Writing when you are hot

Would the person who invented global warming please switch it off?

Here in South Australia we have had a warm summer – no, make that an extremely HOT summer. Adelaide is the capital city of our state and today it recorded its twelfth day over 40C (104F) for the summer, eclipsing the previous record of 11 days set 117 years ago. And the forecast for tomorrow is 42C, extending the new record even further. While the next few days after that promise to be a little cooler, we still have 17 days of summer left.

While the city temperatures have been very high this summer, the large rural town where I live – Murray Bridge – is usually a few degrees hotter again. Every summer we expect at least three or four days in the region of 45C (113F) or even higher. On days like that one simply avoids going outside unless it is absolutely necessary. By way of extreme contrast, the following day it can plummet to about 20C (68F) with a strong southerly cool breeze off the Southern Ocean.

You get used to it…

…or move to Tasmania, New Zealand or Alaska.

Getting the energy and motivation to write on such extreme weather days can be a challenge but one I relish. It means I have an excuse to bunker down in my office… and write – or read. I have a small air conditioner in the office, but it really is not up to the task of cooling the whole room. It’s okay if I aim it directly at me. So last week we invited an air conditioning consultant in to assess what we could do to improve the situation. I haven’t ordered a new split system yet, but I will do so soon.

It may be too late for this summer – there is a 4 week delay in installation – but the heating capacity of the unit will be great on those chilly, nose-biting frosty mornings we get here in winter.

And then there’s always next summer.

UPDATE: 14th February – the cooler weather has arrived as promised by the weather bureau, and so has the rain. We’ve had over 70mm in the last 24 hours. Considering that our average for February is only 15, and our annual average 344mm, this is a significant weather event.


An afternoon of poetry

This afternoon I went to an afternoon of poetry. Normally I would have to travel for a half hour or so into the Adelaide Hills, or for about an hour into the Adelaide city itself. This time the poetry reading session came to my home town, Murray Bridge.

The special afternoon was organised jointly by the Friendly Street Poets group in Adelaide and the local district council, who funded the event. I didn’t quite know what to expect, not having been to such an event, though I had heard some things about readings like this. What I didn’t expect was the enormous interest in the event. Over 80 people chose to ignore the lovely spring weather and the fact that it was Father’s Day in order to attend. This must have been most encouraging to the organisers.

About 15 people used the opportunity to use the open mike to read their poems. There was a vast range of themes covered by the poems. Some people read confidently, while others were a little hesitant. One thing that stood out was the prominence of rhymed poetry. According to one of the organisers, this is something that is unusual in their normal reading sessions.

At the last moment I chickened out and didn’t take any of my poems to read. In retrospect, many of my poems would have stood up very well against those that were read out, something I find encouraging. It was announced that this was to be the first of several more such events over the coming year. This is encouraging. The good attendance at the inaugural event ensures successful readings to come.

After the readings, there was a book launch. An acquaintance of mine, Max Merckenschlager launched his first collection of poetry, Lifemarks. I’ll do a review of this fine little book when I’ve read all of the poems and savoured them for a little.