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19 Northern English Habits I Lost When I Moved to Australia

by Tommy Walker Dec 15, 2015

1. Flip-flops are now thongs, and thongs are a thing.

Flip-flops are called thongs in Australia, and they are are worn in any weather. Back home, only a brave few would wear them in the English summer time… and even then you’d get the piss took out of you.

2. It’s coffee o’clock rather than tea.

Back home, tea would be the only hot drink I’d have. But in Australia, coffee is as big as tea or more in everyday routine drinks. My first-ever cup of coffee was of the age of 25 here in Australia, and my idea of coffee was simple: coffee beans, hot water and milk. It has evolved since then… In Melbourne in particular, the types of coffee are ridiculous: skinny flat whites or double shot skinny lattes extra hot?

3. I had to say goodbye to Greggs, Yorkshire Puddings and gravy.

Greggs, which is on every corner up North in England, turned into Pie Face here. That’s the local pastry chain that has the mantle (in Melbourne at least). It’s pretty good BUT there aren’t any Cornish pasties.

Back home, it used to be an every Sunday habit at my Nans house with my roast dinner! These don’t really exist in Australia (hey, they don’t even exist in some parts of Southern England actually), so having homemade Yorkshire ‘Puds’ is a bit of a miss. Plus, no one uses gravy over here. It’s unheard of unless you find the British bars and meals.

4. Haircuts are now hairstyles, and everyone has a different one.

Back home I would cut my hair very short regularly, while my facial hair would normally only have bits of stubble showing. Now, in Australia, the trend is anything and everything, so I’ve been more accustoms to let my hair and beard grow. I’d be referred to as ‘Indie looking’ if my hair is long and always reminded to get a haircut.

5. Football is now soccer, and soccer is nowhere to be seen.

The time difference between Australia and England makes the English game back home difficult to watch during the day. Staying up for the game is, honestly, a pain in the ass. My new habit is checking the Internet Sunday morning for highlights and scores. And when it comes to watching live sports, I had to switch to footy, since they are big fans of the AFL.

6. Dressing how you want is accepted in Melbourne.

If you wear anything abnormal, expressive or just different back in the North, hell you’ll stand out for sure. In Melbourne, everyone is different (which means no one is, right?), so it’s accepted and no one really turns a blind eye.

7. I had to stop j-walking.

Not giving a f*** crossing the road up North was never a big thing, but here in Australia people almost don’t know what the hell j-walking is. The Aussies actually wait at the lights to get across even when there is no vehicle in sight. I’m all for safety, but it’s a bit annoying sometimes.

8. People (and myself) actually use public transport here.

Most 18-40-year-olds have cars up north, and I didn’t know anyone who regularly used public transport back home apart from the elderly. In Melbourne, the public transport is fairly great, especially compared to other Australian major cities. Public transport is my only way of transport. Getting on trams, buses or trains went from being a bit weird back home to an everyday occurrence in Melbourne

9. It’s now Parma’s rather than Parmo’s

In Teesside, the chicken ‘parmo’ parmesan is famous. It’s amazing, the best food in the world for as locals. To my surprise, in Australia, the chicken parma (parmesan) is the thing. The only difference is parmo includes Béchamel sauce while parma has Napoli Sauce with a bit of ham. So anyway, my Parmo urges have now turned into Parma urges.

10. ‘Sessions’ are now ‘parties’, and it isn’t all about the weekend.

We all love a good weekly session up north, as consistent as some might go to church on a Sunday. Friday and Saturday nights are solely for getting destroyed, as there isn’t much else going on in the week. In Melbourne, on the other hand, there is an evolving social culture, which basically means there is a big party scene daily. There is always somewhere to go every night, and you have no excuse because it’s pretty awesome.

11. Worthy fight talk does not apply anymore.

Fight talk in Australia is nothing but funny compared to the Northeastern England one. If someone calls you a cunt here it’s actually a guy camaraderie comment rather than an insult. Back home, it means you are on the borders of getting into a scrap. The strong accent will come out back home and tempers will flair. Here in Melbs the scenes don’t turn as ugly half as quick and the trash talk is hilarious. “Oh piss off!” is not intimidating.

12. “Mam” now just sounds foreign.

It’s not mum like in the South of England, or mom over in America its mam. Mam is northern for mother, so that’s one habit that has almost gone extinct for me in Australia. Everyone plainly says mother or an Australian sounding ‘mom’ here.

13. Lemon-top selfies do not happen.

Australia is hot, therefore no one here really buzzes over the sun coming out. Back home, even if it reaches 7 degrees and no clouds in the sky, Lemon top ice creams would sell out at you’re nearest beach and you’d see selfies all over.

14. I have no more ‘u’s in my talk.

My accent has been changing slightly: most things that have U’s in them are pronounced like ‘A’s in within Aussie-land. In the Northeast, we say FUCK like F-u-k; in Australia, it’s F-a-r-k! Things are said slower and clearer in Melbourne (where I am living), with a bit of a higher pitched sound, compared to the rough, deep, mumbling Northern English accent, which happens to be super fast too.

15. No Christmas songs on replay.

Fairy-tale of New York by ‘The Pogues’ is a favourite song to be replayed up north. Radio, CD or online, you know it’s near Christmas when you hear it more than once a day. The whole Christmas song compilation doesn’t really exist in Melbourne around town. The temperature here isn’t what Christmas is like in the North of England!

16. I had to forget about Christmas Eve benders.

A group of lads, silly Christmas outfits and a shit load of beer would be pencilled in every Christmas Eve, day to night back home. Locally called ‘The Gammon Crawl’ to some, in Australia there isn’t such a thing. Back home, Christmas Eve would be complete carnage and Christmas Day wouldn’t be Christmas without some Alka Selsa and a hangover.

17. Just like I wonder where is Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve.

A Northern tradition is for everyone to leave the house after midnight, gather around and begin signing Auld Lang Syne. Then for the leader of the house, usually the male, is to re-enter bringing good fortune for the coming year. It’s more northern superstition but in itself is a local tradition, which is absolutely unheard of here in Australia.

18. My milk drinking habit is now almost gone.

I’d love a pint of milk on a morning or a night like many a northerner, over here I see no one doing this! I now see stares in the corner of my eyes if I’m drinking a glass publicly.

19. Saying ‘swear down’ doesn’t make my case any stronger now.

That’s the ultimate phrase to try and assure people you are definitely telling the truth. But “swearing down” isn’t Aussie talk. Plus, people find no need to stress in such a way here; things are just generally more relaxed.

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