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Despite the fact that our rented residence has a very minimal garden, it needs water (during the two hours of the two days we are allowed to water). My wife insisted that it also required mulch and the dispensation of hard-earned Australian dollars (see previous post) at the local nursery, which seems to do a fantastic business despite the drought, thank you very much. I was the designated pack animal for the big bags of mulch and nicely polished black and white rocks which are part of the garden decor. At the nursery, Poyntons of Essendon, I noticed a small sign: Fall is Here! My God, I thought, Easter is still a month away.

Being down under does a number on one’s notion of seasons. We arrived shortly after the New Year to a heat wave. It was their equivalent of high summer, after all. There were a few days during that first month when the afternoon sun was absolutely oppressive. On Junuary 16th it got up to 105 degees Fahrenheit, but it felt like 125. It did not take long to discover that summer is not necessarily synonymous with shorts and T shirts. The weather of one day could fly through all four seasons without stopping for lunch.

Today is Labour Day in Victoria. Easter is in the fall. Christmas is in summer. June and July will bring in the dark days of winter, which are affected by the low latitude. In the dead of winter, there are only nine hours of sunshine, thirteen to fourteen in summer.

The idea of antipodal points comes to us from the Greeks, apparently. Each place on the planet had a correspondent point on the opposite side of the Earth. You just needed a good drill and a gift for languages. The British liked to think that Australia and New Zealand were their antipodes, but Auckland, New Zealand actually corresponds to Gibralter, and most of the north island of New Zealand corresponds to Spain.

Since most of the land masses on the planet are in the Northern Hemisphere, their antipodes are in the oceans. If we were to float the continent around to the other side, it would end up smack in the middle of the Atlantic. There’s plenty of room and I’m sure we would get more rain. Christmas would be in winter, once again.

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