We are having a heatwave in Sydney. 35C. 38C. 41C.

It’s too hot to think. Too hot to type. Too hot to focus.

The heat is everywhere – in the cupboards, running along the tops of skirting boards, lying dormant on apple skins that sizzle when you bite into them.

The washing on the line is stiff with sunlight. All except the pillowcases which billow in the middle – stuffed with heat like ravioli.

The water is hot when it comes out of the tap. Of the cold tap. The pot plants singe and wilt. Birds chatter half-heartedly. Lizards bask smugly.

Everywhere you look children are eating ice-creams, ice-blocks, plunging into bags of ice if they could. They eat as quickly as they can before the fragile ice is claimed by the heat and they are covered by a sticky, warm syrup.

People nod in the street. There is camaraderie to be found in this heat. Some purse their lips and exhale. Some wipe their brow in a mock gesture of suffering. The larrikins ask the age-old question as only Aussies can: ‘Hot enough for ya?’

Hotter than Hades




Too Darn Hot

Everything applies in this landscape overladen with sulphur light and cerulean sky, flawless as glass.

When the cool change is coming is the only topic discussed. Economic malaise is forgotten as we sit with the fan on full blast, glued to the weather channel, looking for a sign of the longed for southerly wind.

The wind starts at twilight. The curtains rustle like leaves. There is a sigh shared by man, bird, tree alike. We know what is coming – the cool southerly change, sliding over the garden wall like a child seeking to retrieve a lost ball.

Sometimes the southerly teases. Stays for an hour, then leaves as the heat pushes back through. But this time, this time, the wind is staying, a cool hand on a fevered brow.

The floorboards creak. The air in the living room thins. We stand in the garden, flapping our arms like crazy, oversized birds and revel in the glory of it.

35 thoughts on “HOT

  1. Sounds like Salvador in the NE of Brasil – the sun there is your new best friend you’re that close to it. I remember stepping out of the airport for the first time and immediately wanting to run back in and hide bext to one of the aircon units.
    I’d trade it instandtly for the cold wet weather we’ve got in London right now.


    Lovely to hear from you. I am also tempted to swap with you. It’s been about ten years since I saw snow. Sometimes I long to experience it again, and plan to visit the UK for Christmas, but then I think of the extreme cold and chicken out!!

    I haven’t been to Brasil but I hear it can be extremely hot. I would love to see it, though. It looks gorgeous!

    I would be rich, wouldn’t I? Especially with Australia Day coming tomorrow. Forget BHP, just invest in beer. πŸ˜†

    Isn’t funny how we long for the opposite of what we have? Human nature, eh?

    It has cooled down today. I am so relieved. I don’t think I could have stood too much more!!!


    It really is amazing. And it has a smell that is really distinct. It’s sort of like extreme freshness. If the smell of sunlight could be turned into a perfume it would be a bestseller!!


  4. Oh, I feel for you dear Selma. I am NOT a hot weather person, it just drains every ounce of my energy. I hope cooler temps are on the way. It’s going to be -8 with snow here tomorrow, more my speed.

    Hugs and cooling thoughts, G πŸ˜‰


  5. The pot plants…
    first off i must tell you not to be confused if the local police knock on your door now that they know your pot plants are singing and wilting….

    and secondly… where i live now is called a temperate climate… it never really gets and stays either warm or cold… i am not thrilled with california for many a reason,, but i will acquiesce that the idea of temperate when it comes to temperature is soothing,, once one gets used to the idea that there is no such thing as a real season…..

    if you don’t melt,,, sweetness,, you will live to tell ,, eh???


  6. Ooooh I can’t wait. Only 10 days to go and I will be in the hot place. I love heat but I am less sure how the children will cope.

    I think I’ll have to run in the evening though won’t I or I’ll shrivel up to skin and bone!!


  7. OMG Selma,,,,,,,the imagery of this post so vivid, so crisp…the words intoxicating. The post is friggin’ crackling with electricty. My God you’re talented!

    The heat must be doing some good…..(ohhh don’t hate me)


  8. Oh I know the feeling. I know I know the feeling because that is a perfectly brilliant piece of writing capturing the essence of hot weather.


  9. I’ll send some of snow over your way if you send us a little heat – we could use it! πŸ˜€

    You describe a perfect SE Texas summer day. Must be a lot like Sydney.


  10. Hi Selma, I am sorry I have been missing in action the past wo weeks. Both dad and I have been very ill. I am very concerned about my dad, he is 83 and he is getting weaker as each days passes. We sure could use some of your heat! We had below zero temps for a week and finally warmed up to 15 degrees. I will try to get caught up.


  11. It’s kind of odd to imagine a heatwave occurring in January. It’s brutally cold where I am right now. Subzero temps. And I had to dig my car out of the snow this morning to go to the store. But… I’m not complaining. I love the snow. Crazy, I know! πŸ™‚


  12. We’re expecting 41 tomorrow Selma and it’s killing me. I don’t know when or if there is a cool change coming here but I HATE this relentless heat. Funnily enough though it gets quite comfortably cool at night which never usually happens in summer. It’s been a strange one so far. I haven’t seen rain in who knows how long and it’s really getting parched out here.

    Btw Happy Australia Day now that I’ve had a good whinge.


  13. Do you have a basement? They can offer a little bit of relief from the heat. No air conditioning I’m assuming. Well, at least people are pretty forgiving about nudity down there. When it’s that hot I feel like heading to the water and stop seeing any point in wearing clothes. I’m probably better off in my colder climate – all the sweat makes my glasses slide down to the end of my nose, which bugs me to no end.


  14. I think I might just like to trade with you, maybe I like hot better than cold, but that’s probably because it’s cold where I am, if it was hot, I would say the opposite, though the way you describe it, it sounds too hot to even sleep at night…


  15. UGH – try your best to stay cool. We had MASSIVE heat waves such as you are talking about last summer, and as you might have heard, two weeks ago we had 70-80 F and summery sun when it should have been 40-50 and raining.


    Sorry about the late reply. -8. Wow. I can’t imagine it. The coldest it gets in Sydney in winter is around 10C. You must need to wear thermals with that kind of weather. It must be kind of fun to get all rugged up, though!

    I thought that myself after typing ‘pot plants.’ LOL. Nothing worse than a wilted’ pot’ plant – I know. A temperate climate would be lovely. A friend of mine moved north a few years back (way up the top of Queensland) to experience warmer climes but it is more of a tropical climate up there now and she rues the day she moved. It is far too hot all the time!

    They are experiencing a massive heatwave in WA at the moment. It may have passed by the time you arrive though. I went to Perth a few years back and it was boiling, but it is a lovely city. I know you’ll enjoy it!

    Hahaha. I think the heat has oiled the old rusted cogs in my brain, so that’s got to be a good thing. πŸ˜€

    In your part of Oz you probably experience it more regularly than I do. However, I don’t think you experience as much humidity, do you? Either way, it’s still hot!

    I’ve heard it gets hot in Texas. I’d love to go there one day and see some real cowboys. That would be so cool!

    I am so sorry to hear you and your Dad have been ill. I hope you’re both feeling better. And please, no need to apologise at all. I’m just glad you’re OK. Take care of yourselves.

    What? You had to dig your car out of the snow? Would it start? That is incredible. I remember growing up in Scotland when we had to scrape the ice off of Mum’s old Mini in the mornings, but I don’t remember ever having to dig it out. Talk about a work out first thing in the morning. Where’s Mr. Plow when you need him???!!!

    Happy Aussie Day, hon. I have seen on the news how hot it is for you in SA. I would be dying. It is so draining when it lasts for weeks like that. Praying you get a cool change very soon!

    You crack me up. The single summer’s day, eh? I remember going on picnics as a kid and eating all the food in the car because it was raining and cold yet again. In July. Sitting by the fire was lovely, though!

    You make me laugh about the Aussies and the nudity. I have to tell you that I don’t see that many nudists around here. Although I did see a group of topless girls at the beach the other day. Their ‘you know whats’ would have been burnt to a crisp. I am laughing so hard, I can’t type.

    It’s nice when it’s neither too hot nor too cold, isn’t it? Then you can actually get things done. I’d trade you for the cold at the moment, though!

    I remember you mentioning your warm spell. That is freaky. It does unnerve me when the weather patterns shift like that. I think animals, in particular, find it hard to adapt. I fear global warming has us firmly in its grip.

    It’s the not being able to sleep that’s the hard part. It really is exhausting!


  17. I think I would trade you right now! It is -35C here with the wind chill factor! Way too cold for me and MIca. She sticks her nose out and comes right back in… It is even cold in my apartment, it is as if the heating just doesn’t work too well in this frigid cold! And my poor head is cold too, that I was wearing my ski hat! It makes you think at how much hair does keep your head warm!

    While you sit in front of the weather channel looking for some cool air I am doing the same and looking for some warmer air or at least something with no more wind chill factor because then it will be slightly warmer! πŸ™‚


  18. OTTO:
    You got lost in the comment approval system – sorry about that. I will gladly trade you because anyone who likes Otto is cool with me. Thanks for stopping by.

    Minus 35C. What the? I am going into shock just thinking about that. How do all the little birds survive? Oh, that is just too cold. You make sure you stay inside with Mica. She definitely has the right idea. Hopefully, it will warm up soon.


  19. PS: When we lived on the Canadian Prairies, it was not unheard of to have days that were MINUS 70 C with the windchill. Did we wimp out at home, hide under our blankets. NO WAY. It was business as usual. A funny story I must share. On one such day, I had an assignment to write up the retiring fire chief. My car was solid ice, wouldn’t budge in spite of being plugged in. The fire guys offered to pick me up in a fire truck! And they did, I even got to play with the alarm buttons LOL. Crazy but true.

    Hugs again, G


  20. Selma, I think our birds are used to it, but in the fall we have a major exodus of birds flying south – it is amazing to see their “v’s” in the sky as they fly away to warmer weather.


  21. RICHARD:
    You have a great sense of humour. πŸ˜†

    NO WAY!!!! -70C. I think I’m going to pass out. That is frightening. And your car was solid ice? But hey, must’ve been worth it to be picked up by the firemen. After all, they do have big hoses. I know I know. I couldn’t help it. πŸ˜‰

    I would love to see them flying away. But it must be a little bit sad. I’d be flying too to avoid those temps. Incredible!


    Cheers, hon!

    I am bad, I admit it. I actually have a thing for firemen. They are so heroic. When we first moved to Australia there was a bushfire that came up from the gully facing our house and we had to evacuate. Trouble was, I couldn’t find my new kitten. I was in a state about it because Pearl was the loveliest little thing. A grey white colour and so friendly. Anyway, one of the firemen found her for me. I was elated. I’ll never forget seeing her being carried in his helmet.


  23. Ah, such wonderful writing boiled up from your sweltering weather. This is a gorgeous post – vivid and poetic. Wish I could swap you just a bit of the gray chill for some of that warm right now – might work well for us both πŸ˜‰


  24. KAYT:
    It has cooled down here now but I would definitely love to swap with you. I want to wear big boots, a coat and a crazy woollen hat. I never get the chance to do that. I own a few winter coats that I never wear. And I love coats. Methinks I may be in the wrong hemisphere.


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