Being un-Australian

I have a small confession to make. Well, actually, quite a big one, and one that I fear may result in our Australian visas being cancelled and see us ushered onto the first flight out of the country by clench-teethed officials.

You see, despite living here for more than a year. Despite our professed love of the Aussie way of life. Despite our attempts to assimilate into the Canberra community, there’s one thing that marks us out as not quite belonging.

We don’t actually own a barbecue.

I know, I know. I realise it’s the equivalent of moving to Texas and telling your neighbours that you’re a committed socialist. Or emigrating to Japan and turning your nose up at a plate full of freshly cooked whale-meat (harvested purely for scientific research purposes, you understand). Or telling the French that, basically, on balance, you prefer English cooking. But there it is. We don’t own a barbecue, which, as far as I can tell, is about as un-Australian as you can get.

We have a good excuse. The lovely big Weber barbecue we owned back in Denmark stood no chance of ever being clean enough to pass the import inspection of our removals container, so we sold it to the buyers of our old house and, as far as I know, it’s still sitting in its old spot, drumming up tasty fare for a new family.

And we really did intend to get round to buying a new one when we arrived. It was just that things like a car, school uniforms and air fares to visit home all took precedent. Then, before we knew it, winter was upon us and the impetus just fell away.

But now, in the middle of our second Aussie summer, as we sniff wafts of honey-marinated, sizzling somethings from over the fence. As every other TV ad features a smiling Aussie family clinking beer bottles over an array of smoking steaks, prawns and other such things, we feel fraudulent – plastic Aussies pretending to blend in while secretly cooking all of our food indoors.

So now, the secret is out. You can turn me in if you like. Just tip me off first so I can nip out and save our residency by picking up a cheap barby in the Boxing Day sales. Otherwise 2016 could be a series of blog posts from a detention centre, followed by a tale of our reintegration into life in northern Europe.

Deported for un-Australian activities. They didn’t even have a wheely bin with cricket stumps painted onto it. The neighbourhood was shocked that such a thing could happen unnoticed in their midst. Thankfully they’re gone now. They were always a bit odd anyway.

10 thoughts on “Being un-Australian

  1. Haha, good one Mark … I assume you do plan to hotfoot it (as it were) to the Boxing Day sales?

    Meanwhile, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas – or are you in northern climes already? Hopefully not it flooded areas if you are.

    Happy New Year to you all, and I hope your second calendar year in Canberra proves to be even better – and certainly easier – than the first.


    • Well, here’s a wonderful social media story for you. My parents read the blog (not that that’s how we keep in touch, but they still read it) and offered to buy us a barbie for our combined 2016 birthday presents. so now I’m looking online to see what we can get before officially joining the Aussie barbie club.

      This year I packed off the CBRbound family to Europe while I work on my master’s thesis in quiet, so there’s just me, the dog and the gentle hum of the air-conditioning, but yes, looking at the chaos in northern England especially, I think we are in the right place.

      A happy new year to you too Sue, and happy reading — I’m assuming you got a pile of new books for Christmas? On your recommendation, I picked up Don Watson’s ‘The Bush’ during 2015. It’s staring at me as a ‘must read’ as soon as I submit my thesis at the end of the month.


      • Ah, I thought some were going over to the other side. A little time to oneself never hurts, but I hope mini and maxi get back in time to enjoy some Aussie school summer holidays! Good luck with your thesis. What is the topic? Don’t answer if you don’t want to.

        Yes, I received a few books but people do tend to be scared to give me books these days.


      • Oh no, I don’t mind. I’m finishing up an MA in Professional Writing (distance learning) with Falmouth University. My thesis has to be the first 15,000 words of a novel (that part is fine) plus a 4,000 contextual essay on some part of writing practice (that’s the bit that’s giving me headaches). I think I might be scared to give you my book when it’s finished, too 😉


      • I nearly liked that but then decided not to – I’d hate to think you’d be scared. I’d be too scared to even try something like what you’re trying! Good luck.


      • Aah, one of your in-depth critiques could snuff my nascent career before it starts. I’m just kidding. I always find them very thoughtful and respectful, although I’d imagine the odd author kicking themselves from time to time as they read your thoughts. ‘Yup, she’s right. Wish I’d thought of that in the editing phase’.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t recall when I got my first bbq that was mine and not part of a shared thing. If anything spurs you on to get one it might be three days of 40 degrees and trying not to cook inside the house, and the desire to use really Australian phraseology…’….maaaaate, come over, we’re having a bbq’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, a lovely family member intervened and told us to go and buy our 2016 birthday presents early this year, so we are now, officially, shopping for barbecues. And yes, when we have our first one, I’ll be liberally posting to Facebook that we have passed yet another Aussie initiation milestone — along with surfing, going to the Boxing Day test, and foaming with fury at estate agents.


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