A Diary of Summer:
I remember cycling with my brother and mates, as kids, along the dirt track that ran parallel to the train line in the Adelaide suburbs. It was a summer practice and our destination was always the same. The Unley swimming pool.
A few years before, we had risen early before school and walked the ten minutes to the beach to jump off the Brighton jetty. In Melbourne we would hop into our Dad’s Studebaker and wait for him and Mum to take us to Elwood Beach. It was a black Lark. Not the perfect colour for hot summers but it had a fan on the dashboard.
In Sydney we would go to Manly or Bondi and it was on one of those visits, on a day that I was a particularly sunburnt 11-year old, that we heard that Harold Holt was missing. My mother washed my back with cold tea on that evening. I can’t remember if it worked. Two years before that we had been travelling up the east coast of NSW on our way to Queensland. We would stop at motels with swimming pools. It was all black and white. Australia in the mid-sixties, Menzies was still Prime Minister.
In Queensland we lived for a short time in a town on a river. Our cousins, locals, had a favourite spot where ropes were tied to strong tree branches and we would swing ourselves to the arc before letting go and falling into the cool immersion. Then we would hunt for crabs and yabbies and take them home to a pot of boiling water and dinner. By the time I got to Perth, I was surfing and would spent all day in the ocean, tempered only with a break for lunch and a snooze at Dad’s beachside apartment. Now, back in NSW, the marriage of summer and the beach continues. With temperatures of around 40 degrees expected, this morning I rode Vespa to Long Beach for a swim. There I met Lindsay from Vancouver/Winnipeg/Chicago/Florida. Lindsay is a futures trader and lives in Canberra with his wife. After shopping and a lazy afternoon I went back to the beach to cool down
before opening the bar.
A cold shower and a walk to the bar to retrieve the cocktail shaker. Ice, a sniff of vermouth and olive juice with gin and two olives. Burgers and salad tonight with a cleanskin red.
Outside the kitchen door a kangaroo and her joey are resting in the shade. I took out some water for them. Who might guess I’m such a softie? Fires around Canberra. The summer continues. Still waiting to resume my movie treatment with Darren, still waiting for my song for Wendy, Let It Be Love, with Keri McInerney to be released. Still working on Ava. Might be time for a beer.