There is a sense of ritual to readying your house for a spell of hot Australian weather.
As the temperature gauge heads towards 35°, I start early on the task of keeping the cool in, and the heat away.
Blinds are drawn as soon as I wake, and the air conditioner is turned on to maintain the cool house. Ice trays are filled, and small household tasks are taken care of now, before you melt into a puddle later in the day.
Washing is hung on the line because the minute Aussie women hear the words ‘heat wave’, they think, ‘Good drying day.’ The washing will then dry in stiff, awkward shapes, to be taken off in the dark of the cool night, just before bed ‘in case it rains overnight.’ (NB. It won’t rain for three weeks.)
Plants are watered, and umbrellas or shade cloth placed over vulnerable plants, with a small prayer sent to St Don Burke that the hydrangeas survive the heat.
Old takeaway containers, filled with water are left under gumtree trees for possums and birds who need to cool off, and maybe ice block filled with fruit treats are left for the animals.
Then a quick trip to down to the shops for a roasted chicken and salad for dinner. Maybe there are some small potatoes boiling on the stove for a potato salad, because, it’s a fact that your potato salad is nicer than the one from Woolworths because you use the Donna Hay recipe.
Summer berries cooling in the fridge for later, with bottles of cold water lined up on the metal shelves.
A quick tidy round of the lounge room, where the air conditioning is best because it’s going to get messy later with everyone congregating around the cricket.
The rabbit has a cold pack in her hutch, and the dogs have ice treats in their bowls.
And the only one happy about the sun is the small gecko on the hot paving outside. You can see it skating about, dancing like an Anthony Robbins fan on hot coals. Good luck to you, I say, as I close the blind in the lounge.
This is summer in Australia. I wouldn’t have it any other way.