Sitting here with the wind rising and facing another day of record rainfall across the state tomorrow after two decades of drought, got,me thinking about summers past. I'm facing my first Christmas as an orphan, if a 53 year old man can be an orphan and the excitement of Christmas approaching is tempered with the knowledge that both Mum and Dad are gone now and this is my first summer without them.
I remember the long summer days at Richardson Street, the smell of cut grass, of apples fermenting on the ground beneath the two trees in the front yard, of the wonderful scent of petrichor as the summer thunder storms rolled in. There was no daylight saving in those days, but we stayed outside late anyway. No air conditioning, in the house, or at school, and in the cars we rolled the windows down, didn't press a button to keep them up and turn on the refrigeration.
Summer meant a crate of Loys softdrinks home delivered once a week, the weekend visits of Mr Whippy and chocolate coated ice cream cones. It meant some beach visits where we'd tie meat to a string to catch crabs in rock pools at Ricketts Point.
It was hours spent in the Clark above ground pool, dragging ourselves in circles to create a whirlpool. Dad shifted that pool to half a dozen different places in the yard. We had no filter so he'd spend hours out there himself scooping leaves out and dosing it with chlorine that stung our eyes.
And on weekends were Dad's BBQ's, burnt sausages and the best hot chips you've ever tasted smothered in salt.
Summer meant a race with my sister Karen to see who could get the best tan. There was no slip, slop, slap campaign in those days. Instead we'd coat oursleves in coconut oil and lie on our towels on the footpath slowly basting in the heat. I generally won, and have had a couple of skin cancers cut out since to prove it.