Learn Australian English in today’s episode where I answer Nikolay’s question, “What are the flies really like in Australia?”.
What are flies really like in Australia?
Hi Pete, it’s Nik from Ukraine, you know, the one who’s a geologist.
Well, actually my full name is Nikolay but all my English friends usually calls (call*) me Nik.
So I would like to ask you a few questions about Australia, or maybe even a bunch of questions, but now I’ll start just on this one.
So the first question will be, I noticed when you’re recording your Walking With Pete episodes, there are a lot of flies there around you and it’s kind of disturbing you, so is it a common situation there in Melbourne or even in the whole of Australia territory.
So, or you can just kind of period of time in the year when it’s so annoying.
Okay, thanks for adding the possibility to give you a voicemail, on (in*) my opinion it’s really a very useful thing so we can leave you voice messages.
You can hear our voices, you can hear our pronunciation and even you can give some advice for us to learn to advance our English level.
So, and a few words about me personally, as you know, I’m going to move there with my family and I have a kind of challenging part of life so I’m hoping that we’ll be keeping in touch with you and hope for nice time spending with you there once we met, we meet, so thank you, bye.
G’day Nik from the Ukraine.
Thank you so much dude for leaving me a message.
I’m absolutely loving all the messages that people are leaving via voicemail on the website at the moment, and I really appreciate, Nik, you having been one of the first people to get on there and send me a voicemail.
So I’ll give you a free month access to The Aussie English Supporter Pack as a result of leaving me a voicemail and having it featured on here.
And to anyone else out there who has any potential questions or just wants to say hello, anything that I can add in and make an episode about, I guess, really, if you guys have anything you want to send me via a voicemail then you can jump on my website, click the purple button on the right hand side of the website that says, “leave me a message”.
And if I feature it in one of these episodes I’ll give you a month’s free access to The Aussie English Supporter Pack so you can check it out, see if it’s something that you like, and take your English to the next level.
Anyway Nik, let’s dive in.
So you were asking me about the flies in Australia and whether or not it’s related to a specific period or a specific time of the year where they tend to come out like that because yes, in a lot of these recent, Walking With Pete videos they have just been ravenous, unabating, they’ve just been attacking me a lot.
And it’s funny, I remember doing a few videos, I think in November, maybe November, October, last year, so when summer was just starting to warm up here in Australia, it was the beginning of the season and I noticed, I remember there was one video where there was maybe one, two flies flying around in my face a little bit and I was like, “Huh…? That’s right, these guys.”.
And then a few days later, I think there were maybe two, three, four flies flying around, they were a little bit more annoying and then the next day or the next few days I did another video and they were just unabating, they wouldn’t stop.
They were everywhere.
They were just in my face, in my nose, in my eyes.
I don’t know what it is but I have a feeling that these specific kinds of blowflies, not all flies, in Australia, at least, but this specific kind of blowfly is a real, how do I say, a real pain in the arse.
These ones are the really invasive or harassing flies that really, they get on you and they get in your face, they don’t sort of go away when you wave your hand.
So there’s a lot of other blowflies and species of flies in Australia that, they don’t land on you, they don’t, they don’t come near you, they kind of just fly around, but these ones for some reason, I don’t know if they’re looking for water or for salt on your skin, from sweat, but they are just constantly in your face, on your skin, crawling around and yes, really annoying as you can see.
And I have to constantly be giving you guys the Aussie salute, I have to constantly be waving my hand in front of my face in order to get rid of these guys or else they just crawl around and it’s really annoying.
Anyway, back to that point of starting to see these guys more and more and more in early summer, I have a feeling this is when they come out.
So they don’t tend to be very active, if present at all, during winter, during the rainier and colder months and I have a feeling that once it stops being as wet as it is or at least or that the water evaporates really quickly once we get into summer, and the temperature warms up.
It’s probably more related to the temperature I think that the small insects can be more active.
But as a result of temperature in summer I think these guys start coming out, they start going crazy.
And a little side story, my grandfather had a, or has a farm up in Bendigo, near Bendigo, Lake Eppalock, which is in Victoria down here in Australia, in the south of Australia.
And he farms sheep, so he, we had a lot of sheep on the farm when I was a kid and I used to go to the farm with my family all the time and it was really cool.
I’ll go up on a bit of a story here and tell you about the farm to give you a bit of an understanding of what my childhood was like.
But we used to go up there all the time to, one just spent time away from the city and the good thing about my grandfather’s farm is that it’s a log cabin.
So it’s all made of big logs, big pieces of wood, there’s no electricity so there’s some gas that he uses for like the ovens and the fridge, to power the fridge and we have like an open wood fire, everything is either wood or stone, you know, it’s beautiful.
But we would go up there all the time and he had sheep, he had lots of sheep, and we have different paddocks, he would move them in and out the paddocks to feed them, he would get my whole family involved, so my mom, my father, my sister and I would go up as our family.
I would also have a bunch of cousins and uncles and aunties who would also come up, so my grandfather’s other kids or nieces and nephews, they would come up.
And we would have periods where the sheep needed to be shorn, so when you shear a sheep, it’s an irregular verb, the past tense is shorn.
If you shear a sheep that’s when you cut the wool off a sheep so that this would happen after winter before summer so the sheep obviously don’t overheat in the sun and because it’s pretty heavy, they’re carrying it everywhere if you leave the wool on them, and also they can get flyblown I think.
So flyblown is as a result of these exact flies, the ones that you see in my face, where, if you’re not careful they can infect sheep and lay their maggots in the wool.
And so this is part of the reason too that sheep have their tails docked, so their tails get cut off, their tails get docked when they’re lambs, and this is because they can get flyblown if you don’t remove the tail and the…
I think as a result of us selecting for sheep with a lot of fur or a lot of wool rather, the wool that grows really quickly their backsides catches a lot of the poo that they, you know, excrete, and as a result of having that little long tail as well that goes over their backside it becomes a bit of a mess.
And as a result of the flies in Australia, this probably isn’t much of an issue in places like Europe where the climate is a lot colder and doesn’t have these flies.
But in Australia these flies are a massive pest and lay their maggots, lay their eggs in the, the backsides of these sheep and the maggots can end up, you know, effectively eating away a big portion of the sheep’s backside and lead to the sheep having to be put down.
Anyway, so I grew up coming to this farm all the time, taking care of these sheep and the sheep didn’t have tails and they would be shorn all the time, and I would hear these kinds of stories explaining why we did what we did, for the health of the sheep, to avoid these blowflies being a real pest.
Anyway, that’s probably a pretty long story but yes it was kind of cool.
I remember going there all the time and really appreciate looking back now as a kid, how good the farm was and how much fun it was just being around sheep.
Seeing the sheep get shorn by shearers, so a shearer is the person who shears the sheep and he would have this tool that was kind of like a big hair clipping tool that you would use on yourself except with bigger blades, and run it across the sheep.
And so you would see all of those kinds videos, I might put one below in this episode where Australian mean use this kind of weird harness to sit in whilst they also have this metal shearer that’s connected above them, coming down.
And then they grab the sheep, they pull it up out of a little lot that’s quartered off with the other sheep that need to be shorn, brings it up into the shed, kind of throws it on it’s back and the sheep just kind like sits sit still, sort of shocked.
And he just shears all of the wool off it and then tends to let it go down the other side with all the sheep who don’t have anymore wool, who’ve been shorn.
So I hope that answers your question Nik, I hope you enjoyed that answer, I hope it gave you a bit more insight into one, the flies in Australia and what they’re like.
It is seasonal, they’re not really like that all the time.
And there are definitely areas where it’s worse than other areas.
I think part of the problem for me is that every time I go into Walking With Pete episode I go into the park across the road where there’s a lot of grass, there’s a lot of standing water, so there’s a lot of water that’s sitting in small puddles or even ponds over there, and I think that’s why there’s so many flies in North Melbourne, and when I’m walk into the city and everything the flies are nowhere near as bad as they are in those videos when I am in the park, like that.
Anyway I hope that answered your question, I hope you also enjoyed the little story about me growing up on the farm, to give you a bit more insight into what Australian life is like, especially for farmers, sheep farmers in particular.
And for everyone else out there, if you haven’t already, check out The Aussie English Supporter Pack, I recently put this together and released this, it’s a monthly subscription via the website.
I give you a heap of different exercises, more in depth exercises for each episode, so we go through like a vocab list for every episode that covers all of the more difficult words.
How to use them, I let you fill out a table of the vocabulary with the definitions and other synonyms that you might find in the text.
I also give you written and oral substitution exercises and listening comprehension exercises.
So if you want to get the most out of these podcast episodes, if you’re missing a bit of it from time to time and you want a more thorough, a more in-depth, look at each episode so that you take away more of the English that’s being used, and so that you can use this in conversation yourselves, then definitely check out The Aussie English Supporter Pack.
Jump online, go over to www.theaussieenglishpodcast.com, and have a look at the free examples that I’ve got up there.
Also I have a Facebook group for these guys that have signed up and we’re working together as a community to sort of up everyone’s level in English.
So, anyway, that’s long enough for today, guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode.
Go and check out The Aussie English Supporter Pack, and I’ll see you soon.
All the best!
Not a Member yet?
Get bonus exercises when you upgrade to the premium transcripts
Today’s bonus exercises include:
- A glossary of all the vocab
- Lesson vocab exercises
- Listening comprehension exercises
- Phrasal verb Substitution exercises written & audio/oral