Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Lollyman Cometh

I sit here tired from my day of issuing court dates for the Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal. It is dull work, but I get to use a stamp that says "EXHIBIT A" so I am happy. There are also occasionally interesting cases that I can snoop at. Last week I read of a woman who purchased a well-behaved horse, which subsequently turned out to be a wild horse that had been drugged. She was demanding a refund. There was also a man who arranged to have his house demolished, only to cancel the arrangement. Unfortunately for him the demolition company did not take sufficient note of this and proceeded to demolish the house anyway. He demanded recompense but had been foolish enough to make the cancellation a verbal agreement only, and his case was subsequently thrown out. Owch.

This Bureauarbeit was today alleviated when the staff pelted around the office declaring "the lollyman is here!! the lollyman is here!", which to my sweating person was a great relief. What better a refreshment than an ice lolly?

Imagine then my surprise when I discovered that in Australia, "lollies" are sweets. Any sweets. Much like how in Old English 'meat' meant any food substance rather than only animal flesh. So he did not have anything cold, just several rather sad looking plastic bags full of toffees. For shame.

This is not the only gastronomic discrepancy I have noticed in this land. For example, in cafes when one orders the Full Breakfast (note the lack of the word English) it is standard to receive avocado and spinach, but there is only a fifty per cent chance of seeing a sausage. This is bad enough, but of course the major issue for the outsider down under is the national allegiance to the dreaded Vegemite. Whereas in England Marmite is the quintessential 'love it or hate it' foodstuff, in Australia Vegemite is more of a 'love it or die' kind of food. I have not met a single person who does not like this sickening glop. Of course the comparison is not entirely fair, for there is, apparently, a difference between Marmite and Vegemite, although to me being shown this is like a bushman pointing out the subtle difference between two opposing piles of kangaroo shit.

The food is, to be fair, largely much fresher and it is commendable that it is almost entirely domestically produced (a recent damage to the Queensland banana crop sent prices up by 50%, as they do not import them from somewhere else when this happens as we would in Blighty) but they have a little to learn in the savoury snacks department. No scotch eggs, no black pudding, no Bovril. Beautiful fresh fish is a blessing, but every now and then a man needs a pork pie.

If my reader who left comments on an earlier entry is reading, this is simply a nostalgic (in the Greek sense) lust for snacks, not an imperialist tract. Calm down dear boy, calm down.


1 comment:

the airport exile said...

A good piece of info: Thongs in Oz are not the same either. But couldn't you buy a nice sherbet lemon - the most refreshing "lolly" for a hot day. But Mr Littlewood, your yearning for snacks is merely a symptom of your process of shedding you skin. Soon you will have evolved/devolved enough to accept a Veggimite sandwich with vigour. As for Hot Bovril? You miss that? Isn't it just drinkable Marmite?