While I was there, Western Australia was officially the hottest place on the planet at 41 degrees. Confirmed by the world weather channel, I was personally very excited about this hailing as I do, from a country which is unlikely to ever achieve this accolade, global warming or no. Even with the occasional ‘Brighton hotter than Benidorm!’ headlines we get on the odd Thursday in April. Down at Leighton Beach it was in the late twenties by 9.30am and the beach was a hive of activity hosting the state swimming championships for the under 14’s. Hundreds of youngsters in their team colours of Cottesloe, City of Perth, Mullaballoo and Trig threw themselves with unbridled enthusiasm into the Indian Ocean leaping over the waves like little multi-coloured dolphins. They swam with fierce competition which was great to see. A few had to be fished out as their ambition proved more robust than their swimming ability, but no matter. As they emerged lined up on the beach in order of how they came out of the water they looked tired and happy. They were rallied by an adult wearing a shirt bearing the title ‘Age Manager.’ Despite the unequivocal evidence of their performance in comparison to every other swimmer, none of them looked as if they were going to suffer low esteem for the rest of their lives as a result. This I consider a great improvement on the UK sports day races for our youngsters where everyone gets a medal and nobody wins and nobody loses. Where’s the fun in that? No wonder we’re rubbish at the Olympics.
We retired at high noon to the beach cafe as it was now over 40 degrees and sampled a cold glass of some locally brewed beer which claimed to have been made with ‘eccentric’ yeast. Later we drove back to Freo to the refrain of ‘It’s a Shutdown’ by Australian Crawl (more eighties soft rock madness) and contemplated our evening’s entertainment. There is free lesbian mud wrestling every Wednesday at 10pm at the Court Hotel in Perth. Or we could just have another barbie… The Echidna is the brains of the operation