Long Weekend (again)

We are in the midst of another long weekend. Tomorrow is the Queen’s Birthday, and this is celebrated as a day off across this state (New South Wales). Temperatures have steadied after freezing conditions last week. The chilly weather has inspired an early start to the ski season, with a dumping of snow unseen at this time of the year since 2000. The Snowys is the place to be right now, to traverse the freeze with your skis, poles and toboggans. Aside from contending with the steep chair lifts, you must be mindful of your snowplows. On another note, the mid-year sales are in full swing, and I was able to do some shopping on the eve of the extended break.

What to read

My book for this weekend is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. I’ve had this novel with me for weeks now. I initially found the excessive description daunting and gave up in favour of Baldacci’s The Last Mile. I was deep into the latter when I decided to scan Beekeeper again. This time, I found out that it wasn’t so bad. While there was lots of flowery prose, the plight of refugees and their stories are worth the slog. Beekeeper is well reviewed and highly rated, with some even praising it as ‘beautifully written’. While I wouldn’t go that far, it is certainly an eye opener. I also read that overwhelming demand made this book ran out of print, so maybe I was too quick to judge.  

What to watch

There are a few sporting events unfolding at the moment. The French Open is at its final stages, with Aussie Ash Barty taking the women’s crown. The week was full of Barty’s giant-killing, culminating in a daring comeback against unseeded American teen Anisimova. The Queenslander was hardly troubled in the decider, taking the first set 6-1 before securing the second, 6-3. She becomes the first Aussie to win in Paris since Margaret Court in the 70s. Hard to believe, but only three years ago she was out playing club cricket; now she’s won her maiden Grand Slam. ‘King of Clay’ Rafa Nadal and Austrian Dominic Thiem will contest the men’s championship, a rematch of last year’s finale. Rafa handed Federer in the semis his worst defeat at a slam in eleven years, while Thiem outclassed Djokovic in a rain-interrupted match that went the distance.

Meanwhile, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway, also in France. Prolific goal scorer, Sam Kerr, will captain our side as we aim to withstand the group stages, survive and advance. There has been some negative press about the coaching change, especially so close to the Cup. As they say, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ The Matildas’ performance will be the burden of proof. This marks the eight sequence of the quadrennial juggernaut, where twenty-four teams vie for women soccer’s ultimate honour. While the action is riveting, the schedule is the only problem. Play unfolds at unholy hours, and you wouldn’t want to be staying up until four am. If you prefer something more tolerable, there’s rugby league, which airs at a more convenient timeslot.   

What to chow

The warmer weather is a good and welcome change. While the nights remain chilled, the mornings are more palatable. So, what will we package with these temperatures? Right now, eating soups and spicy food would definitely be an evening thing. With daytime temps at 22 degrees, feasting on laksas and chicken broth would be silly. Therefore, stick to the staples for the day, and level up with some soup and chilli at night. Since this is winter, avoid ice cold drinks and yoghurt; instead, opt for lighter beverages such as tea. All in all, since temps hover around the twenties, warm is better than cold. When in doubt, take warm.

Final word

I was planning to include what to wear but find this unnecessary given that one, I am posting this mid-weekend and two, this would be simplistic. If you’re in Sydney, don’t forget to check out Vivid. This fusion of lights, ideas and music makes the city come alive at night. This year, it’s bigger and brighter than ever before, with more venues and events added. Meanwhile, the weather is mild; let’s make the most of the sun. This time next week, it’ll be back to those winter woollies.   

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