Don’t come the raw prawn with me

Today I wanted to be here ‘in case the sh*t hits the fan’. Mum had a fall today and was taken away in an ambulance. She should be in a nursing home they’ll say. Well ‘don’t come the raw prawn with me’ cause we all know she just ‘won’t cop that’!

That old chestnut

People hint to mum that she should think about going to a nursing home. I’m sure ‘that old chestnut’ will be ‘back on the cards again’. I know she ‘wouldn’t have a bar of it’. Thing is oldies sometimes have no say in it. That really ‘makes mum’s blood boil’. See mum is such a private person. She loves her garden and her own space. The whole idea of being in hospital just ‘does her head in’ let alone a nursing home. She’d be ‘out of there in a flash’ if she could.

Stick to your guns

I was hanging by the computer ‘playing the waiting game’. My ‘heart was in my mouth’ when a call ‘came out of nowhere’. It was a real ‘blessing in disguise’. A stranger calls. She shares of how her nan broke her hip in her 90’s and was sent home after she recovered from a hip replacement. Her nan was ‘happy as Larry’. This stranger says “make sure you tell your mum to ‘stick to her guns'”.

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece on phrases and idioms. I hope these ones help you in understanding this uncertain space. A space where the very thing that draws family together can also pull them apart. We all want what’s best for mum but we all have different opinions.


  • Be here in case the sh*t hits the fan – be close by in case something bad happens
  • Playing the waiting game – Not sure what to do so watch and wait
  • Heart in your mouth – Anxious
  • Came out of nowhere – Unexpected
  • Blessing in disguise – Something unexpected or unfortunate that results in something good happening
  • Does your head in – Makes you angry or frustrated
  • Out of there in a flash – Leave in a hurry
  • That old chestnut – Repeating the same old story so it becomes boring
  • Back on the cards – Discuss something that had been spoken of previously
  • Wouldn’t have a bar of it – (Australian saying) Won’t tolerate or put up with it
  • Make your blood boil – Make you very angry
  • Don’t come the raw prawn with me – (Australian saying) Don’t pretend you don’t know
  • Won’t cop that – Won’t take that. Not happy about that
  • Happy as Larry – (Australian saying) Very happy
  • Stick to your guns – Don’t give in

Ep 3: #Job Hunt – Twist of Fate

(with audio) Previously it was The Blow In. Now the saga continues! So I was hightailing it back to Sydney. A 10 hour straight trip in my not so reliable car. Cruising along hour after hour. Day turns to night. Civilisation to bush, and we’ve got a heck of alot of bush around here!

It was the middle of the night. No street lights now. Then the headlights dim. Then they dim again. I blinked a few times hoping I was dreaming. Nope, there it was again!

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Ep 1: #Job Hunt – That elusive first job

Ep 1 (with audio) After speaking to my friends daughter recently I realised she and her friends think having trouble getting a job after leaving school is new to their generation. I’m sorry to break it to you. We don’t always get things ‘served on a silver platter’. I certainly didn’t. I’ve been ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ a few times over the years. Let’s go back to early 1980 in Sydney, Australia when I first left school.


Firstly, in the early 80’s there were no computers, no mobile phones, no credit cards. In my late teens I was catching a bus or train to get around, or walking. As a girl you left school at 16 (unless you wanted to be a  doctor or a lawyer). You were meant to get a job until you met someone, get married, have a family at around 23. It was all mapped out. Pretty easy hey…LOL.

Getting initial employment

Getting a job straight out of school was ‘no walk in the park’. It was tough. You scoured the newspaper for any jobs and would ring to enquire. Even if I got an interview they’d say, “you don’t have any work experience”. I’d ‘scratch my head’ and think to myself, “hang on, how am I supposed to get work experience if you won’t give me a job”?

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Trip to the Theatre

Photo by Aigars Jansons on

Since moving to the city I am amazed just how many things are truly at our doorstep. No need to drive ‘from here to Timbuktu’ to get to where I’m going. I no longer need to feel like I’m living ‘out the back of Woop Woop’ somewhere. Everything feels like it’s ‘a stone’s throw away’ and I’m so close by it’s amazing. We are getting ‘out and about’ so much more and not sitting ‘knee deep in traffic’. I was just so over that.

Tonight was a magical night. We booked tickets for the theatre to see a show called A Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s based on a book by writer Oscar Wilde from the late 1800’s. It’s ‘an oldie but a goodie’. I like things that ‘stand the test of time’. This version was a bit different though. The basic storyline is about a young guy who wanted to stay young forever. Anyway the adventure starts after he views a portrait done by an artist of him. I won’t go into the details in case you haven’t read this story. What I will say is that you need to ‘be careful what you wish for’. 

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#Short Story – Her car launched into the sky

Her car launched into the sky. She felt it, she feared it, she braced for it. Thud! Her body jolted. She landed stuck in the guts of a steep sand dune.

Bennetts Beach 4WD track – Dee Grant

She just had your ‘run of the mill’ hatchback. She  couldn’t have done anything if she tried. She was stuck that’s for sure. She scolds herself. “Man, how did that happen, you weren’t bloody paying attention.” It wasn’t really true. She was out of her comfort zone, driving along a suburban street up the coast, not suspecting that when the road hit a bit of sand that it would drop off suddenly. Ooops!

What would you do? Me, well the first thing I’d do is to scope out my surroundings. That’s just plain logical right?

Logic has done a runner. It escaped upon the way. Logic has done a runner and I thought it was here to stay.

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#Poetry – Chalk and cheese

Photo – Two Woman in Bikini Jumping – Artem Beliaikin

It’s ‘not my cup of tea’ she says, the colours not right there’s not enough red. It should be bright and bold and loud, so my outfit stands out among the crowd. 

Well you can choose whatever you think, but me myself I’d rather have pink. With classy hints of pastel grey, I’ll wow them with my pretty ways.

Pretty in pink or bold loud, they’re  ‘chalk and cheese’ I’m just so proud.


For Mona

#True story: Eaten alive by mozzies

Tonight was the last night to breathe in the smells of loamy soil and listen to the sounds of the night chorus. A chorus of birds, frogs, cicadas and other creatures that greet the night. I’m on 6 acres of fertile soil here in the  northern rivers region of New South Wales in Australia. It’s about a 10 minute drive in from the coast. Yep, it’s glorious here this time of year.

I’m leaning over the balcony of this beautiful bush retreat. There’s bush all around and a series of ponds making their way down the hill toward the road. I’m taking in the dusk and ‘gobsmacked’ at just how loud it gets. I thought the road noise in Sydney could get bad! Check out the audio and you’ll see what I mean. Pictures just ‘dont do it justice’.

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Have your cake and eat it too

Cake, it’s the perfect accompaniment for a great cup of coffee when your out and about. But you know what they say ‘you cant judge a book by its cover’. Not all coffee shops can ‘make the cut’. Their cakes and pastries look great in the display but how ripped off do you feel when you just used your lovely morning coffee to swill down that dry cardboard excuse for a cake.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Choose your poison
Cake is my poison. It’s delectable. You can drink your wine. I choose cake. No need for a hangover you just have it with a nice roasted coffee, sit back and enjoy the world go by.  If you can’t get great cake though it’s important to have a standby.

Standby cake
Standby cake is cake we cake connoisseurs kick back  on. When you know the cakes ‘don’t fit the bill’ standby cake is the answer. Its reliable and dependable and more importantly, edible. Still ‘it’s nothing to write home about’.

Will you have cake with that coffee maam? Sell me your cake and I’ll grab a coffee. Cake, it’s no afterthought. I want to have my cake and eat it too!

Idiom/phrase meaning

  • You can’t have your cake and eat it too – can’t have everything your own way
  • Make thecut – meet an expected standard
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover – just cause it looks good doesn’t mean it will be any good
  • don’t fit the bill – dont meet with your expectations
  • Nothing to write home about – average middle of the road

#True story: Spit and gargle language

When I was eight I fell off the slippery dip at the park and snapped my front teeth in half. Mom in tears to show her and thus began my dental journey. Going to the dentist, it ‘scares the living daylights out of me’. It’s nothing personal. My teeth just have a history. The latest, getting an implant. Next time don’t fall down the front stairs and crack your tooth!

I think that what had me ‘gobsmacked’ was how many people I know took great pleasure in reminding me of how painful, and expensive, it will be to have an implant. Yeah thanks guys. So I was ‘chuffed’ when one of my mates referred me to someone she’d used in the past. “I didn’t feel a thing” she said. Thanks luv! I don’t care that it might not be exactly true. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes you need something like that to ‘set the wheels in motion’ and it’s not that good dentist’s are ‘rare as hens teeth’ but more that when you move to a new suburb your ‘going in blind’. Horror stories going around and around in your head as you remember that needle coming out of your mouth bent and bloody from when you were a kid. How deep did they go?

A good dentist not only does a great job but they make you feel like everything will be OK. They are ‘right on the money’. There’s always going to be prodding and poking or times when your jaw just locks up. When you have that really good dentist. Now they’re the ones who also have this uncanny ability of being able to understand exactly what you say when your mouths full of plastic and metal and cotton. Man how do they do that? Feels like they do professional development on spit and gargle language, or something like that.

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to have dental care that is so good ‘in this day and age’ . I take solace in knowing it was only early last century when they used to pull all your teeth out. You could get your very own dentures. It was even a gift some people got for their wedding present. ‘I shudder to think’.

Phrase or idiom meaning
  • Scares the living daylights out of me – feel extremely scared
  • Gobsmacked – so surprised you can’t speak
  • Chuffed – very pleased
  • Set the wheels in motion – to start a process
  • Rare as hen’s teeth – hens don’t have teeth, rare, non-existent
  • Going in blind – no previous knowledge of
  • Right on the money – accurate, correct
  • In this day and age – this present time
  • I shudder to think – something not pleasant to think about

#True Story – I stomped the carpet to put out the flames

When it comes to working in the kitchen I just don’t trust myself and I’d rather ‘play it safe’ due to an event that happened years ago. You’ve heard the saying  ‘a watched pot never boils’ well I say ‘the devil is in the detail’. I’d rather watch and wait.

Years ago I  hadn’t kept an eye out and a pot full of boiling hot oil caught on fire. When I noticed I panicked. It was ‘a deer in the headlights’ moment. When I did ‘spring into action’ I made bad choices and I watched as the house started to catch on fire. My mind was racing. I was walking around not knowing what to do with the pot. Go outside, no the dogs will jump up. Cover it with a towel, oh no the towel is on fire now too. By now my arms were getting painful from the burns I was receiving. I dropped the pot. It was spinning like when you spin a wheel to see where it will land. It was all happening in slow motion. It landed and ‘ground to a halt’. I realised the pot was no longer on fire.

So there I was, ‘running around like a chook with it’s head chopped off’ putting out flames that had started to lick up the walls from where I had passed. I stomped the carpet for flames that had taken a hold there. I survived!

It took a few months for those burns to heal. The doctor would cover it daily with special cream and then bandage it up. Both forearms were badly burnt. I couldn’t move my fingers because the scabs that formed were so big. It looked like armour from my elbows down. These days all I have are a series of small white scars on my forearms to remind me of that night. Little oil splatters. Nothing compares to what it could have been, but it didn’t need to be.

Guess that’s the problem when you panic. If I’d been thinking logically I would have ‘left it well alone’ and logically put a lid on it. But it was one bad choice after another. So these days I stay put in the kitchen and think of how it was such a close call. I’d rather watch the pot now.

Idiom or phrase meaning

  • Many shapes and forms – all different
  • Play it safe – act with caution
  • A watched pot never boils – time passes slowly when you wait for something to happen
  • The devil is in the detail – simple at first look, to do something thoroughly
  • A deer in the headlights – paralyzing surprise
  • Spring into action – do something quickly
  • Ground to a halt – stopped
  • Running around like a chook with it’s head chopped off – frantic or out of control
  • Leave well alone – leave it alone because you will make it worse by doing anything

ESL – Advanced