Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 1, 2010

Summer is a’comin’

On this first day of December, which officially happens to be the first day of Summer here in Australia, I am left wondering what happened to our Spring? I guess we can’t complain – after a decade of drought conditions, emptying reservoirs, dead lawns and beloved plants fading to nothing, the rain we have had over the past few months has been a delight, and has certainly freshened up and created a multitude of greens all over the countryside.  I guess it is really the low temperatures that we have experienced through much of Spring, especially in November just past, that have left the feeling that we have missed a season along the way somehow!!!

However, the general view [if you are an overseas tourist coming to Australia at this time of year] is that it will always be typically hot and dry, great swimming weather etc throughout the nation. But be warned, being such a large country covering many different climatic zones, one area can vary immensely from another, with  deserts [of varying natures], beaches, rainforests, bushlands,  and mountains to take into consideration.  Have a look at these average temperatures for December weather in Australia. Of course most of my experience comes from Melbourne, and while the specified averages below for Melbourne are a good representation, that average that be exceeded quite severely [or vice versa] sometimes from one day to another.  That in fact, to my point of view, is what attracts Victoria’s weather [and in particular, this southern coastal region] to me as being ideal  –  it may get extremely hot for a few days [or vice versa] but you can always guarantee that it will change after just a few days. Over in Perth, for eg, you mind find anything up to three weeks at a time with temperatures well above the 30s – thankfully that doesn’t happen here. As has been said before, Melbourne [and district, which includes Sunbury] has been capable of producing the equivalent of four seasons in one day!!  Great place to live!   The weather in Melbourne is less variable in December compared to November, though it can still be quite diverse. Cool and overcast conditions can happen for several days. Hot days are at time associated with unpleasant north wind, which can be fairly strong.  Anyway, those average temperatures are:

Average Temperatures in December
Adelaide: 16°C (61°F) to 27°C (81°F)
Brisbane: 19°C (66°F) to 30°C (86°F)
Canberra: 11°C (52°F) to 26°C (79°F)
Darwin: 25°C (77°F) to 33°C (91°F)
Hobart: 11°C (52°F) to 20°C (68°F)
Melbourne: 13°C (55°F) to 24°C (75°F)
Perth: 16°C (61°F) to 29°C (84°F)
Sydney: 18°C (64°F) to 25°C (77°F)

Meanwhile, Australia’s 2022 World [Soccer] Cup bid team will be finally decided one way or another this Thursday, over in Switzerland I think.  The successful hosts for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be announced together on Thursday.  I have to admit to personally feeling was it is a bit optimistic to expect Australia to be successful – sure, we are a great sports loving nation, but it could never be claimed that we are yet [if ever] a power in football [soccer].  Yet despite what the other football codes in Australia try to suggest, a successful bid would bea great bonanza for a country, but sadly, the selfishness of our other codes [Australian Rules, Rugby League, Rugby Union] would most likely see those codes hoping the bid fails, particularly if they feel that success will rebound against their sport. A recent report, in today’s Age newspaper,  places other doubts on Australia’s hopes of a successful bid. An AFP,  Reuters report says:-

‘Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid team has played down the significance of a FIFA study which ranked the country last overall in projected revenues for the tournament. The report by management consultants McKinsey was distributed to all members of the FIFA executive committee, who will pick the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Zurich on Thursday.  The study assessed each bid in five key revenue areas: ticketing, TV and media rights, sponsorship, hospitality, and merchandising. While rival 2022 bidders the United States scored 100 per cent overall, Australia trailed last with 68 per cent. Japan placed second with 73 per cent, with South Korea 71 per cent and Qatar 70 per cent.  However, Football Federation of Australia chairman Frank Lowy shrugged off suggestions that the report may have a damaging impact on the Australian bid.  “McKinsey are not voting,” Lowy told journalists. “They are not the deciding factor.” “I don’t want to give you a lesson in economics but I can tell you that if 2022 goes to Australia it will be very profitable, especially for FIFA. “If you look at the growth of Asia, Japan, China, India in the last 10 years, what will happen in the next 10 years is unbelievably great in numbers of people, wealth creation, spendable dollars. “Those things are overwhelming, whatever McKinsey might say.” Australian bid officials said they had commissioned their own studies in the past which had given a different picture, he added. “It does put a picture that is very profitable for FIFA and World Cup Australia. What we need to take into account is that we are a gateway to Asia.” Lowy said Thursday’s vote would not be swung by one individual factor, whether that was the technical or financial strength of the bids, the political lobbying or Wednesday’s presentations to FIFA’s executive committee. “There are many deciding factors, but I think we have a credible, good, top bid, very seriously done,” he said’.

Of course, it’s not surprising that our people associated with the Aussie bid would be downplaying  any negative attitudes towards Australia’s hopes, and good on them. Being a great fan of all levels and kinds of international sport [even if actually being a live spectator is becoming less of an attraction as one gets older!], I would love to see the World Cup come here. But 2022, mmmmm, that’s 12 years away! How old will I be?  I don’t want to think about that! However, in the past, when thinking about the main international sports I’d like to go to, the top five have always been the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Ashes Test Cricket,  Grand Slam Tennis final, and the World Cup [Soccer] Final  –  the latter is the only one I’ve not got to, and don’t ever expect to, unless it comes here!  Anyway, we will know the outcome of Australia’s bid in less than 48 hours!

Earlier in the year, I was following the progress of my brother [ex Australian Army] and his partner’s travels around Australia, but around the time of the football finals, while they were somewhere over on the Western Australian coast, I kind of lost contact, and didn’t hear any more from Ian & Toni. I did hear when I was up in Brisbane 5 weeks ago, that they wre on their way home – to Brisbane, but up until today, I really didn’t know whether they had finished their trip or not.  That was answered today, when a brief online conversation with my brotherinlaw in Ballarat revealed that Ian’s ex-fatherinlaw had passed away this Monday past, the funeral would be held tomorrow in Ballarat, and that Ian was driving down from Brisbane to attend the funeral.

Meanwhile, this was another case of my leaving things too late. During my brief visit to Ballarat in September for my sister’s 50th birthday, one of the other guests was the sister of Ian’s first wife – Sue, who was now [or then] a fulltime carer for her father, old ‘Wal’. I promised her at the time that I would call in to see her father, who was a wonderful friendly old chap that I’d not seen for a few years. I had intended to pop down to see him just before I went up to Brisbane, but as fate would have it,  never made that visit! Perhaps even then, it might have been too late, as he had been in hospital for a little while, and only the immediate family had been permitted to see him. However despite, I still felt a little regretful had not having made the effort in time. So despite the short notice, I determined that I would get down to Ballaat tomorrow morning – it was an early service, at 9.30, which would allow me to be back at the office by around midday. The added incentive to make that trip, would be the chance to very briefly see my brother, whom I had not seen since June 2006.

Incidentally, back to the World Cup 2022, and the decision to be made at 1.30am on Friday morning our time, as to which country would host the event that year  –  there were apparently five contenders – the United States, Qatar, South Korea [which had ‘plans’ to discuss the hosting of some matches in North Korea as a peace gesture, although after recent developments, the idea might have been dropped by now], Japan, and Australia. So that is the competition we are up against!  I have a feeling, as a matter of diplomacy, that Korea might get the nod.

Finally, a bit of expert commentary on possible changes to the Australian cricket team, for the Second Test due to start in Adelaide on Friday  –  “Australia have two major concerns stemming from the Gabba, one with the ball and one with the bat.  Both Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus failed to have an impact. Hilfenhaus got a wicket with his third ball of the Test and then failed to have any success in the remaining 50 overs he bowled while Johnson’s match total of 0-170 combined with a first-innings duck made for a horror return.  The concern with the bat is that almost 70 percent of their first-innings total was made by two batsmen, Hussey and Haddin.  The question the selectors face is determining whether those factors are significant enough to warrant a change in personnel ahead of Friday’s match. Pacemen Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris have been brought into an expanded squad, increasing the pressure on Johnson and Hilfenhaus to retain their places. On the batting side, while Hussey has extended his period of grace with his great knock, question marks persist over Marcus North, who has been out in single figures in 15 times in 33 Test innings’ [from the Cricket Australia website, today]. I imagine the final team will be announced tomorrow.

 

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