Summer down under

Summer is in full swing now. The evidence to support this assertion is incontrovertible:

1. Flies. This is Australia, and if it’s summer there must be flies. In the last couple of weeks I’ve moved on from being distressed and annoyed by their annual appearance to a more complacent acceptance of their right to coexist. I have purchased a spring-powered “Fly Gun” which is giving me hours of demented, but environmentally friendly, enjoyment.

2. Sharks. It’s looking like a bumper year for the sharks, with two people dead already this summer, and today we have the predictable bloodlust that always accompanies these tragedies. The South Australian government has ordered that the shark which killed an 18-year-old surfer yesterday is to be hunted down and killed, despite the fact that great white sharks are a protected species. I can understand the urge for revenge that triggers this, but what is to be gained from killing a shark (or a crocodile – another common target of revenge killings)? There is no word yet on whether the shark’s accomplice will also be summarily executed.

3. Crap TV. Hardly an endangered species during the ratings period, but much in abundance in the warmer months. Australian TV stations use this time of year, when no TV ratings are published, to serve up the most appalling tosh. The argument is that people are less inclined to sit in front of the boob tube in the summer, but by switching their programming to “All crap, All the time” they ensure it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. Last night saw the premiere of “Outback Jack”, an American “reality” series of the worst order. I didn’t watch, but the blogwaves are abuzz with less-than-flattering commentary today. The name of the show has given me cause to titter, as several friends and I have taken to substituting the word “outback” for “bareback” whenever the opportunity presents.

4. Cricket. What would summer be without the sound of leather on willow? Less dreary, that’s what. Grown men in long pants standing around in the scorching summer heat hitting a ball with a stick. Sounds a lot like golf, but it goes for five full days days on the trot, and often ends with neither side winning. Which makes it even stupider than golf.

5. The Gleebooks Summer Reading Guide. Oh bliss. If only I had time to read the books, not just the guide. But what with chasing flies from room to room with my flygun and watching mindless crap on TV, who has the time?

6. Bushfires. The state is a tinderbox, of course. It always is. So far this summer, not too many fires. Seriously, I hope it stays that way. Fire is an integral part of the ecosystem in this country, and we’ve grown better at living with it, but no-one in their right mind looks forward to the bushfire season.

7. Sandon. I wish we were going to Sandon this Christmas, like I did in 2003-4, 2001-2 and several summers before that. But we’re not. Makes me sad, makes me want to get out of town to somewhere quiet and simple. Sigh.