There's such a huge difference between the weather merely being hot and life-threateningly scorching. Everyone here in Sydney experienced the scorched side of far-too-hot last Sunday. Here in Marrickville, it got up to 40°C, or 104°F in the old money, and I'm close to the coast, so it was a lot hotter than that in the suburbs further inland. It was hard to cope with. Walk outside for a few minutes and you started to wilt, just like the plants.
For what it's worth, proof. Of course we knew it was coming, so I was out early in the garden protecting what I thought were the vulnerable ones.
My supposedly 'cool climate' tomatoes must have thought they'd been transferred to Namibia, and so they got their own little shadecloth tent.
These are the chubby little 'Beaver Lodge Slicers' under that tent, Canadian tomatoes who had been enjoying a holiday in Australia, suddenly regretting their tour Down Under. They came through it all OK.
Across the path, this hastily erected structure, which I dubbed the 'Sarah Palin Room', houses my other cool-climate tomatoes, the 'Alaska' variety. Marvellous use of orchid stakes and bulldog paper clips from the home office under pressure, I must say!
Underneath the shadecloth shroud, the Alaskans were undoubtedly muttering recriminations to themselves about who booked the passage to Australia, but they survived.
Elsewhere in the Scorcho-Dome, the cumquat tree received special treatment, mainly because a good friend Michelle, whose cumquat plant I baby-sat for several months recently, had told me about the awful 40°C day a few years ago when her potted cumquat almost went to heaven. Panic-struck, I decided my baby citrus, right now in the bloom of youth, was going to avoid that fate, and it did. Breezed through it all in fact. Seemed like an over-reaction, actually. That's always the problem with people/critters/plants which survive due to good planning. Did they really need all that fuss in the first place? Next year, complacency!
Alas, there was one victim. Ringo. Not discovered on the day, or even the day after. But on the day after that, my usual greedy quartet of goldfish who appear like lightning at the first sprinkle of goldfish food – John, Paul, George and Ringo – well, they lacked the usual rhythm. The drums were silent. Ringo hadn't made it.
RIP Ringo, it was all my fault, somehow. Sorry old chum. It was a beastly day. I tried my best, but nature is like that. Beautiful, then vicious, then beautiful again.