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Ever since childhood my hearing has been a little impaired. When I was quite Small Some Oz relatives came visiting and entertained us by singing Aussie songs. I was perplexed by 'the great Australian waddle', I was shy. I didn't like to ask. Years later I realised they were Singing about 'wattle'. Someone suggested it might not have been my hearing but their pronunciation but I don't believe that for a moment. Somewhat later I thought I heard some people toasting 'Yukky Da'. Who, I wondered, would want to raise their glass to an apparently unkempt, unwashed parent? I now know the toast is 'lechyd dah" and I'm sorry if I ever caused offence with my ignorance. And, again, when they were visiting Ireland, I wondered why British Prime Ministers called in to visit The Irish Tea-shop!' What was so special about Irish tea? Nowadays ' Taoiseach' is engraved on my memory, even if the pronunciation isn't. When ABBA was the rage I couldn't get beyond 'Super drooper sitting on a see-sow." without falling about in bewilderment.

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Earn from your writing and get published: Cash prize competitions, calls for submissions and writing opportunities in 20 pages of Writers' News Discover your inner writer Cut to the heart of your novel – without losing the plot Social skills: Learn to use your online time to the max 10 top tips to get your book published and keep it selling Reader successes: Readers share their success stories Meet our publishing deal competition winner Star interview: Prize-winning poet and author Kei Miller on writing without boundaries

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