Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Summertime, and the livin' is easy…



Russian summer for me smells of smoke from braziers, raspberry jam cooking in a large enamel bowl, wet asphalt after pelting showers, short starry nights and vacations that everybody looks forward to!
In Australia the first summer smell which comes to my mind is the smell of Christmas. Smoked glazed ham, roast turkey, brandy pudding – all the trimmings of Christmas Day (yes, I still love the traditional cooked lunch even if it’s +40 °C outside).

Then there is a smell of sea, salt and sun block. We are very lucky to live only about 10 minutes drive from the beach, and during summer months we usually go for a swim on Saturday and Sunday mornings. At this time of the day the Indian Ocean is still asleep, the occasional waves are gentle and soothing, the colour of the water is indigo blue or emerald green depending on the breeze direction. Seagulls soaring in the sky, dolphins frequently frolicking not far from the water edge – total bliss!
Picnics at the river Swan have a different smell altogether. It’s the smell of seaweed, prawns or sausages on the barbeque, fish and chips bought at the local corner shop, watermelon and icy cold white wine. Watching the sunset over the river when the colours of the sky change from pale pinks to bright reds and purples is a spectacular show!
There is also an ever alarming smell of bushfires which are quite frequent during summer months due to Australia’s mostly hot and dry climate. On one hand, they can cause property damage and loss of human and animal life. On the other hand, certain native flora relies on bushfires as a means of reproduction.

My other favourite summer smell is that of a salty and refreshing sea breeze in the afternoon. It's called the Fremantle Doctor because it appears to come from the nearby coastal city of Fremantle, and it brings welcome relief from the summertime high temperatures.

I also like the smell of crispy white linen after a day in the scorching heat on the washing line, the smell of gin-and-tonic with a slice of lime on the back veranda at sundown, the overwhelmingly sweet and intense smell of jasmine overhanging the back fence.

And there is one more smell! It's the distinctly melancholy smell of memories - smoke from braziers, raspberry jam cooking in a large enamel bowl, wet asphalt after pelting showers, short starry nights and vacations that everybody looks forward to...