It’s the summer holidays and it finally starts to feel like it. Apart from feeling more relaxed, sleeping in a little and eating later it hasn’t really felt like the holidays.
I managed to pin it down to two things:
- I didn’t have—or attend—an end-of-year break-up drinks session. For as long as I remember either I or one of my friends would have break-up drinks where all the kids and mums get together for drinks not unlike our Friday afternoon drinks. This year my son hosted a sleepover after exams and my daughter went to a friends for break-up pool party but I was left to my own devices and didn’t invite any parents for accompanying drinks. I don’t like it when there’s no celebratory get together so I’m pretty sure this was part of that anti-climax.
- We didn’t head straight for the beach. Once school is out–and we’ve got together for break-up drinks–we head straight for the beach to spend some six weeks in summer holiday mode: prepping for Christmas, heading to the beach each day, boating, water sports and lots and lots of eating and drinking. We love our summer holidays in Australia: it’s all about the beach, great food and amazing company.
Summer holidays in Australia
Let me tangent for just a minute: Australian beaches are largely uninhabited. Sure you’ve got Bondi and Manly beach in Sydney and St Kilda and Brighton in Melbourne but the beaches aren’t built up on the beach like Santa Monica, Malibu and Long Beach. Where we go—Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales (NSW)—there’s nothing.
And that’s exactly the way we like it. It has all we need: a seafood co-op (where local fisherman sell their seafood to the public), a butcher and a deli with most of the hard-to-find ingredients we need for the incredible food we’ll prepare—recipes we’ve been researching and preparing for months in advance.
All we have is the beach, the white sand, crystal clear water and fellow boaters. Oh, and lots of great food and drink.
In Australia hundreds of families pack up their car on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) to congregate on the highway headed for the beach. They rent houses, enjoy their own or camp or caravan (RV) on the foreshore for their annual fortnight (two weeks) holiday (vacation). It’s the quintessential ‘Straylian thing to do.
Summer holidays in the US
American summer holidays go on and on and on. And on and on. Essentially three months of the year are spent on holidays. If you ask me (I know you didn’t) it’s ridiculous. It’s just too long. There are some school districts that have caught on and implemented the “year-round” schedule. It works similar to Australia where you get two weeks four times a year and six weeks over summer.
(In Australia the school year goes something like this: 10 weeks of school, two weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks, 10 weeks of school, six/eight weeks summer holidays).
We all know through movies like American Pie that American kids spend weeks at a time on camp; well it’s no bloody wonder. You need to be a patient martyr to manage the kids for three months.
Last year I blogged about Brenda and Brandon heading down to the Beverly Hills Beach Club over summer where Brandon would go to work (good old Brandon working to earn his keep as opposed to Dylan living comfortably off his trust fund–don’t misunderstand me I loved Dylan!). I was so excited to be hitting the beach at the members-only club the likes of which the fictitious beach club in 90210 was based.
As a family we made a pact that we wouldn’t let 90210 and the Hollywood lifestyle change us. There have to be exceptions to every rule and heading down to the beach club has to be one of them.
Here are three (OK four) reasons why the private beach club should be an exception to our rule:
- Beach chairs: It’s so nice not having to lug your chairs all the way down to the beach, it’s all set up for you. How decadent.
- Valet parking: No more driving around trying to find a park: pull up, get out of the car and it’s parked for you.
- Bar and restaurant (no words needed)
- Toilets and hot showers (no words needed).
The only problem with world-famous Santa Monica beach in June (and SoCal in general for that matter) is June Gloom. June Gloom is exactly as it sounds: a marine layer hovers over the beach suburbs making it grey and gloomy (rather than bright and sunny) and doesn’t lift (if you’re lucky) until early afternoon.
I remember when we first arrived in LA we were running around Hollywood in the stifling August heat. We were due to meet friends in Santa Monica at 3:00. When we got there we were freezing: the marine layer was hovering over Santa Monica, visibility was poor, no sun and it was at least 20 degrees colder. Ill prepared we needed jumpers and long pants it was that cold. And that was in August.
On our way down to the beach club I was telling my friend about my experience because we’d forgotten to pack jumpers for our trip to the beach. Sure enough—as if I’d jinxed us—the same was true that day.
We were supposed to head to the beach the day before but Obama was in town and the roads were closed from the beach to Beverly Hills making it impossible to go anywhere on the Westside without being stuck in standstill traffic.
When parking our car we asked if the June Gloom had lifted at all this week to which the valet replied not really but they did catch the sun the day Obama shut down the roads. Great, we hoped we weren’t doomed.
But, alas around 3:00 in the afternoon, like magic the gloom lifts giving way to sunshine.
The scene was set for an afternoon in paradise: an afternoon where we could sip cocktails on the balcony watching the sun set over Santa Monica and the kids had run of the club and the nearby pier.
Yep, summer is here, holidays are here. There truly is nothing like being at the beach to make you feel like the summer holidays have arrived. And if that trip to the beach happens to come with all the bells and whistles of a 90210 lifestyle then I’m all in.
Happy summer everyone!
xx It Started in LA xx