Bob’s my uncle

I grew up in a household that had guests from around the world come in and come out. My parents worked as consultants to the German Government’s development projects in India. So when we had their colleagues come in, my frantic mum who was always elbow deep in making the house look welcoming would set up a chant for days.

“The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming!”

She didn’t realise what she was saying and why we were laughing till the next time we had German visitors, I set off the sirens, the dogs and the kids with jolly chants of “The Germans are coming” We still tease my mum about it and brings to mind the curious thing called – Stereotype.

This morning I learnt that my cousins from Australia are visiting. I know this because my broseph greeted me with a ‘G’day Mate! Fancy a cuppa Fosters?’. I had to tell him that Aussies don’t drink Fosters in much the same way Elephants don’t roam the streets of Bangalore but he said he didn’t want to get into a ‘barney’

What is the world was a barney?

He then went on to talk about Duck’s Dinners and investing in Eskies and how Bob’s my uncle. Then he went on to talk like Matt Preston with his dollops of cream and breaking down the chook before vac packing it.

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The only Australian slang I know, I picked up from travelling in Tanzania and the UK with my Banana Bender friend. My cousins are from Sydney so I’m not sure the same slang applies. Anyway, I digress. I think the point I wanted to make was that as much as we hate being stereotyped, there’s something hilarious about picking up and using slang. The last time they visited us, I told the littlest one that she had a funny accent. She went on to say “YOU have an accent. You sound like Apu”

Fair enough.

This time I want to be prepared. I have those “I love you” koala’s I’m going to stick on my sleeve. I’ve already practiced my sports chants and I’m going to congratulate them on their marvellous victory in the Ashes. All that’s left is to pick up the slangย which, in my opinion, should be a skill you put on your resume.ย Wish me luck!

HOO ROO!

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

44 thoughts on “Bob’s my uncle

  1. This made me smile which is quite an achievement considering that I got out of my nice warm bed at 6 am and am now drinking a cup of tea prior to leaving for work. Remember that all Australians keep pet kangaroos while we english spennd our days playing cricket while, in the evenings we sit around blazing log fires in gentlemens clubs drinking whisky and saying “I say old chap, jolly good show and all that”. If you have never seen it you should check out “Allo Allo”, a commedy about the German occupation of France. The programme manages to turn a deeply tragic episode into side splitting humour. There is an english spy pretending to be a French policeman (the only problem is that he has terrible French language skills), a French restaurant owner who is a terrible coward and who is always flirting with women and a host of other people including herr Flick of the Gestapo with his sinister leather coat. There is also a gay German tank commander who has a crush on the French restaurant owner! Who is “Apu?”, Kevin

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    1. Oh no, not 6am work timings. Terrible. I groan when I wake up cause the bed is most comfortable just when you need to be somewhere else. My brother had a list of questions for my Aussie travel buddy when she came to visit me – this included 1. How many kangaroos do you own? 2. Have you ever boxed a kangaroo? 3. How many deaths by shark in the barrier reef? and such. You should read this about the British stereotypes we all believe – http://intrepidmisadventurer.com/the-department-of-tweed-and-trilbies/#.UrFRT9IW3eA

      I LOVE Allo Allo. We had a BBC India that showed us all the old classics – including black adder, coupling, fawlty towers, yes minister and such. It is quite genius isn’t it?

      Apu is the Indian supermarket clerk in the Simpsons. They’ve stuffed him with Indian stereotypes, it’s quite hilarious! Have a good day at work Kevin!

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      1. Thanks for the link which made me chuckle. I tried to leave a comment but due to problems with the website was unable to do so but Iโ€™ll certainly keep an eye on the blog. One of my favourite sceenes from Fawlty Towers is when Fawlty attempts to conceal the body of a guest who has died first, in a wardrobe, and, second by placing it in a hat stand and standing in front of it. Classic commedy which it is hard to beat! Kevin

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        1. Kevin, too true. That really was hilarious. I wish they’d bring back shows like that. That is the blog of my English Teacher from University. We share a lot of similar experiences and she’s an amazing writer. I’m sorry you couldn’t leave a comment. Do you want me to leave it for you? Take care and have a great day. Hope you don’t have to wake up early today.

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          1. Anju, thanks for your kind offer to leave a comment for me. I really appreciate that. I will try again and if I donโ€™t succeed I will throw my laptop out of the window. No, on second thoughts I will take you up on your kind offer! Did you study in England as I see that your former teacher is living in the UK? Getting up early goes back to my school days. I attended a boarding school for blind and partially sighted children. In the mornings we would get up early and stand shivering on the small mats which stood by the side of our beds. Oh happy days. Cold wooden floors and huge old fashioned radiators which never seemed to properly warm the dormatories! Actually, apart from cold winter mornings it wasnโ€™t that bad as I lived to tell the tale! At weekends I do tend to get up later (around 8.30ish) and Iโ€™m looking forward to being off work from 23 December until 7 January so I can luxuriate in lazying around in bed!

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            1. NOOOOOO! Don’t throw your laptop. You blog posts are essential to my morning routine. No, I didn’t study in the UK but I was there this summer. My sister is married to an Englishman and has been living there a while. And my bf is a Northerner as well. I might move there next year. The teacher has been a world traveller and has spent many years in India, the US and now the UK. Her family is settled there.

              Why did you have to be up early at boarding school? You have a nice long holiday coming up. I guarantee you that your body will wake you up early anyway. That’s what happens to me anyway.

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              1. Thanks for your lovely comment about my blog! Which part of the north is your boyfriend from? I am originally from Liverpool but I have lived and worked in London since 1994. Its lovely to hear about you and your sister dating/marrying inglishmen, cultural and racial barriers are breaking down which is wonderful as we are all human beings and skin colour is just on the surface, it is what lies within the heart which matters and you have a good heart. At school I think that we used to have to get up at 7 but, over the holidays I will be lying in for for longer, promise! You are right about the body clock, mine usually wakes me up prior to my alarm going off. I wonโ€™t be blogging for a week or so or picking up comments due to spending time with family over the festive season. Have a really great Christmas and take care, Kevin

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                1. My partner is from York but lives in Pocklington. That would make your footballing rivals? I didn’t visit Liverpool this time but there’s plenty of time in the next few visits. I stayed in London for 2-3 weeks in June. Most people don’t like it but I really enjoyed my time. Might have had to do with living in High Gate! ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy holidays Kevin. Talk to you soon! Big hugs. xx

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  2. “The Germans are coming”, exactly this 4 words are also a part of an old Greek comedy /Film about the German occupation in Greece , something the Allo Allo. Still used in present :)financial situation.
    Funny enough , I’m Greek with a German pass, live in Germany most of the time but also in the U.K & Greece.
    Globalisation ! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love this post .

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  3. I did know they didn’t drink Fosters since I recently met some Aussies in NY and they laughed when they saw the bar served it. I’m still struggling picking up slang in England, and you’re right, it is a skill we should put on our cvs. Good luck!

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    1. When I came back from the UK, I started calling everyone ‘love’ but had to stop or they’d put me in an institute. Aah well. I heard Fosters is the cheapest beer available there and they wouldn’t really serve it at their own bars.

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          1. This website is excellent for general Aussie lingo.

            http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html

            The kids mightn’t get most of it. Sadly we have become quite Americanised in our culture (with apologies to Darling.) Much of our unique vernacular has been superseded by the language heard in American TV shows and films.

            Let me have a little think about it and I will try and come up with some colourful yet age appropriate slang suitable for all.

            Regards
            Sir

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            1. Oh wow! Love the website. I’m going to study this diligently and then put it up under “academic qualifications”. Will wait. And I know what you mean about the influence of American TV. Hopefully they will adopt Aussie slang and it will be in fashion again!

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  4. This was such a good read, Anju, I chuckled all through it! You have such a lovely way with your words! Especially loved the ‘You have an accent, you sound like Apu’; I get that from my kids, the scoundrels!!! ๐Ÿ˜› Cupitonians was my best discovery this winter! xxx

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    1. What a SCANDAL! Do they know you used to teach us phonetics? Though they’d probably tell me I sound like Apu BECAUSE you taught me. Kids these days! Thank you so much for making my day. The Intrepid Misadventurer is mine!

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  5. All the best…i distinctly remember you asking for that! ๐Ÿ™‚ And, are you seriously suggesting that elephants don’t roam the streets of Bangalore??? What a preposterous thought! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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