This morning, at 8am (Queensland time), my son informed me the temperature on our veranda was 40C, (104F). I am glad he has discovered temperatures and is having fun with the thermometer. However, I really didn’t need to know that. The veranda is the coolest place in our house, because it faces south and gets great cross breezes, being two stories up. I could have cried, I literally let out an involuntary whimper. I don’t function well in the heat, my brain doesn’t want to work, and I feel sleepy. We are all off our food. I keep plying my son with frozen poppers and smoothies trying to get vitamins and protein into him. The cat isn’t eating either. I can’t even bring myself to add to the heat by putting on a pot of coffee, or making some toast. Whatever the forecast temperature is for Brisbane, you can safely add 3 or 4 degrees, and that is what it will get to at our house. Today is supposed to be 36C, so voila 40C!
Note: The temps I am whinging about are the same as those experienced down south recently, however, when you take into account the humidity (today its 74%) when it’s 40C, the apparent temperature is 50C+.
I know that people, who live in places with cold winters, often express jealousy about my year round growing season. And yes, it is really lovely to have the opportunity to grow all those tropical fruits, and have fresh herbs, like basil, 12 months of the year.
You know what, though, I am jealous that northern hemisphere countries get at least a three month break, where nothing grows. No lawn to mow, no weeds, everything neat and tidy, covered by a layer of snow. You can sit inside, gaze out the window and dream of the next spring while frosts keep your garden beds nice and bare. Here, the weeds have taken over everything. The grass is head high in some places, and anything I planted on purpose has bolted to seed weeks ago, or is too bitter to eat from lack of regular water.
(Note: the grass is so high because we rent and we are not legally allowed to perform “maintenance” on the property. We can’t even fix holes in the walls, or repair a leaky tap! Trust me my Husband loves mowing, he would be out there weekly if he was allowed.)
True, I have only experienced snow, twice, on holidays. I can only guess at the hardships a serious winter brings, but right now I am hot, and chafy, and my head is pounding, because I can't physically drink enough water to replace my sweat, and I just want to be able to hop out of a shower and not break into an instant sweat. The humidity here is so bad that damp towels go mouldy even if they get hung on the clothesline straight after being used.
I can remember spending winters in rural Victoria, as a child.
I love the feeling of a taking a walk, on a frosty morning. The air is so clear it tinkles. The grass crackles under foot and every spider web has a snowflake pattern dusted onto it. When you look back across the sparkling silver field, your footprints have dotted it with green.
I can remember, breaking the sheet of ice that had formed on the dog’s water bowl so that he could have a drink, (and throwing the shards at my sister.)
I love the smell of a shed filled with boxes and boxes of apples, mingled with the musty smells of chicken feed and a hidden litter of kittens.
Here, at night, I can smell fermenting mangoes, the musky, wild smell of fruit bats, and the strange smell of Christmas beetles. The hot breezes waft the rotten meat smell of the neighbour’s wheelie bins into my bedroom, and I lie awake in a puddle of sweat.