Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Hazy, Lazy, Crazy Days of Summer

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:


Helen said...

I love the photos I wish we had a pool it really has been hot and I do love Matthew Hayden sad about the cricket.

The bushfires in Vicroria are dreadful so many lives lost and I can't imagine how many animals we have lost did you see the picture of the fireman giving the injured koala a drink from his water bottle she is doing well now. My heart goes out to all of the people suffering and my gratitude to the fireman who have worked tirelesy.

Hopefuly the weather will have settled down by the time we get to Melbourne next week for the Australian Romance Readers Convention see you there.

Have Fun

Unknown said...

Hi Anna,

Thank you for posting the link to the Red Cross in your blog. The pictures I've seen have been truly moving. I also saw the picture of the koala and was moved to tears.

The weather in NYC is very, very slowly warming up, but as someone who grew up in Florida with a pool, I can certainly understand the appeal.

Have fun at the convention next week!
Sarah Tormey

Kate Walker said...

Hi Anna

As you know I'm posting from the UK where today - just today - it's been icy, snowy, sunny (for a second or two) rainy - very rainy and now it's foggy and in an hour or so it will be freezing again. That's England for you.

But really I just wanted to say how saddened and shocked I've been by the reports of the terrible fires. The suffering and loss of life has been so awful. I can't bear to think that someone might have strted this deliberately. And I can hardly bear to think of the wildlife.

Thank you for posting the Red Cross link so people on the other side of the world can help a little. I'm just so glad to know that my writing friends are ok. And know that you are all in my thoughts

I'd love to send over some of this torrential rain to help with those flames. Remember how it was in York?


Gillian Layne said...

I'll just add my heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been affected by those dreadful fires.

Fires aside, I am so impressed by the beauty of Australia.

We are starting our tornado season here in the Midwest; the sirens went off last night. Kind of early in the year for us.

Anna Campbell said...

Honestly, Helen, even New Zealand are beating us at the momen, LOL. It truly is tragic! Looking forward to seeing you next week!

Hi Sarah! That koala picture said it all, didn't it? And it went around the world so quickly. But I've got to say my heart goes out not just to the people and their losses, but the poor animals. I wrote this blog early last week before the emergency started and when I re-read it, it seemed just wrong in light of what had happened since.

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, that day in York still makes me laugh! I basically had to swim to the train station to get my train and then there was a strong possibility that I'd be stranded there all night. The weird thing is we've got floods up north right now. If only we could get some of that water down to the people in Victoria. We've got too much of it and they can't get a drop. Doesn't seem efficient to me!

Thanks for checking out the Red Cross page. I've been so touched at the expressions of concern and offers of help I've had from people all around the world. Romance readers and writers are the best!

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, I heard about those tornadoes being forecast. I hope all my American friends stay safe. We're still reeling down here from the fires and the news this morning indicates that one of the ones that caused an obscene loss of life looks to be deliberately lit. It just makes you sick.

We do have a beautiful country. I hope you get to see it (and me!) one day soon!

Misty Williams said...

I'm in Alabama and right now we are having some rain/storms. It has been beautiful the past two days and now it is raining and yuck. Storms are about to be here and I'm hoping they aren't too bad.

My heart goes out to all those that are being effected by the fires and their families. (())

Mariee said...

We have had a couple of rainy days lately here i California. According to the news California may be at the beginning of its worst drought in history. So I'm happy over any rain we can get!

Australia is such a beautiful country. My heart goes out to all the people and animals. And I hope they catch whoever it was that set the fires.

pjpuppymom said...

Hi Anna! Thanks for posting the Red Cross link. It's so heartbreaking to see the pictures from the fires. I hope they're able to contain them soon.

We had a gorgeous weekend here in South Carolina with temps in the mid 70's F but today it's raining and the temps are dropping. Winter isn't finished with us yet.

Anna Campbell said...

Misty, rainy days and books go together really well, don't they? Thanks for popping by. The footage of the fires is absolutely heartbreaking, isn't it?

Marie, I hope they catch the &^%$$$# rotters who set the fires too. I can't get my head around someone deliberately causing so much death and disaster.

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, it's been a funny winter in the US, hasn't it? I've heard about ice storms and horrible, dangerous weather. A friend of mine in Kentucky was without power for days. Hopefully even if winter comes back, it won't be quite so savage. We're suffering an incredibly hot summer down here but today is gray and rainy so hopefully will be a bit cooler.

Pam said...

I've been thinking about you during these wildfires and where I'm glad you're okay, my heart does go out to those people touched by this tragedy. (And the animals, too--those pictures are heartwrenching!)

On happier news, we get a monsoon here in Arizona during the summer months, but nobody believes us because it's Arizona. Trust me, I have complete sympathy for the humidity and downpours.

And now I'm off to enter your contest! Maybe I'll run into Tarzan on the way and can escort him to the pool. It'd be the nice thing to do...

Anna Campbell said...

Actually if Tarzan looks like Christopher Lambert in Greystoke, Pam, I'm gettin' in there first!!!

I didn't know Arizona got a monsoon. How interesting!

Did you see that touching picture of the firefighter giving the koala a drink that was doing the rounds a day or so ago? Really said it all. I feel so sad for the animals - so many will have died in the fires and now thousands will die of starvation and exposure because their habitat is gone. Actually the RSPCA here is having an appeal too:

I'm contributing to an online auction to raise money for the animals so I'll put news up about that when it's up and running.

Estella said...

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It has been cool and sunny here for several days. Today the rains returned.

Unknown said...

here in tn, we just had a thunderstorm. BUT it was a nice 71 degrees
all week is rainy looking from the news :( ACK
and on top of rain, the kids gets out sat,sun,mon and tues FOUR freaking days, and they just had off almost a week , when it snowed 2 weeks ago

Unknown said...

The photos are beautiful. I am sorry about the fires and I hope things get better there soon. Here it is about 50 today but yesterday it was about 20. crazy weather

Anna Campbell said...

Estella, a lot of you seem to be having nice weather right now!

Blackroze, I hope you weren't affected in those awful storms that whipped through your part of the States lately. I know the kids were home, but that's the least of the destruction ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Mammakin, it is crazy weather at the moment, isn't it? Some of my friends in the States seemed to move from spring to the depths of winter in the blink of an eyelash recently.