In this world, there are two types of people; those who adore summer and try to squeeze out every last drop from it before autumn and those who detest it and wish the days away until the nights get shorter and the humidity goes away.
Whichever camp you belong to, you probably have a list of summer essentials that either enhance your hot weather experience or make life better while you sweat it out and endure the heat.
We reckon the following eight summer essentials are the basics that all men, women and kids need for those three months.
We’re not all fortunate enough to have a pool at home but getting wet is one of the greatest joys of summer. How you do it will depend on your creativity, proximity to facilities and your willingness to get wet in public!
Remember the good old days when water restrictions weren’t a ‘thing’ and you could play in the backyard under the sprinkler? Or you had one of those temporary above-ground pools that your Dad put together each year and you spent hour after hour making whirlpools in it?
Before screen gadgets came along, kids would go to the local creek and catch tadpoles or paddle around in the cool, fresh water, hoping not to spot an eel.
These days, aquatic centres are all the rage with their waterslides, wading pools, Olympic pools and grassy knolls.
The beach remains high on the list of priorities for water sport enthusiasts who will spend hours swimming, surfing or bodyboarding in the ocean or get out there in a kayak, on a jetski or on a fishing boat.
In Australia, it practically goes without saying that you need air conditioning. Even if it’s in just one room of the house, there are those nights when you simply can’t face sleeping in a sweat box so you move a mattress into the living room which quickly becomes an idyllic paradise.
Air conditioning is the reason why cinemas do such a roaring trade in summer. Who wants to watch TV at home in the heat when you can go to the movies and relax in the chill?
Summer essentials don’t come much more basic than sunglasses. It’s actually quite unhealthy for your eyes to be in the sun without eye protection. Grab a pair of no-name generic sunnies if you have to but just don’t go bare-faced.
Or splash out and purchase the season’s latest look from your favourite brand. The idea of sunglasses never goes out of style, and some styles just keep on keeping on, like Ray-Ban Wayfarers, as made famous in the Tom Cruise movie, Risky Business.
Actually, Tom Cruise made another style of Ray-Bans famous in Top Gun; the good old 3025 Large Aviators. What’s your favourite style?
Summer just isn’t the same without spending plenty of time with friends. In winter, you don’t mind hibernating at home and venturing out now and then to socialise.
Summer is a different story, however, and it seems any excuse is good enough when the sun is shining and a cold drink would go down a treat.
Barbecues in the park or on the back patio, cricket on the beach, a seafood buffet at a waterside restaurant or a drive to somewhere cool like a hinterland farmers’ market are all so much more fun with friends.
Have you ever noticed that every summer, you seem to become addicted to a song or an artist and whenever you hear them later in the year, it’s like your unofficial summer anthem?
Music is a sensory trigger, much like the way the smell of freshly cut grass reminds you of childhood or the taste of fairy floss instantly transports you to a fairground.
There are those songs that take you right back to a summer holiday and others that remind you of washing the car on the driveway late in the afternoon so the strong sunlight wouldn’t cause water spots to ruin the finish. Music is part of what makes a summer more bearable or a hundred times more fantastic.
The great Aussie summer footwear icon … thongs, or ‘pluggers’ as they’re colloquially known. When your feet are hot and you need fresh air breezing through your toes, you just have to throw your shoes and socks off and put on a pair of thongs.
Not only are they excellent for keeping cool but they also come in mighty handy when walking across hot bitumen or on scorching sand at the beach, and they keep your feet safe from mouldy bugs in public showers at the caravan park.
If you could only take two pairs of shoes overseas to a holiday destination, it’s almost a sure thing that one would be thongs.
Keeping cool from the inside out is always a good idea. Cold drinks help to lower your core temperature but more importantly, they just feel sublime on their way down. You’re hot, sweaty, thirsty and your tongue feels like sandpaper.
Nothing is more welcome than a cold beer, a glass of soft drink or plain, icy water.
The added benefit of hydration makes it a summer essential but doesn’t it just feel awesome when you take that first sip? It’s like walking through the desert and then someone hands you a coldie.
Some people don’t feel like eating big meals in summer but we do love our seafood. A couple of kilos of prawns on a picnic bench by the sea as the sun goes down is a great Australian tradition.
Parties are not complete without someone bringing along a watermelon and then of course, you have to have that seed-spitting competition to see who can reach the longest distance.
Summer is stone fruit season, not to mention the sheer abundance of mangoes that perfume the air in the shops. It’s when we devour cherries by the kilo, whip up a luscious pavlova and learn a new salad recipe or two.
It’s not like there’s a choice anyway. Summer will inevitably arrive and those who love it will rejoice while those who prefer winter will grit their teeth and get through it.
Embrace your summer essentials and remember that the seasons are temporary, and each has its very own highlights.