Noelle Clark: Author, Aussie, brave woman, and hilarious. "Tell me about Australians," I asked her politely, wedging her in half-nelson (a wrestling hold in which one arm is passed under the opponent's arm from behind and the hand is applied to the neck).
"Share with the world what makes the wonderful Aussies tick, or rather tock--given this blog series is about what not to do. "
And, great balls of titanium that she has, Noelle rose to the challenge with spectacular aplomb. Want to survive the famed Aussie barbie, unaffronted and with your head still on your shoulders? Noelle shares how with:
5 Things Never To Do At An Aussie Barbie
1. Barbecues (barbies) are a big part of Australian culture. If invited to a barbecue in Australia, you'll find that they're a fun and popular social gathering. It’s an unwritten law that the barbie will be BYOG. This means that all guests will bring their own grog. NEVER attend a barbie without your own beer or wine. You will immediately be branded a cheap arsed wanker and a bludger.
“Are these popular Aussie terms of affection?” I asked, keen to take note of the correct form of address. (Noelle continued on with her lesson, and I might have believed she hadn’t heard, but from the look she gave me, I must assume I have earned my very own term of endearment)
Also, if the invitation says “bring a plate”, don’t assume that the hosts are short of crockery. This term means you should take a plate with food on it to share.
2. When you are introduced to other guests at the barbie, you will often be greeted with phrases such as: “Owyagoinmate?” or “Howtheyhanginmate?”Don’t be alarmed, thinking they are speaking a different language. Prepare responses beforehand – here are some universal replies to the above greetings: “Good mate good.” (Note the repetition. It serves as a signal that you really are good, and not just saying it. If accompanied by a slight nod of the head, it’s even more convincing.) And “Bonzer, mate.” (Although ‘bonzer’ is a bit old fashioned now and if you say it, the Aussies will think you’re taking the piss). A more contemporary way to tell them that you are well is just to say, “Ace mate.” NEVER tell them if you aren’t well. They don’t care. If you go on about your crook back or weak bladder problems, they’ll brand you a wanker or a tosser, and you’ll be on your own all night.
3. NEVER call soccer ‘football’.You’ll be caught up in an argument all bloody night. Fair dinkum you will. Similarly, if you’re from the UK, best not to raise the subject of cricket.
4. If you hear someone call out, “Will someone feed those bloody ankle biters to shut them up,” don’t be alarmed. They are not dingoes or other dangerous, wild dogs. Ankle biters are children. NEVER stand between a group of ankle biters and a table of food – especially when the dessert comes out. Ankle biters at an Aussie barbie will mow you down to get to the pav and choccie crackles.
(Sorry, not asking what a pac or crackles are—one endearment an interview is enough for me)
5. NEVER take offence at your parentage if someone approaches you, a stubby of beer stuffed into a poly-rubber stubby cooler in one hand, then slaps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey ya bastard, you right for piss?” The gentleman is merely calling you a bastard as a term of endearment, and is offering you some beer. Notes for the glossary: a piss up is any gathering where people imbibe alcohol, and a stubby (contrary to where your mind might have wandered, is a can of beer).
These five tips about things you must NEVER do at an Aussie barbie are merely scratching the surface of social etiquette. Each of the six states and two territories that make up the Land of Oz have their own lingo, quirks, and ways of doing things. Here’s a link to a dictionary of words you may encounter on your visit to Australia. And when you do come to visit, avabloodygoodtimemate.
Now, Noelle, (author and funny lady), will be back in the future to share some more insights into the great Aussie mind-set and culture—I’ve already got my full nelson planned—but in the meantime you’d do well to learn more from her, because Aussies travel. Far and wide and unexpectedly. (I believe they call it going ‘walkabout’.).....And thanks for being with us, Noelle. Your insights will save a few lives.
After the death of her husband, best-selling mystery author Sarah Halliman has lost her desire for just about everything. Desperate to break out of her funk and rediscover herself, she answers a newspaper advertisement--For lease: Isolated villa on Capri, Italy. Must love cats. Traveling alone to the beautiful island of Capri, she locates Villa Rosamanti, a gorgeous 400-year-old dwelling nestled in the hillside of Monte Tiberio. Above it lies Villa Jovis, the 2000-year-old villa of Emperor Tiberius, ripe with history and intrigue.
Sarah soon discovers a strong resonance with Rosamanti and its gardens and quirky pets. She begins to feel a deep connection to Elena Lombardi, the deceased owner. But it’s not just the villa Sarah’s fallen in love with. Elena’s grandson, Pietro, is handsome and charming, the epitome of the passionate Italian. His dream is to own a restaurant of his own, but such dreams are for wealthier men.
Between the sparks that Pietro kindles in Sarah’s heart—and her kitchen—and the mystery of nearby Villa Jovis, Sarah’s muse begins to stir. She senses stories in the ancient stones, and romance in the phosphorescent blue waters of the Blue Grotto. But when her curiosity takes her to Elena’s library, a child’s notes and maps lead Sarah to a mystery that could be the answer to everyone’s prayers—or perhaps, be the destruction of everything they hold dear…