Ten things I love about summer

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Earlier in the year, I confessed to having something along the lines of seasonal affective disorder. Winter makes me grumpy and resentful. Well, even more grumpy and resentful than usual. About as grumpy and resentful, in fact, as Karl Rove on election night.

But as I look out the window, the intense sunlight reminds me that we are mere weeks away from my favourite season, and I thought I'd bookend my earlier diatribe against winter with an ode, or laudation, or acclamation, or [insert your own favourite pretentious word meaning to heap a whole pile of praise on something here], or even panegyric. Because summer is the best month, and it is just over three weeks away, and I'm going to be on holidays, and – well, yay. Which is not a word I often use.

1) The beach

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This has to be number one. Not only are Australian beaches lovely, of course, but the little secret we tend not to mention in Tourism Australia's ad campaigns is that the subtropical parts of our fine country can be, well, a bit cold for quite a lot of the year. Whereas the best days on the beach are, of course, the days of full, blazing sun – and, ideally, warm water temperatures. Such conditions, my friends, are only possible in summer – at least where I live in Sydney, and points further south are even less hospitable to the beachgoer during the off-season.

Sure, let's not admit to potentially-economy-boosting tourists that our beaches can be chilly at other times of the year. But amongst ourselves, let's admit that beaches are a summer thing, okay? And on a good day – well, this image speaks for itself.

2) The heat

Warm weather was elusive last summer throughout much of the country, and it only drove home just how much I love the temperatures of our finest season. Sure, heat can be tiring, and my skin starts to burn after approximately five minutes of sun, but sunshine always puts me in a cheerful mood. Life seems jolly and full of delightful possibilities when the weather is warm. I realise this is irrational, but I don’t care. I love it so much that I can even understand why people like the Gold Coast.

3) Cricket

It's perfect that the most time-consuming of all sports takes place right when we have blocks of empty days to fill. Test cricket is an absolute marathon for the viewer, who risks being literally stuck in front of the TV if they have a leather lounge suite and no cooling system. (If that isn’t clear enough, let’s just say that sweat can sometimes have adhesive properties.) Test matches last for up to thirty hours over five days, and at their best, offer great see-sawing drama as teams gain and lose the upper hand.

During the winter months, nobody has that kind of time to invest in what is essentially a contest to see how far you can hit a lump of leather with a piece of wood. But in summer, cricket performs a valuable excuse to sit on the couch for protracted periods of time, staring at the screen because it's more socially acceptable than just blankly staring into space.

If you find Test cricket a tad dull, wash your mouth out! If you still find it dull, and are beginning to resent the taste of suds, one-day cricket and Twenty20 offer, respectively, slightly more action and arguably too much action. So there, modern cricket has something for everyone. Well, everyone who likes cricket.

4) Summer wardrobe

It's impossible not to feel relaxed while wearing warm-weather clothing. And I believe this even though the shape of my feet is such that I find thongs unpleasant to wear, which I realise renders me borderline un-Australian. (But remember that I love cricket, okay?)
Shorts, short-sleeved shirts, open-toed shoes and sunnies are fundamentally more pleasant clothes to wear than the heavy clobber of winter. Plus you aren’t allowed to wear them in wanky nightclubs, which surely only proves how excellent they are.

This summer I will be rocking Hawaiian shirts (I’m sorry, but there is no other verb which may be used in association with Hawaiian shirts) for three whole months. So I’ll be looking just about as tropical and relaxed as I feel.

5) Laziness

In summer, laziness becomes socially acceptable. In other seasons, it’s downright unacceptable to lie and read a book for hours on end. But in summer, under a tree or a beach umbrella, idleness is seen as just about the ideal state to be in. It’s not perceived as being lazy, for some reason; it’s seen as relaxing.

I sometimes wonder whether those who live in constantly warm climates simply spend the entire year chilling out. (That’s certainly the impression given by the operators of Ibiza nightclubs.) One of these days I intend to find out...

6) Music festivals

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I assume that when music promoters contacting the world’s top bands to ascertain whether they’ve any interest in making the long trek down to Australia, nine months of the year, they couldn’t think of anything worse. But given the chance to escape the unpleasant northern hemisphere winter and tour around sunny Oz, they’ll eagerly jump onto the nearest 747.

I sometimes wonder whether we as a nation have gone overboard, and should perhaps consider keeping at least one weekend over summer free of amazing music festivals, just to give ourselves and the nation’s sniffer dogs a chance to recharge. But no – it seems to be a given about life in Australia that summer will be jam-packed full of excellent events, and winter will be fairly dull. So we may as well enjoy things like the Big Day Out and Homebake and St Jerome’s and Meredith and Peats Ridge and Soundwave and everything else during the three months they’re available to us.

7) Barbecues – sorry, I mean BBQs

Meat, fire, bread and tomato sauce – what’s not to like? Plus there’s plenty on offer for vegetarians – salads are an equally important part of barbies nowadays, and In particular, potato salad, at least until it gets warm and becomes an ideal petri dish for bacteria. Summer and barbecues are as indivisible as barbecues and flies.

Not convinced? It’s the one occasion when men actually get off their arses and cook.

8) Expats

You know those annoying high-achievers you used to be friends with at school and uni? You know how they now live overseas and post exciting Facebook updates from exciting places and you’re incredibly jealous of them for 50 weeks of the year? Well, over summer, they’ll come crawling back because it’s the one time of the year when there’s far more happening here than in New York or London or wherever.

Sure, they’ll make lots of patronising comments about how much smaller Australia seems now, and you’ll want to punch them in the teeth, but once you get through that, it’ll be lovely, just like it used to be. Because the funny thing about expats is that, unlike people who live here with whom you might lose touch, expat friendships are somehow preserved in aspic, ready to be reactivated on their return.

After their brief visit, they’ll leave, pretending to be torn about where to live as they head to the airport. And then next Christmas, you’ll do it all again.

9) Christmas parties

‘Tis the season of abundant snacks, booze and bonhomie in the workplace! Keep your pants on while in the vicinity of the office photocopier, and Christmas parties are a fine thing. Unless you find yourself trapped among colleagues who’ve gotten just that little bit “emotional” after one sherry too many, there’s no shortage of fun in sight.

In fact, the Christmas spirit inhabits the work place throughout much of December and even January, by which I mean everybody slacks off and/or wears silly costumes. Summer is such a wonderful time of year that even being at work during the season can feel like being on holiday – that is, unless your job involves having to find interesting things to talk or write about, in which case, I’ve found, the season can be somewhat nightmarish. Best to use up all your leave, then, and make the most of summer!


So, there you have it – summer is easily the best season. End of story, QED.

And yes, I'm fully aware that I promised ten things, but have only listed nine. See item #5 above.

15 comments so far

  • Summer is the worst season. When people say they love summer, they don't think about what it's like for 90% of the time. No sleep due to ridiculous night temperatures. Meaning you feel angry the next day. Running from air conditioned building to the next. Burning blinding light everywhere. Stinking sweating trains with no air conditioning. Hot pavement. Sweating when you step out of the shower. In winter if your cold you put a jumper on. In summer if your hot you just sit there in stinking swell with cloths that stick to you. Long live winter.

    Commenter
    Dean
    Date and time
    November 09, 2012, 8:22AM
    • Hear hear! I lived in London for a year and spent most of it in serious danger of decking the next person to refer to Australia as "lovely and warm". Thirty-five degrees plus when you're walking to the train station in the morning is not "lovely and warm", it's disgustingly stinking hot.

      Commenter
      DisDis
      Date and time
      November 09, 2012, 9:30AM
  • You have just summed up all the reason why i hate summer. Thank you.

    Commenter
    Gerry
    Date and time
    November 09, 2012, 9:03AM
    • Bring on winter for the snow, spring and autumn for mild weather to get out on the deadly treadly. Bah humbug to summer.

      Commenter
      Murph
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 09, 2012, 10:20AM
      • No I'm with you Dom, (bar cricket) I just love summer - okay where I live when it gets to be 43 degrees sometimes in Feb ( and i hate that). But 33 celcius is my perfect temperature.

        I also love the smell of gardenias - that's the best summer smell, the xmas shutdown (when I can really relax), the sound of cicadas, having all the doors and windows open and just walking around without layer upon layer on. I'd rather be too hot than too cold. At least you can dunk in a pool, have a cold vodka and tonic/bacardi and coke/insert fave drink here and take more clothes off!

        Commenter
        Ms Patonga
        Location
        Echuca
        Date and time
        November 09, 2012, 11:01AM
        • 3 things I hate about summer...
          ~ Mozzies
          ~ Flies
          ~ Sitting in my office looking at the beautiful weather that I am missing out on, wondering if a massive pay cut will be worth it to be working part time and sitting at the beach!

          Commenter
          alice
          Location
          sydney
          Date and time
          November 09, 2012, 11:08AM
          • Great article, summed up everything I love about summer! Ignore the whingers.

            Commenter
            Keep Turning
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            November 09, 2012, 11:29AM
            • Boo, you winter party poopers!

              I think there is no better season than summer. Great article Dom, here are some of my favourite things about summer..

              Living in a simple cotton dress and swimmers on those long, long summer (holi)days with the cricket on in the background and the cicadas going crazy outside. The southerlies that come through at night leaving everyone scrambling to open every window and door in the house to get the breeze through. Summer storms - that delicious smell when you know one is coming. Splices and chocolate paddle pops. Tan lines and freckles. The smell of Le Tan, frangipanis and aloe vera gel. Eating watermelon for dinner because it's too hot to do anything else.

              The only bad thing about summer is having to work through most of it. Bring on 30 degree (Satur or Sun)days.

              Commenter
              Alex
              Location
              Sydney
              Date and time
              November 09, 2012, 12:01PM
              • Wow the other comments on here really express the divide between summer-lovers and summer-haters. It never ceases to amaze me how the haters just can't get their heads around why some people love summer. All those things about summer that you can't stand, the stickiness, the heat blah blah, we just don't mind those things at all, get it? We will never succumb to your 'just put a jumper on in Winter' argument either. To us, a jumper is not the equivalent of a delicious balmy breeze upon our bare skin, end of story.

                I'm tired of being made to feel like I'm mentally ill for loving summer. I understand the summer-haters point-of-view and I don't go on and on about how winter sucks and why can't they see that. Why don't summer-haters offer the same courtesy and accept our differences?

                Commenter
                Mellah
                Date and time
                November 09, 2012, 12:54PM
                • Ah, c;mon, gimme a break. 90% of people spend 70% of the year complaining about cold weather and how much winter/autumn/spring sucks.

                  Maybe you don't complaint about winter - hey, I don't complain about summer. But most people LOVE complaining about the weather, and I think we all just have to grin and bear it.

                  Commenter
                  K8
                  Date and time
                  November 09, 2012, 2:18PM

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