Tobe Frank: The sounds of summer

To be frank, I just love the sounds of summer. Always have – suspect I always will. There is always something quite comforting about them and they cause me to reminisce nostalgically about summers lost, wishing they would never end; so many good times.

Shrills caused by bombs dives reminiscent of SeaWorld’s Shamu, sending waves of water over those seated naïvely in the splash zone. Every now and then those shrills would be replaced by ones of a different kind – born from someone (typically a visitor) misjudging a mickey flip and cracking their scone on the side of the pool! The sounds of sirens waling as the ambulance pulled out of the driveways is not one of my sounds of summer though.

The plopping of ice cubes in a tall glass filled with your beverage of choice: G&T, Long Island Iced Tea, SodaStream or the 70s Aussie classic, punch (would be alcohol free when the missus set it on the table and 10 per cent when ol’ Tobe had finished with it!).

The cchhhh of a tinnie being yanked open; the crrunch of bags of Smiths Chips being demolished in seconds by the ravenous hoards that seemed to descend up the Frank family pool as soon as it even appears to be open for business – those hours seemed to get pushed earlier and earlier (and extend later and later) each year! One year I even woke to the sound of one of the neighbours’ kids doing a few leisurely laps and it was only 7am! Bless him.

The sizzle of snags, chops and steak on the BBQ. Flare-ups that would bring on heckles from my mates giving me curry that I’m burning them. There would also be flare-ups between the gents pertaining to who was the greatest batsman of our time. Alan Border, Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Chapelli and Botham all featured prominently.

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Competing with all these noises would be the soothing tones of Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry calling the cricket (although I’ll gladly listen to Mark ‘Tubby’ Taylor and Michael ‘Slats’ Slater now too). Every now and then, Lawry’s “Got ‘im! Yes, what a ripper”, would cut through the mayhem grab everyone’s attention in enough time for the ‘instant replay’. Oh, the technological advancements of the time!

The chaotic chattering of the missus and her friends trying to solve the world’s problems, fix the occasional wounded child and work out why they were slurring their words and a little light headed after five cups of punch!

Age old rock songs on the wireless (or the iPod now, I guess). Great Aussie ballads like Solid Rock by Gonna, April Sun in Cuba by Dragon, Under the Milky Way by The Church or anything by Cold Chisel. Does it really get any better? If there was a soundtrack for summer, Aussie rock music was made for it.

The ominous low rumble of distant thunder, a cool change, a gentle breeze, that subtle difference to the smell in the air, hopefully all followed by a torrential downpour. As quickly as it arrived, it was gone. Steam on the roads…birds singing in the afterglow…games of backyard cricket recommencing with great debate as to whose bowl it was; kids getting back in the pool, possibly making dastardly use of the hailstones should said storm have brought some.

The screams of a young boy as he swings from the gum tree out and into the creek below.

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The “Ooh, ouch – holy sh*t that’s hot! Burning, burning!” as one crossed the sand at the beach or the bitumen to the milk store, regrettably forgetting their thongs. The flip-flopping of thongs…or for that matter, the ‘ca-chinging’ of orthopaedic surgeons lying in wait for future medical bills due to years of inappropriate footwear.

Nowadays, the sounds of summer are a little less hectic. The kids and grandkids spread their time between us, the in-laws and things they want to do alone. Many of our friends travel or are otherwise preoccupied. So the summer days are filled with rolling waves in the background, the rustling of a newspaper in the fore and somewhere off to the left, the inadvertent snore of the missus who has dozed off on the sun lounger…and that’s a pretty good sound to hear too…sometimes.


What are the sounds of summer you treasure or look forward to most? Tell us below!