Well hello summer, how nice of you to swing by just when I thought I was going to get away with it.
Today’s temperature was due to reach 42 degrees – and that is Celsius, people, not Farenheit 0r, ‘Bloody hot’ as we like to say over here. It was as I got dressed this morning I was thinking about the problems the poor marketing people have with Christmas in Australia. The North Pole makes a lot more sense in colder weather, as does a roast dinner and trees with fairly lights. They have tried to reinvent it in a number of ways as the traditional snow scape really does look out of place over here – as does the food. So the marketeers have done their best to reivent traditions to suit the climate.
The Pavlova desert – claimed as an Australian invention (and who am I to argue) was apparently created by a chef in honour of the ballerina of the same name and has been flogged forever as the ideal Xmas dessert. Frankly, I do not need Xmas as an excuse to eat meringue, cream and fruit but supermarket shelves are piled high with the buggers from September onwards. Cherries which come into season in December have also been sold as Christmas fruit for a long time. They are hideously expensive, possibly because they have been wedged into a niche window to try and up their value.
It was only this morning as I was putting my socks on (yes, I am English so wear socks in 42 degrees, but not with sandals) that the penny finally dropped. It was only taken me since 1981 to realise that this obsession with Pavlovas and cherries is the marketeers version of Christmas for Australia – the red coat with the white fur trim and the snow. I can not believe it has taken me this long to realise.
With only three sleeps until Christmas, I thought the local shopping centre would be hell on earth today. I had not planned to go, but I wanted to get my hair done and my husband wanted to do some shopping. My plan was to drive there and if necessary, drop my husband and leave the hair if I could not find anywhere to park.
The place looked normal. It was just like a normal shopping day – actually a little quieter than some Saturdays I have seen in there. I got a space to park easily and there were no horrendous queues in the shops. There as no wait at the hairdressers where I flicked through some websites for lost and found pets on the off chance that someone may have found Scarlett, the little Jack Russell who went missing on Sunday and posted about it. I was also able to pick up a couple of extra bits and pieces at the shops later without wanting to kill anyone. Either the heat had put everyone off, or they were somewhere else.
I found some of everyone at the liquor store. It was the only place that looked a little bit crowded. With three days to go, people were apparently preparing to drink their way through the festive weekend. One Chinese man appeared totally lost in the mayhem, he was doing laps of the store with just one carton of beer in his trolley. He did not seem distressed, just unable to break the cycle, like a hamster on a wheel. I queued at the till, paid for my stuff and left.
In the carpark I backed the car out and nearly hit a pedestrian. It was the Chinese man again, who had now broken free and was pushing his trolley – still with just the one item – across to his car. Good to see he made it out of there, even if I did almost take him out.
I dropped in to see my family and was given the gig as guest celebrity bather for my nephew, who seemed to enjoy kicking about in the foam bath as I held him. It was still pretty hot when I left in the early evening to take the dogs for a walk in the park. The weather had been hot all day, but it was a Perth heat: dry and clear, so while it does bounce off pavements a bit, at least it was not humid.
Good news as well in the park tonight – Scarlett, the missing Jack Russell had been found. She was apparently stressed and dusty – I guess nobody will ever find out exactly what she got up to while on the lam – but alive and reunited with her very relieved family. It as nice to get some good news for Christmas and I am sure that while she won’t want any pavlova or cherries, there may very well be a special bit of turkey heading her way for Xmas Day and hopefully a microchip so neither she or her owners have too go through that again.