It is re-assuring, even extraordinary to find our government advising the elderly and those in frail health to try and stay cool. Those that do not have air conditioning and are on the streets the advice is to seek shelter inside large shopping malls. The relentless heat-wave is taking its toll. Hundreds are taken into hospitals. Bush fires and alerts are keeping people on their toes. Ambulances are racing from collapse to collapse of bodies. Things are a bit nervous again, just when we felt it safe to get out again after the anxiety and bustle of Christmas. Images on TV show some nursing homes with the elderly sitting with their feet in cold water. Try and stay cool and well hydrated!
The loitering of pensioners or those who cannot afford running air-conditioning at large shopping complexes is a well known fact. It saves money not having to switch on cooling devices at home, even if it is just a fan. One is dry and comfortable. I often see the elderly in the comfortable surroundings of those huge shopping malls watching the world of the shoppers go by. There are large settees or arm chairs. Sometimes a surreptitious nice nap doesn’t go astray either. A splurging out of a fifty cent soft ice cream from the Big Mac. emporium. It is all taken into one’s stride. It passes the time. Time is what is in abundance here. I often do exactly the same while H. scans the latest in fashion boutiques you will find me keenly watching, observing and taking a terrific well earned shut-eye. Making a rhubarb crumble does take it out of you.
To stay ‘well hydrated’ is yet to be followed up with ‘drink water’ and avoid sugary drinks such as Coke or other sugar laden liquids. Of course alcohol is totally wrong. No, nothing of that kind. Just imagine the revenge of the Soft drink and Alcohol industry. Governments must tread carefully. A balance between health and survival and assuaging the holy Market is of the essence.
It reminds me about how my mum used to go to Bankstown Square back in the fifties and sixties or so. However, her aim for survival was the opposite. It was to get warm. Back in The Hague we were shown waving palms and Mosman suburbs with a very fit post man dressed in Omo white shorts leaping over fences delivering the post to sun-drenched gleaming white toothed wives standing next to a glorious white painted picket fence.
That first 1956 winter in Revesby in the grey asbestos fibro garage with the frost millimetres away from our noses underneath the blankets. The kerosene heater came next winter. Mum coping with a family of six all huddled together listening to ‘Smokey Dawson’ on the Bakelite radio. It was the Thursdays when our pay packets would be handed to her. We needed desperately to get enough money for a proper house. Even the proper house after a couple of years, was still clad in the same asbestos- fibro and still the undeclared frosty winter.
Mum did the only thing available to make the best of it. She made sandwiches and filled the thermos with hot coffee and escaped on the bus to Bankstown Square. It was the first large shopping centre to open in Sydney. It was headline news with marching girls, flags were out, jubilation of an entire nation. Bankstown Square was warm and had a buzz about it. There were crowds of people. My mum was a social creature and would strike up a conversation in her half Dutch half mangled English. Bread would be delivered by the ‘bugger’. She somehow never learned to say ‘baker’, instead just called him the Dutch ‘bakker’ pronounced ‘bugger’. ” Hello bugger, three loaves today, dank you well”.
Even today it still makes me LOL.