In this episode of Ask Pete Anything I answer Estefania’s question, “Why are red kangaroos so ripped?”.
Here’s the YouTube clip I was talking about where the kangaroo has been chased into a small pond by some dogs. Scary stuff.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By Admin — 3 months ago
Learn about Australian English, news, and current affairs in this episode of My Country on the Aussie English Podcast where I talk about Australian weather in 2019.
AE 531 – My Country: Australian Weather 2019 – Droughts, Bushfires, & Floods
What’s going on, guys? I was inspired to jump on today to do another episode on here about my country, about Australia, because the weather has been going crazy, right? Across the nation, there’s been a whole heap of different events and I thought it would be worth sort of showing you them and talking a bit about them. Let’s get into it.
So, at the moment, we have 28 bushfires raging through Tasmania. So, it’s really dry down there at the moment, in the height of summer, just after the height of summer I guess, we have 28 of these fires that are raging all around Tasmania and threatening a lot of households and there’s been quite a few buildings that have obviously been burnt down and damaged and yeah it’s been going on for about a month or so now so, it’s crazy and that is due to the hot temperatures, the dry climate down here, although I don’t think that Tasmania is currently experiencing a drought. I know that in New South Wales we have been experiencing a drought, ok? So, Australia is one of those countries where we don’t have very much water. We’re not always in drought like it’s a very, very dry country and there are definitely parts of the country where you just don’t expect water, but I guess drought, and again I’m not an expert, but I would imagine when when a place is in drought, it’s experiencing less water than usual, right? Less rainfall than usual. It’s not that it doesn’t have much rainfall or that it has a lot of rainfall it’s more about the average, ok? And if a certain period of time, say five years in a row, which has been happening for New South Wales is experiencing less than the average amount of rain each year.
So, that’s happening in New South Wales at the moment and there’s been quite a lot of stress on farmers. There was this photo that was shown recently where a woman was helping her her father and she captured an image of him. This photo here where he’s on his knees praying in the fields, hoping that rain will come because it’s affecting, it’s affecting the crops that a lot of these farmers are planting where if it doesn’t rain early on enough or even during that crop, the crops can’t grow to be harvested and then sold in order to make money and generate income for these farmers. The animals are really expensive to feed in these sorts of times because the price of the food that they get the hay and everything goes through the roof because you have farmers who make that hay obviously struggling as well to make it because of the drought.
And on top of that, you… if you can’t afford that sort of stuff, you have very little in the way of grass and hay on your own property, then the cows and the other livestock that you’re going to have tend to obviously get smaller and not grow as large, they’re not as healthy, and so when you try and sell those each year, you’re going to get much of a reduced sort of price for those animals too. So, for the last few years we’ve been seeing that farmers, especially on the interior of the West Coast of Australia, right? So, we have the Great Dividing Range in Australia. See if I can show you a map of that let me tell you you’ll see here on the screen. Right so we have what we call the Great Dividing Range which goes from about here in Cairns all the way down the East Coast. A few, maybe, a 100 or so kilometres in, maybe a few hundred kilometers in New South Wales, down into Victoria. And what happens is that that causes air to go up into the sort of higher level of the atmosphere, and I’m not a meteorologist, but my basic understanding is because of that mountain range, you get water generated or rainfall rather generated and it comes down and goes down both sides of the mountains into rivers and you have the Murray Darling Basin, which is this big base in New South Wales where you, and in the interior of Queensland as well as Victoria, the Murray Darling Basin, the Darling River and the Murray River and you have the water coming off the Great Dividing Range going west across those farmlands and you also have it going east down to the ocean on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. So, that’s why we have that green line or strip of forest up the east coast of Australia because there’s rainfall because of the mountains, right? You’ll talk about the Murray Darling Darling Basin and the other issues there. So, anyway there’s farmers on the interior there. There’s not enough rainfall down in New South Wales and South Western Queensland at the moment so, we’re having this drought and a lot of the farmers are obviously under pressure because they’re finding it very hard to survive.
They’re getting support from other farmers, they’re getting support from the government. I think they’re getting a lot of donations though as well, although I’m sure it’s not enough and they’re really battling, but hopefully the drought will break soon and they’ll get through that. You might be asking though at the same time is having this drought, especially if you’re in Australia at the moment, you might be thinking well… I’ve just heard of all these reports that places like Cairns and Townsville are being flooded, right? So there’s all this stuff going on in Queensland with ridiculous amounts of rainfall and I guess I can show you that on a map here, I had it up here. So, this is the 2018 Australian rainfall decile map so you’re going to see here rainfall across the continent, where it’s blue it is up to, highest on record so, very good amounts, above average, right? And beyond, and where it goes from white to dark red it’s below average, right? So, you can see there on this map that most of Southern Queensland here almost all of New South Wales as well as Victoria are all experiencing droughts as well as South Australia here on the eastern side. And so a lot of our farming land is in this area and that’s why the farmers are having such trouble, but you’ll also see up here in the top of Australia that they’re receiving very much above average rainfall and there are even some places here that seem to be receiving highest on record levels of rainfall and even in the interior here in southern Western Australia.
So, what’s happening now is that you have all of these different weather systems, I guess, happening or going on at the same time you have flooding up in Townsville at the moment, in Queensland, where I was hearing crazy stories of them getting something like a year’s worth of water in a week. It may have even been less than a week. There were stories of, I think, 20 different suburbs around Townsville that have had to evacuate. They’ve had to take the people out because the water levels of the river are rising after the River has broken its banks, the water is rising, it’s going to submerge these houses and people just have to get out while they can. There was a woman saying that in her house she had to escape and leave, she went to drop the kids off at school, I think, and then came back after half an hour and the water had risen three metres in half an hour. So, imagine that a metre every 10 minutes, that would be visible, you would imagine the speed at which the water is rising and so, in the case of these floods as we were talking about on the podcast recently when we were talking about floods, these are fast onset floods where you have these… this weather with a severe amount of rain and the river systems can’t cope. So, the rain comes down and the water just rises, the rivers break their banks or even the rain ends up in the streets, right? Because you just have consistent rain that the drains can’t handle and the rivers can’t handle, they can’t drain away all that water. So, that’s what’s happening in Townsville at the moment, but yeah it is just, it’s crazy to see across the monsoon tropics there you have heaps of rain. Meanwhile, you know, 1000 kilometers or a few hundred kilometers below the monsoon tropics that northern sort of stretch of Australia, that sort of banana across the top, you have all of this dry, dry, dry drought sort of conditions as well hammering the country at the same time. So, Australia is very unique in that respect, I think, that you can have flooding in one part of the country, even within the same state. Meanwhile, you also have droughts in the same state, Queensland for example here. So, it’s very it’s a very crazy time.
I also want to touch on what’s going on in the Murray Darling Basin. So, there’s been story after story of these fish killings recently in the Murray Darling Basin and if I can go back to this map here, the Murray Darling Basin is let me just zoom out here a bit, it’s this section of Australia here. So, you have the Darling River I think coming from up here and going all the way down and joining with the Murray River, which is the border here of Queensland and the Murray flows from the Great Dividing Range, the Alps up here, all the way between Victoria and New South Wales into Adelaide and then out into the great Australian bite here. So, this whole section here is the Murray Darling base and you have a lot of farming there. You have a lot of cotton farms and I think they have been the biggest problem that I’ve heard so far with regards to taking water from the Murray Darling system.
So, a lot of the farmers that are there rely on the water in the Murray Darling system to feed their cattle or their livestock or water their crops, right? For Irrigation and that sort of stuff. Now obviously when you have a drought you have a lot less water in the system and so, the cotton crops, which I’m not 100 percent sure on their location, but I would imagine they’re further up the system further to… and again I’m not sure, I’m just double, I’m just double checking, I have to have a look, but I think they’re up sort of further in the north here and they had been, it’s been found as far as I’m aware that they’ve been taking more water at least some cotton farmers had been illegally taking water out of the system in order to grow their cotton. There might have been other types of farms as well. Effectively, what’s happened, though, is that you have had this blue green algae, this algae grow in the water and it’s boomed in the water as a result of the conditions that have occurred and this has led to massive, massive amounts of fish dying because when the algae blooms in the water, it sucks the oxygen out of the water and the fish simply suffocate. So, we’ve had the Darling River with extensive mass deaths of fish that’s been occurring for weeks now, you know, and you would just see millions of dead fish, some of them are up to 40 or even 50 years old, you know, like massive fish. So, it’s really tragic.
Another problem is that the fish that are surviving tend to be invasive species and I think I was reading something the other day about the carp, which is a problem species in Australia because it digs up all the soil on the bottom of these river beds and it leads to them becoming very muddy and silty and it’s just they outcompete the native species, anyway, it seems like those species are actually surviving better than the native ones and this thing is spreading down the Darling River. So, we’re having areas where there are fish kills upstream and then I think that the algae is spreading downstream in these same conditions are occurring more and more and we’re getting more and more fish deaths. So, just one more thing that’s happening to the Australian environment at the moment.
The last thing that I wanted to touch on was the feral brumby culls that are finally coming in. So, we have a problem in Australia where in the south east part of Australia we have feral horses. These are horses that have been released into nature, into the wild and they live there, but they damage the river systems. They eat a lot of the plants, the native plants, they… the hooves on the animals, destroy the ground because Australia, before Europeans came, had no livestock at all, had no source of animals that had hooves like horses, sheep, cows those kinds of animals, donkeys etc. And so the land, the plants and the soil system effectively wasn’t used to these animals and this the sort of I guess the hardness of their feet compacting the ground and so, quite often we have a problem where if you get lots of these animals feral in an area, they can actually destroy the soil and the ground systems and the plant systems and so it’s a sort of cascading effect. It’s almost from the bottom up, disturbing sort of the balance of the ecosystems so, there was a massive sort of to do recently about this brumby death that they… someone stumbled upon in Santa Teresa here where this drought is going on in New South Wales and southern Victoria and north western Victoria, southern western Queensland, and these these feral horses had obviously been everywhere doing their thing and then when a few hot days rolled through, which recently occurred, where we had like days up to 49 degrees, I think, in South Australia, it was definitely over 40 here in Victoria and NSW hit it as well so, that centre of Australia definitely got really hot, we had a heatwave and tragically or, you know, I guess it depends if you like horses or not, but these these brumbies that were spread out in this landscape went to where they thought water was and there was no water there because of the drought and because of the temperature and they all died in this one location. So, someone obviously found, them took these photos, a lot of people were sort of… I don’t know necessarily if they were outraged, but they were definitely upset because people tend to like horses, right? You don’t really think about rats and other animals that live there naturally that have probably died as well, but horses people like.
The problem that I have, though, is that we have a lot of horses here and people won’t allow the government to kill them or to cull them or to reduce the numbers because their horses and people have it in their head that horses are these cute cuddly animal, whereas the native animals like kangaroos and dingoes and wombats and those other animals that also live in the environment, that are also cute and cuddly, are sort of competing with these horses, anyway. It looks like the government has decided to roll out some culls in order to control the numbers of Brumby’s which I wholeheartedly support. I don’t like… I don’t like animals… feral animals in our environment destroying the environment or competing with native Australian animals and I also hate the idea of these feral animals suffering in this kind of way. So, I’m sure that a bullet and a humane death is much, much much, much more of a… what would you say? A better option than dying of dehydration in the heat.
Anyway, that is it for this my story about Australia guys and their sort of climate and weather that’s going on, I hope you enjoyed it. If you find any good articles feel free to send them my way. I’m going to start rabbiting on I’ll let you get on with your day. Thanks for joining me! See you later!
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By pete — 1 year ago
AE 363 – WWP Story Time:
That Time I Caught A Deadly Snake!
G’day guys, how’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Story Time, Walking with Pete. I am walking around, I think it’s Princes Park, Princes Park, which is a park across the road from Melbourne University to the north of the CBD in Melbourne. (It’s a) really beautiful park. (There are) loads of people walking around, running around.
But today, I want to talk to about that time I caught the second most deadly snake in the world. This was an eastern brown snake, when I was probably nine or 10 years old. So, I was a very stupid kid.
But, yeah, so Story Time! I thought, again, just to remind you I’m trying to do these episodes to mix it up a little, give you give me some different vocab, tell me some stories about me. But, when I was a kid I used to love fossicking. I used to absolutely love fossicking. And “to fossick” is to, like, look for things. So, I used to lift rocks up, push logs over, lift logs up, pull bark off trees up at the farm, where my grandparents had a farm. And there were loads of animals. There were always heaps and heaps of really cool little animals hanging around the cabin. We had a wooden cabin up there that my parents used to drive us up to with the whole family. And, yeah, it used to be amazing. So, we had this cabin because my grandparents, probably back in the 50s or 60s, I’m not exactly sure when but probably the 60s. They bought this log cabin and built it on a piece of land near Bendigo, up in the northwest of Victoria. I think it’s sort of central Victoria really.
But, it was a beautiful bit of land. And they used to have sheep on the land. They used to have the sheep shorn once a year before summer. So, they’d get all the wool from the sheep and my grandfather would sell it. This was his sort of little hobby.
And so, it used to be a full family event. The whole family would go up. I’d have cousins, uncles, aunties there, my parents, my sister would be there, my grandparents, obviously. And my grandfather used to hire a shearman, or a shearer*, to come to the farm to shear the sheep. And we’d do it all in a weekend. I think it’d usually be one or two days. I think my grandfather only had maybe 200 sheep, and so a good shearer could probably get through that in a day or two, obviously.
And so, yeah, the guy we had used to smash it out in a day, and it was a really good fun event. We’d be collecting the wool and everything, but usually the kids would be off doing stuff, entertaining themselves, hanging around the farm, whilst the parents or the adults were all involved in the shearing process.
So, we had, I guess, an old shed, a really big old shed where the sheep would be brought in, and then they’d be shorn and pushed down a ramp out into the field again, and my parents and grandparents would be going through the wool, making sure it was good quality, pulling all of the seeds and everything out of it, and then bailing it into a big bale to send off and be sold at auction. So, while they were doing that, every… all the little kids, I mean, we could be involved. Sometimes we were asked to be involved, but you know what little kids are like. We get bored pretty quickly. We’ve got the attention span of a bee.
That’s a really big tram coming past that you can probably hear. I’ll just wait for it to pass.
And so, quite often we’d help out in the morning and then disappear outside in the afternoon and just, you know, run around the farm and entertain ourselves.
So, I used to do that. I’d be lifting up rocks, pulling off bits of bark off trees, rolling logs over, and just looking for mostly lizards. I used to really like reptiles. I really love lizards. I’d love to see snakes, but I was educated pretty quickly in Australia, as are most kids, especially, those who go out of the city and are likely to come in contact with snakes, that they are dangerous, and that you should not touch them. You shouldn’t pick them up. You leave me alone and they’ll leave you alone. Make sure you make a lot of noise when you walk around. They’re kind of the equivalent of Australia’s bears, I guess, in that respect, where you’re meant to sort of stomp around and not creep through the grass for fear of sort of stepping on one while it’s trying to sleep or sunbathe.
And so, one summer, I was there and we were outside the cabin, and I was looking around under a bunch of different big rocks that I hadn’t lifted before, and I lifted up one and there was a little snake curled up under it, and it shocked me. I think I jumped back like 10 feet, ’cause I wasn’t expecting to see a snake under that rock. And it disappeared down a little ant hole. It was only a small one. It wasn’t a, you know, fully grown adult snake. That I would not have got near, I would have shat myself, run away, and screamed, probably.
So, anyway, at the time that I was hitting this rock up my parents were actually getting ready to go. So, the moment that I discovered this thing sleeping under a rock, trying to hide from young boy predators, I had to leave. So, I had to put the rock back down. I think I remember screaming “Mum, dad, I found a snake! Come check it out!” but, they were like, you know, “leave it alone, get in the car, we’ve got to go. We’ve got to go back to, you know, real life and work”, ’cause it would have been probably Sunday, a Sunday afternoon.
So, that was in summer. So, this is when these things are the most active, right? And so, we used to come back to the farm every six months or so. And I remember, we came back six months later, just before winter, or just during winter, and the instant, the instant that we got there I had that snake in my mind, that’s what I was thinking about. I was like “Is he still going to be under that rock?”. And, as soon as I got out of the car I made a beeline for the rock. I went straight to it like a bee buzzing going straight to a flower. I made a beeline straight for that rock, lifted it up, and low and behold, the snake was there.
And so, it was funny, because instantly I had my little bucket that I used to carry around with me to put insects and lizards and spiders and stuff in. I would take it inside and normally keep them overnight. You know, look at them, put some leaves in there for them to hide in, and kind of observe how these animals behaved. And then, I would put them back outside the next day.
My parents were always very conscious of the environment and wanted me to take care of things, you know. They’d always be like, “Put the rocks back where you found them. Don’t leave them upturned. Put the logs back. Put the animals back exactly where you found them. Make sure they’re okay, and, you know, it’s bad enough that you’re picking these things up and taking them out of their homes, but just put them back afterwards and leave them alone. After they’ve, you know, gone along with their day”.
So, I had this bucket there and I picked up a stick, and because it was winter the snake was so cold it could barely move. And I put this thing in the bucket. I was so proud. And it was like probably really early morning, and I remember walking in to my grandparents’ farm (cabin*) and, you know, (I) had a massive smile on my face, (I was) incredibly proud of myself. I caught a snake, finally. I’d never caught one before, and I haven’t caught one since. Needless to say, my parents and my grandparents were not impressed. They were not impressed.
Yeah, so, it was pretty funny. I got to hold on to it. I remember Dad just sort of being shocked, and I remember looking up… we had a book there, a book with all the different reptiles of Australia in it, and this… the snake that we’d caught had these little distinctive markings on it. I think it was either on its head or on its neck. And I didn’t expect it to be, you know, an incredibly venomous snake. I expected it to be venomous, ’cause most of them down here are. We don’t really how many pythons down in the southern part of Australia. They tend to just be what are called “Elapids”, and they’re the venomous ones. But, when we looked up the book the snake that best fit the description of the one that I’d caught was an eastern brown snake, and they are one of the most toxic snakes out there. They have the most… second or third most toxic venom of Australian snakes.
The number… the place number one belongs to… what are they called again? (I’ve) Forgotten off the top of my head. These guys are killers, though. What are they called? Taipans, Taipans! So, you’ve got the inland and the coastal taipans in Australia. I’m not sure, I think they’re a different species, but they might be subspecies. But those two are the most venomous of all snakes. And then I think one of their close relatives the eastern brown, which was the one that I’d caught, is second or third on the list.
And so, yeah, that was a really a fun adventure. I remember we had it overnight, we took some photos of it, and then, unlike the rest of the animals that I used to catch, we did not leave this one… we did not let it go near the house where I found it. Instead, we took it across the road into the forest and let it go there, because, obviously, my grandparents and my parents wanted it as far away from where the children were going to play as possible.
So, that was the time that I caught one of the most venomous snakes in Australia. But, yeah, it is interesting. They’re… I can probably leave this for another story at another time, but people seem to have a big fear of snakes when they come to Australia, but, to be honest, you’re rarely, if ever, going to come across them, and when you are, it’s going to probably be because you’ve gone looking for them or you have, you know, gone out into the bush into a really stupid place. But yeah, they’re not going to jump up and hurt you.
Anyway, I we’ll leave that for another time. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, this Story Time episode of Walking With Pete, guys! Tell me about something that you’ve done when you were a kid that was equally as stupid or careless or reckless in a comment below and I will chat to you soon. See you guys!
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By pete — 3 years ago
In today’s episode, Ep060: Expression – To Nail Something/It, I teach you how to use the common English expression “To nail something” or “To nail it”.
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Ep060: Expression – To Nail Something/It
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today’s another expression, and this is an expression that I use all the time, and I’ve actually caught myself using it a number of times in previous episodes. So, I thought that it would definitely be something that I should go over, that I should teach you, that I should show you and break down, and show you how to use it, ‘cause it is one of those more slangy kind of expressions, but it’s common everywhere now in English. I think it originated from America and it would’ve been on American TV and so it’s just become popular everywhere. I’m sure people in England would know it, people in the US and Canada would know it, and it’s definitely used everywhere in Australia.
So, the expression is “To nail something”, “To nail something”. And it’s often just “to nail it”. You would say, “To nail it” if um… you already know what “It” is that you’re already talking about in conversation. You can say “You’ve nailed it” or “To nail it”.
So, literally, what does “To nail” mean? The verb “To nail something” is used to refer to hammering a nail, and “a nail” is a small thin piece of steel or metal of some kind that you would hit with a hammer into a piece of wood quite often to sort of fasten something somewhere. So, if you were building say a deck, which is something in front or behind of your house made of wood that you can walk on and have a barbecue on, and have seats on. It’s made of wood. If you were hammering the wooden pieces, the wooden planks, into place, you would be hammering nails. You would be nailing it down. You would be hammering nails through the wood and fastening the wood there. So, that’s “to nail”. Literally, “to nail something” is to hit a nail through it. So, you can nail a sign to a post, or you could say that Jesus was nailed to the cross. They pushed… they pushed… they hammered nails through his hands and his feet into the cross to fasten him to the cross. So, that’s to nail.
However, figuratively, I would use it more often in a figurative sense, because it’s just something I would say quite often when I use the word “nail”. And if you nail something or you nail it in a figurative sense it means that you have completed a task successfully, perfectly, impressively, or you’ve gotten something correct, you know, you’ve gotten something right.
So, what do I mean by this? I’ll run you through a few examples.
So, for example you’ve just had an exam, and you’ve come out of the exam, you’ve said to your friends, you know, “I think I did really well. I answered all the questions. I felt like I knew every single thing that the exam was asking, and I had enough time. I did really well. I finished ahead of time. I left. I feel like I nailed it. I feel like I nailed the exam. I nailed it.” And that would mean that you felt like you did incredibly well, you know, almost too well. That you’re going to get a really really high score. It was too easy. You nailed it.
Another example could be that a teacher asks a student a question in the classroom, and the student answers the question perfectly. You know, it’s a maths question for example and they give the exact answer. The teacher could say, “Well done” to the student, “You nailed it. You nailed the question. You got the question correct. It was perfect. You were successful. You nailed it!”
Another example could be that you’re learning how to pronounce a word, and I think this is where I’ve used this [expression] many other times in the podcast when I’m talking about pronunciation. You’re trying to, sort of, perfect or to successfully pronounce a word in a foreign language say, Australian English or English, you could say the process of trying to get the pronunciation perfect is something that you are trying to nail. So, you’re trying to nail the pronunciation, which means that you’re trying to get the pronunciation perfect. You’re trying to do it incredibly well. And you could also say that once you get the pronunciation correct, and you get it correct every time, that you’ve nailed it. You nailed the pronunciation. So, you’re trying to pronunciation, you’re trying to learn the pronunciation, you’re trying to get it right, and then when you do get it right, and you get it right every time, you could say then “I’ve nailed it. It’s too easy. I’ve nailed it.”
One last example could be that someone is auditioning for a part as an actor, say in a big film, you know, say Game of Thrones, say a new blockbuster that’s coming out next year in Hollywood. They go in. They do the audition, but they come out and they don’t feel like they did very well. So, they don’t think that they’ll get the part. So, they could come out and they could say to their friends and family, “Unfortunately I don’t think I nailed the audition.” So, you can use it in that opposite respect. You can either nail something or you can not nail something. So, you can say, “I don’t think I nailed it. I don’t think I did very well. I don’t think I did it perfectly. I don’t think I was successful. I don’t think I nailed the audition”.
So, now let’s do some exercises just to practice our pronunciation guys. And I’ll just run through the phrase “To nail it” five times for you. And then I’ll run through the conjugation of the past tense, “I nailed it”, through all the different ah… pronouns.
To nail it x 5
To nail something x 5
I nailed it
You nailed it
He nailed it
She nailed it
We nailed it
They nailed it
So, that’s the episode for today guys. See if you can listen multiple times, and see if you can nail the use of the expression “To nail something” or “To nail it”, and then practice the pronunciation and see if you can nail the pronunciation of “To nail it” or “To nail something” and try and nail the conjugation. So, hopefully I’ve used the phrase “To nail” enough times that you will definitely remember it and definitely understand it in the future when you hear it. And hopefully you’ll nail it in the future and use it yourself when you’re speaking English. All the best guys and I’ll see you soon.
If you liked this expression episode guys then please jump over here and check out all the other Aussie English expression episodes to help you improve your Aussie English.
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