Rain... our not-so secret weapon
With four tests still remaining in the Ashes series, a skittled England team at least has the elements on its side. School-holiday weather brings rain and wind to mix with our summer sunshine. Such a variety will hopefully confuse our Down-Under opponents, who aren’t used to contrasts.
Upon arrival in Sydney, towards the end of summer, I learned they don’t really experience seasons. Instead it bucketed down to mark their ‘autumn’. Afterwards the ground steamed like an overly hot sauna then those endless blue skies returned.
It stayed like that, while marginally cooler, for the six months I worked there and toured their continent. I ended up longing for a refreshing shower, or a crispy winter’s day . . .
Speaking of showers, I soon learned of the Aussie’s long-held view that we were both unwashed and penny pinching. This stems from war years, when colonial troops were billeted in British households. Back in the fighting 40s we did only bathe once a week and also sought to conserve what little money we had.
‘Where does a Pommy hide his fivers?’ the Aussies like to ask, then reply, ‘Under his bath mat.’ (Or, ‘Under his soap,’ is another one.)
Living so far from western civilisation, your ‘Ocker’ Aussie has a confused notion of history, while the only well-balanced one has a chip on each shoulder.
So desperate are they to assume some valued tradition they even claim to have invented the meat pie!
But what can you expect when their few national monuments are rarely older than a century, and their only culinary achievement Vegemite?
However, we should never under-estimate the Aussies’ sense of rivalry – especially with ourselves. When leaving the airport on that first day, my bus followed a car with a large sticker in its back window.
The sign read, ‘Grow your own dope – plant a Pom.’
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