Sunday, 22 February 2015

Australian Tea Ceremonies

This may be a little bit complicated, so sit down. I am only going to deal with the absolute essentials.

We drink tea in Australia.

Rule 1: Wherever you are, you cannot boil the water more than once. Boil it twice and the water is ruined – chuck it out.

Rule 2: When you are onthewallaby (working, travelling or looking for tucker (food) for a legitimate reason in the wilderness) or gonewalkabout (travelling about for no other reason than it seems to be the right thing to do at the time), stockmen (jackaroos) or stockwomen (jillaroos) must stop to drink tea a couple of times a day and night.

Rule 3: On your nag (horse) you must carry a large light-metal can with a metal handle (1-2 litres, called a billy) - filled with ingredients for making tea - tea leaves, sugar, matches and gum leaves.

Rule 4: At night, in the high country, when you boil the billy (make a small camp fire and boil water and water and gum leaves in the billy) you are expected to tell a yarn (a story which must have some semblance of truth, but which is exceptional in some way) while the dingo come sit around the camp, just out of distance of a stone (a goodstonethrowaway) and howl at you.

Rule 5: Bread with real butter must accompany tea when it is available. 

 Now you know onthewallaby, tucker, gonewalkabout, jackaroo, jillaroo, nag, yarn, billy, boil the billy and a goodstonethrowaway. Practice these, in case you end up getting transported to the never-never. 

Supplementary list (noting that the above is a bit light on)

a fair knock out: well dressed in a rigout
a sport: the best
bats on: infatuated with
blinkin nark: informant
bull headed: conceited
clearing out: leaving
cop out: take or avoid a punishment
cripes: something to say while thinking of something meaningful to say
dead broke: insufficient cash to get stonkered
gadding: walking forth with the appearance of doing one thing while intent on another
goat: nerve
hot as mustard: cool
onion, noggin: head
pandy: to throw tennis balls at, maliciously
peacherino topnotch knock out: a fair knock out with the highest possible accolade
rigout: clothing attended with advanced engineering
ropeable: beyond the reach of reasonable argument
smooging up to: abandoning principles in order to be accepted
snout: nose
stonkered, inked to  the eyebrows, full up to the back teeth, blithered, full as a tick: intoxicated but still standing
to bear up: to get close enough to hug another
to bull up: to approach another (intending to bear up), without showing any trepidation
to own up fair and square: to commit to something
whang opinion: corporal punishment

This came about in a G+ exchange which reminds me why I love this place. To own up fair and square, +Nina Anthonijsz, who is a good sport, prompted this.

This post was used in the novel Dragons Eye which also includes an attempt to use the language of New Zealanders as well.

Peter Quinton

February 2015

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