Viva La Difference . . . No. 8

5 April 2009

From comments and emails I’ve received from friends, this series of Differences struck a note with a lot of you so I’ll continue it until I run out of ideas.

As I’ve now lived in Oz for 6 years, I’ve started to get confused about what’s done here (Oz) and what’s done there (UK) but Emily reminded me of a few when she was living out here for a year. 

In a number of restaurants and cafes in Sydney, there’s a (10%?) surcharge on Sundays and Public Holidays.  To cover the extra staff costs I suppose (but when John Howard introduced Work Choices, there WERE no extra staff costs  for most of these workers – all days and hours were paid at the same rate).  I’ve never come across this anywhere else.

Then there are “small goods”.   A friend told me she brought lovely bread from the shop where she bought her small goods.  My immediate reaction was “Why would an underwear shop sell bread?”  (Underwear, ladies in particular, is often referred to as ‘smalls’ in England).  But here Small Goods seems to refer to sausages, salami and other made-up meat products (I think).   Would anyone be able to tell me where that came from?

And, before any clever clogs out there writes to correct me – Yes, I know I should have put Viva Les Differences because I’ve mentioned more than one.  But literary licence please.

By the way, would everyone please stop feeling sorry for Judith because I exclude her from prizes here?  She does OK, I promise.  I sent her a special present last year because she couldn’t enter the Blogathon Draw, she won the prize for my 500th comment and she’s requested (or, rather, DEMANDED) that I knit her a Forest Canopy shawl.  If nobody else is reading my blog, I know my sister is so she’s not neglected, I promise you! 



  1. Just to prove I do actually read this blog – despite the blatant discrimination that takes place – it should ACTUALLY be “Vivent Les Differences” (I think). Whatever, Spanish and French only make an omelette.

    And where is the shawl…?

    Wow! I feel better for that!

  2. I’m reading … but I won last year!

    As far as I know, it’s a compound word: “smallgoods”
    According to Wikitionary the definition is: “(Australia) Cooked or dried meat products such as salami; a shop that sells such products”. This is confirmed by my Oxford [paper] dictionary: “[Aust.] delicatessen meats. Unfortunately a quick search of the ‘Net revealed no answer but I mean to keep trying! See, you stimulated the wordsmith in me!!

  3. I’ve always enjoyed differences in what is supposed to be the same language (English). I love the signs in England that say “Way out” where here in the U.S. we have a boring “Exit” sign. “Way out” seems to have so many more possibilities…

    And I think accents are interesting, too. It’s too bad that the newscasters have all had their accents smoothed out to a bland, boring sameness. Of course, I don’t have an accent…it’s everyone else’s that I enjoy. 🙂

  4. Yeah, I thought of knickers when I read smallgoods… And Randi, I agree about accents – but here in the UK their use from newscasters and other announcers seem to have increased massively in the last 30 years. All good!

  5. How about the use of “manchester” for sheets, bed linen, tablecloths etc? I’ve been queried several times about that by those from England who only ever relate the word to the city?

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