Sunday, April 28, 2013

Close encounters, the joy of reduplication and being helpful

My extra long weekend is drawing to a close, but it's been a good one. I've left it too late to write a post about our Gippsland adventure tonight, but I'll share a quick pic.

On a whim, we stopped at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne on the outskirts of Melbourne on our way home. The gardens feature large tracts of fairly untouched native bushland. At the start of a walking track there was a sign warning of snakes. I secretly thought, "Ooh, I hope we see one", and we did! It was sunning itself on the path and we got within about 1.5 metres of it. No, I wasn't scared. 

I think it was a young brown snake (considered the second most venomous land snake in Australia). It stayed where it was for about 20 seconds, then turned and slithered into the undergrowth. A few metres along we saw a bandicoot, which at first I thought was a rat.

It calmly toddled off into the undergrowth after spotting us too. Hopefully it didn't encounter the nearby snake...or hopefully it did? A snake's gotta eat after all. Circle of life and all that.  

I'll tell you about the rest of our trip soon - and post the photos from my ghost hunting excursion too. 

In the meantime...

I finished reading Let's Bring Back...The Lost Language Edition last night. I didn't think many of the words and phrases really were lost, which is perhaps due to the author being American and me Australian, but I still enjoyed the book. 

Other favourites:

* womblecropped - a state of wretchedness or humiliation
* wiffle-woffles - down in the dumps 

I will now have to choose between mubblefubbles and wiffle-woffles next time I wish to convey that I'm in low spirits. 

I've noticed while reading the book that I have a fondness for words created through reduplication - that is, words created by repeating parts of a word. There are three kinds of reduplication: rhyming (mubblefubbles), exact (bling-bling) and ablaut, in which the vowel is changed, such as in wiffle-woffles and more common words like zig-zag, ding-dong and wishy-washy. I'm not fussed about exact reduplication, but I do get a kick out of the rhyming and ablaut kinds. There are lists of all kinds here

I knew there was a term for these word forms, but I couldn't remember it, so I asked google. Fortunately, 'words like willy nilly rhyming' produced the desired result.  

Fat glee

I had a gleeful moment at the supermarket today. As I waited at the deli, a customer  asked the deli worker if she had goose or duck fat. She didn't, but said there might be some in the meat section. I said I'd just seen duck fat in the butter section - coincidentally the first time I'd ever noticed it. It was obviously in my destiny to help a stranger acquire the fat of poultry today. The man thanked me and wandered off. 

I passed him in the butter aisle looking for it, but it wasn't there. I said maybe it was in the meat section after all and I'd have a look. He said not to worry and wandered off again. The meat section was only in the next aisle, so I got it and gave it to him. He was very thankful.

A small thing, but it made me smile. Never let it be said that I would stand idly by and watch someone leave a shop without their duck fat. 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

It was a raw place when we were at the RBG gardens, not a snake or bandicoot to be seen.