Kay Green

G’day from a pom in Oz | Kay Green on her travels

by Kay Green

Kay Green

I was stocking up on essentials at the supermarket a few days after I’d got back, included in my shopping trolley were tea bags (Yorkshire of course) and Heinz salad cream. As I started to put my groceries on the conveyor belt the woman at the checkout welcomed me with the standard Australian greeting “G’day, how ya going?” and I replied: “All good for me thanks, how are you?”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the woman waiting in the queue behind me said: “I knew it, I saw that salad dressing in your basket and I knew you were a Pom before you opened your mouth. My husband’s a Pom too and he loves that stuff.”

By the expression on her face, I realised she probably didn’t agree with our mutual appreciation of this particular delicacy.

I’m never really sure whether or not the term Pom is an insult. I suppose it’s like any other expression to describe a person’s origins; it’s a matter of who says it, the way it’s said and how the person on the receiving end chooses to take it. I’ve heard other Brits use it to describe themselves; they’re often the ones that were brave enough to take advantage of the assisted passage migration scheme when it was in operation between 1945 and 1972; they became known as ‘ten pound Poms.’

Being considered a foreigner has instilled a new pride in the place I come from

I didn’t take it as an insult I never do, but when I thought about the incident later, I realised that I was probably always going to be classed as ‘The Pom’, and if that was going to be the case I was going to fully embrace my nationality. Not only my nationality but my inner Yorkshire woman, and I stopped trying to soften my accent to make myself easier to understand. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t spend all day saying “Eee by eck ma, it’s parky”, or “If tha ever does owt fer nowt do it for thissen.” I don’t have the strongest of Yorkshire accents – I lived in Lancashire for years – but the bit I do have I’m keeping, I’m determined not to affect or adapt it in any way at all.

Being considered a foreigner has instilled a new pride in the place I come from, and as I’m hoping to eventually export myself to this hemisphere on a more formal footing then I shall be a resolute Yorkshire lass in Oz!

I’ve got to say I thoroughly enjoy it. I like not having to watch the way I pronounce things. While I was having a conversation with Phil the other day I used the word ‘summat’ instead of something, he actually stopped what he was doing looked at me in amazement and said: “Well darl, that’s a new one on me.” And this from the man that uses the expression ‘fair dinkum’!

When Karen – the boss of Northern Life magazine – and I agreed that my December article
about my travel experiences was the natural and fitting conclusion to the series I started back in 2013, she asked me if I would like to carry on writing my article but with a new theme and title. A very good friend of mine came up with The Yorkshire Woman’s Guide to Aussie Lingo, Lifestyle and Everything in Between. I love that, and I’ve decided to adopt it. I’m not completely sure what I’m going to be sharing with you for each edition, but there’s
always plenty going on in my head and my life. I seem to be blessed with the ability to meet characters with a tale to tell so maybe I’ll share those or just let you know how life in Far North Queensland is going.

According to the locals, I could probably talk about the weather for a few months; I sometimes think they’re exaggerating when they talk about flash floods and crocodiles wandering down main roads in the town centre after particularly heavy rainfall.

Summer here usually means cyclone season. I can’t imagine what that phrase actually means and the bill posters and TV adverts asking me if I could survive for three days without power, water or any form of communication leave me bewildered. I think I might be in for a
shock because I’ve been reliably informed that it’s been a while since there’s been any serious
cyclone activity up this way and all indications are pointing towards a big one this summer.

I have no doubt the first person I’ll hear about it from is my mum. I’m sure she’s got a Google alert set up on her phone that jangles when anything remotely dangerous happens in this country. She regularly texts me about shark attacks and croc sightings. She even told me to expect thunder in Cairns this week; and she wasn’t wrong.

I had a really nasty bout of missing everyone in early December. I always loved the build-up to Christmas when I was in the UK and hrough Facebook I saw photos of my mates going to the Christmas markets, and putting their trees and decorations up to brighten the long dark days. I struggled with being away from it all.

They’re exaggerating when they talk about flash floods and crocodiles wandering down main roads

My mood was low and I was tearful for a while until one morning when I stepped on the balcony to water my plant cuttings. It was still early in the day before the sun and humidity had taken full effect. There was a cool breeze coming in from the sea and I could hear the waves as they hit the beach. I felt peaceful and settled, and I had such a rush of contentment I stopped doing my task and looked at my surroundings. The enormity of what I’d done and where I was hit me again, only this time I realised that I was incredibly lucky to be able to experience this life I have with a man I fall in love with a bit more every week. I know these feelings of missing everyone aren’t going to go away, but I know I’ll learn to cope with them in a more positive way.

The next day, we went on a trip up to the Tablelands, an inland area that is as dry as the coast is wet. We visited a long time friend of Phil’s and spent the afternoon exploring a 600-
acre farm. I was given the option of getting in an airconditioned 4×4 or taking the ride sitting on a haybale on the back of a Ute. You don’t need me to tell you which one I chose do you?

It was a scorching hot day, one of those where you can see the heat rising from the ground. The scenery was reminiscent of my childhood impressions of Australia – mostly formed while watching Skippy on TV.

I’ve got to confess to a squeal of delight when I eventually saw a kangaroo bounding through the scrubby trees. It was the 17th December, and I knew for a fact that I wouldn’t swap where I was for all the warm cups of Glühwein in Germany!