It’s another long weekend here.
They cram them all into the spring /summer months so that you have to suffer through a long dark winter with no holidays to look forward to. Having watched far too many sappy Christmas films, Mr NW and I have decided we are keen to do a Northern Hemisphere Christmas one year. We’d love to go to Germany or the States. Somewhere where it snows. I love having Christmas in summer but eating a full Christmas dinner in 30 degree (sorry, I only know Celsius) heat is a challenge. We can’t even take the kids to see houses decorated with lights because it doesn’t get dark till 9pm, waaay past their bedtime.
Anyway, it’s hot and we are all going a bit stir crazy having spent three days in each other’s company. This long weekend is all in honour of Show Day. A day when you take your prized bull or sheep or cake to the A&P Show (Agricultural & Pastoral) [Wikipedia tells me the US equivalent is a State Fair]. About 100,000 people attend the Canterbury Show so naturally we steered well clear of it. Instead we’ve spent the weekend building cardboard box pirate ships, making tea-stained treasure maps and fashioning cutlasses.
But it being Show Day, with choppers whirring back and forth all day, did remind me of my favourite novel series as a teenager, Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. Our Show Day has been rather pleasant by comparison.
This series begins on Show Day in a small town in Australia. Most of the small town is attending the local A&P show. A small group of teenagers decide to head bush and camp out for the weekend. The first night they are woken by the sounds of endless planes flying over head. On their return to town they realise something serious has happened, an army from another country has invaded Australia. The group decides that they will be come guerrilla fighters and attempt to bring down the invading army.
Things I love about this series include that the premise seems particularly far-fetched. Who would really want to invade Australia? And why would they just invade one town? Not even the capital city. Why does it take the Australian Army so long to figure out that the country has been invaded?
John, he’s an Aussie author so I’m sure he won’t mind me using his first name, puts a lot of effort in to keeping the origin of invading force ambiguous, a bit like how the bad guys in books like the Famous Five are always “Foreigners”.
It’s weird though, because at the same time as being completely unlikely, the whole series also seemed really relatable. The teenagers make some silly decisions and get caught out a few times, they all end up bickering with one another, there’s a love triangle going on.
I’ve re-read the series a couple of times now as an adult and I still love it, even though all the teenage angst and lust seems a bit over done. John managed to really drag the series out, with 7 books in total. The first 3 or 4 are definitely the best. They’re silly and over dramatic, there’s homemade explosives, and kids cycling round trying to save the world.
Edit to add the famous pirate ship: