Even though corporal punishment wasn’t considered politically incorrect or even vaguely inappropriate when my sisters and I were growing up, our parents rarely used this method of discipline. Unsurprisingly for a journalist, my father’s preferred form of reprimand was always language. As a teenager, when I argued with either parent Dad metred out sharp turns of phrase like, ‘Always wrong but never in doubt,’ or the classic King Lear line, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child’. But it’s his rebuke for answering back or being disrespectful, as teenagers are wont to be, that is stamped on my very being all these years later: ‘Keep a civil tongue in your head’.
Apart from the humidity and uber-crowded beaches, there’s another reason I know when summer’s come to Sydney – the water lilies that blossom in our courtyard pond. Because gardening in general, and tending a pond in particular, are not my strong suits, each year in the winter months when the lilies recede I harbour a small fear that they’ve actually gone away for good. And each year when summer comes, their gentle yet joyous re-emergence pokes fun at my spectacular lack of trust. They also remind me of an art tour of Rajasthan I took with my sister Janet, a month before this Big Breast Adventure began. Bet you’re wondering why, or maybe not, but you know I’m going to tell you anyway right?