So dry the trees are looking for a dog

We had a great storm last night with tonnes of rain, so the title phrase does not apply, but it’s Australia Day, so I suppose I’d better be patriotic and say something fair dinkum. I’m celebrating the continent and its marvellous geography, geology and wildlife, rather than the culture or politics. I’ll leave that to other people.

Being an editor, I also celebrate the language (which is culture, I admit), especially the vanishing idioms, like the title of this post. The Australian National University has a site on the meaning and origins of Australian words and idioms here.

Coming from country South Australia, I remember a few the old folks said, and many idioms are specific to a region. There are quite a few animal-based phrases – “stone the crows”, “you galah!”, “what a drongo!” (actually from a racehorse that never won a race, rather than the bird), “flat out like a lizard drinking” … speaking of which (awkward segue to today’s photos) …

Some skinks like to live in bathrooms, presumably for the water. Neighbour Jacki’s skink likes her banana cake and appears in her kitchen every time she makes it to nibble some. My own regular (possibly the barred-sided skink, Eulamprus tenuis) is the one who lives in the bathroom …

And in case you see this on your bathroom floor and wonder what it is …

Skink poo_3… it’s the poo of the skink (according to Barbara Triggs’s useful Tracks, Scats and Other Traces: A Field Guide to Australian Mammals, which doesn’t cover just mammals).

And if you don’t believe me, may your chickens turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

Hoo roo.

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5 Responses to So dry the trees are looking for a dog

  1. kath says:

    Colourful and descriptive phrase for parched Ozzie weather. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wit, as usual.

  2. Alan says:

    This all reminds me of Barry Humphries and his colourful (note I spelled it “correctly” for British Commonwealth) expressions. And speaking of BH Dame Edna gave a performance here in Atlanta a few years ago, and actually had quite a local following, I was pleased to see. I think this photo of the animal in your bathroom, is possibly the least alarming creature that I gather crawls and slithers across those tiles!

    • Joy Window says:

      Thanks for the cultural sensitivity, Alan. 🙂 You are right that’s it’s a very Les Patterson thing to say. It may not be an Aussie saying – I was listening to local radio over breakfast on Australia Day and callers were ringing in with their favourite idioms and I just assumed it was Australian. It suits our climate, though. I’m surprised Humphries is popular in the US. You are right about my bathroom floor, too.

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