Saturday, November 8, 2014

Crikey, is Renae too Australian?

Psst!  Renae?


Psst – Renae!

Go away.  I’m busy.  I can’t talk tonight.

But Renae, it’s Saturday and you need to do a CafĂ© Risque blog.

Oh jeepers!  Crikey, I’ve run out of time.  I’ve been so busy today I haven’t had time to think up a good blog topic.

Umm – did you just say “Crikey”?  Like Steve Irwin?

Err – blast.  I did, didn’t I?  Forgive me.  Sometimes I sound too Australian for my own good.

Too Australian?  Is there such a thing?

<laughing>  Maybe, maybe not.  Depending on your view.  Now, I need to think of a blog topic.  Do you have an idea?

No – unless you want to talk about being Australian.  What DOES an Australian person do all day?

Err – probably about the same as a person in any other part of the world.  We’re pretty normal here, y’know.

C’mon.  There must be some things that you do that are Australian that you can share?

<sighs>  Okay – well, let’s see.

For a start, it’s spring here in Australia.  We’re gearing up for summer now.  I was speaking to my November Release Day Buddy, RG Green, and she was saying she recently had the first real freeze.  I really have no idea what this means.  Something to do with ice or snow, I think.  Perth rarely dips below zero degrees celsius, so we don’t get “freezes”.

Tomorrow we’re expecting a mini-heatwave.  36 degrees (96F) so my husband has promised to take the kids down to the beach for a while.

The beach?  Aren’t there sharks in the water?

Sure.  But if you were afraid of every little thing that could kill you, you wouldn’t get out of bed.  There are sharks in the water, and recently a surfer lost an arm and a hand to a shark.  But we have beach patrols, helicopters and warning systems.  We should be okay.

A long necked tortoise (which is
actually a turtle - go figure)
Which reminds me of another distinctly Australian thing I had to do last week.  Being spring, the reptiles and wildlife are on the move.  My husband had to stop in the middle of the road on the way home to allow a family of three long necked tortoises to cross.  And I found a snake that had been run over by a car.

The poor snake had been killed by a single tyre across his middle.  He was just trying to warm himself on the road.  The problem was his head was intact from the incidence.  Venomous dugite snakes are still deadly after death.  Their fangs contain the venom, and even after five years, a scratch from a dugite skeleton’s teeth can kill you.  So I went back with a bucket and picked up the poor thing.  The kids would be walking past it on their way home from school, so I wanted to dispose of it.

Eww!  Gross!

Yeah.  I know.  But someone had to do it.

What about today?  Anything today that is distinctly Australian?

Today I worked 7 hours at the local church fete.  My feet are buggered! 

To me - this is an esky
But I won a prize in the raffle.  I won the “blokes pack” which I wanted because I was eying off the mini esky.

The what-ie?

The esky.  You know?  Like an icebox?  Cooler?  You put your cold drinks in with ice to keep them cold?

Ahh!  And you wanted this?

Yes.  It is just the size I need. 

But “blokes pack”?

Yes.  I also won a BBQ utensil holder, a couple of stubby holders and some BBQ cleaning cloths.
Stubby Holder

Umm – a “stubby holder”?  What is that?

A stubby is a small bottle of beer.  What do you call them?  These things?  ---->

I don’t.  I don't believe I've ever held one before.  So is BBQing “men’s work”?

Yes.  In Australia it is *wink*. 

The BBQ is my husband’s domain.  I don’t mind.  It means he has to clean the thing and stand next to the hot food in the summer.  I’ll stay in the kitchen and make the salads, thanks.  (hint: aircon!)

Throwing a couple of shrimps on the barbie, are you?

Shrimps err.... Prawns!
Err…  We don’t call them “shrimps” in Australia.  Sorry.

Oh.  What do you call them?

Prawns.  To me, a shrimp is someone of small stature.  There are 9 inches difference between my husband and me.  That makes me “a shrimp.”  But yes, we do have prawns on the BBQ.  However usually I skewer them. 

So, do you have problems writing Australian?

Of course not!  LOL.  It’s normal to me.  But what I do find hard is writing authentic life for an Australian, but in a way that a person who doesn’t live in Australia, or even in Perth, would understand. 

Like trying to explain your national sport to an unfamiliar reader, without making the character stop and elucidate.  Because that would not seem a natural act for a character to do.  Or trying to find words that an Australian would regularly use, without making readers scramble for a dictionary. 

Some words have easy solutions.  On my coming novel, Safe in His Arms, my American editor picked me up on the word “bin.”  She wanted to change it to “trash can” which would be completely foreign for any Australian-born person to say.  Of course we know what a trash can is, but don’t ever use the term.  The problem was easily fixed with inserting the word “rubbish” before the word “bin.”  In regular speech, an Australian would probably just say “bin,” but “rubbish bin” could also be used, and wouldn’t feel out of place like “trash can” would.

However there are some words that just don’t translate.  I try to avoid using them as the simplest solution.

Is there anything else that you did today that was distinctly Australian?

<snort>  Of course.  I had Weetbix for breakfast.  I drove an Australian car on the left hand side of the road to the fete.  I handled Australian money all day.  I had a Devonshire tea for my morning break, and a sausage sizzle for lunch.  I bought plum jam, honey, lemon butter and scones from the fete.  I also bought a dill plant.  I
These are scones people!
And the word is pronounced to rhyme
with "John" not "cone."
placed a Tupperware order.

When I got home I fed my chooks and collected the eggs.  I watered my pot plants where the bore wouldn’t reach.  I rescued my corn from being strangled by the pumpkin vine, gave the cucumbers something to climb up, picked silverbeet and gave it straight to the chooks, and ate fresh boysenberries off the vine.

I had a steak sandwich for dinner and complained to hubby that he should’ve put beetroot on it.  I helped my daughter build Lego, and listened to my son mumble and get excited about Minecraft.  I lied to a telemarketer on the phone, fed the cats, and washed dishes.  I read my daughter a book about sea dragons, promised my son that he could fall asleep in my bed, and wondered how my husband could watch a movie and play on the iPad at the same time.

So – if you didn’t do any of that today.  Then perhaps you’re not Australian.

Or perhaps you’re just not me.  Because that’s what I did.

Be sure to check out my upcoming novel, Safe in His Arms which is available for preorder here.

How to contact Renae:

Twitter:  @renaekkaye


  1. Thanks for the interview. I find it interesting how words are different depending the country you are in. I love to learn new terms andhow they are used. Can't wait for the new book.

    1. Thanks Denise. Yes, the countdown in on for the new book. There may be a few new words in there... LOL. I hope you love it!

  2. Replies
    1. <3 <3 thank you. I loved writing it. I'll have to think of a sequel...