it's about life, my life, quilts, midwifery, and whatever else occurs to me.

23 September 2014

The Aussie alphabet: M is for morning tea

Morning tea. Now there is a custom that needs to be adopted in the US.

Morning tea - not just a cup of something hot at around 10 or 10:30 in the morning, like the American coffee break.

Morning tea has tea, yes; coffee (always - this is Australia where they are serious about coffee). But there's more! Because you can't drink tea or coffee without a little bit of something to go with it, can you?

Scones. Banana bread or carrot cake. Lamingtons (yuck, but some people like). Even brownies. Or savoury treats like mini-quiches. Often bite-sized so you can have more than one or two. Sometimes fruit. Mmmmmm. You almost don't need lunch.

No conference, meeting, or gathering that happens in the morning will fail to offer you morning tea. It's part of the deal. Always good to know in case you didn't leave yourself enough time to eat breakfast; you needn't worry that you'll faint before lunchtime. Morning tea to the rescue.

I shouldn't leave M, though, without mentioning 'mate' and mateship. 

Mate = friend, buddy, pal; can be used as a noun ('my mates are coming by later') or a form of address to virtually anyone regardless of how well you know them ('hey mate, how're you going?' - to a friend you haven't seen in a while; 'no worries, mate' - to a stranger who has just apologised to you for some minor contretemps like bumping into you in a crowded space). In the past it was used mostly by men ('blokes') to other men. These days it's for anyone, though it seems to me I hear it mostly from blokes.

Mateship = an Australian value implying equality, loyalty, and friendship (says Wikipedia). A bit more intense than camaraderie. It comes up in military contexts where each one depends on and looks out for all the rest, a Band of Brothers kind of thing, or other circumstances in which a group of people share a common, usually difficult, experience.

No comments: