“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

I bloody love summer. Surf beaches quilted in coloured towels, umbrellas and sun tents. Coastal hotels filled with icy beers and sandy feet. Afternoon drinks that stretch into all-night parties. Listening to summer tunes that, come winter, you’ll hear again and you’ll smile because they’ll remind you of summer. And summer memories are the best memories. It’s barbeque season, picnic season, beer-garden season and rooftop season. It’s time-to-get-back-to-reading season. It’s time to have fun. It’s time to be radically lazy. (And I’m a fan of any time or place where indolence and languor are considered preferable, not character flaws.)

On the cover of this special summer edition, acclaimed Australian photographer James Geer has captured the mood of the season perfectly – its light, its energy. This issue is intended to be rolled up, folded, shared and splashed – take it with you to the beach, the park or the pub, and it’ll help you get the most out of summer.

Inside, we’ve got a recipe for a fresh, pretty salad perfect for balmy nights; a summer reading guide compiled with help from some of our favourite booksellers; and five new tinnies to liven up your afternoons – there’s no beer here, but you will find spiked lemonade and a vermouth spritz. And if your local breakfast spot is closed over the summer break, don’t panic – Broadsheet’s Nick Connellan has devised a four-step plan for turning your own home into your favourite cafe. Your friends will be thrilled.

It’s worth noting that while many of us get this time to unwind, it’ll be the hardest period of the year for many Australians. Huge parts of the country have already endured catastrophic bushfires – and the season is only beginning. We hope the firefighters, volunteers and wildlife rescuers who have been so heroic over the past few weeks are blessed with a well-earned break and time with their family and friends over the holidays.

On that note, we hope everyone has a wonderful break and new year. Summer will be over before you know it – enjoy it, and we’ll see you in 2020.