What do the backpackers think of our colourful language?

OPINION: Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for backpackers and other foreigners working on our farms.

Not just because they sometimes have a rough trot with pay and conditions or simply getting used to the difficult manual labour, but because they must find it so difficult to understand the language.

I'm not insulting their English skills by any means - it's just that when you've been taught how to speak the Queen's English, the choice phrases, unusual expressions and pronunciations can add a whole other layer of complexity.

The Farmer's no different. For instance, if we're experiencing light showers - this is referred to as "fairy's p**s".

And if it's a bit of a chilly day during the colder months, it's a case of "the wind blowing straight off a polar bear's arse".

It's not just farm talk. I get it at home too.

The Farmer is a terribly practical fellow and, to give him his dues, he is far better than I at assessing the contents of our fridge and making something out of it.

I'm probably a more adventurous cook, but I get accused of buying exotic ingredients for a specific meal that, once partially used, get transferred to the fridge or pantry and are never used again. This drives him insane. But he can't just ask me why I really needed to buy that particular condiment.

Instead he has to say something like: "So this stuff which has been cradled in the hands of a Buddhist monk for three weeks and then rubbed against a Nepalese yak's testicles ... what am I going to use it for?"

Still, it keeps life interesting.

I just wonder what our backpackers tell their friends and family about the new expressions they've learned while working in beautiful rural Australia.

Lost in translation, perhaps?



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