Tag Archives: Australian

It’s an English Thing

Whenever somebody asks me where I am from, I always pause to answer.

I was born in Weymouth, England to an English father and a Sri Lankan mother. We lived in and out of England for the first few years of my life, I went to pre-school there, and then we moved to Australia where I grew up in Berry, NSW and was brought up as an Australian.

However, my father never really lost his accent (I still pronounce garage differently to everyone I know), I received a UK passport at birth and have spent a few trips, including a gap year, back in England.

My grandmother never left Weymouth and I always loved going back to visit her. The green rolling hillsides, the little wishing well behind her house and the thatched rooved cottages. The typical English seafront, the rocky beach and the harbour filled with fishing boats. The gorgeous Dorset countryside of quirky towns, white cliffs plunging into the blue Channel and walks through fields picking blackberries along the way.

I also love the city of London. Red telephone boxes, double decker buses, Big Ben, the tube and my favourite Tower of London. I love the parks, the palaces, the plays and the feeling of being at the centre of the world when you walk down Oxford St. I like mixing with the hip crowd at Covent Garden, standing on the edge of Greenwich Mean Time and imagining what it would be like to live inside the houses of Notting Hill. I enjoy seeing the gold encrusted Buckingham Palace gates, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and the bustling Piccadilly Circus. It’s also fun meeting all your Australian mates in a London pub as they are living there temporarily too.

So of course, I am Australia, but I also identify with all things English.

I was brought up on Sooty and Sweep, Noddy and Blue Peter on the TV, Punch and Judy shows at the sands and reading Beatrix Potter and Rupert at bedtime. I enjoyed eating treats from grandma like Hula Hoops, Hob Nobs and Quality Streets.

It’s always fun to go shopping at Boots, Marks and Spencers, H&M and window shopping at Harrods. I love drinking at one of the many great traditional English pubs with the same names in different places like The Golden Lion, The Red Lion, The Swan, the White Hart, The George Inn, The King’s Arms; and running to get into a nightclub before lock out. I have seen people being out on the pull for a snog, have worn a thong on my bottom instead of my feet and flitted off to Europe for a long weekend to escape the long dark winters.

The English culture is not so different to ours which makes it easy to relate to and it’s those little details that help strike up a conversation with a visiting Brit come to Australia to escape the bad weather for a time.

So, I guess I’m not English, as you are from where you grow up. But it is nice to know that I have the experience and knowledge to morph into an English person if needs be.

Related posts: It’s a Spanish Thing,  Toys, People vs Place, England, 2006England, 1997

It’s all in the attitude

Recent happenings have made me think about the great Aussie attitude of making a positive out of a negative.

We are generally known as a friendly, easy going bunch. No worries, she’ll be right, throw another shrimp on the barbie and all that.

When the elements, the world and people conspire against us, we keep battling and promote the good that comes out of these events.

Bush fires are raging away, but the fire fighters rescued a koala.

Terror attack resulting in racial fear on public transport, it’s all good, #illlridewithyou.

One-punch attacks after too many drinks, don’t worry, we have lock-out laws now.

Perhaps it’s all that sunshine and Vitamin D that makes us a positive nation that just gets on with it. We are known worldwide for our beautiful beaches after all.

Australia is also a multicultural country with us all having been immigrants at some point (unless you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander of course). We may not all be culturally integrated, but we are all from somewhere else.

Aussies themselves are slated as hard drinkers. Most public holidays are centred on public drinking, like we needed an excuse to have a beer at the pub anyway?! Melbourne even has a public holiday dedicated to gambling and drinking.

This year I plan to try to live the Aussie attitude to the fullest and turn all negatives into positives, but is that realistic? Maybe sometimes things are just bad?

The fact that we are affected by global warming is a reality.

Racial tensions in our society do exist.

Public violence due to drinking happens.

But what are you going to do about it?

I pledge to reduce, reuse and recycle more, never judge a person by their ethnicity as always and keep my drinking to a manageable level as much as possible; which is about as close to new year’s resolutions as I have ever gotten!

Related posts: What is news?