Summer is my favourite time of the year. It is hot, there is lots of sunshine and generally it is a happy time with Christmas and the New Year in the miiddle of it. And I love eye-candy ;)
When I was younger, the first highlight of summer was the ending of the school year usually in mid-December. These days the schools seem to be breaking up closer and closer to Christmas. The couple of weeks before the school year ended was a bludge especially after the reports had been sent home. On the last day of term, I’d always think of the old Alice Cooper song “School’s Out” which went “school’s out for summer!” which was always a great feeling.
The next highlight of summer was Christmas. As a child, Christmas was sweet for me. I didn’t have to do anything but I got presents and lots of food. I didn’t get much pocket money (if any) so I wasn’t expected to buy anyone anything. A couple of weeks before Christmas before the age of about 10, I’d get a Santa photo taken. One year, my late Uncle played the part of Santa at the hospital where he worked and it was about then that I knew there was no Santa. The other day, I told my mum that there’s only one fat bloke in this family that gives presents and it isn’t Santa.
When I was a kid, Christmas Eve saw me get to bed early. When I got up in the morning, I’d open my presents and spend most of the day playing with them. The only time I’d have to stop is for lunch and tea. There was nothing much on TV so playing with whatever my newest toy was….swweeetttttttt! Each year, we’d alternate where possible around the different houses in the family. I’ve never had to spend half a day with some people and then the other half of the day somewhere else. But as family members died, it is only mum and I and because we are both adults, Christmas isn’t the same any more and we have a meal together when I’m not working.
I’ve had to work a few Christmas Days since I’ve started on the railways and you will be surprised about how many people actually are out and about travelling around to visit people or simply to travel around or to travel to and from work.
After Christmas, the next highlight would be New Year’s Eve. I’ve spent a few nights working and they are busy nights. The majority of people are out to have a good time and are happy but towards the end of the night, some people turn ugly.
As a kid, I’d try to stay awake to watch the fireworks on TV but often I wouldn’t make it. I’ve had a couple of ordinary NYE’s, the worst one was probably camping on the Central Coast.
The best work NYE would have been working at Milson’s Point station. I had a magical view of the fireworks as I was on the platform. My job was to make sure that people didn’t get on the tracks. The original plan was to make sure that no one watched the fireworks from the platform but because trains were still running, it was not easy. So in the end, we told the people that if they mis-behaved, we’d close the station. But if they were good, we’d let them stay if they left straight afterwards. So everyone was good and we all got a good view of the fireworks.
The best NYE outside of work was actually in country NSW. I made a surprise visit to my friends Heath and Leanne and we went to the local pub and caught up over several drinks. In fact between the two of us, we drunk the pub clean out of Canadian Club. This was the year that there was a huge ball on the Harbour Bridge and Leanne and I were waiting for the ball to do something but it didn’t do anything. When I got back to Sydney. I found that the ball broke down and it was supposed to do something other than just sit there. I remember saying “well the credits are rolling so if the ball was going to do something, it would have done it by now.” I think we stayed until closing and we staggered back and I was told that I sent some rather strange text messages.
Then the next highlight would be Australia Day with more celebrations and more fireworks. I like fireworks.
Before leaving school, summer would see me playing cricket, swimming, riding a bike or playing with friends. I’d also spend a bit of time watching the cricket on TV and doing some train watching as well. I’d usually go to the Penrith Pool unless it was the time that I had a pool at home. Because I didn’t (and still don’t) live on the coast, I’d rarely go to the beach.
But now I’ve left school and am now working on the railways, summer is different but still fun. Depending on what I was doing and where I was working, I’d either be in air conditioned comfort or sweating rather badly. I love the long days of sunshine and the sometimes spectacular sunsets that summer brings. When I started working, I made sure I got a good air-conditioning unit and a few years ago I got roller shutters so if I needed to sleep during the day, I could.
After seeing the devestation of the bushfires of Christmas 2001 and seeing the work of the firefighters, I decided to join the NSW Rural Fire Service. I had doubts that I could do it due to work committments etc but after talking to a couple of mates who were in the service already, I decided to join up. I started as a firefighter in 2002 and continued this until 2004. In 2003, I joined the local Communications Brigade and am still there today. Summer is obviously a busy time for anyone wearing yellow. While we are active year round, summer is busy time.