For RiotACT contributor Maryann Mussared, summer is a time for reflection, planning and enjoying the great outdoors. As our My Summer series continues, she shares her tips for getting the most out of the holiday season.
This summer I’m most looking forward to … a few quiet weeks in my studio doing my annual personal and artistic ‘stocktake’. This involves sorting all the notes I have made, on the run, and making a definitive list of what I would like to achieve and make in 2017.
The thing I am least looking forward to … is seeing way too much exposed sun-burnt flesh. I am not sure if the danger of cleavage fatigue has passed but it certainly has been rampant in the past few years. And why can’t we all learn that clothing made of loose natural fibres covering our limbs are a great way to stay cool. I am also rather overwhelmed by how many spiders have appeared in my garden and house in the past few weeks!
My favourite swimming pool in Canberra is … my friend’s pool which is always sparkling clean and if I go at the right time, completely devoid of other swimmers. However, the Manuka Pool is one of Canberra’s great art deco treasures and I love taking out-of-town visitors who can’t believe it has survived intact.
My favourite freshwater swimming hole is … Swamp Creek on the Murrumbidgee. It is delightful for shady picnicking and swimming spots: park the car under the trees, have a simple BBQ picnic, splash around in the shallows or throw yourself into a deep pool. Running water is always so refreshing.
The best beach on the NSW coast is … Rosedale – the north side near the lagoon. I love most Sydney beaches because they are patrolled, but by the time you get there; pay to park; find somewhere to squeeze in your towel and shade shelter; and find the patrolled area of surf is so crowded you need to swim out beyond the breaker line to find some space (what my mother used to call ‘shark bait territory”), it is all just too exhausting. I don’t recommend just anyone swims in unpatrolled areas, but for me Rosedale is quite sheltered and I am always reassured when I see lots of big muscly surfies because I know there will be someone to rescue me. And the water temperature on the south coast is currently a lovely warm 21 degrees!
Aside from swimming and lounging on the sand/by the pool, when I’m on summer holidays I like to … get up early for gardening and a walk. Then visit a favourite café, and when it starts to get too warm, I have half a dozen regular places that are always cool, including the Fern Garden at the National Botanic Gardens and Westbourne Woods. I avoid Sydney because it is too humid, even though there are lots of exciting events for the Sydney Festival.
My favourite summer drink is … anything in a long glass, with lots of ice and something citrus based and just a touch of gin! Limoncello Collins hits just the right spot on a very hot day
My ice-cream of choice is … Maggie Beer salted caramel. It is always available at my local IGA. I do make a pretty mean lime sorbet when I have time.
The salads I like to eat in summer are … any with lots of tang and crunch, preferably with chilli and coriander. This crunchy, spicy Asian salad from Taste.com.au is perfect with left-over chicken, turkey or prawns.
The al fresco dining spots I’ll be hanging out this summer are ... the verandah of POD Food, Beltana Road, Pialligo. It is so perfect for breakfast on the weekend, especially if it is going to be a hot day. I never miss taking visitors up Red Hill to Little Brother Cafe, especially now the Fountain is working again, and I also love an early evening cocktail on one of the shady verandahs of the Hyatt Hotel.
The sport I’m looking forward to playing this summer is … anything that involves as little exertion as possible. Back lawn croquet is looking good …
The sport I’m looking forward to watching this summer is … downhill skiing somewhere in Europe. No matter how hot it is outside, I always feel much cooler looking at all that snow.
When it’s too hot to be outside I’ll be … chilling out at the Palace Cinema or at one of the national institution’s summer exhibitions. I have rather jumped the gun and seen most of this summer’s excellent offerings, except the National Archives’ Iconic Australian Houses exhibition.
The must-attend summer events this year are … the Summer Sounds Concert Series at the National Botanic Gardens during January and February. It was great to see so many people enjoying live music, gorgeous picnics with champagne and lots of spontaneous dancing.
The best outing for children this summer is … the National Gallery’s Versailles exhibition. They can take the children’s audio tour and then into NGA Play to do something creative. The vertical weaving frame is proving very popular, and I have already seen many little princesses and princes coming out of the Gallery wearing their crowns!
The summer flicks I’m planning to see are … The Darjeeling Limited and Rosalie Blum, as both have a high ‘feel good’ factor. I will most definitely not be seeing Fifty Shades Darker!
On my holiday reading pile this year are Julian Cribb’s Surviving the 21st Century – Humanity’s Ten Great Challenges. I have read some negative reviews, so I want to sort if I should actually be preparing my survival pack. I have also just been given The Classics: All you Need to Know, from Zeus’ Throne to the Fall of Rome by Caroline Taggart. And for light summer reading, I have a stack of unread gardening and cooking magazines I optimistically subscribe to annually.
If you’d like to share your responses to our My Summer cues, please log on and upload your own version for publication in coming weeks.