I'm hot, bothered and, frankly, worried sick.
Oh, the humidity. It certainly feels like summer. How does anyone live in Queensland? If the cyclone season doesn't finish you off, drowning in your own sweat during the build-up just might.
It's itchy, it's scratchy. It's also sticky, like your bare leg making contact with a vinyl seat. Sit there long enough and you'll be stuck until autumn. By then, it might take Fire and Rescue to free you.
But, to compensate, the crepe myrtles are in full bloom. It certainly looks like summer. I have a few beauties in my yard. The crepe myrtle is important to my family. According to my Old Man (who picked this up from the long line of Celtic witches who raised him), you must not break out the double-pluggers (or ye olde sandals) and shorts until the crepe myrtle shoots. I'm not sure what happens if you don't follow this lore. I'm not crazy enough to defy Welsh/Scottish mythology.
Oh the humanity. It certainly smells like summer. As I noted in a recent overly dramatic column, Newcastle is in the middle of Body Odour Season, so 'nuff said on that. But, mercifully, gardenias and frangipanis are in full bloom and scent. Other fragrances on the wind include mangoes and the irresistible barbecue sausage-onion combo.
Oh my, that gin and tonic goes down well. It certainly tastes like summer. Fanning myself like a Victorian matron, I appreciate why gin and tonic was drunk like tea in Colonial India. It's even better if you believe that the negligible amount of quinine in the tonic keeps the mozzies away.
But, oh, the silence. It certainly doesn't sound like summer.
I've been keeping a keen eye on the Herald's Hunter Photographic Prize entries. It's a summer treat to see what has caught people's eye during the holiday season. In the past week or so, a few great shots of cicadas have been published. It was then I realised that I hadn't heard any cicada carry-on around my house. On cue, the funnel webs are out and about. The mozzies have settled in and the blowflies are hanging around the back door like a bad smell.
But no cicadas. At least not in my patch of the suburban woods. They should have emerged from their shells by now and be well into their yearly mission to deafen the neighbourhood. Cicadas are the sound of summer (followed closely by Chisel/Barnesy tunes on the radio).
This week, I was on the verge of alerting David Attenborough to the cicada issue, when I pulled into that petrol station on the hill at Brunkerville. I sensed all was well when I could hardly hear Flame Trees blaring on the radio.
Then, as I opened the car door, I was hit by a wall of sound. The thousands of trees surrounding me were alive with the sound of music.
The cicada choir had turned it up to 11. Probably just for me.
I hit the road again with my ears ringing. Finally, it sounded like summer.
Now we* can all get some sleep.
* Probably just me