sometimes we have problems with the language.
I don't mean the unique and colourful Kiwi vocabulary, which I actually enjoy with words like Jandals meaning slip on thong sandals, or Bach meaning a holiday home/shack, or even Hokey-Pokey meaning a sugar honeycomb confection, often found in Ice Creams.
No I refer to the NZ predisposition to flatten all their vowels into one generic sound.
I found this out the first time I tried to order some ham at the delicatessen counter in the local supermarket.
If I said "200 grams of HAM" I got strange and confused looks.
If I said "200 grams of HIM" I got served with the desired cured pork slices.
You don't reply to a question with an affirming "Yes", you use the word "Yis".
It's just part of the uniqueness that makes up NZ, and it's normally not a problem, but it became one yesterday.
I am trying to repair an old chaise-longue we brought over from Scotland. It has a cane back and base, and the base has burst. We got a quote to replace the split cane, but it was over $1000, so I'm trying it the Kiwi way, a bodge job.
|NOBODY can bodge a job like a Council worker (Yarm, Teeside)|
I cut out and replaced the cane base with slats of wood. We sourced an "ethnic" jute runner which is the right size to cover the whole base, but we needed some padding, to spread the load and to provide some comfort for the users.
My beloved had bought a rubberised mat from the Warehouse, but it was too thin (and expensive). I remembered seeing a sleeping mat, designed for outdoor use. It was quite thick and stiff, and would be ideal for the purpose.
So I headed of to our local Mitre 10 (Like a big B & Q for any UK readers).
I wandered up and down the isles, but couldn't see any sleep mats. One of the ever-helpful Mitre10 employees was walking past and I asked:
"Where can I find a sleep mat?"
"Sorry, a what?" was the slightly confused response.
He was still looking confused. "A what mat?"he said.
"A SLEEEEP Mat" I exaggerated helpfully.
The light dawned. "Oh a sleep mat?"
I nodded and he looked thoughtful.
"Not sure, think there over there" he said pointing.
"Come on, I'll take you over" He was so helpful.
We meandered over to a rack holding rugs, entry mats, door mats, rubber mats of all types, but none of the camping-type sleep mats I wanted.
He grabbed another Mitre10 employee who was passing.
"Mick", "Where did the non-slip bath mats go?" "They used to be here."
Mick looked thoughtful.
I looked confused. I thought "Bath mats? What bath mats? I was asking for sleep mats"
Mick began to describe to my bloke (Randy according to his name tag) where the non-slip bath mats had gone, but I interrupted, "Ehhh, sorry guys, I'm not looking for a non-slip bath mat, I'm looking for a sleeping mat"
Now they both looked confused, so I thought I'd better amplify.
"I'm looking for a thick rubber/plastic mat that is sometimes used for sleeping on when you go camping"
Still looks of confusion and incomprehension.
"The pads that go on the ground in a tent when you want a bed." (Please note the absence of the word sleep here)
"Oh, you want a sleeping pad?" (What Mick actually said was "Oih, yer wints eh slipping ped?"
"Yis" (I can speak Kiwi as well!)
"Sorry mate" said Mick, "We don't stock them"
I said my goodbyes and left rapidly.
It was just as well I hadn't asked for a toy ship.
I might have ended up being arrested for gross indecency. Especially in New Zealand.
|I like Ewe|
I spotted racks of bloody sleep pads in the Warehouse 15 minutes later. Exactly what I wanted and $15 cheaper than the thin one my Beloved had purchased.
Sometimes if you want a job done properly, you have to do it yourself.
Right, what was next on the shopping list.
My beloved wanted 500g of Ham.
I could foresee a long and tortuous conversation ahead.
Never mind. We'll have sausages instead. Even the Kiwis understand that.