Life Up Over

Sorry, it’s been a few days folks. I’ve been very busy with mu Aussie relatives and fixing that damn car wiper blade arm (see Driving me to Despair). My Aussie relatives have had a good stay so far and it got me thinking that if we call Australia ‘Down Under’ then when they visit here, do we call it ‘Up Over’? Well they are enjoying their time up over anyway.

I saw them last night for the first time in 7 years. I met them at the Bed and Breakfast they are staying at. I went to meet them in the pub so I could then drive them back to my house for dinner. It was about 6.15 pm when I got there. I couldn’t open the bar door. Typical, I thought. I haven’t seen them in 7 years and I can’t get to them! I can’t even open a door when they have travelled half way across the world! Turns out the pub was closed to the public so that was why. I discovered this when I said to the barman ‘Woah, it’s quiet in here!’ He said, ‘it isn’t quite; we just aren’t open yet!’ Haha. Anyway, seeing my relatives was weird but for only a second. They looked the same as the most recent pics on Facebook and it was like I was talking to my aunty on Facebook chat but without the two screens, oh and thousands of miles, separating us.

You soon start to spot the cultural differences, as subtle as they are. My aunty said she thought I was very brave for driving round the small, hilly, villages with a manual car. Quite frankly, I don’t know any different. I know we have some automatic cars over here but in Oz they all are pretty much. My Dad gave his ‘clutch’ foot a huge rest when he drove over there in 2005. The thing was, I actually used to want an automatic because I struggled so much with the clutch when I was learning to drive (it took me 18 months worth of lessons to pass… that is many other stories for another time!) So for her to say I was brave for driving round in a manual car was quite nice. I had finally for there!!

I cooked dinner for them plus my Mum, Dad, sister and her boyfriend. It was nice to catch up. My aunty actually had some sad news yesterday, which she told us about. Her step father died rather suddenly that morning and her Mum told her that day. Typical that something like that happens when she is on the other side of the earth. Not a lot she could do and her Mum didn’t want them to cut the holiday short and go home. Very sad news though.

We had many topics of conversation through the evening. One was how to pronounce the city of ‘Derby’ as they were visiting there the next day. We say ‘dar-by’ don’t we? My uncle pointed out that it should be said like ‘der’ as in ‘der, how stupid are you!’ It makes sense if you think about it. i was just trying to find some examples to prove this point. ‘Deranged’ sort of is but it seems that we say ‘de-ranged’ so we pronounce the ‘de’ separately. Like in ‘derisive’ or ‘derail’.Even more complicated! And the query came from an Aussie who also speak English! God knows what second language English speakers. I think we make things more complicated on purpose.

Another thing my Aussie relatives find funny is thhe fact we have a meat product called ‘faggots’. This comes up every time! It also means gay. We have that meaning too but they only know it as that. So if we say we are having faggots for dinner, then it is highly hilarious to them. Just as when I mentioned that they call flip-flops ‘thongs’. Meaning can definitly be misconstrued there too!

They also find the names of beers and pubs funny. My aunty was telling me that when she was over here years ago with a friend, they found a pub called ‘The Nun’s Passage’ and then they started to drink a beer called ‘Bishop’s finger’. So they would say ‘Let’s go for a Bishop’s finger in the Nun’s Passage!’ Gotta love the English for puns and sexual innuendos.

Our town is tiny so when they said they had been there yesterday, me and the pub owner laughed when I went to meet them. We joked that had they seen all the charity shops (Aussie’s call them ‘Op’ shops) and the card shops! I then had recommendations that they go to Ann Summers (our fun and slightly rude shop) and also look out for the blue building that is the rowing club where my boyfriend rows. Those are some sights to see! Our little town doesn’t have a lot to offer but we are lucky because we aren’t far away from a lot of pretty places. I would love to take them to Lincoln. I lived there for three years when I was at Uni and would love to show them the Uni, the castle, the cathedral and even more historic, the places I used to live! Working in a school though, as huge number of weeks off we get, we can’t choose when to have a week off. So, I’ll have to wait til they return when I am off school and can go out with them in the day too.

But they have the rest of my family to go out with and I hope they enjoy the rest of their visit Up Over!

XSXS

Deliveries from Down Under

I am sat here talking to my Aussie relative on Facebook who is waiting to be picked up for her flight to the UK! Very exciting and gave me  a great topic to talk about today.

We didn’t know we had these relatives just over a decade ago. She was researching her family tree (on my Mum’s side) and found relatives in Australia. This wasn’t a great surprise as we have lots of relatives over there – or ‘rellies’ as the Aussies call it! – my gran’s sister for one and her family and also aunties etc.  But I think of them as aunt, uncle and cousins. Can never have enough aunties can ya? 😉 Anyway, we didn’t know who they were to start with and had the name of my Aussie aunty’s great-grandmother. But my Aussie aunty just so happened to phone my gran one day. She found the surname and randomly circled some of them and it was her fourth call that gained her some extra family. Turns out her great-grandmother, who we had the name of, was the sister of my granddad’s granddad! Woah.

I remember thinking it seemed a little bit too good to be true and felt quite wary. We started talking to them via phone and email. They seemed really nice and down to earth but it still felt quite surreal. They planned to visit the next year, which was 2003. I remember feeling a bit odd about them staying at my gran’s. I thought ‘god they could be criminals – you hear about the aboriginals!’ It was the whole not meeting them thing and of course they had to visit in order for us to get to know them. My aunty came on her own that visit and we all got on well and she met everyone she needed to meet and saw lots of the UK.

Three years later, we went to visit them. Christmas 2005. I was in my second year at Uni, as I remember I had to take some books with me to study whilst I was there! Christmas was odd in Australia. I got sunburnt on a boat trip on Christmas eve! And we had a BBQ for Christmas day dinner! It was great though and we met they rest of the family. I also got to see santa in shorts, which was a definite novelty! Other things that I thought were odd – there was no proper Marmite and the chocolate didn’t taste as good (even though it said Cadbury’s on the wrapper) and they called flip-flops ‘thongs’. I had to remind myself that they weren’t on about wearing a tiny piece of underwear on the beach! Haha. Upsides of course were meeting the family, the weather (even though it was the coldest summer on record for them – it was still very hot for us Brits!) and seeing come great places.

As for spiders….. my hugest fear ever… I didn’t see any! I was oddly disappointed. I went to the other side of the world and expected to see a huge spider. Maybe it would put the UK ones into perspective or it would have cured my fear, I don’t know. Not one black furry leg in sight! The closest thing to anything scary I saw was a shedded skin of a snake. I hope they don’t bring any with them – I’m not that bothered about seeing them!

As my family get ready to come for a visit tomorrow (my aunty and uncle are both coming this time. My sister went to visit them last year but other than that they haven’t seen us since 2005!) my friend is also coming back to the UK soon after being there for a year. I had this vision of them all being  on the same ‘return to the UK’ plane haha – as if there is only one a year! In reality of course, they are coming weeks apart. My friend, though, was very homesick when she first went to Oz a year ago but soon settled in to life down under and now doesn’t want to come home (with weather like this, I dont blame her!)

But I am very much looking forward to catching up with all the Aussie goss from my friend and family. And asking them if water does in fact go down the plughole the other way over there? People always go on about that don’t they?!

See you tomorrow….(UK and Aussie time!)

xx