Wednesday, 28 December 2016

It's a stinker!

Hey Aussie English fans!

Or more particularly... fans of Australia and all things Aussie!

I'm stoked that you guys have been hanging out so long for the next word from this blog. In fact, I'm so inspired that I am considering how I can schedule this into my daily/weekly routine. (I've said that before, right?)

So anyway, here's the big news...


Yeah mate, that's right. I was living in Siberia (Russia) with my fam bam for three glorious years. We had a ripper time and managed to make a whole stack of friends. But it was time to mosey on home to where kangaroos roam.

There's one big difference already... a Summer Christmas!

We just enjoyed our first Summer Christmas since 2012. There's something to be said for a beautiful white Christmas with snow, ice-skating and all that... but coming home to Oz, it's just like the good old days again.

Typically, on Christmas day we wake up early (the time is generally dictated by the tin lids) and flop around on the lounge and floor near the Christmas tree.

Kids rip into their presents and shout for joy as they unwrap toys, gadgets and of course socks and undies. It could be argued that some families overdo it a bit. Personally, I don't like to splurge too much.
My mob on Christmas morning, 2016

Some folk head off to church for a morning service where the original Christmas story is lovingly retold and kids often show off one or two of their favourite gifts.

Following that, we have a whopping big family lunch of salads, sliced meat, maybe a BBQ and then bucket loads of lollies, cakes and ice cream. One of the most well-loved cakes at Christmas time is the pavlova (or "pav" as we say).

We recently moved to a new town near the beach and not too far from the alpine regions. The temp is a bit cooler here, but even so, Christmas Day is renowned for being a STINKER. That means, very hot.

If you're lucky, Christmas Day will end with a nice big thunderstorm and cool, cleansing rain.

Just so you can get a sense of the Aussie Christmas tradition, I'm posting a link to Colin Buchanan's well-known rendition of "Jingle Bells" - aptly retitled "Aussie Jingle Bells".


Useful words:

Stoked: to be very happy about / proud of / thankful for something
Down Under: Australia
Fam bam: family
Ripper: Awesome, excellent, amazing
A stack of: lots of, many
Mosey on: to leave, go somewhere, walk away
Tin lids: kids (rhyming slang)
Spluge: to spend a lot of money
Whopping: huge, big, large
Stinker: a very hot day, a stinking hot day

Monday, 4 January 2016

Short and sweet (and very late)!

It seems a normal habit for me to only post a new blog once a year. Soz!

Well, I'm thinking you all might enjoy just a little snapshot of life as we Aussies know it. The thing is, me, the Mrs and our tin lids are actually living in the bowels of Siberia at the moment! That's a bit of a crazy adventure right there!

I reckon if I keep these posts short and sweet, they'll be easy for you mob to read and crapload easier for me to write!

Let me teach you a new phrase. This Chrissy we gave our little daughter a new toothbrush. Here she is. When I was a kid, my dad would always tell us to "Go polish your fangs" - this was his Aussie way of telling us to brush our teeth.

So, do you polish your fangs after every meal?

Strewth! - An exclamation of surprise
Soz - short for Sorry
A snapshot - a preview of something
Tin lids - kids (see Rhyming Slang post)
The Mrs - wife
In the bowels of... - in the middle/deep in...
Chrissy - Christmas
Short and sweet - short and not complicated; condensed

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Classic Australian songs: Along the Road to Gundagai

Now this is a track I can picture in my mind! Growing up in rural Australia means that songs like this classic really speak to my heart.

Sometimes music these days is just a bunch of utter rubbish where people sing nonsense lyrics that some other bugger wrote for them to make them another million bucks.

Let's wind that clock back a bit and check out some lyrics from an Australian classic.

Typical country "track" with a homestead visible amongst
the gum trees ahead (to the right). Moggill Road, Indooroopilly, Brisbane 1921.
Photo credit:
Along the Road to Gundagai was written way back in 1922 by a true blue Aussie bloke tickling the ivories in a Melbourne music store.

Jack O'Hagan worked for Allans Music store (which is still around today!). He was a talented musician who played the sheetmusic that customers were interested in buying. In the meantime, this young'n was crafting a little masterpiece of his own that would eventually become an Aussie favourite.

Check out the lyrics and we'll discuss what some of the more obscure phrases mean.

There's a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai 
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee's flowing
Beneath that sunny sky 
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see. 
Then no more will I roam,
When I'm heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

And it's that simple!

I dunno about you, but I reckon that's gold. Jack obviously had a love for the countryside and the simple things in life, like his old family shack, the big Aussie gum trees and his schoolmates. Those are the things memories are made of, ay?

Jack's mate, Peter Dawson, recorded this song a couple of years later. The song sold around 50,000 copies in 3 months and both blokes probably made a motza!

Have a listen to Peter Dawson's recording. Sing along if you want to!

I hope you enjoyed this Aussie classic. I'll end with an explanation of some of the lyrics used. Feel free to comment below and ask me any questions about other words you don't understand.

Til next time, see ya!

Track: a narrow country road, usually dirt
Shack: Old rugged house (not a fancy, expensive one)
Gundagai: a country town in rural New South Wales (wikipedia)
Blue gums: a type of eucalyptus tree native to Australia
Murrumbidgee: a major river in New South Wales

Other words...
Bugger: idiot, jerk
Bucks: dollars
True blue: genuine, real
Bloke: a man, guy
Tickling the ivories: playing the piano
Young'n: young guy, young lad
That's gold: that's great, awesome, amazing
Ay: often used at the end of a sentence, meaning "don't you agree?"