Yesterday was hot. It was the kind of day that has me hunting at the back of the bathroom cupboard for the lady-shaver and the fake tan. Yesterday gave me the first real hint that the school year will really truly soon be over and the Christmas season will be upon us.
The Rock is a popular summer holiday spot. Our usual population is somewhere around 9000. In summer that number swells to around to 50,000.
We have patrolled surf beaches, kid-friendly beaches, dog-friendly beaches, rugged hard-to-get-to beaches, beaches where you can fish, beaches for motor boats — we even have a beach that belongs to the local penguins. We have bike tracks and walking tracks. We have bird-watching places aplenty and we cohabit with all manner of native animals. I can see why people would want to come here for their summer break. Let’s face it; we did it ourselves for about a decade. I’m not complaining. We need all those droppers-by to sustain us through the bleak wintery months.
So yesterday’s glorious warmth was a reminder for me to take note of the key indicators that it’s almost summer holidays here on The Rock.
1: Roadworks begin. This usually involves:
(a) an increase in the number of speed limit signs along the principal roadways so that the legal speed changes every few hundred metres in order to trap unwary visitors and increase the number of speeding fines that can be issued
(b) a decrease in the speed limit at random illogical points on the roadways in order to trap unwary locals and increase the number of speeding fines that can be issued
(c) the appearance of fresh bright pink paint around the perimeters of the tyre-eating axel-snappingly large holes in the roads over the top of the faded bright pink paint from last summer’s marking of the tyre-eating axel-snappingly large holes in the roads.
2: The number of traffic police and parking inspectors increases.
3: The number of locals on the streets decreases.
4: Lurid floatation devices that will spontaneously combust if left in direct sunlight and fluoro bucket/spade sets with flimsy handles guaranteed to snap right off as soon as any enterprising child attempts to fill said bucket with water or sand or any combination of both water and sand fill the display of every shop window — supermarket, pharmacy, ice-cream parlour, fish ’n chippery, newsagency, bike store, hair-dresser, frock shop, real estate agent, undertaker… every last one of them.
But yesterday also set me to thinking that there may be a better way for we Rock Dwellers to manage the onslaught of summer guests. You see, there’s only one way on to The Rock. So, I’m wondering if we should set up a tollbooth and allocate visas to all those who wish to gain passage to our little piece of paradise.
I’m considering issuing them along these lines:
Long- term visa: Well hello and welcome — you look like a lovely family who respect the environment and have plenty of money to pump into our restaurants, wineries and book store. Enjoy your summer.
Medium-term visa: As your boat/surf board/ jetski is clearly brand-spanking shiny new, you have permission to stay long enough for it to become salt –encrusted, for you to get your nose sunburned and to see a real live wallaby. Then home you go. And don’t forget to take your rubbish with you.
Short-term visa: Are you kidding? This car has air-horns. You have permission only to visit the go-karts and/or the brewery, get your fish ’n chips and buggar off back to wherever you came from.
That should just about cover it.