Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Summer Carnival

Carnival time . . .typical as so many of you are 'warming' up, we're 'cooling down' the theme this week is Summer.

Some would say that it's always summer here and indeed, even in the depths of winter the weather rarely dips below 20 Celsius in the daytime. The worst we get in Sydney is a morning frost. Once when I was at high school it snowed and the whole school bolted for the playground. But summer, real summer is as unpredictable as Brittney Spears, as bad tempered as Christian Bale and as seriously dangerous as Ivan Mulat.

Christmas 2007 we found ourselves sitting in jackets and slippers . .normal for you northern folk but damn chilly for our al fresco celebrations. This year was temperate but once January hit, the weather all along the eastern seaboard was hot . .very hot . . you'd have to be living under a rock not to know how hot Victoria was and that's about 1000kms away. We had 3 weeks of over 30's, one week of over 40's and a pale Irishman to shield from the sun. I failed dismally there and sent him home with two huge blisters on the tops of his feet, burned red on his forearms and neck. I did tell him he needs to 'reapply'.

There are some things though which are iconic in summer - Mangoes, probably the only seasonal fruit . . being such a huge country there's something ripening somewhere all year round. Mangoes are here in their luscious loveliness from the end of November through to early January and then they're gone.

Fantastic ice cream . .yep we boast the best . . some we've imported, some we just made up as we went along, do you know of any other country that boasts a Golden Gaytime? The selection at Gelatissimo and Wendy's and NZ Ice Cream Company (ok not Aussie but . .) yummo!

Dipping our legs in a cool pool after work and sharing a glass of something light and crisp. Swimming of course . . .everyone does it. Backyard pools in suburban Sydney dot the landscape as you fly into Kingsford Smith no matter how small the garden. The beach is only 40 minutes away and there's a plethora to choose from.

Sunscreen . .you can smell it every where from coconutty sweetness to the distinct aroma of Le Tan. Then it's often countered by the pong of insect repellent. The combination is uniquely Australian. I've never smelled it anywhere else.

Thongs . . rubber footwear, flip flops to you heathens (and they say Australia has a banal naming protocol) Never, I repeat never, be seen in a pair of Jesus sandals and short socks. You're marked straight away as a tourist and a foreigner. Although thongs are not just restricted to summer.

Salads . . .too hot to cook so the barbie is cranked up and salads are normal fare and these days prawns are cheaper than beef so whack a couple of those on the 'grill' as well . . .what am I babbling on about . . .take a look!

The quintessential Aussie Thong and whilst over the years they've become besparkled, leathery and almost a dress sandal, I still have a pair with the flag emblazoned on them just for Aussie Day!

Life savers and I'm ashamed to say, I have never seen a Surf Life Saving Carnival 'in the flesh' . . there are loads over the summer season where clubs compete with surf boats, triathlon, and kayak. Sure I've seen them in their familiar red and yellow coveralls and their flippy floppy hats but this is the only time a man looks good in budgie smugglers.
Sunscreen . .yes it's an all round habit. Even women's foundation has sunscreen. And yes, we buy it in 1 litre containers from the Cancer Council. This is an all season necessity . .don't forget the back of your neck, behind your ears and the tops of your feet! And reapply, reapply, reapply . . slip on a shirt, slap on some sunscreen and flop on a hat!

Nope it's not a 'shrimp' it's a prawn. . . A Queensland Banana Prawn or a Crystal Bay Prawn and a nice piece of Black Angus fillet. And a barbie is not a grill. The grill is the thing attached to your oven that your son blackens with cheese and yucky stuff. A barbie is an outdoors grill/oven thingy. Barbies are beautiful. They can be as simple as a few bricks and some wood or these huge gas powered monstrosities with a burner for making sauces. I still have a little trouble barbecuing our national emblem but Kangaroo is delicious. Slightly seasoned. Medium rare.

Swimming . . even the birdies take a dip . . .



Queensland Bowen Mangoes . . not Fijian. The Fijian ones have a strong Papaya sort of flavour that I don't like. Bowen Mangoes are sweet, drippy juicy and soft textured . .Top End . . the most beautiful flavour in the world.

King Island Connoisseur Grand Marni er and chocolate coated almond ice cream. I only ever buy it in summer . . .Then the kids pinch all the almonds . .bastards!

Gardenias . .we have a huge trimmed hedge of these out along the back entertaining/patio area . .the fragrance on a warm summer night as you leave the car and walk to the front door is exotic and erotic . . .it reminds me of Tahiti, and Fiji where they bind these and Frangipani into head garlands


Boardies . . or board shorts . . worn by men and younglings of both sexes . And yes, we do buy ones bearing our flag . . .Originally worn by surfers to prevent 'chafing' they're popular casual wear with pretty much everyone.


Bluebottles (Man O War) tiny little bubbles of easily popped squish on the beach but nasty if you get one wrapped around your leg in the surf. Remember the old 'blue' that your granny used to whiten clothes . . works like a charm on killing the alkaline sting!



Lizards . . I'm fortunate to have three main varieties in my house and garden. Eastern Skinks . .the ones who live behind my computer and in the damp course . . bearded dragons like this fine boy and Blue Tongues . . .all are harmless, docile and lovable.

But nothing beats this on a sunny day, summer, autumn, winter or spring . . the harbour is indeed our crowning glory full of colour and activity and sunshine and . . .

As I type, I have to turn of my PC because even though it's Autumn, there's a helluva storm rolling in, the lightening's spectacular and the rumble has Lily squished between the couch and the computer desk . . .I don't really like summer because the heat really gets to me, but I survived this one and it's 40 plus temps so . . oh wait . . yeh, perhaps I do!

PS: Took about 6 minutes to load these pictures . . fast internet is almost better than sex!

26 comments:

ian said...

The National Geographic magazine this month has a feature on how climate change in Australia is affecting the Murray-Darling Basin

conortje said...

I can't wait to visit Australia :-) Over here in NL there is a famous ice cream chain called Australian Icecream - and it is very very good!

Kath Lockett said...

Great photos, Baino.

I think one of the most Aussie things is a slice of white bread holding a burnt sausage and a slopping of tomato sauce. Truly the only way to eat packaged 'lips and arseholes' to use your phrasing.

Grannymar said...

Great Sales pitch for Auz. I almost want to visit. The heat is my problem and the long flight... not sure I would be allowed.

Sure, I visit every day when I read your posts!

Candie Bracci said...

LOL great post and great pictures,especially the second one!

Ok I take the second one along with ice cream and mangoes but I definitely leave the lizard where it is.Oh and nice tongs too!

That must be a beautiful country but it's really hot in summer isn't it?I don't know if I could survive it too but if I got compagny(photo number2)I think I would! :D
We are always much stronger than we think we are..

Miles McClagan said...

I'm getting patriotic thinking of how great Aussie ice cream is, and I'm not Australian...

There's no question Australian Ice Cream is miles and miles better than UKIC, Golden Gaytimes and Bubble O Bills just clinch the deal...

katesaid said...

Aren't you just the Australian travelogue today?

Someday, we'll come down... it's on our list, for my sisters and I.

Brian Miller said...

wow. makes me long for summer. love the blue bottle pic and the thong in the surf. socks and Jesus sandal, major fashion mistake!

JMLC said...

This post, more than anything else I've seen, read or heard, makes me want to move to Australia. My friend there just had a baby. maybe she needs a nanny.....

Ropi said...

Well, I can't imagine that I celebrate Christmas in 40 Celsius on the beach. It is a kind of paradoxon to me. I am photosensitive so I use really strong sun tan lotion.

Melissa said...

Great post, Baino! I love the flip-fl ...errrm, *thongs*! :D And the prawns, and the sunscreen (was rooting through Iris' bureau the other day and when I moved her swimsuit I smelled the sunscreen ... it brought back great memories), and the MANGO!! I don't know what I'd do if I had a mango tree in my backyard ... bliss. Soon we'll be having "flip-flop day" ("thong day" just gives the wrong impression -- lol) and the girls and I will buy our new summer ones. Love to learn about and see your part of the globe!

Mrsupole said...

Really great post and pictures. Does make one want to come down for a visit. Your summer sounds just like our summer here in So. California, hot, hot, hot. Although we are just pretty much hot all year round. A cold day for us is in the 60's and if you want to see us panic, have the night temp drop below 32 degrees. This is very bad for our produce. But this winter I do not think it did that even one time. So if it would of just rained more, than it would have been nice.

I am allergic to mango trees in bloom and the fruit. If I get near a tree in bloom I get a really bad asthma attack and if I eat the fruit I cannot stop sneezing and itching. I have never eaten much but Doc says to stay away and so I have. In Panama on this one fort that had streets tree lined with mango's I could not get within 5 miles of that Fort when the trees were blooming. I could go there when they were not. So half the year I had to stay away. I know that is strange, but it is how it was with me.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your cooler weather and still keep the barbie going for a while longer.

God bless.

Baino said...

Indeed Ian . . . the river system is suffering and the passing of the recent bail out legislation was dependent on funding for that specific area. Not helped I might add by the purchasing of water rights for the large farms around the basin. It's not entirely the fault of climate change but also water diversion.

Ha! Conor we have NZ Ice Creamery! Norgen Vaas, Gelatissimo but I've never seen Australian Icecream!

So true Kath . . I could have gone on but I think this sort of topic will come up again!

You're like me Grannymar, travel vicariously. Don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from.

Candie I can't stand heat higher than 30, it doesn't like me at all but normally, it's rare to have more than three days without at least a cool change in the evening. This year was savage!

Pretty damn good aren't they Miles. I once fell in love with an ice cream man who gave me free gaytimes but that's for another day . . .

Kate don't come in summer! It's just too unpredictable.

Brian you'd be surprised how many people are a dead give away purely by virtue of their footwear!

JMLC it's a rosy picture, I haven't done one on spiders and snakes and sharks and mozzies and flies for a while . . .

Ropi it does feel a little weird having Christmas in the warm and yet we maintain all the European traditions of christmas. Nice to be able to swim after lunch tho! Frankly everyone should use a high SPF sunscreen.

Thanks Mel . .the grass is always greener isn't it!I dunno where we got 'thong' from that's just what they've always been. It must sound hilarious to tourists especially when men say 'where are my thongs' or 'has anyone seen my thongs' . . oft spoken phrases in my house!

Mrsupole, you're right I think southern california and Sydney are very similar in terms of weather. Clare said that we're very like San Francisco in terms of 'mood'. Interestingly she's allergic to a lot of things but not Mangos. We love them but the season is very short.

Ces said...

Dahlink the best part of Australia are the Life Savers in speedos baring their biceps and six-packed abdomen and Natalie Cook.

You should try the mangoes from Guimaras Island. God came down to earth and touched each tree individually, it dwarfs Indian mangoes in flavor. The richness is so intense we once traveled to the island and having ran out of fruit cases, we emptied our suitcases and filled them mangoes. Our clothes, we put in large garbage bags.

Love this post. Australia is special and I really do like every Australian I have met.

Miladysa said...

Good grief lass - you can't eat Skippy!

Fantastic post! We'll have to visit one day - I'm not wearing knickers on my feet though - I'll stick to the old flip flops ;D

Ribbon said...

Awesome! That was a great description of Sydney in the summertime. I miss my Sydney summers. I lived there for 13years before returning to Hot Hot Dry Perth.
Great photos too!
It's still warm here... expecting 35 degrees tomorrow.

Best wishes... & I hope to see some of your photos featured in the "Museum"! Hee Hee Hee :-)

Ribbon said...

PS you haven't posted your award from nunde? Can't find it in your sidebar!
Don't forget that you are a fabulous blogger :-)

fraught said...

You made me very hungry - first the descriptions, and then you had to follow with the photos! Curse you - I'm trying to drop 10kg!! Have pity on a poor girl!! :) such fun, as always -- thanks!!

laughingwolf said...

grand stuff, thx baino... drooling over the fab food! :)

Megan said...

I'm always so late over here. Thanks for the photos and I'm so loving the phrase "budgie smuggler" - LOVING IT!!!!

;)

Baino said...

Oh Ces, you're not wrong. Even if their faces look like a bucket of smashed crabs,their bodies are definitely pervable! Now if I had a clue where Guiramas was I might. I know that the ones they grow in Tahiti are the same variety as our north Queensland ones . . picked em from the tree and had the barman make me daquiries!

Miladysa, I do have a bit of a problem with kangaroo but then I'd have a bit of a problem with beef if I had a little brown cow in the back paddock. I'm such a hypocrite!

Ribbon it's certainly been Perth weather here in Jan. Very dry heat which again is a little unusual for us and ultimately more bearable than the usual humidity. Yep, in the 30's for us this week and I've been playing with that damn thing instead of working! Next week, look out for the rogues gallery!

Now now fraught ..mangoes are very healthy as are prawns, it's the ice cream you have to dodge!

Wuffa it's not just the way to a man's heart you know!

Haha .. yeh, I like the name, hate the gear!

River said...

This is a beautiful snapshot of Australia for our overseas readers to enjoy. Kudos, Baino. I love the Strawberry flavour of that icecream that I can never remember how to spell.

River said...

Kath, the burnt sausage/tomato sauce is no good without a decent sized helping of barbecued onions.......

Baino said...

River you're a damn tease. Now I want snags and onions for tea instead of rocket salad! Yeh, I rather like where I live, can you tell? I'll post a balanced version one wet cold wintery day!

i beati said...

lovely especially gardenias and shrimp ha Sandy

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