When I was a kid, my father would greet us at the breakfast table on the first day of Spring with ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz. I wonder where the birdies is.’ This would be delivered with a comical face and funny voice. We would respond with the expected gales of laughter and the season would officially begin.
Spring in Brisbane is usually delightful. We have lovely warm days and nights that are still cool enough to require blankets (Doonas were unheard of when I was a kid.) on the bed. My mother would remove the heavy eiderdowns from the bedrooms and hang them over the clothes line for a good airing and thorough belting with a large wooden spoon.
Whilst my Nanna had a clothes line slung between two trees and held in place by a wooden prop, we were one of the modern families lucky enough to own a Hills Hoist Rotary clothes line. It was a terrific thing to play on. Just like the little girl in the picture, we would swing around and around hanging on to one corner. This was a two person game because someone had to keep the line turning by pushing it with a broom handle. Mum didn’t like us playing on the line because it would eventually become bent out of shape. She also maintained that we would overstretch our spines which couldn’t possibly do us any good.
The aired and well-thumped eiderdowns were packed away for the summer months along with our flannelette winter pyjamas and winter dressing gowns. On the first day of Spring we were issued with cotton pjs, usually new since we had grown out of the previous summer’s set. I had sets like these ones mad from soft cotton and edged with lace thanks to my aunty, who was a dab hand with the sewing machine.
But, the worst was yet to come. On the first day of Spring, just as on the first day of each season, Mum gave us a dose (one teaspoon) of castor oil to ‘clean our systems’. Oh boy! Did it ever clean our systems! If there was any way to ditch the evil stuff without Mum noticing, I did so. Here are some tips to avoid ingesting it.
1. Always stand close to the kitchen sink when supposedly drinking the castor oil. Wait until Mum is checking little brother’s mouth to see if he has swallowed his dose, and ditch yours.
2. Upend medicine glass against closed lips and then quickly wash the glass out. When Mum checks, your mouth will be empty.
3. Have glass of water standing by. Tip oil into mouth but do not swallow. Pretend to follow with a swig of water but actually spit oil back into water glass, Then quickly rinse out.
If none of these methods are effective, I extend my sympathies to you.
Spring is a great season. The weather is fabulous and the schools are on holidays for a couple of weeks before the final term of the year. I loved then and I love it now.
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz. I wonder where the birdies is.