The Time Has Come (the Walrus said) Archives

Straya Day

You know you’re Australian if:

1. You know the meaning of the word “girt”.

2. You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

3. You think it’s normal to have a leader called Kevin.

4. You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse.

5. You’ve made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden.

6. You believe it is appropriate to put a rubber in your son’s pencil case when he first attends school.

7. When you hear that an American “roots for his team” you wonder how often and with whom.

8. You understand that the phrase “a group of women wearing black thongs” refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

9. You pronounce Melbourne as “Mel-bin”.

10. You pronounce Penrith as “Pen-riff”.

11. You believe the “l” in the word “Australia” is optional.

12. You can translate: “Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas.”

13. You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.

14. You call your best friend “a total bastard” but someone you really, truly despise is just “a bit of a bastard”.

15. You think “Woolloomooloo” is a perfectly reasonable name for a place.

16. You’re secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

17. You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that’s twice as big as its $2 coin.

18. You understand that “Wagga Wagga” can be abbreviated to “Wagga” but “Woy Woy” can’t be called “Woy”.

19. You believe that cooked-down axlegrease makes a good breakfast spread.

20. You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis.

21. Hamburger. Beetroot. Of course.

22. You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels’ song Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

23. You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionary known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year.

24. You still don’t get why the “Labor” in “Australian Labor Party” is not spelt with a “u”.

25. You wear ugh boots outside the house.

26. You believe, as an article of faith, that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

27. You believe that the more you shorten someone’s name the more you like them.

28. Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language.

29. You understand that “excuse me” can sound rude, while “scuse me” is always polite.

30. You know what it’s like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose.

31. You understand that “you” has a plural and that it’s “youse”.

32. You know it’s not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle.

33. Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket.

34. You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call “Anzac cookies”.

35. You still think of Kylie as “that girl off Neighbours”.

36. When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs – just in case you’re trying to sneak in fruit.

37. You believe the phrase “smart casual” refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered.

38. You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction.

39. When working on a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer.

40. You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second.

41. You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government’s new test for migrants.

42. You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says “cobber”.

43. And you will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand.

Weevils

I was poking about in the pantry yesterday, can’t even remember what I was looking for.

Then I saw it – that which brings a shudder to the heart of anybody with even a moderate desire to cook: Yes, flour. Not in the bag, on the floor.

“Oh oh”, says I, “some goose has knocked the bag with my special bread making flour and smashed a hole in it.”

From there, it was all downhill. The bag didn’t just have a hole, it had been shredded. Same with the bag of Rye flour, and the other odds and ends. Each bag was eaten through to the point where it looked like badly moth-eaten tissue paper.

The little buggers even ate through the lid of the big sealed plastic container with the plain-ole white breadmakers flour in:

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The BIG hole you see goes right through about 1mm of plastic, and there were numerous others. The faint marks are where they had been trying but had not quite made it through, yet.

Lots of stuff got thrown out yesterday :(

Spike has been sick

Cats being cats: they fight.

Our cat, being our cat: loses fights.

A few days after getting back from the wee cool state, the Spike seemed to have a bit of bother with ‘is back. Being the fools we are, we put it down to a bit of crankiness and ignored it, until Friday, when we thought it was time for a visit to the vet. Saturday morning was the earliest we could get in.

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Saturday dawned bright and sunny. The Spike seemed a little better than before, so we decided to do a quick checkup before cancelling the vet appointment. That’s when we found the sore spot on his back – a big tender lump, and when pressed, it oozed. Lots and lots of ooze. More than I’ve ever seen before, ooze without end. The vet visit was on.

At the appointed time, Spikey was happy enough to go in the cat carrier, only to yowl all the way to the vets. And when we were called in, the only way to get him OUT of the cat carrier involved a set of deeply scraped claw-marks through the carrier – the kind the Coyote did regularly for Mr Warner. A quick check showed a couple a puncture marks, and more ooze.

“Looks like a bite” says Mr Vet.

“Standard cure: antibiotics. Injection now, tablets after. That’ll be $150, please. Pick yer tablets up on the way out.”

Strangely, Mr Spike was happy enough to come home without a peep, again in the carrier. By late Saturday night the ooze was still there, but the volume was decreasing, and he was much more tolerant of having it all squeezed out.

By Sunday, no more ooze, but he has to have tablets.

Now… normally giving tablets to a cat requires a few exercises where a past life in gymnastics comes in mighty handy. First, catch your cat. Second, force its mouth open. Third, rush to the bathroom, disinfect mauled hand and wrap in something big and soft. Repeat from step 1. By about step 93, cat’s mouth is open. Drop tablet in back of mouth. Watch cat spit tablet out. Start again from step 1.

Filled with anticipation of the excitement to come, we checked his back and steeled ourselves for the fight. Spike nuzzled at SWMBOs hand, holding the tablet.

“Let him sniff it, see if he’s more comfortable with it after that”, I suggested, feeling mighty pleased with myself for thinking of a way to defer the fun.

Spike promptly sniffed at the tablet, then daintily ate it, then licked her hand to get every last skerrick of flavour!

After we’d recovered from the shock, and carefully checked to see if he’d spat at out anywhere, we concluded he must have liked it. Come Monday morning, and evening, he’s done the same.

Is there something in the tablet, or is our cat just strange?

Or perhaps… those long months of feeding him yoghurt coated currents at breakfast time may be paying off.

The wanderers returneth

We’re back from the Apple Isle. For non-Australians, that means Tasmania.

We spent 6 days in Hobart, and a week driving the length and breadth. A result of this rather hurried holiday was clocking up 1840 km in the rental car, and taking over 1400 photographs.

Some impressions:

Hills. Tasmania is full of them. Some big, some small. Every city of any size (all three of them) seems to be built in hills, and you are forever going up and down. most Australian cities are built on a plain, and it’s only the nobs who live in the hilly bits. In Tasmania, everybody is a mountain-goat.

dscn2267.JPGCascade. The brewery tour was interesting, the tasting at the end was enlightening. It’s not often you get a chance to try a few different beers alongside each other with somebody there who can tell you about them. This is saying something, coming from a non-beer drinker. Well, from somebody who goes through about a dozen a year. Best discovery though: “Mercury draught alcoholic cider” – made by Cascade. Until now, the ciders I’ve tried have been crap. Sweet, or strong, or just plain yuk. English Scrumpy, and a well-known Australian brand have been enough to put me off for life. Until now. That Mercury stuff is very nice indeed, and I can’t recommend it enough. Even better, the local BWS store sells it! The remains of a 6-pack are now in the fridge and we’d only been home 2 hours when I found it!

Gourmet Food. This is a warning sign. It means the place might, just might, have some pies in a pie-warmer. Be prepared to pay for them using your first-born, or perhaps an arm or a leg.

dscn2391.JPGTrees. By crikey has Tasmania ever got trees. More trees than you can poke a stick at. So many damn trees I’d end up saying “Yawn, another forest with tall trees in. Boring. Show me something interesting”. On the mainland we get a lot of selective news coverage about how much Tasmanian wilderness is being destroyed for logging. It’s bullshit. Something like 30% of the island is national park, and about 25% is forest managed by the government. The rest is split with about 25% agricultural land and the remainder seems to be privately owned, but still forest! Everywhere you go there are trees, and timber specialists.

Expensive. Everything is expensive. Food is expensive, out of the major cities petrol is expensive, the crappiest flea-pit motel was expensive. Even the pies at the places with the signs proclaiming them as purveyors of “Gourmet Food” were expensive.

dscn2242.JPGWeather. They say the weather in Tasmania can change, and it sure can. In most places the weather forecast for the following day is reasonably good (and we accept that the 4-day forecast is getting pretty iffy by that 4th day looking out). In Tasmania, the following days weather forecast should come with an error tolerance of +/- 10 degrees. Many days we saw a forecast for a top of 22 degrees C. Why then were we sweltering in 33 degrees C? Not that this explains the first week, which was so damn cold we were running a wood heater every night! And at the top of Mt Wellington we got snowed on.

Wine. They really do make some good white wines in Tasmania. We picked a couple of small places with signs by the road, and went in. No prior knowledge. Excellent Rieslings, damn good Chardonnay (and yes many Chardies these days are clich├ęd and rather awful. These were some of the best ever). And they can make a pretty mean Pinot Noir as a red, which is no mean feat. Many Australian Pinot’s are pretty ordinary, these though were miiiiighty fine. Except the price tags. See “Expensive”.

Toyota Aurion. Gee Toyota make a mean car these days. We had an Aurion for the fortnight – a free upgrade from what we’d booked (you have to get a win now and again). Good fuel economy, roomy, comfortable, plenty of power for passing. The only downside is the stupid foot operated parking brake. Ours had 402 km on the clock, we were only the second people to rent it. It had done quite a lot more by the time we returned it. And no, we didn’t thrash it.

Raspberries and Cherries. They grow loads of these, as well as the apples for which they are known. Everywhere we went there were roadside stalls selling raspberries. Yum. And we had 1/2 kg of the best cherries ever ever ever - sold to us out the back of a car boot somewhere outside Hobart.

dscn1702.JPGTahune Air Walk. If you only have a short time in Tasmania, go on this. Then do the walk on the swinging bridges. By the time you have done these, over a period of 2 or 3 hours you will have been able to read up on all the significant Tasmania trees, and what their timber is used for. You will have seen some fantastic forest. And everything is presented clearly and factually – unlike the national parks which use more emotive language and present less information. The air walk takes you through the tree tops, in places about 30 metres up. The cantilever section at the end got the better of me though, one look at the swaying as the various elephants bounced around on it and I could go no further.

Overweight. The number of obese or seriously overweight people. Are they tourists or locals? Who knows. I’ve never seen so many in a week, before, though. Serious heart trouble coming, folks.

Population. I’d not realised until now that the population of Tasmania is a touch under 500,000; and the population of Hobart is under 210,000. Burnie, Devonport and Launceston total about another 200,000. No wonder towns seem small.

Finding Shops. Is difficult, even in Hobart. There just are not many large shopping centres. It’s even difficult to find fast food, unless you want Fish-n-Chips or Pizza. Also see the warning about Gourmet, though :) Perhaps this is not surprising, the population being as low as it is.

dscn2260.JPGPoor Cousin. Sorry Hobartians, you won’t like this. Hobart has a poor-cousin feel. There might be some respectable suburbs, but we really didn’t find them – and we spent quite a bit of time there. It seems like a majority of the houses are not well cared for, there are few where the owners take pride in where they live, there are not a lot of carefully tended gardens. Launceston is a smaller city, but the contrast is stark. People there seem to take more pride in how they live and how they present themselves and their city. Hobart just seems run-down. This little house was kinda cool, though.

All for now, there’s be more after we cull the zillion photos down to something a bit more manageable.

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