Peaches, frizz and a secret summer getaway

The Age has asked prominent Victorians to reveal their favourite places and activities of the summer holiday season.

Today’s instalment comes from inaugural chair in epidemiology at Deakin University, Professor Catherine Bennett. Bennett calm explanations about the latest COVID-19 trends helped make her a household name during the pandemic.

Professor Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University.Credit:Jason South

What does a Victorian/Melbourne summer mean to you?

Enjoying sunny dry heat, then a baking hot day or two followed by giant raindrops and vibrant greens and reds in the garden as that change comes through. As a child, I used to watch out for the change and run outside to try to catch those first raindrops on my face. The summer of old, before widespread air-con, but I still love a good cool change with a spectacular lightning show.

First place you take visitors?

For an exceptional gelati and/or coffee.

Phillip Island shearwaters at dusk.Credit: Craig Abraham

Secret spot you escape to?

Phillip Island … shhh.

You say gelato, I say gelati.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Actually, that’s where we take visitors also – nothing like a nice dinner followed by watching the shearwaters dive bomb into their nests at the top of the dunes at dusk.

The best summer food is …

White peaches. I haven’t been able to buy the kind that we used to grow in our backyard when I was a kid: sweet, juicy and fragrant, but with a bit of sharpness to them also … but I still keep looking. Second choice is any stone fruit, especially apricots, cherries and plums.

I know it’s summer when I smell …

Water coming from a hose – whether washing off sandy feet after the beach or watering the veggie patch or topping up the pool, hose water has a particular familiar metallic-like smell and taste, and seems the same whether originating from rainwater tanks or mains. It must be the hose!

The worst thing about summer is …

The humidity in the build up to that magical cool change … especially when the front is held up and the build up lasts days. Humidity plus curls equals frizz.

Guilty pleasure?

Pink grapefruit sorbet.

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