The sadly inevitable coming of spring would not be half so depressing but for the fact that so many people hereabouts seem to be actually looking forward to it. "Spring is in the air!" "Hooray!" and other dismal epithets abound. The very little winter that we are able to enjoy in Australia is sorrowfully insubstantial, with few showers, no snow, not as many grey clouds as one might reasonably wish for, and it is all over in a pitifully short time. This is bad enough; but the end of winter also heralds the coming blight of summer - bushfires, 40 plus degree days, and doubtless an influx of young sorts rushing hither and yon under the illusory impression that they are happy.
It is unfortunate in the extreme that, although Australia has inherited many good things from the British - a fine language, parliamentary democracy, the sport of cricket, and a certain propensity towards sombre grey-stoned architecture - the British climate is not one of those things. I'm not quite certain how this can have happened, but it seems to me an oversight on the part of our early Colonial Governors; one wishes that our formative Prime Ministers - Deakin, perhaps, or Barton - could have busied themselves with parliamentary statutes limiting the length and extent of our summers, perhaps, or importing English autumn and winter days where appropriate - but sadly, they have not. It is not simply that such a high-minded and forward-thinking approach would have made life here more comfortable; but it would have made it so much more productive. Autumn and winter are excellent seasons for just about all the good things in life that one could wish for: beer and wine brewing and cheese making. They also afford plentiful opportunity for the eating of porridge and pudding and scones and cakes, and for the occasional promenade around the house in a magnificent dressing gown. The seasons are also highly beneficial for domestic felicity: cats become less inclined to go outside, more predisposed to a cuddle, and are on the whole much friendlier with you and with one another. And, for some reason, it seems to make other people much grumpier and more sorrowful, which is also a plus.
It is probably too much to hope for any change to this appalling state of affairs. We could wish for an education about how nice autumn and winter are - there could be frequent readings of Keats ('Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness', etc) for instance - but it is likely thanks to public education that this rot about summer being wonderful, winter being horrible, started. They may not even teach kids about the 10 Major and 99 Minor Disappointments of Life anymore.
So the world is getting worse and we cannot do anything about it: the best we can do is ruefully admire the masses of gloomy clouds that hang in the Melbourne skies while there is still time. It should help to ease the pain, a bit.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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- The briefs...
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