Download the free eBook and read while you listen!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.
About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
You Might also like
By pete — 2 years ago
Expression: To Tinker With Something
G’day guys. How’re you going? Welcome to this expression episode. Today I’m going to do the expression for you TO TINKER AWAY or just TO TINKER. And I mentioned this phrase in a recent episode that I uploaded for you guys, and Estefania from Spain asked me if I could do an episode on TO TINKER AWAY or just TO TINKER WITH, TO TINKER.
So, here we are. If you guys have any expressions, any sayings, any idioms, any grammatical issues, pronunciation issues, any kind of English issue that you would like me to do an episode on in the future make sure you send me a message or comment below, because I’m going to try and turn this around and focus in on you guys, and try and do as much as I can that you guys ask for specifically. So, I’m going to put you guys first from now on.
Anyway, before we get started I’ve got some good news. I bought some gadgets recently. Some gadgets, and GADGETS are like little devices, little computer technology, machinery, gadgets, gadgets. I’ve got here a lapel mic that I can plug into my phone and put here to talk (into). And I also have a directional microphone that I bought that I just plug in to the side of my phone. And so, I thought I would start this episode obviously just using my phone without any microphone plugged in. It’s just using the normal phone microphone. And, I thought I’ll plug this in while we are recording so that you can see the difference. So, let me just see here. There, we’re plugged in. And hopefully, I’ll have to check after I’ve recorded this, hopefully the sound is better.
Anyway, without any further ado, let’s dive right into the episode guys. So, TO TINKER AWAY, TO TINKER AWAY, or just TO TINKER. TO TINKER WITH SOMETHING, TO TINKER AWAY AT SOMETHING, you can say TO TINKER AWAY AT an activity, so something you’re doing. If you’re TINKERING AWAY you could be repairing something, playing with something. I’ll define it in a sec, but yeah, TO TINKER AWAY WITH an activity or AT an activity, or TO TINKER WITH something.
So, the definition of TO TINKER is to busy oneself, to occupy oneself, to be busy with something an to be making subtle changes, to be making adjustments, so to adjust something, to attempt to repair something. But ultimately, you’re doing this without any real skill in that field, in that area. So, you don’t know how to repair these things but you’re trying to anyway, you’re TINKERING with the device, with whatever it is that you’re trying to repair. And you could also say that it’s kind of in a clumsy unskillful way with no real results.
And so, you can also use TINKER in the form of a noun. So, not only can you use it as a verb, TO TINKER WITH something or TO TINKER AWAY at something but you can also have A TINKER WITH something. And that means to fiddle with something, to try and adjust it. A TINKER is like an adjustment, a fiddle, a play, you’re… It’s that noun. It’s that idea of the action that you’re doing. So, if I go and HAVE A TINKER WITH my car, I’m going out to my car and I’m having a fiddle, I’m having a play, I’m adjusting things, I’m trying to repair it with no real result. Whereas, if I use it as a verb I can say that I am going TO TINKER WITH the car, or I’m going to the car and I’m TINKERING AWAY with trying to repair the car.
So, that’s TO TINKER, the verb and the noun. A bit of background, where did TO TINKER come from? TO TINKER apparently is… or A TINKERER back in the old days, I would never use this phrase anymore, but A TINKERER was someone who mended kettles and pots and pans. So, things that you cooked with. And this was back in the mid 1300s onwards. So, 1300s, 1400s, 1500s. Back when it was obviously incredibly important to be able to repair those kinds of objects that everyone used in their houses to cook with. And so, it was also a surname, I think TINKERE, I’m probably mispronouncing that, but it dates back to Middle English in the 1200s and onwards. And so, surnames in English quite often reveal to some extent what that original family did as a job. And so, if their surname was TINKER or TINKERE these are probably the people who first started to make themselves known for mending kettles, pots and pans, and that’s where the verb came from (TO) TINKER and the noun came from A TINKER.
So, let’s just get straight into some examples of how I would use this phrase, or how I would use this word, this noun. So, imagine that you’re grandfather is, like, really really intensely interested in clocks, old antique clocks. So, he collects, maybe they’re not always in mint condition, maybe they’re not always perfect, they don’t work very well, and he has no real training in how to repair these things, but all the same, he likes to play around with the clocks and the mechanisms in the clocks. He likes to fiddle with them. You could say, “He likes TO TINKER WITH his clocks. He likes TINKERING WITH his clocks. He likes to go and have A TINKER with his clocks on weekends.” You know, it’s his hobby, just to play with the clocks, to adjust them. Maybe some of them are broken and he tries to repair them. He likes TO TINKER WITH clocks.
Another example could be that you are a mechanic and you love building cars. So, you may not necessarily be a mechanic in a sense that it is your career, but say you’re just… It’s your hobby. You’ve always loved cars, you love building cars from scratch, you love making the engines and then finally getting the car on the road and going for a drive. It’s your passion. You’ve got a garage at home with all your tools on the walls, you know, you’ve got oil pans on the ground to catch the oil if it starts leaking from the cars. Any time that you go into the garage to build your car, to try and repair the cars, to fiddle with the engine, to make adjustments, any time you go in there and have a play, have a fiddle, you could say that you’re having A TINKER. So, there’s the noun, to have A TINKER. You’re TINKERING WITH the car, you’re having A TINKER WITH the car, the engine, parts of the car, whatever it is that you’re fiddling with. You could say you’re having A TINKER WITH it. Or you could use it as a verb and you could say “I am TINKERING WITH the car. I am TINKERING WITH the engine. I’m TINKERING WITH the parts. I’m having a play. I’m having a fiddle.”
The third example could be that say, you’re at home, you’re trying to cook one day and you got the dishes in the dishwasher running. They’re cleaning, the water’s going inside the dishwasher and all of a sudden you hear some clunking and then the dishwasher stops working. And your dad runs out and he’s like, “Ah! I got this. I’ll fix this. It’s fine, it’s fine!” He gets in behind the dishwasher, you know, (he) pulls it out. (He) tries to get in there and have a fiddle to see if he can fix the dishwasher and get it to keep working again obviously. Maybe he wants to do this because he wants to save money and not have to pay for a repairman to come out, because it’s expensive to pay a repairman to come out to fix the dishwasher. Maybe he’s afraid he’s going to be told, “You’re going to have to buy a new dishwasher. This one’s kaput, it’s broken.” And so, he gets in behind the dishwasher and he has A TINKER or he’s TINKERING AWAY behind the dishwasher. He’s trying to repair things, he’s trying to find the problem, he’s having a fiddle with the dishwasher, he’s playing around, he’s adjusting things, he’s hoping that he finds the fault or the problem but ultimately he has no skill when it comes to repairing dishwashers, and it’s a clumsy kind of effort to try and fix it with no real result. And so, that’s when you can say, “He’s TINKERING AWAY” as he’s doing it, “He’s TINKERING AWAY” or “He’s having A TINKER behind the dishwasher trying to fix it.” SO, that’s example number three, TO TINKER WITH the dishwasher or to have A TINKER WITH the dishwasher.
So, the fourth example that I’ve got here is, imagine that your government is trying to set up a really nice healthcare system. And so, it implements some kind of strategy initially to try and improve the health care system of the country, but it’s unsatisfied with the initial setup and it keeps making changes to how the healthcare system that they have implemented is setup. You know, how much things cost, how much funding it’s getting, how many people are hired and working in this area, whatever it is. If they keep making changes, in terms of this it’s not a machine, it’s not a device or a gadget, it’s a system, some kind of setup that is not necessarily a physical thing. If they keep making those adjustments, they keep playing around with how it’s setup, they keep fiddling with it, you could say, “They’re TINKERING WITH it.” So, they’re playing with it, they’re trying to fix it, they don’t really know what they’re doing ultimately, they’re just trying to make changes and then hope that things work better or that they repair, that they get better, that they work more efficiently. So, then you could say that the government is TINKERING WITH their healthcare system strategy. They’re having A TINKER with it, they’re playing with it, they’re not really sure what they’re doing, it’s a little unskillful, it’s a little clumsy. And so, they’re having A TINKER WITH it.
Alright. Those are all the examples. By now I’m sure you’re getting the idea. You probably understand how to use the verbs TO TINKER, TO TINKER WITH something, and TO TINKER AWAY AT something. I haven’t looked up the specific reason that English speakers use AWAY. And so, at the moment when I try and explain this it’s just off the top of my head, I’m just thinking of it as I make this video. But I think whenever you do something and then have a AWAY after the verb, so if you’re WORKING AWAY, if you’re RUNNING AWAY, not in the sense of escaping but you’re running a lot, it’s that idea of that you’re in the process of doing it. So, if you’re TINKERING AWAY WITH something it means that when someone says you’re TINKERING AWAY WITH it, you’re in the process of doing it right then and there. So, when someone’s saying that you’re literally doing it, you’re in the process of TINKERING AWAY. So, it means you’re TINKERING AWAY. So, what else is another example? I’m WORKING AWAY AT my podcast at the moment. I’m WORKING AWAY, I’m TALKING AWAY, ‘cause I’m currently talking. If I’m TINKERING AWAY, if I was fiddling with the camera and trying to do stuff right now in the video you could say I was TINKERING AWAY WITH the camera, WITH the microphone. So, that’s that sort of idea of you’re literally doing it as we speak, you’re in the process of doing it. That is when you’ll add AWAY after verbs like TO TINKER AWAY, TO WORK AWAY, TO TALK AWAY, TO PLAY AWAY, TO RUN AWAY. In that sense, it means to be doing it right then and there.
Alright. So, you’ve got the idea of what TO TINKER AWAY WITH something or TO TINKER AWAY AT something is and TO TINKER WITH something. And so, as usual we can dive straight into the substitution exercise, or the exercise that I love to give you guys at the end of these episodes. This is the first time I’ve done this one on video. So, hopefully it’s not too boring and the good aspect, I guess, is that if you’re watching this on YouTube and you don’t like these exercises or you want to find specific sentences in them, you can skip forward or skip over it completely.
So, let’s just get started guys. And in this substitution exercise I want you guys to switch the verb TO FIDDLE (or the noun A FIDDLE) that I’m going to have in different sentences with the verb TO TINKER or the noun TO A TINKER. So, I’m going to have FIDDLE in the sentence, the first one that I say, and then TINKER in the second one, and I want you to switch the word FIDDLE with the appropriate version or conjugation of TINKER. So, let’s get started.
Substitution exercise: To fiddle/A fiddle – To tinker/A tinker
Stop fiddling with the engine and take it to get repaired.
Stop ________ with the engine and take it to get repaired.
He keeps fiddling with his broken watch.
He keeps ________ with his broken watch.
Granddad loves fiddling with his antique clocks.
Granddad loves ________ with his antique clocks.
I’m going to go have a fiddle with my car.
I’m going to go have ________ with my car.
He’s having a fiddle with his clocks.
He’s having ________ with his clocks.
You’re having a fiddle with your computer.
You’re having ________ with your computer.
She’s fiddling away with her broken earring.
She’s ________ with her broken earring.
We’re fiddling away with our new laptop.
We’re ________ with our new laptop.
They want to fiddle away with their broken radio.
They want ________ with their broken radio.
He’s going to fiddle with it for a while.
He’s going ________ with it for a while.
Here are the answers:
- Stop tinkering with the engine and take it to get repaired.
- He keeps tinkering with his broken watch.
- Granddad loves tinkering with his antique clocks.
- I’m going to go have a tinker with my car.
- He’s having a tinker with his clocks.
- You’re having a tinker with your computer.
- She’s tinkering away with her broken earring.
- We’re tinkering away with our new laptop.
- They want to tinker away with their broken radio.
- He’s going to tinker with it for a while.
Alright, guys. I guess that’s all there is to it for this episode. This has been a pretty long one. I hope you like the video aspect of it, for you guys who are more visual based and love seeing people talk, seeing people do gestures, seeing my reactions. I hope also for those who like the podcast episodes that it’s also good. Let me know what you think of the new mic. Is the audio better? Is it improved? Do you like it? Also, if you guys have expressions, verbs, pronunciation issues, any aspects of English that you guys would like me to do an episode on for you, in order to help you improve your English, definitely let me know in a comment or a message. I’ll design it like I do these episodes. I’ll go through the definition of the words or the grammatical themes, and then I’ll go through how I would use them in certain contexts, and then I’ll also go through some substitution exercises. And that’s the whole point. The whole point of me being here is to help you guys with the problems that you have. So, don’t be afraid to come and send me a message, comment on Facebook, whatever it is, let me know what you’re having an issue with at the moment and how I can help you improve your English. Until next time guys, I’m wishing you all the best. See you later!
If you wish to support me and the many hours of hard work I put into The Aussie English Podcast then please consider donating a few dollars a month via Patreon! The more support I get, the more I can work on The Aussie English Podcast!
Check out all the other recent Expression episode on Aussie English below!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 2,297
By Admin — 2 months ago
Get complete access to the IELTs course as it’s released!
Join the The Aussie English Classroom for $1!
IELTs – Lesson 2: Family
Pete: Alright, so welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys! This is the first of many episodes, hopefully, to help you guys with IELTS. So, we’re going to hopefully use a lot of different vocabulary, a lot of different expressions and talk about our families in this episode. So, there’s going to be this free video and podcast episode that will go up obviously on the podcast and on YouTube, but then there will also be a breakdown of the different expressions, collocations the more advanced English used in this episode for anyone in the Aussie English classroom. So, remember, guys, you can sign up down below here click on theenglishclassroom.com, go and check it out.
Kel: Before you get into it. So, let’s just get through what the speaking test in on IELTS. So, the speaking test has three parts and the first one they’re going to ask you…. So, you have an examiner in front of you, just talking to you normally as we’re doing now and the first thing they’re going to ask you is to introduce yourself. So, you might have to explain what are you doing in Australia? Where are you from? Things like that, just a small talk and it’s not is no big deal like that’s a normal conversational have with your friends, for example. The second part is about a specific topic like family and family things like we’re going to do today so, they might ask you about I don’t know, a holiday that you really enjoyed with your family, who you love the most in your family, things like that. And the third part is about the same topic but they’re going to ask further questions. For example, if the topic is family, they might ask you to explain how families are structured in your country, for example, or If you’re from a very traditional family or not so just further questions about the same topic and they will be judging your vocabulary, your pronunciation, your fluency and your grammatical range. So just talk as much as you can, show they you have vocabulary, that you know how to use different sentences, different verbs and synonyms and yeah that’s pretty much what I would do…
Pete: So, be as descriptive as possible and go into as much detail as possible and talk for as long as possible. If they say to you who is in your family? Don’t just say me, my dad and my mom.
Kel: And another thing, be relaxed. What happened to me was I was really confident for my test but I didn’t talk as much as I know I could. And you know, at the end I got really nervous because I knew that I would…I can do better, I can do better, but I was just like okay… my mark wasn’t bad, but I know that next maybe next time I’ll do much better because they just want you to talk and communicate as much as you can.
Pete: Exactly. So, do you want to get into it just by before we go through any of this, talking about your family. So, you know, imagine when you’re in one of these ILETS exams and I say Can you introduce yourself and can you tell me about your family?
Kel: Okay so I’m Raquel. I’m from Brazil. Where families are very important I think that’s a similar thing to Australia, right?
Pete: It’s a similar thing everywhere, right?
Kel: I don’t know…but we do have this…. Families are really, really important and most families are quite traditional so, you have the nuclear family, your dad, your, siblings and you also have your extended family very close to you. So, in my case I was living with my grandmother, my aunts and uncles as well as my mum and my sister. My parents got divorced when I was… around six so there was a bit, you know, unusual, different from most families in Brazil. But, yeah, I have a really big family and we don’t we are not in contact with every single person, obviously, but we are a big family. Both sides like, my mum’s family is quite extensive and my Dad’s family is really, really big as well. It’s impossible for me to remember every single person to talk about them because there’s just too many people. And yeah that’s pretty much…
Pete: I’m sure I can relate to that with regards to big families. So, who are you closest to in your family?
Kel: Hmmmm…I’m really close to my sister from my parents. You know, my first… my mum’s first marriage.
Pete: With your father. So, you guys, do you wanna describe that? Like you’ve got two siblings from the same parents…
Kel: And two are the ones from my father’s second marriage., Is it correct?
Pete: Yeah exactly, exactly. And they are half siblings.
Kel: Yeah, half siblings.
Pete: So, you have half sister and half brother.
Kel: Yes. I’m closest to my sister, I would say and also my mum like because we were living together, when my parents got divorced I stayed with my mum so I can say okay we’re kind of close, but to be honest I would just ,you know, mention my sister. She is…. we are very different from each other like she is so much more organized, I’m always talking about her, but yeah my sister is my best friend and my other siblings are really close to me as well. Like my… Gabriella she’s like 19 so, she’s you know starting her life as a young adult, and I kinda feel like Oh my Gosh! So worried so concerned about her.
Pete: Awesome. And what about your grandparents on either side of your family? Did you have a close relationship with your grandparents when growing up?
Kel: It’s funny, because I didn’t meet my father’s dad…. My mum’s dad, I met my father’s dad, my grandpa, but he died a few years a go and and we were not that close anyway, like he was a bit, you know, quiet and he wouldn’t talk much with the kids. So, we didn’t develop any relationship.
Pete: You didn’t have a close relationship.
Kel: Yes, but I didn’t meet my mum’s father, but I’m really, really close to my grandmother. y grandmothers, they’re just very different women, but they are still really, really good people. My mum’s mother is… she raised me, when I think about my upbringing, everything, my values I got from her. She’s a very strict woman, very traditional, quite religious, Catholic. Yeah. So yeah but, you know, that’s her generation and my other grandmother she is quite religious as well, but she’s not as emotional as the other one, like she’s a great reporter who makes sure you eaten, you have everything you need, but she’s not warm and like really affectionate. They’re very different, very different personalities. What about your grandparents, we visited them…
Pete: Well, I can talk about my family, we can switch the roles now where you can be the one asking me questions and I can answer them.
Kel: So yeah, like how does it feel to have your grandparents in their 90s, right? And we visited them the other day and it was mind blowing, just like… they were asking about the internet and things like that, it just got us, both of us, really thinking about how life goes so quickly and I don’t have this sort of relationship with my grandparents. So how is it for you?
Pete: It’s pretty good, I guess before we get into that, though, I can give you a sort of summary of my entire life. So, I grew up with my one sister, I have a full sister. My parents have been married the entire time, obviously, and so I was born in Fern Tree Gully on the other side of Melbourne here, in Victoria in Australia, and grew up there for nine years, first nine years of my life and then we moved down here to where we are now, which is Ocean Grove about two hours away from where I grew up in Fern Tree Gully and so yeah I have my parents, they were both really loving, my dad was pretty… he was probably the stricter of the two. So Mum was always really loving and caring and would let me get away with murder and she would let me do whatever I wanted whereas dad was a lot stricter and… he would let you, you know…he would have you on a tight leash, I think is a good way of explaining it where you could do what you wante, but within limits and within control. And so I think it was a pretty fun and enjoyable upbringing for sure, especially we were talking the other day about living in Ocean Grove and what it was like and how it differed between how your upbringing Brazil and mine here and we used to have free roam of the streets. When I was probably…. maybe 12 years old my parents would let me go out by myself and hang out with my friends in the street and Kel was like How did you know when to come home?
Kel: That’s so different from me. I couldn’t do that. Even…. like being a teenager, I remember I would go to school, come back home and that was it, like there was no okay you’re allowed to go out for a party or something. Not just because it might be dangerous, but like my family was really strict. We didn’t have the freedom he had for example.
Pete: No boys, no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no. Although I had most of those, but the boys and girls wasn’t as specified as the drugs and cigarettes.
Kel: My grandmother was the kind of person… she is. thank God she is alive… but she would say you should not go to your friend’s house because, you know, their parents might get annoyed at you and you don’t want them to be talking about you or everyone’s going to know what you are, you know, an annoying kid or something, so it was like, ok….
Pete: But you were, right?
Kel: I was, but anyway, that was pretty much like very different like I remember you saying that yeah I would just go back home once the lights were…
Pete: Exactly, so they would let me out, I’d play skateboard, ride my bike around and you know fall off that and play ball games. Kicking the ball around, playing soccer, footy and my parents would just say when the street lights come on just come home. And so you knew that they would have an eye outside and be keeping an eye on the street lights and if they came on and I wasn’t home quick enough then they would come and find me and I’d usually be in trouble. So, that was that was pretty good. My upbringing was pretty good here, my sister and I never had a really close relationship.
Kel: Yeah, I was going to ask you about sibling rivalry…
Kel: So compared to you you and your sister have this incredibly strong connection and I think we’ve spoken about it where I think potentially your parents divorce led you to being incredibly close, which may have happened in my case, had that had happened in my family, but because it didn’t happen my sister and I were always competing for attention, resources, probably praise, you know, I got this on a test, would did he get? blah blah blah. And so we… until more recently, like probably more recent years, maybe the last five years, me and my sister, my sister and I did not have a close relationship and I would have… I would probably say we really disliked each other, you know, in that teen years.
Kel: That’s so funny, because she’s so lovely,..
Pete: She is now.
Kel: She is so lovely. I’m always like what are you talking about? She’s amazing!
Pete: She is lovely now and that’s why we’re close, we’re close now, we see each other.
Kel: It’s funny how things turn up differently. Like, for me having my parents divorce is such a young age… I didn’t have the emotional security from them, you know, when I was little and I had to… I had to have someone so my sister and I we became really close and best friends, we would take care of each other, do everything together. Of course, you had fights, you know, every every now and then, but overall it was just like love we’ve always been friends and it’s…that’s so interesting.
Pete: But back on the grandparents. So, I never knew my dad’s father. He died from lung cancer from smoking before I was born. I knew my grandmother, his mother, but she died from brain cancer when I was 12, from smoking as well. They smoked a lot and that obviously led to these cancers. So that was pretty sad. Growing up I remember that was the first big death in the family was my grandmother passing away and at the time it was really kind of upsetting because I was very close with her, but not close with my mother’s parents very much because they were a lot different. My mother’s parents were very strict kind of upper class, proper people, who said grace before dinner. They were religious too and very rigid, very straight, very organised and I don’t know, proper, proper is probably the best, whereas my grandmother having her husband who had passed away maybe a decade before, she was always like….We would go to her house and she would do everything for us and we’d be all about us. It would be like What do you want to do? Do you want to play games? Do you want to go to the beach? Do you want to do this? Whereas going to my mother’s parents house it would always be like this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re going to be eating, where we’re going and it was more about what they wanted to do fitting us in. But in more recent years, having obviously grown up a bit myself, I’ve gotten to know my grandparents a lot more and we have a close relationship now, my mother’s parents who are both still alive and I think 85 and 87, although they tend to not talk about their age very often.
Kel: It’s funny like we went there and I felt this generation gap, you know, how… you know, just different things are and the world changed around you, you’re just getting older and talking to them just like… what about this person? We don’t know who those people were…
Pete: Their parents, they were talking about my great grandparents.
Kel: So, really, really interesting.
Pete: Exactly, Awesome. And I think what else should we chat about with regards to discussing family? So that’s probably a good start to how the discussion would go. It may not go as long as that.
Kel: No, probably not, but make…keep in mind you have to talk more than examiner. So, if you’re talking, that’s awseomw, if the other person needs to keep pushing you, that’s not a good sign. Something that might be interesting to mention, some people are only child, right?
Kel: Children, see?!
Kel: And they might have a completely different structure from, you know, our families like I have siblings, you have a sister if they ask like talk about your siblings or whatever just say yeah, I’m an only child and that’s, you know, my parents decided not to have another baby so, things like that. It might change depending on your family structure.
Pete: But I think it’s a good thing to think about too is just when they obviously you to start talking about your family, pick one person to begin with them and then just go through the people, you know. So, obviously you’ll be starting with yourself, and you’ll introduce yourself, you can talk about your history, where you’re from and then you can just go ok my father blah, my mother blah, my siblings, my brother, my sister, my half sister, my half brother, you know, you can talk about those relationships and then go on to grandparents. I guess preparing you could list all the people you could potentially talk about and I’m sure the examiners won’t give you enough time to go through all of them in your family, right? So as long as you switch between them and then you’re going to end up with this chain of thoughts that ends up in any sort of discussion.
Kel: And they might be really specific as well. So, we were saying talk about a family but they might ask if something really like tell me more about your mother, or what values you get from your mother? Things like that so that that’s when you have to be quite specific and just talk about this one person because if you keep changing they might think, oh you’re not fully… fully responding to the question.
Pete: Brilliant. Alright, guys, we might finish up here for the free content. So, this is going to be on the podcast, obviously and it’s going to be on the YouTube channel. Make sure that if you would like all of the bonus content for this episode today where we’re going to break down more of these expressions, collocations and hopefully give you more tools for describing your family and doing better on IELTS, make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com sign up. The link will be below. See you there.
Get complete access to the IELTs course as it’s released!
Join the The Aussie English Classroom for $1!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 848
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!
Check out all the previous Walking With Pete episodes here!
Become a member to get weekly lessons to improve your Aussie English!
Want to support the podcast?
Click the image below to become a supporter on Patreon today!
New course just released!
Save $13 by enrolling before the course is complete!
When you enroll as a student in the Effortless Phrasal Verb course you’ll get access to:
- 2 lessons per week as they are released, which will include:
- Video of LiveStream + Slideshow
- Downloadable PDF / .doc Transcript
- Downloadable MP3 for each lesson
- Phrasal verb glossary for each lesson
- Exercises to learn each lesson’s phrasal verbs
- Access to the private EPV Facebook student group.
Live Stream Lessons
MONDAYS & THURSDAYS
7PM EST (UTC +10 HRS)
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 945