Wednesday, January 15, 2014


While the top half of the globe recovers from the wrath of the recent polar freeze, Australia is in the grip of a seriously cranky heatwave, and we are rapidly melting back into the earth here in our inner-outer-inner Melbourne suburb.

When I say heatwave, I really mean HEATWAVE. Hot, sweltering, sweating, stinking, fire breeding, fire breathing, brain draining, soul sapping, heatwave conditions.

And when I say hot, I mean HOT - we've just sweated through two 42 degree days, with tomorrow forecast to reach 44 degrees before dropping back to 42 degrees on Friday. That's Celcius of course - for those of you playing at home on the other side of the world, we're talking Fahrenheit 107.6, 107.6, 111.2, 107.6.

The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology's brand new Pilot Heatwave Forecast, launched just a few hot days ago, has labelled the current state of play in Melbourne as being an 'extreme heatwave.' The service forecasts that we still have a few more days of 'severe' and normal heatwave conditions to endure before the climatic oven door gets opened again this weekend. 

Extreme heatwave. Image from Bureau of Meteorology.
Our beloved crumbling terrace house normally tides us safely through the many hot peaks and cold troughs of the Melbourne year, but every now and then it gets knocked for six by an extreme weather curve ball. And this extreme heatwave is definitely one of those times.

The rambling monster
has ripped off its hipster chic facade and is now showing its true blue stone heart, sucking up the heat like a nursing baby during a growth spurt and radiating it straight back through the floorboards.

On show with it's heart it's its age and mixed bag of unfortunate structural quirks, and the heat has wasted no time in exploiting the many gaps in the skirting boards, broken air vents, uncovered man holes, poorly sealed windows and less-than-well hung front and back doors.

Despite the obvious defects in our attack arsenal, and the inevitable futility of our efforts, we are still putting up a valiant fight against the elements with the humble weaponry of drawn blinds, pedestal fans, wet flannels, rolled up towels and cool baths.

We have also enlisted the help of a small portable air-conditioner, which is currently sucking the guts out of the kitchen at a distressing volume and dripping water all over the floor (although the sight of any liquid is actually pretty welcome at this point).

The relatively shit little air-con box is struggling with the intensity of the task, but is admittedly providing a modicum of relief if you stand in the kitchen. Immediately in front of the air vent. With a wet flannel on your head. And an ice cube in your mouth. Naked.

The heat is starting to make mince meat of our brains, and make chaos out of our normal order. Sleep has already gone by the wayside, and our daughter is slowly but surely winding up like a crazed jack in the box, sans sleep, sans nap, sans routine, sans comfortable body temperature.

Bucket-head Dog (still stuck in her bucket collar, still feeling sorry for herself) has given up on the outside world, and has glued herself to the kitchen floor in an attempt to absorb all the air-conditioned cold benefit before it spreads to the rest of the family. Skulling water with a cone on her head is proving to be her most difficult challenge, with a serious lack of spatial awareness surrounding herself and the cone going on.

Other than rearranging our small cache of cooling methods and trying them again, though, we are all as short of options as we are effective air-conditioning and cool temperament.

It is too hot and mad out there for us to go to the pool - think exceptionally fair skin, babies wriggling out of their rash vests, sweaty bum cracks, school holiday swim classes, searing concrete, exploding hot dogs, melting cobbers and four hundred foam noodles and fluorescent kick boards fighting for water space.

The sun is too ferocious to risk a trip to the beach with a baby under wing - and even if we did succumb to the powers of heat exhaustion and make it down to the sand, the rolling heatwave news coverage suggests it would be impossible to find any space to swim among the miserable, melting, Melbournian hordes.

We cannot take a quick stroll to the park without actual fear of acute sunburn and heat stroke, and the same goes for pushing the pram to the local cafe for a refreshing organic smoothie (or tall iced chocolate with extra whipped cream, if I'm being honest).

Despite being known for their gale force air conditioning, I am reluctant to seek refuge in shopping centres unless there is an actual emergency alert issued. The last thing this Mummy can fathom is sharing my very limited personal space with several thousand hyperactive children and their exhausted parents, whilst fighting for the last four chicken nuggets and high chair in the food court.

Much the same goes for cinemas, ice skating rinks, gaming centres, bowling alleys, giant all-you-can-eat restaurants and sporting complexes - anywhere really, that involves children or food or high chairs or even just lots of people crammed into the one room.

In a mixed moment of ingenuity and sugar cravings last night, I sent my husband out to stock up on ice-blocks to make me at least feel better (and sweeter) over the coming days - but it appears that the miserable hordes beat us to it and cleaned out the freezer section on their way home from the beach.

The hordes beat us to it!
Except for a few broken boxes and atrociously unlucky flavours, the ice-block shelves were completely bare - and the ice-cream and sorbet chests were not much better. Even the freeze-yourself-fruit-tube varieties in the dessert aisle were sold out.

With a little heatwave luck on his side, he managed to secure the final berry sorbet in the store (and possibly, in the whole of southern Australia) and make it home without getting mugged by overheated shoppers or stopping in the car park to devour the whole tub himself - a frosty new addition to our freezer, and to our rapidly diminishing heatwave arsenal.

If only we could buy a truckload of icy cold sorbets and deliver them to the service and emergency crews, though - the electricity workers attending to wires, the ambos treating heat affected souls, the transport workers fixing rails and lines and jams, the firies fighting fires in unbearable heat. The people who will get us through the next few days, and the next heatwave when it arrives.

I like my sorbet, and I dislike the heat, but the fact I'm sitting here typing my blog with a shit portable air-conditioner, electricity, internet, and berry sorbet means I'm doing okay. And it's all thanks to them.

According to the forecasts, we're halfway there Australia.

Keep cool.

Are you feeling the heatwave? Are you reading on from somewhere cold? How do you keep cool in the heat?

M x


  1. Oh yep I am totally feeling your pain... I can't even begin to describe the ridiculous amounts of ice-cream I have eaten this week! xx Lucy from Bake Play Smile

    1. I ate so much berry sorbet I started to resemble a raspberry. Thank goodness it's cooled down again! x

  2. Oh Meg, you poor love! We expect those temps here in Qld and are always over prepared.
    It's so sad watching the fire situations unfold on the news, and I don't know what we'd all do without our emergency crews.
    I'm hoping it starts to cool down for you guys soon, because nobody needs to deal with melting cobbers! x

    1. Thanks Lisa. All cool again now, the cobbers are back to their normal state and the fire situation in Victoria seems to have finally eased. x

  3. Somehow this sun-evading, wilting petal has made it to the end of the current heatwave, looking forward to tomorrow. Aaah.

    1. Well done, hope you are enjoying the cool weather as much as I am right now! x