Summer is y cumen in

. . . Sing cuckoo!

Well summer has well and truly arrived, here in Perth, Western Australia.  WA doesn’t really do the seasonal change thing;  there’s no autumn or spring, it’s straight from winter into summer and back again, with a couple of weeks of weird freakish weather in between.  You change your winter -> summer wardrobe and bedding etc over one weekend. 

Summer in Western Australia = Hot.  Dry.  Humid.  Water Restrictions.  Fire Warnings.  Smog And Smoke Filled Air.  Inversion From Wildfires.  Did I mention Hot?  During January and February it’s pretty much over 35C every day and for a couple of weeks in February / March it hits 40C+ every day.  The humidity is absolutely gross, and is definitely getting worse despite the prevailing attitude of “oh no, no environmental impact HERE”.  The air conditioners can’t cope with it all and everyone walks around like zombies, totally enervated and fatigued. 

But for all that it’s my favourite season; I love the warm and the day-after-day-after-day of blazing blue-white skies.  Even though I’ve never been a beach-bunny and am incapable of tanning [I burn and freckle; eventually they all join up] but I love soaking up the sun.  Whilst wearing SPF 30+++, a long sleeve shirt and a ridiculously-large brimmed hat.

Being new home owners [I mean, New Home Owners, W00T!] we have a bit of R & M / TLC to do around the place.  The security doors and blinds need to be replaced as the current models are well below par.   We want stainless steel crim-mesh doors on the front, the laundry and the full sliding doors in the living area and master bedroom [they currently have the crappy diamond screens on, yeeeuuuurk].  The mesh screens are great for security and also look much nicer [for security doors] as the mesh doesn’t get in the way of the view outside as with the diamond / patterned ones.

The blinds have caused us  – well, me – the most head-scratching.  The house has really crappy quality timber horizontal blinds and they have to go.  Gross looking, half of them are broken, they’re impossible to dust / keep clean especially with all the cat fur flying around, plus they’re incredibly difficult to haul up – even Tuxedo about dislocates his shoulder doing the bigger sections.

After  considering options from verticals to the posh UV Reflector blinds, we’ve decided to go for basic roller blinds in a light coffee / latte colour, with a one-way transparent finish.  This means we can still see outside with the blinds down, but no one can see in.  Totally opaque blinds were out as they’d be claustrophobic and very, very boring.  Now we just have to figure out how to afford all this . . . Sometimes being Grown Up sucks, you know?

. . . . . . . . . .

Second on the To Do List is outdoor entertaining.  We want to do heaps of outdoor partying this summer in Our New Home.  We have a superb BBQ already [a very powerful and shiny Rinnai 6 burner with range hood, grill and plate, roasting pans, and a rocket-like wok burner wheeeee] so there will be lots of parties with plenty of booze to wash down the carnivorous diet.  Steaks, chops, sausies, kebabs, char grilled prawns and other seafood, DIY bun cha / thit nuong / goi cuon, wraps and fajitas and tacos, basically lots of messy communal eating.  I’ll do some char grilled vegetables, wokked veggies and fresh vibrant salads too, just to keep up appearances of health.  But the Great Aussie BBQ is all about the beer and red meat. 

Ooh and I’m very excited as I’ve tracked down a couple of types of gluten-free beer, I can’t wait.  Won’t taste as good as a Hoegarden or Kilkenny or Little Creatures, but needs must, *sigh*.  And you can’t get decent Guinness here in Australia anyway, it’s all made in NSW and has a revolting metallic taste.  You can find the real Dublin-made stuff in some imported-beer shops / sections but it’s pretty rare.

But where to sit?  We have two outdoor chairs and an adjustable sun-lounge thingy, that’s it.  No table and definitely need more chairs.  We’ll probably get a decent-but-not-too-pricey set, eg cast iron table with four chairs, in black or dark green.  I’m keeping a look-out for summer deals but we don’t want dodgy tatt; sometimes it’s tough having high standards!  Then just a huge market umbrella and ecco-la!, very al fresco Italiano!

Shame about the need for mozzie coils and lanterns, and crates full of Aeroguard and Rid.

. . . . . . . . . .

Third on the agenda is The Garden.  Now I have a confirmed Black Plague Thumb and have never really kept a garden so this will be a challenge.  Fortunately the garden is all reticulated but we want to keep water usage to a minimum.  At the moment the garden is a mess of weird scrubby bushes, spiky things and boring white roses so that has to go.  Most of the back is paved but there’s a fairly big section of grass / weeds in the middle there.  I would like to plant natives eg grevilleas all around the perimeter, as they’re very pretty and encourage the birdies, then maybe some climbing roses or jasmine trained up the fence, with room for a herb garden [not wacky herbs, damn!] and a lime tree in a pot.  In between the trees and shrubs I’ll pop some ground-covers or mondo grass.  I’d like to replace the grass / weedy bit with a tough native grass; I really like the look of dichondra but it’s a bit too delicate.

Oh and the [used and de-crapped] OzPet litter we use for the kitties is excellent compost and fertiliser so that’s a plus, as well as having access to an endless supply of horse shit.   At some stage we want to put up cat proof inmate fencing around the perimeter fence of the courtyard so the cats can roam about, play and lounge outside during the day with me.  At the moment I take them out on harnesses and long leads; they love it and Aoife particularly will run to the door and pick up her lead in mouth and paws when I cry “WALKIES!” – like a crazy-cat-lady version of Barbara Wodehouse.

Any ideas  / advice / thoughts for the garden?   Do you have green fingers?  What are your plans for summer – or winter for Northern Hemispherical folks?

. . . . . . . . . .

However it turns out it is so very, very exciting to be able to plan and execute our imaginings in Our Very Own Home whee!   No bossy landladies banning me from planting ferns et al then just leaving the “garden” bit to flourish with thorny weedy scrub; no nosey neighbours peering over the fence and stealing all our basil.  [Yes this happened – I had a massive amount and was going to make a gigantic batch of pesto but poof!  It was gone.  This was the same neighbour who lived above us, who cleaned house / moved furniture at 0200, gossiped and bitched about all the other people in the compound, threw out another neighbour’s bike because she didn’t like where it was parked, and turned off the radio and opened her windows so she could listen to us having sex.]

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  • tuxedo  On Wednesday 29 October 2008 at 7:27 pm

    She was a disgustin’ old baggage that one! in the concentration camp (apartment block).

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