to without fumbling over my words.
At which point I celebrated with a large glass of calm me down.