Posts tagged ‘Australia’

November 9, 2012

Of Cows and Curtains

I just returned from a business trip to Australia and so a blog post about an Australian

can’t be far.   This specific one is about Queensland, the subtropical north-eastern part of Australia where my travels always take me.

No DST here! pic: au.totaltravel.yahoo.com

In late October, when the rest of the country goes on daylight savings time, Queensland doe not.  Queensland keeps its regular time with the comment that there is nothing wrong with it (true) and that a subtropical climate does not require that (well, maybe).  The reasons you hear when questioning that inconvenient habit (for travel to other states  it means to get up at 3:30 am to catch a 5:00 am flight to be in Sydney for a 9:00 am meeting) is that it negatively impacts the cows resulting in less milk.

It appears the Queensland cows are a very delicate breed as clearly the Californian or Austrian cows are not affected by the time change and happily continue to produce milk.  But, of course, we can’t rule that out.

The second in line argument is even quainter and has to do with curtains.  So here the story goes: the typical Queenslander comes home from work and apparently draws the curtains shut immediately to keep the sun out.  Now, this habit will inevitably lead to some fading of the curtains which is only exacerbated when – due to daylight savings time – the typical Queenslander gets home an hour – as the sun goes – earlier .  Just think of all the additional fading that takes place during that hour.

Both arguments, but especially the latter one, strike me as quaint, sort of from the 50s.  My interpretation is easy: people just don’t want daylight savings time and for no better reason than “we didn’t have it before and so we don’t need it now.”

Just guessing, though.

March 1, 2011

Buckley’s chance

Here is an Australian expression for you.  I never heard it in the US so I recommend you not using it there if you want to be understood but since it is an interesting little story I’ll tell you anyway.

Old William looking quite adapted to live in the outback, pic: australiangeographic.com.au

Buckley’s chance is the Aussie equivalent of a “snowballs chance in hell”: zero, none, zilch, pretty much impossible.  The phrase originated back in the days when Australia was England’s favorite place to send their convicts to.  One of those convicts, William Buckley, managed to do the impossible: he escaped once in Australia (Melbourne area), walked for days, ended up with the Aborigines and lived with them for many years (35 is the number I heard but haven’t independently verified). In those days living with the Aborigines for such a long time, I guess, seemed just as imposible as escaping the watchful eyes of the British.

Legend has it that after his many years with the Aborigines Buckley eventually returned back to so-called civilization, gave himself up to the authorities, and was pardoned.

Instead of using the full phrase, Aussies like to abbreviate it and just say “Buckley’s” in contexts like this:

“I lent David $50,do you think I can get it back.”

“Buckley’s!  That guy is totally unreliable and probably spent you money on drugs already.”

I was introduced to this Aussie saying by Paul Anderson, of Escape Discovery Adventures during a wonderful one-day Great Ocean Road excursion.