by Anna Campbell
It seems crazy to think a lot of my American friends are suffering horrible ice storms and snow and plummeting temperatures and gray skies. You know, the whole miserable winter drill. My sympathies and good wishes go out to those people who are suffering more than mere discomfort in what sounds like a really rotten winter over there!
Down here in Australia, a lot of the country is suffering record heatwaves with many of the same results as your cold snap, paradoxically. They include an increase in sudden deaths and power outages which are terrible when you've got food to store in this shocking heat.
I live in south-east Queensland which is the humid, subtropical part of Australia about halfway up the east coast. Our temperatures haven't been nearly as dramatic as further south in Victoria and Adelaide but it's been terrifically humid. I get up well before the sun does and believe me, it's ridiculous to be sweating at 4am! It just shouldn't be allowed!
Like a lot of Australians, I have a pool and believe me, it's been getting a workout this summer. Those who don't have their own pool use public ones or take off for the beach. Australia has some of the loveliest beaches in the world although at this time of year, they tend to be obscured by millions of sunbathing bodies. The beach in summer is a national tradition.
Another national tradition is sitting around for hours on end watching the cricket. Sadly, after several years as top dog in the cricket world, we seem to be going through a bit of an eclipse. The South African team is touring at the moment and has just officially been named best one-day side in the world. Sigh. What is the world coming to? Australians as a whole tend to be much more passionate about sport than politics!
Another summer tradition is watching the tennis, particularly the Australian Open. As I write this on 31st January, we're heading towards the finals which is so exciting. I don't know how those poor players have kept going through Melbourne's record temperatures! It's turned into a real test of endurance and strength this year.
Other summer traditions include complaining about the heat (yeah, that one never loses its fascination), having barbecues and the post-Christmas sales. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, is the day when the shops are full of ridiculous bargains and people fight to get the best buys.
Here in Queensland, after about ten years of unusual weather patterns, we've got the monsoon back this year. Which means sweltering humidity and then sudden downpours which at least cool things down momentarily. We've also had a series of violent electrical storms this year which can be spectacular and also VERY scary!
Because we've had rain and heat and because I've been busy promoting my latest release TEMPT THE DEVIL, the garden has become a tangled, overgrown mess. Seriously I think the Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster and Elvis are all out there in the garden somewhere. Not that I'll ever have a chance to find them. They could hide in the undergrowth and never be seen!
By the way, this isn't a picture of my garden but I think it very soon could pass for one! Hey, I just saw Tarzan swinging from a grevillea. He looked rather hot and sweaty in his leopardskin loincloth. I must tell him he's allowed to use the pool.
Actually, something really cool (smooth segue, huh?) is my current website contest. The major prize is five great books by Aussie authors, Annie West, Paula Roe, Bronwyn Jameson, Christine Wells - oh, and TEMPT THE DEVIL. There are two consolation prizes of signed copies of TEMPT THE DEVIL. It's a really easy question so why not check it out?
Anyway, what's the weather like in your neck of the woods?
Sadly, I wrote this post last week before the tragic bushfires that have killed so many people and left thousands homeless, not to mention the toll on wildlife and their habitat. If you'd like to make a donation to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, please visit this site: