Wednesday, January 2


Many people think that living in Australia is one big round of sun, sea and surf. That we wake each day to bright sunshine and proceed to float through our lives warm, contented and with plenty of Vitamin D. The reality is quite different. Certainly we do have a climate that sometimes allows for sunbathing on the beach, BBQs and lots of outdoor activity. However, there are two problems with that picture.

Firstly the heat is intense. We're not talking about a lovely warm day here, we're talking 43 degrees for days on end (as we've just had). That's 110 degrees Fahernheit people. It's the kind of temperature that sends me people mad and most of us can't even stand being outside in that kind of heat. Also, with heat comes drought. In most of Australia drought has been a problem for a few years now. Where we live there has been some rain, but not enough. The gardens are dead or dying, we're on level 3 water restrictions and the rivers and reservoirs are at an all time low. In South Australia we are actually running out of water.

The native wildlife is suffering, they are coming into the more populated areas looking for water. There are terrible, sad, tragic stories of koalas drowning in backyard swimming pools because they are trying to drink the water and fall in. Just the other day I took these pictures of a magpie in our garden, his beak is open because he is panting and thirsty.

We are leaving water out for the birds and other creatures that share our garden but it's a small contribution to a very big problem.

Secondly, this idea of a wonderful outdoor lifestyle, swimming in the sea, lounging by the pool and the kids being able to play outside all day long....yeah right. The trouble is people work and live normal lives, just because you live in a warm climate doesn't mean life is one long holiday. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, all has to be done, no matter what the temperature is. Trust me it is no fun hanging out the washing in 43 degrees. Admittedly the washing at the start of the line is usually dry by the time you reach the end, but seriously, it's hell out there. Here is a (very bad and blurry) picture of my kids playing outside yesterday.....note the dead lawn.

What you can't see here is that it is 7.15pm and they are having a game of cricket with Tom because it's the first time that day that they could actually go outside without frying. They had a quick game before bed and that was it. It is just not possible to spend every day of summer at the beach or in the pool, it would be nice if it was, but it's not. So we still have to go to school, work and live our lives as normally as possible. And there's not much pleasure in working at your desk beetroot-faced and sitting in a pool of your own sweat. Trust me, it's not all beer and skittles...well actually there is a lot of beer but it's way too hot for skittles.

I'm not being ungrateful. There are many, many wonderful things about living here, intense heat just isn't one them. On the milder days we can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and have dinner under the Willows and open up the house to warm sun and cool breezes. Just not in the height of summer.

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