So, that’s the first half of this year out of the way – what have we got planned for the rest of the year?
Well, to begin with, Christmas is almost here – fooled you! I know that’s the one thing we all dread to hear, we’re never ready, are we? When we lived in Australia we found it so weird to see how the Aussies reacted to Christmas.
First, there was Christmas dinner on the beach – because Brisbane, where we were, in January is blooming hot and often with 90 to 95% humidity. So everyone tends to head for the beach or up into the mountains for Crimbo, anything to try to get a cool wind. And nothing says Christmas dinner like a barbecue on the beach, right?
What about that other weird invention in Australia, Christmas-in-July? Because July in Brisbane is usually as cold as you’re going to get, to be honest it was nearly always better than a British summer. Shorter days? Yes. Cooler weather? Yes. Grey skies? Drizzle? Snow/Frost? Don’t be daft. It’s Brisbane. The state slogan for Queensland is ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’. You could count on your fingers the number of lousy days you’d have in a year. Hence Christmas-in-July. It’s more a kind of make the most of what you’ve got. So out come the santa ornaments, out come the red trimmed with white fur, out come the mince pies and the roast turkey and the crackers and the fake snow. After all, it’s cold – I sometimes had to put on a cardy!
But a return to the UK meant a return to normalcy for us, and I like having my seasons the ‘right way’ round. No longer is my birthday in October in the spring, just after the daffs and tulips have keeled over, between the blooming of the Jacarandas in September and the Poincianas blossoming in October – a sign the weather is warming up. No, in the UK my October birthday signals the start of the big winter wind-down, everything packs up and goes to sleep, which is what I usually feel like doing until the Spring.