The long hot days of summer have begun in the Southern Hemisphere, where this week the average temperature in Adelaide is set to hover around 37 degrees Celcius (that's almost 100F).
Yesterday, I went for my first swim of the season, and although summer doesn't official begin until December, I get the feeling we are going to be in for a torrid summer.
Of course, no right thinking person would spend their days out in the heat of the midday sun. Not if they had a choice anyway. Mind you, this rules out most teenagers who think that frying their skin in the middle of the afternoon is the 'cool' thing to do.
Come to think of it - I was one of those teenagers once. I can still vividly remember taking a day off work one hot summer day to spend it at the beach. Stupidly, I didn't apply sunscreen to my back and legs (I can't remember if sunscreen was around in the late 1960s), and by the end of the day, it is no exaggeration to say that I left the beach as red as a lobster.
In deed, the next day my legs and parts of my back had broken out in blisters as a result of the damage I had inflicted on my body. It was a lesson I learned the hard way, and to this day I will not visit the beach or enter the water unless I wear a hat (to cover my balding head), and a t-shirt to protect my upper body from the burning sun. I also make it a rule to visit the beach late in the afternoon or early in the evening when the heat of the day has begun to ease. The added benefit of this policy is that I'm always on the beach to watch a golden sun dipping below the horizon in a blaze of yellow, orange and red.
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole!