Monday, January 11, 2010

Climate change in the corner of the room

Yes it's hot. It's 42 degrees. I have insects crawling on the outside of my window trying to get in because they know I have air conditioning on (note to self, must get out window cleaner to removed deep fried stick insects from window ledge). "Catastrophic" I'm hearing over and over again, fire danger, danger Will Robinson, be alert, alarmed and have your fire plan ready. When did summer become so dramatic? As kids we had hot days. Your parents put the pool up in the backyard and in the middle of the day you stayed in the pool until you were three sizes smaller or until you were called for dinner. My mother hated the hot weather. She wasn't one to suffer in silence. If you attempted to be upbeat about the sunshine she would threaten to set fire to you. Few had air conditioners in the homes of the 70's era and a ceiling fan was as good as it got. My mother would sit around the house with a wringing wet beach towel around her neck looking like a heavy weight prize fighter and if you mentioned the weather, she behaved like one. Eventually we got our very own unit. My father installed it himself in the corner window of the lounge room which didn't really fit the window space so it was patched up with dark green bubble glass and it meant that the venetian blinds could never be pulled down, that was pretty dramatic. From then on everything was secured in that room. Doors were to stay shut, beds were set up, the cat, the dog and the caged canary were all shuffled into the cool room. With the temperature set to minus five the pets huddled together and the bird hung on tight to his perch and ducked the hurricane birdseed storm as the humming machine belted out a wind chill factor so cool it caused the vinyl couch to crack. But as far as drama went, there were no warnings, no protection and no advice. I don't doubt the consequences were severe but somehow summer just seemed a little more relaxed back then and you expected to get your big toe stuck in melting tar when crossing the road from the beach and third degree burns branded into shoulder strap marks were the tattoos of a summer well spent. We adapted. I'm not sure about the canary, but we adapted.


  1. Yeh the catastrophic thing started after the recent bushfires so . .I guess it's better to panic people out of their houses than risk them losing their lives. I still don't have aircon. God knows why. Just sit in front of the fan with wet hair and a damp sarong.

  2. You have described untold houses I visited as a child, Lorna. Those were the days of true blue stoicism or don't bother me I'm bothered enough as it is...