Stay cool with Frankie Flamingo

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Meet Frankie Flamingo, such a star of my In­sta­gram world this sum­mer that he may just need to open his own ac­count. Blow-up pool and beach toys are all the rage, which any­one who’s set foot near sea and sand in re­cent months can’t have failed to ob­serve.

It is all very retro, this re­turn of the lilo and its groovy pineap­ple-shaped vari­a­tions, and the ad­vent of blow-up fruit and birdlife of all sorts, from slices of wa­ter­melon to swans and tou­cans.

Frankie Flamingo earns his keep by cir­cu­lat­ing our pool in an or­derly fash­ion with drinks aboard, paus­ing when swim­mers take a plas­tic cup to en­joy a slurp (of a matcha smoothie, in this case). In con­cert with the pool toy re­vival has been a ver­i­ta­ble ex­plo­sion of striped straws with snap-on tops (again, pineap­ples and flamin­goes reign) and swiz­zle sticks shaped as palm trees, mer­maids and leap­ing dol­phins. So all those sum­mer cock­tails have been look­ing jol­lier than ever. Add a tiny pa­per para­sol for ef­fect, a few maraschino cher­ries (yes, back in fash­ion too) and good luck get­ting close to ac­tu­ally sip­ping the drink with­out in­jury to nose, eye or ear.

But it’s not all Cam­pari and beach skit­tles. A T & I col­league re­ports the lam­en­ta­ble demise of a blow-up swan in her pool over Christ­mas and none of us dares tell the Queen. Said col­league has ap­pre­hended the small, ov­er­en­thu­si­as­tic cul­prits, who have been well-known to her since birth. And at my lo­cal beach on Box­ing Day, the tide whipped up and a gi­ant in­flat­able uni­corn was spied in the surf with two young­sters aboard, bob­bing mer­rily as their mother ran along the shore, curs­ing as she went.

I helped her hold the safety rope looped about the uni­corn’s neck and asked if per­haps the toy had turned out to be some­what larger than she had imag­ined. She sighed that the box had seemed of av­er­age size, her hus­band had used a bi­cy­cle pump and bor­rowed a trailer to haul it to the beach.

I asked her how she was go­ing to get it home. “Burial at sea,” she mut­tered as her bliss­fully un­aware chil­dren bounced like tiny cow­boys, hold­ing tight to a rain­bow­coloured mane.

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