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!