Wednesday, December 21, 2005

hasta la vista baby

I'm about to go home and water the plants and then I'm getting on a plane to New Zealand. Where I will spend a week with family on the beach and a few days in Wellington and Nelson either side.

When I get back I expect:
a) to have an internet connection at home finally, so more blogging time and other quality internet-based pursuits
b) to find all my plants dying

Have a great summer Solstice / Hannukah / Christmas / winter Solstice / New Year / Kwanzaa / weekend / end of December / Festival of Sleep (3 Jan, apparently) / etc


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ned Kelly country

I just discovered that I live in Ned Kelly country. Ned Kelly is of course famous for wearing a coal bucket on his head and some other stuff involving shoot outs and bank robbing.

Yesterday I drove the 40km down to Beechworth, because I had heard it's the place for pottery (I didn't find any Christmas presents, but I did buy myself a nice dinner plate and coffee cup - just one of each, I've decided I don't want everything to match, I'd rather have random beautiful things). And I discovered lots of vague Ned Kelly references. So I'm guessing he did something there at some point. The closest I got was the sign outside the old gold vault (Beechworth was a goldmining town in the 1800s) saying that Ned Kelly didn't rob it.

I was about to whinge about still not having internet connection at home, but that's boring. But annoying.


Monday, December 12, 2005

0% Aussie Pride

If you're in the southern hemisphere (or read BBC news) you've probably heard about the Sydney race riots which have been happening for the last two nights. From what I can gather, it started when an "ethnic gang" (reportedly second-generation Lebanese) attacked two (white) lifeguards. This resulted in "thousands of young white men" attacking "people of Arabic and Mediterranean background".

One of the photos on the BBC website is "100% Aussie Pride" scratched in the sand on Cronulla Beach. Because obviously real Aussies are white intolerant anglos and that's something to be proud of.

I know this kind of thing isn't just Australia, but it's still scary that it comes as new terrorism and sedition laws are passed.

What is this country I have moved to?


Thursday, December 08, 2005

How to tell you work in a country town

You get invited to the pub for lunch by a colleague and it involves:
  • trekking through fields over grass
  • climbing through one electric fence
  • climbing over one gate
  • a pub where the there is a main "Baa", and the girls' toilets are labelled "Ewes" and the boys' toilets are labelled "Rams"
  • everyone owns their own darts


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cockney rhyming slang

The other day I heard the phrase “Have a butcher’s at this”, which is, of course, Cockney rhyming slang. I tried to think of other examples that I actually use, and only came up with “Use your loaf”. So, in the spirit of research, and for my readers’ edification, I had a butcher’s at this site, and took note of the ones I use, or at least have heard used. Most of them I had no idea they were Cockney rhyming slang!

In case you don’t know what it is, Cockney rhyming slang works like this: you take the word you want to say (e.g. “head”), take a pair of words or phrase that rhymes with it (e.g. “loaf of bread”) and then use the first bit of that phrase instead of the original word.

Quite a few examples have trickled down over time from Cockney to British English to the "colonies" (e.g. New Zealand), although as far as I know not the US.

Anyway, here’s the list I made:
You do rabbit on, don’t you = rabbit and pork = talk
Have a butcher’s at this = butcher’s hook = look
Use your loaf = loaf of bread = head
I haven’t got a sausage = sausage and mash = cash
He’s a right berk = Berkshire Hunt = (you can figure that one out yourself)
My knee is giving me gyp = gypsy Nell = hell
Stop telling porkies = pork pies = lies
Got any bread? = bread and honey = money
Are you taking the mickey? = Mickey Bliss = piss*
They’re having a barney = barn owl = row (fight)
Let’s have some plonk = plink plonk = vin blanc = wine
What’s it like living with the Sepos?** = septic tank = Yank
It’s been donkeys = donkey’s ears = years

Can you think of any others that you use?


* The Sepos loved this one. You can take it a step further: Are you extracting the Michael?
** I hadn’t heard this one until a friend in Perth used it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Isn't it funny how people you've never met can influence you? The other day I bought pumpkin purely because Cesca had been going on about it. I roasted it with capsicum (red pepper), asparagus and fetta and served it on a bed of rocket (arugula) with plum tomatoes. Yum! And Wednesday night saw me photographing my shoes just because Anchored Nomad asked me to.

I arrived in Australia with practically nothing in the way of kitchen stuff - just a coffee plunger, some bowls and a chopping board and knife. I bought the obvious stuff (cutlery, plates, pots, toaster, kettle, coffee grinder, corkscrew) but it's amazing how many little kitchen gadgets there are. "I'll just grate that ginger", I think - oh, no grater. "Now, time to flip the omelette" - oh, no spatula. "Ooh, I'll cook the salmon in tinfoil with a dash of balsamic" - you guessed it, no tinfoil and no balsamic.

I still can't get over how many friends are having babies. I have three overdue baby presents to send this weekend (that's overdue presents, not overdue babies).

I was woken up by an amazing thunderstorm this morning. This town has some spectacular weather.

I'm wondering how much coverage Van Tuong Nguyen's execution is getting in the rest of the world, particularly the US. Have you guys even heard about it? Here it is understandably getting huge coverage (he's Vietnamese-born but lived in Melbourne), with plenty of protests and criticism of both the Singaporean government and the actions of the Australian government to attempt to intervene. Personally, I'm anti-death penalty - it's horrific and barbaric. But the point I want to make here is something I heard a commentator say on the radio, along the following lines. Australia (government, opposition and citizens) have had plenty to say about the death penalty in Singapore recently. But what about other countries where the death penalty is carried out? Would Australia ever challenge Bush or the US on this issue?

C'est tout.