The Heat Check

Some of you might be wondering about the title. This is a term most commonly associated with basketball. You might suggest that this implies a body temp check or an evaluation of the arena’s mercury. You’re wrong. A heat check relates to an offensive player’s difficult attempt after hitting a few shots in a row. It’s called a heat check since said cager wants to see how hot his shooting is. A heat check is so named since the defence will likely clamp down on the shooter, thereby guaranteeing a more difficult try from the field. Now that you know the definition of the heat check, it’s time for the main course: the searing Australian summer.

Hallmarks of summer

Summer here arrives in December, though hot days could be expected in late spring. By then, the days are longer due to daylight savings. By the onset of summer, one could easily expect thirteen hours of sunlight. Christmas and New Year fall on summer. I recall my chiro telling us that he much prefers Christmas here than in his native US. While it’s winter there, there are glorious sun soaked days here. Summer is about ice cream, tennis, the outdoors, travel, fruit shakes, shopping, mangoes, and shorts. For others, it’s all about swimming, movies, or the cricket.

The warm days are made for ice cold shakes and the guilty pleasures. Ice cream and gelato shops seem to come alive during summer. Last week, I already covered tennis. It was great seeing Novak reascend to the top of the mountain. He extended his record Melbourne haul to ten, with nil losses in the finale. If you’ve seen the queues at Sydney airport, you’ll glean how travel is such a hot commodity these days. The stars have aligned and the wanderlust is bursting at the seams. Whether it’s a short domestic trip or a farther international journey, one thing is clear: the airways are back. There’s even a new domestic carrier, Bonza.

Shopping is definitely back. Black Friday was just an appetiser. The Christmas lead up and Boxing Day sales have turned up the heat for the shopaholics. Some of us have even tried new retailers. We’ve got to get out of our comfort zone. While we’re at it, it’s important to be a savvy shopper. You need to get the best deal. Meanwhile, wearing appropriate clothes is important. These days call for cotton and linen garments. Viscose is also good, but polyester and acrylic are best left for the warmer months. In case you’re wondering, merino wool can also be a good choice due to its breathability. Often, you’d see people in shorts and tees. This makes sense, unless it’s under twenty five degrees. In that case, pants are apropos.

Summer break

Before I forget, summertime coincides with the school holidays. They get about a month off to recharge their batteries. For year 12 graduates, they have finished school. They get ready for the next phases in their adult life. For others, they brace themselves for another year of learning. They could do most of the activities listed above, if not all. For instance, they could frolic in the pool. They could troop to the cinemas with their families. Ice cream is de rigeur. Moreover, like most Aussies, they will support our compatriots in the cricket and tennis. Taronga Zoo is also a hit with the little ones. We have to get some Luk Chai time. Ergo, summer vacation means spending quality time together. Regardless, for the past three decades, Tropfest has been a summer classic. Audiences would cram into an open cinema as the entries are screened. It has been hailed as the world’s best short film festival.

Safe than sorry

January is traditionally our calendar’s hottest month. Temperatures have been known to reach the forties in parts of Sydney. Country NSW regularly top the forties. As a result, we should be sun smart. I’ve detailed these steps in a previous post, including the use of sunscreen, sunnies, and going for the shade. Skin cancer is a recurrent enemy in our country, so it’s best to be safe than sorry. Spare a thought also for summer fruits. Mangoes are probably the most ubiquitous, but there are others as well. Plums and watermelon are equally in season. So are grapes and pineapples. The top of the table though goes to cherries. These little red things epitomise everything good about summer. While not as affordable as mangoes, without question, cherries are the season’s pick. Summer might be hot and humid, but ‘you can’t say no’ to the longer days and pleasant conditions.

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