Monday, December 17, 2007

Summer in Australia

It's always slightly surreal to talk to my Northern Hemisphere friends at this festive time of year. A lot of them (although I have it on good authority that Alabama at the moment should be called Ala-balmy, it's so warm) are getting all the stuff I see on Christmas cards. You know, snow and ice and frost and robins and people rugged up in their winter best.

Down here in Australia, it's sweltering. And this year, we're having a proper wet season. Or at least we are in the part of Queensland where I live. This is a good thing (in spite of the inconveniences) as we've had the worst drought on record for longer than I can remember. Brisbane, the nearest major town, has been on water restrictions since Noah was a pup. Which means my place is a very popular destination for visitors - just so they can wash their car, something they haven't been allowed to do in Brisbane for years! Really puts you in your place when visitors arrive, say hello, and then start reaching for the hose so they can wash months of dust off the vehicle!

It's the time of year when everybody starts to slow down. It's our long summer holiday as well as Christmas. Everything is a bit crazy up until 25th December and then we all settle down for lots of junk food, visits from friends and family, long days of cricket on the TV, lots of swimming - beach or pool - repeats on TV, the enticing aroma of barbecues sizzling in every backyard.

My Christmas plans involve attacking my to be read pile. It's been growing exponentially over the year. I haven't stopped buying books but I've been so busy, I haven't done nearly as much reading as I usually do. There are so many treasures waiting for me, I'm drooling at the mere thought of getting my hot little hands on it. And believe me, in this temperature, hot is exactly what my hands are!

I've included a lovely photo that my neighbour Anne took of the flowering gum tree in my front yard. Isn't it gorgeous? And the perfect colors for Christmas, wherever in the world you are. And that's how I'd like to finish. Happy Holidays to everyone, no matter where you live. May your 2008 be blessed with much love, good health, great happiness and truckloads of good books!

Best wishes!

Anna x


Trish Morey said...

Happy birthday, Anna!

I know this year's been a fab one for you - here's to this coming being even more special!


Jane said...

I forgot that it was summer in Australia. Next month we can watch the Australian Open on tv. I think sometimes the players have to play in 100 degree weather.

Anna Campbell said...

Trish, thank you for the birthday wishes. I'll have to save them up for August when it really IS my birthday ;-)

Jane, it's really an exercise in stamina at the Australian Open often. The heat can just be unbearable. I love the tennis and actually watch that (the cricket, I'm quite happy usually just to hear a score on the news). Thanks for commenting!

Wolfy said...

When I talk to a cousin of mine that lives in New Zealand it is hard to phathom the beautiful weather that they are having, while we are freezing and covered in snow.

I love the picture of your tree, makes me wish for Spring and it is still a long haul till we get that.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season and lots of good things for the new year.

Anna Campbell said...

Cryna, thank you for those good wishes. Right back at ya! The tree is absolutely beautiful. The whole thing is covered in those gorgeous flowers. Sadly, the parrots love to eat them so the beauty is very short-lived. Mind you, having bright green and red and yellow birds all over the red can be a bit psychedelic!

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Anna, hi again! That flowering gum is incredible and I can just imagine the birds feasting on the flowers. Outside my kitchen window I have a china doll tree and come autumn, when the flowers have all turned into long seed pods, rosellas come from somewhere and pick them all apart sending showers of seeds to the ground for the smaller birds to enjoy. Me, I just love watching them. Such a surprise for me in the middle of NZ suburbia!

Here in New Zealand we have flowering pohutukawa trees along the coastlines. They're a tenacious gnarly old tree, can cling to a cliffside for years and years before erosion from sea and wind eventually send them beach-ward and even then they'll often re-root themselves in the base of the cliff and keep on growing and flowering year after year.

I'm not a big fan of the high humidity and heat we experience in my part of NZ but hey, it's a precursor to my favourite part of the year here, the long warm autumns.

Annie West said...

Anna, I love the gum tree. We have a cream coloured one flowering now and the birds love it.

Jane, I'll be heading the the Australian Open - really looking forward to it. There's something about watching other people exert themselves in the heat that's so relaxing!

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Anna Campbell said...

Annie, thanks so much for dropping by. Enjoy the tennis! I'm jealous! It sounds great!

Yvonne, I had a flashback to all the wonderful Robyn Donalds I've read which feature the P trees (I'm not attempting that spelling at this hour of the morning). She really is a master of making scenery an essential part of the plot. Actually I'm a bit like you - I accept the summer humidity in return for the perfect winter days when the air is clear as crystal and the sky is pure blue. Thanks so much for commenting!

Estella said...

My son and d-i-l lived in Australia(Perth) for 12 years.
They now live in Michigan and plow snow all winter.
Happy Holidays!

Anna Campbell said...

Estella, goodness! They must have noticed the contrast. Perth gets really beautiful weather. Thanks for commenting and Happy Holidays!

Trish Morey said...

LOL Anna, in that case, happy UNbirthday to you. And unbirthdays are actually better. You get 364 of those per year:-))

I love watching all those lovely sweaty athletic bods too. Nothing like veging out on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) and watching those gorgeous cricketers in their whites running around the park. So much energy!

Lily said...

I have family in Australia... that I have never visited!!

I wish it was summer here too... We have just received 50cm of snow.

PS: Those flowers are just beautiful, I wish they were in my garde :)

Anna Campbell said...

Trish, the tradition of the Boxing Day Test brings back so many family memories for me! Really part of the culture, isn't it?

Lily, 50cm of snow??!!! My poor tree would be shivering! Thanks for coming by to comment and Happy Holidays! Stay warm!!!

Authorness said...

Hi, Anna. I know all too well what an Aussie Christmas feels like. Steaming hot! Still, it's nice to have a seafood feast on Christmas day instead of a heavy, roasted dinner.


Pam P said...

Happy Holidays, Anna. I finished reading Untouched last night and had to stop by and tell you how much I loved this story, a top read of the year for me.

Anna Campbell said...

Authorness, our family always did the big trad dinner of roast turkey and ham and pork with all the trimmings and then plum pudding. Man, do I remember feeling sick EVERY Christmas! Happy Holidays to you!

Pam, thank you so much for telling me how much you enjoyed Untouched. It gave me a warm glow inside to match the warm glow outside ;-) All the best for the Holidays!

Maureen said...

Merry Chirstmas to you! Your pictures are beautiful.