Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jumpin' jack

Or Jack Jumper - a kind of ant - Myrmecia pilosula - is another of those little Australian delights I keep discovering. Do not discover this one for yourself by putting your forearm on the edge of the raised bed that said Jack Jumper was occupying. I'm not, fortunately, one of the 3 percent of people that are violently allergic to them. It's more or less like a wasp-sting but does seem to keep recurring.

So we ventured into Bowmans today to acquire some more pre-paid time for my cell phone AKA 'Mobile' in these parts. We decided we needed two 'phones in case one of us is at the beach and the other gets bitten by a Jack Jumper or attacked by sudden shortage of milk (a very serious condition, which can cause absence of coffee) while the other is at the library - so we have one on contract and one cheapo. "Can we have some airtime for the cell please?" I ask after the important preliminaries have been dealt with (This is an island. Agriculture is still its mainstay. Mention of yesterday's rain obligatory). I get a rather puzzled twinkle from behind the slightly lowered glasses. (you can imagine the thought-processes. 'Humour him. He could be dangerous. Came out of a cell. Besides he's a foreigner, and they _are_ odd')"What?"
"You know. Time. For the cell."
(Blank look, or perhaps assessing distance the door.)
I take out the phone (slowly, no sudden movements ;-)) "It's pre-paid, we need to put some more money into it."
A light and possibly relief dawns "You mean mobile credit!"
And there I thought mobile credit was credit moving just out of reach. A kind of cruel teasing game played by bank managers...
We are divided by a common language.

So we went to Walkers (the supermarket. You need to know it is there, as signs are not Islandish. If you don't know where these essentials are, you shouldn't be here. Or ask someone, really. I could get to like this attitude.) to get milk - the lack of which as I may have mentioned can cause serious conditions like drinking black coffee and not out of choice) and to manage in our talented fashion to forget the Eucalyptus oil again. (to repel March Flies. Which bite, and can be a bane on windless days. I hope they really are absent after March) I also wanted some powdered mushroom soup, which was O/S. So B asked one of the staff, busy listing stuff on a sheet of carboard - presumably for re-order, if we could possibly request things. She attempted to keep a straight face and was betrayed by her dimples and said 'No.' And then packed up laughing. Heh. They were very nice to us, explaining things like instant mushroom gravy, and yes they'll order mushroom soup for us. Ah, we have a purpose in life. We are the dim country cousins for Flinders Island. I've always wanted to do more than just be a good bad example.

Last night BTW we had our first official gale according to Willyweather (the weather site which we live by). The house creaked a little, the wind roared (there really is no other word for the noise) through the pines. If I'd had a little dog called Toto I'd have wondered if we were going to end up in Oz. But we're here already.


  1. Milk in coffee is an abomination unto Nuggan

  2. "Can we have some airtime for the cell please?"

    I didn't think that Tasmania's gaols were that dank and dreary that they needed airing. At least, not since they closed down Port Arthur. Oh well. You discover a new thing every day

  3. Francis - for me that's a bad idea at sea-level. I am always in too much of a hurry. And each unto their own.

  4. Ian - it's a voyage* of discovery ;-)

    *it's that damp.

  5. We are divided by a common language.

    When I was in Australia, I found that Australian English and American English used different words for a lot of things. The differences weren't enough to make anything incomprehensible, but they were enough that I really had to think about what things meant sometimes.

  6. KKR - and some of our words and expressions are ridiculous when you actually think about them!

  7. ha ha ha! lovely post this.

    Here, you don't look for a parking, you look for a park! (Makes sense when you think about it)

    And if you ask for a packet, you do get blank stares. It's a bag, after all. "Divided by a common language" is very, very accurate! :-)