atw: Re: [OT] Writing for multiple Englishes: was writing for Aus audience

  • From: "Hallett, Michelle" <Michelle.Hallett@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 15:10:54 +1000

Ah Warren, your story had everything, romance, melancholy, conflict, a wisp of 
sadness, a modicum of humour, alcohol, chique-ken and legless Irishmen.
A fitting end to the week.

-----Original Message-----
From: austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of 
Sent: Friday, 14 October 2005 2:46 PM
To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: atw: Re: [OT] Writing for multiple Englishes: was writing for Aus 

Hear Hear Michelle. 
September 2000. 
Ireland, Galway. No rain.   

I had had a very bad (clear) day, having a gear cluster on my pushbike 
progressively deteriorate (blessed thing held together to get me in to town 
though), my booking at the hostel cancelled (bless them too, for I met Louis at 
the next one), fought for a sliver of road in to town with manic 4w drivers, 
trucks, crazy coaches, and worst of all, said farewell to Tania (fool of a took 
I was to do that too). I was totally rattled. 

Louis said upon my request about 'pubs and food and lots of alcohol to drown my 
sorrows' to go and see the barman in the pub 'over there'. Upon duly arriving I 
was presented with a delectable choice (for Ireland) of suitable victuals; 
orange juice and cider (the kind of cider that blows your head off). It was a 
locals pub. down to the same hospitable, friendly, generous blokes who had been 
sitting in the same places for forty years. Some probably constantly... Anyway. 
One group were celebrating in the remains of a wake for their father or uncle. 
One came over, introduced himself and said "Welcome stranger" whereupon I said 
how so far I was disappointed with Galway. He then spent fifteen minutes 
spilling the spots to hear music, where to see Galway, "the real Galway" and, 
being sensitive to me needing some peace left me be. It was lovely, warm and 
comforting, that strangers (yet again), were watching at arms length to ensure 
you were okay, not watching at arms length to see if you might be a threat. 

I was updating my diary, and in come four women. Loud, Brusque, Drunk, 
australian. One of them began to impose on a few of the locals, who 
progressively began to melt into the walls. The barman, having served them 
drinks, left for the other side of the bar section (read 'ran for the bloody 
hills'). Then there were the comments "God What a Dive..." and finally, when my 
first course arrived, "OHHHH WHATS THAT; IT LOOKS GREAT." 

The barman, who took my order, mentioning at the time how he had enjoyed 
visiting Australia, and his mate, were now cringing on the other side of the 
bar looking through the window... And heard me start speaking in a French 
accent. They cracked up. It was getting harder to keep a straight face, but I 
was not identifying myself as an Australian to this pub crawling alcoholic B # 
$ % ? ! g. Now my French extends to schoolboy courtesy phrases, and bad 
language. It improved dramatically in the next five minutes. The longest five 
minutes of my travelling life. 

"Where are you from?" 
"What City?" 
"Paris" in an Aussie accented French accent. 
"Where's that?" 
"In France." Blessed silence. 
"Is it big?" 
"Qui." In an Australian accent. 
"Whats That?" Pointing into my first course. 
"Oh Poll-tree; uhh; you say uhh Chique-ken?" Handing 'thing' a menu. It 
proceeded to appear to read the menu, and I turned my head to notice the rear 
of the menu was upside down. When I had read the rear of the menu it had been 
the right side up in relation to the other side of the menu. Barmen were now 
sniggering loudly. 
"Ahr U wry-tin a dye-ree?" 
"Qui." In as French an accent as I could muster. 

This ... "Thing" - totally convinced I was from France (!) (barman and his mate 
falling on floor legless while the wake boys are totally engrossed in this) 
then launches into a diatribe about how she was from Maitland and her aunt was 
paying for the trip to get her out of town cause she is a trouble maker; and 
then how she reckoned all the pubs they had visited 'over here' are shit and 
couldn't get why people were so unfriendly. I thought about suggesting that 
they don't like the French much either in an Australian accent but stayed 
quiet. Instead, I nodded vague understanding and took a mouth-full, graphically 
showing her the finer points of Gallic mastication and salivation of poultry 
during the crushing of cell walls. She wasn't the slightest bit perturbed, 
offended or put off. 

Eventually, after four and a half minutes, having downed their pints (further 
flabbergasting the locals); her 'relatives', not much better than a couple of 
miscreant cross salty crocs/chicken coop attacking goannas themselves, said, 
"C'mon there's another pub over there that looks better." She is probably still 
complaining to her rellies about that night in the Irish pub how she was 
cracking on to a Frenchman when they decided to leave. Although I hope not. 
Poor Frenchmen. 

I was bought a lot of Guinness that night. The locals reckoned that was the 
best thing they had seen in there for years. The best part; realising you can 
learn a foreign accent really fast if you have to. 

I fell in love with Galway, filled with the spirit of music, hardness and 
melancholy happiness of the Irish west. I very nearly never left. I still think 
my biggest mistake was saying goodbye to Tania. The kiwi nurse... 

But that's another story. Like Jill singing to SME's... 

Warren Lewington
Technical Writer
Metso Minerals
Arndell Park, Sydney.
NSW, Australia.

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