January 27th, 2006
Summer is an interesting time of year for me. In one sense I absolutely LOATHE it. I can’t stand the heat! Although I live in a southern coastal area of NSW, I still yearn for the cool of a Tasmanian summer. Not that I’ve ever been to Tassie. But I am certain that it is the place where I truly belong as a true-blue, fair dinkum southerner.
The new house though, does make the summer bareable. Air conditioning is heaven sent. We’ve had some really cold weather (should-I-put-the-fire-on sort of days) which has been lovely but the inbetweens this January have been scorchers. Talking to my friends and family I cringe when they ask how the air conditioner is on those hot days. It’s blissful! I feel guilt about having somewhere cool to recluse while others around have their hot houses to melt in. Yet, the airconditioner chugs on and I feel some sense of peace amidst the blasts of sun that pour into my windows yet to have their blinds installed.
On the other hand, aside from the dreaded heat, there are parts of summer that I really do love. I love that Lewi can swim in the beautiful beaches we have nearby. Our beaches have to be some of the most gorgeous in the world. Still relatively unscathed by tourists (although they are growing rapidly) our beaches down here are pristine. Lewi loves the waves and boogey boarding. The temperature of the water doesn’t seem to deter him (it’s usually very chilled!). He loves exploring the rock pools – searching for crabs and other sea life. He has a good knowledge of animals that live in the sea and feels extremely confident handling them. It has been a real challenge for me, trusting him more and giving him the freedom to push the boundaries of safety for himself. He is one of those children who love to pick up and investigate things which are poisonous or harmful in some way. For the life of me I can’t understand it (being a non-risk taker myself). I do love this quality about Lewi though and strive to be more like him myself. He doesn’t seem to pick things up will-nilly (thankfully!). He knows that bluebottles and jellyfish can (and will!) sting and he knows which parts do the stinging. He is determined to pick them up the proper way and feels sure he won’t get stung. I, on the other hand, do not! I am constantly hovering around mentioning the tentacles and stingers; the good uses for vinegar and does this beach have any because I forgot to bring some! I’m sure some parents think I am too carefree about allowing him to experience life in this way. I certainly don’t feel carefree within myself at the time but I do need to trust his judgements more as he has spent a lot of time learning about these creatures and I would certainly say, he knows far more than I. We have had the discussion about blue ringed octopuses and he assures me he would not pick up one of those – PHEW! So too the box jelly fish – double PHEW!
As we live about 17kms from the coast we don’t get to the beach every single hot day so we generally buy a season ticket for the local pool. Most days we go. It is the hub of socialising. There’s always someone there that we know – either an old friend or a new one we’ve made during the swimming season. It’s lovely just hanging out there and keeping cool with the rest of the locals. It’s lovely that is as long as I can refrain from: looking into the bottom of the pool (you never know what lives there?); thinking about how many germs would actually be touching me right at that particular moment in time; and worrying about the damage clorine does to the human body. Each year that goes by, I’m finding myself feeling more and more uncomfortable in the soupy pool water (although I THINK it’s a pretty clean pool?). Am I becoming more of a worrier or is it just the early stages of old age setting in?
Lizards are another favourite summer past time for Lewi. Rather than breaking the year up into it’s alloted seasons Lewi breaks it up into times of the year when particular living creatures are out and about. Summer is lizard season. It is his favourite creature season. Every day he goes to the vegie patch (and all around if he can’t find them there) hunting for lizards. He loves them. He talks to them and nurtures them. He makes them little habitats and then, at the end of the day, he reluctantly releases them. He’s been researching the different types that we have at this new patch of ground where we now live. He’s grabbed a few lizard identifying books from the library and has spent hours flicking through the pages in search of the exact match for the one that’s in his hand.
Grasshoppers are another source of fun for Lewi in summer. He loves to hunt them and spend time with them. He’s researched grasshoppers too, identifying them by colour and size. There’s one that intrigued us – it wasn’t quite a grasshopper, nor was it a praying mantis but we couldn’t find it in any of our books. I switched on the TV that particular evening, after he’d found it, and there it was, with Don Bourke (doing some interview for a show we never watch) on the screen. Unfortunately the show wasn’t about bugs so we didn’t get the name but Lewi’s determined that we will come across it somewhere and that it is identifiable!
Iceblocks on the verandah are another part of summer we both love. Watermelon too. And mangoes. The smell of freshly mown lawns. BBQ’s rate high on my list normally as well but so far we haven’t got one for this new house. Soon I hope.
The river is also a lovely spot to hang out at on a hot summer’s day. Our local rivers have lots of water in them this year so we have spent some lovely days loafing in the warm water under a willow or she oak (depending on which part of the river we’re haunting at the time).
The vegie patch, our first for this house, has been a success this summer. Each day we pick loads and loads of basil. We’ve had basil-everything and for the first time in my life I feel enough is enough! No more basil pasta, brushetta, pesto – not for awhile at least. We’re anxiously waiting the tomatoes. They have taken their time but it seems that the entire patch of tomatoes are going to ripen together. Lots of tomotoey pastas, brushetta and pestos to come.
Really though, I am a cooler-weather-type of gal and I can not wait until the days begin to shorten and the leaves start to change from green to golden. I love cosy fires and hot chocolates. I love cool nights rugged up all cosy in front of the fire, mens’ stripey flanelette PJ’s on, reading aloud a favourite chapter book as we snuggle together. I love that bedtimes are generally much earlier and awakening time’s are bright and early. I love being able to garden outside, go for walks and have picnics in the middle of the day and not be over heated and fear the sun (so much at least). And although I love BBQ’s on balmy summer evenings, I love them even more on a bright winters’ day. Maybe we will have one by the winter?
So, here’s to ending summer’s (opposed to endless!) . I hope everyone’s enjoying the season and avoiding the heat as much as possible. Only one more month to go – enjoy everyone.