Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend in Dwellingup...

...and just how different American English and Australian English really are :-)

The sailing gang made a break for it this weekend and spent some time together on dry land.  First considerations were of course the food and how many bottles of wine we each needed to bring.  Food and wine are not surprisingly a critical part of the sport of yachting both on and off the water.  We got that sorted and met up on Saturday morning at Heather and Graeme's place in the hills of Dwellingup.  Dwelli as it's affectionately called, is a small country town with a history of logging and forestry in what is now a designated National Forest.  Heather & Graeme's place is perched right on the edge of the forest and close to the Bibbulmun Track a 1000 km Appalachian Trail type hiking trail from outside Perth to Albany.  This is convenient and we managed to get a couple of good hikes in. Graeme appears to enjoy taking sluggish city dwellers and dropping them into deep uncharted bush that manages to somehow be ALL UPHILL. 

After we all arrived, dined, and hiked (and chased Kevin 07, the neighbors escaped feral ram) we elected to sample the heady delights of downtown Dwelli.  This meant driving back along the dirt track into town, and down another dirt track to The Wine Tree, a cute wooden barn filled with aged farm implements and vintage motorcycles with a nice deck hanging off the back.   The draw?  The Smashing Bumpkins were playing!  Three piece string band with bass fiddle, banjo, and guitar.  Everybody in town seemed to be there toting their own plates of nibbles and buying tall glasses of clear crisp highly potent cider off the owners.  Our hosts met several neighbors and wandered while Mike and I watched a man coaching his teen daughter in the finer points of soccer on the lawn.  We all settled in on a picnic table and watched the band play a variety of American folks classics (to which I knew all the words to Heather's amusement).  Toe tapping good fun.  During Dueling Banjos I suddenly noticed the awful teeth of one of the guys and laughed out loud that he had his Bucky Teeth in...then turned to Heather in horror and said "those aren't his real teeth are they?!"  She didn't know either but we were much relieved at the end of the song when he took them out again.

We headed back to the house and spotted emu, kangaroos, and a big black feral pig in a field on the way.  It was pretty much a race to the hot tub after that and it was wonderful steaming away with a glass of wine watching the stars come out overhead.  We saw a satellite and a shooting star before dinner.  Conversation and wine took us all to midnight and then we crashed.  But I must mention the utterly magnificent pavlova Kate made.  Four eggs people!  That is the base for this fabulous delight...four fresh out of the chook eggs, a teaspoon of vinegar, sugar, and some hot water, bake, top with whipped cream and fresh home grown pomegranate seeds and look what you get!

The conversation really got my attention over the weekend.  I'd noticed before during sailing that as the lone Yank on the boat and at the yacht club most Wed afternoons I'd adjusted my speech patterns a bit to make myself understood.  This weekend all the terms for things in the country needed translation.  "Do you swim in the dam" confused me, because here the dam is the pond in front of the earthworks.  I think I've mentioned chooks = chickens.  cockies = cockatoos. marron = crawfish.  And we had elevenses.  Most every polysyllabic word is shortened in a friendly way.  The whole gang enjoyed mocking me and my endless questions as to what this or that actually means, or why Aussies do things certain ways, or how exactly this whole political post election grid lock works!  And we had yet another round of pecan pronunciation will never be pee-can y'all.

To my horror I now say tomAHto naturally.  Please don't judge.

Sunday was my day to cook brekkie and it was fun explaining the science of American style bacon, and the proper folding technique for breakfast tacos, and even the need sometimes for orange rather than yellow cheese.  The tacos were a hit and I'm happy to report every bite of American bacon was consumed (hope Rob the butcher has more in the brine for us!).   We hiked for close to two hours then lolling, naps, and book reading kept us busy for a while.  I pulled out my last block of Velveeta cheese and last can of Rotel tomatoes and made up the classic dip for lunch.  It too was a big hit but after the breakfast and the cheese dip and tortilla chips I think everyone realized why Americans tend to the fuller figure.  I myself have now sworn off the stuff for life.  I'm still suffering a velveeta hangover a day later.


qandlequeen said...

But you're such a great ambassador! Keep up the good work and thanks for allowing us Yanks a peek into the world down under.

Qoddess said...

You've been quoted!