Friday, July 15, 2011

Spruiking, whinging, brekky, footy, uni and chooks . . . and, don’t call it a napkin.

 It is generally but erroneously believed that Australians and Americans speak a common language.  Wrong.  It seems to be the same language but it isn’t.  The above words are all in common use here.

Australians, as per one of the (Australian) seminarians who spent two weeks here, are lazy speakers.  That accounts for shortening a word and adding a ‘y’ to it.  Thus brekky is the term for breakfast (side note:  do not eat Vegemite for brekky or any other meal of the day).  Footy is the word for Australian Rules Football, a wonderfully fast, reasonably violent and very high-scoring game played without the benefit of helmets or pads and, because the uniforms consist of shirts and shorts, not played on artificial turf.   Uni  (YOU knee) is the word for university as in, “I’m driving back to uni this weekend” or “when I was at uni.”  Not too far from here is a sign Uni SA.  Translate:  University of South Australia. 

Whinging, (WIN jing) is my favorite Aussie word.  It means whining. 

Spruiking (SPROO king) was a word I ran across in the papers.  That was definitely a look-up because I’d been feeling self-conscious about the number of times I’d asked about the meaning of a word.   It means: to promote a thing or idea to another person, in order that they buy the thing, or accept the idea.  Thus, Brett Favre spruiks jeans (forgot which brand, real effective advertising dontcha think?).

Chooks.  That was a puzzler.  There is a small bin in the kitchen labeled “Chook scraps.”  Okaayyyyyy.  Had no idea what to put in there.  It turns out that chooks are chickens as in, “we are having chook for dinner.”  There is a chook coop at the school that supplies eggs for the boarding house.  The scraps are for the chooks.  Coffee grounds do not go in the chook bin.  NB:  According to one source chook is also the term for old(er) woman. 

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, announce at a dinner that you soiled your napkin.  What we in the U.S. refer to as a napkin is a serviette here.  If you ask for a clean napkin, once the hysteria clears, someone will inform you, while wiping tears from his eyes, ears, nose and throat, that in Australia a napkin, called nappy for short, is a baby’s diaper. 

Further adventures with the cat.  Its getting hostile.  A visiting priest stayed over last night.  Because the seminarians were still here he stayed in the pastor’s room.  He left the door ajar when he departed at 7 AM.  At some point I closed it. After confessions I realized I hadn’t heard the cat’s bell for a long time.   There it was curled on the bed.  When I courteously suggested it go into the living room it jumped off the bed, hissed with a sound reminiscent of a car radiator overheating on Giant’s Despair and arched its back.  I’ve been getting the hairy eyeball ever since. 

The photo are from a recent expedition to Coffin Bay.  Included was a stop at a combination pig farm (free range pork), antique store and restaurant where we had lunch.  

The smallest Anglican Church I've seen yet. 
My backseat traveling companion: Basil who is 3 months old and NOT a cat. 
The antique store entrance.  Wonderful combination of shape, texture and color. 
A display of marbles.
Rolling pins with colorful handles.
Old spools of thread.
An old typewriter. 
Pearls and a Smurf. 
Small dock in Coffin Bay.  Changed to black and white. 
A view of Port Lincoln from "Camera Point."  
I have Mass this evening and in the AM.  Must finish homily.  More photos from this trip tomorrow. 
+Fr. Jack

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