Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For those readers, like Tami, who aren't familiar with Australian terminology, this is a 'billy', made famous in our song 'Waltzing Matilda" when the swagman camped by a billabong (waterhole) and 'waited till his billy boiled.'

It is simply a metal container with a loop handle, and is a vital component of any camping trip. This is a milk billy so it has a lid, but that's not essential.

When Keryn and I were in our teens we spent a lot of time camping with our brother in the northern Flinders area, wild and lonely in those days before tourism tamed it a bit. We were all tea soaks, and boiling the billy was the first thing to do after we'd set up the camp. Some romantics will tell you that it's traditional to throw a gum leaf in with the tea and let it stand-the resulting brew smells like horse liniment and spoils a good cuppa.

Our brother did indulge in 'swinging the billy' though, a hair-raising manouvre of grasping the billy full of scalding tea and swinging it round and round like a ferris wheel. Apparently the centrifugal force pushes all the loose tea leaves to the bottom of the billy so they don't end up in your cup, but if you don't do it fast enough it could end in disaster!

I'd love to visit that area again, but I'm long past sleeping on the ground and piddling behind a bush, I want some creature comforts in the wilderness these days!!

And as requested by Melinda, here are some close-ups of the fabrics in the last top...

That black floral in the centre was a real 'killer', but in such small pieces it can be overlooked..

The blah pink floral is from the '70's, and the shop that we bought it from still has some left on the roll! It's dull, dull, dull.
Ugly colours in that paisley, the apricot is very loosely woven and the red elephant strip, a leftover from a backing of Keryn's, is so full of polyester it shrinks at the sight of an iron. Should have thrown it out, but it reminds me of her quilt. And the pale green next to it just will not DIE, I found another quarter metre of it yesterday. ARGGGH!!! The almond blossom is covering a hillside at Bowman's Park, the blowflies are starting to invade the kitchen, the air is warm enough to think of the coming Spring......

and yep, Mac's sitting in his waterbowl again.


Harmany Quilting August 22, 2007  

I swear Mac is more frog than dog. Love your quilt with all the 'killers' in it.

Nicola in West Australia

Anonymous,  August 22, 2007  

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to wonder what a billy was.
Great photos.

keryn August 22, 2007  

Mac looks like he's recovering from a hard night out. Just when are you going to get a bowl that fits his rump? It would help if he'd stop growing so quickly.

Those fabrics are still worth throwing out, even though you redeemed them. The quilt can stay, but the rest of them have to GO!

I doubt that I could rough it at Arkaroola these days, but I definitely want to go back for a visit. I'll hike all day, so long as I have a decent bed at the end of it.

Anonymous,  August 23, 2007  

Mac just made my day! Thanks for the billy info. Someday my travels will take me to your homeland!

Kay in MN, USA

Melinda August 23, 2007  

Thanks for the pictures of the uglies. Indeed, those are some ugly fabrics. Your dog is adorable, though.

Jenni August 23, 2007  

Love that Staffy! They do love the water, don't they? I was thinking that your billy is a bit flash. Ours had straight up and down tin sides all black from the fire, whereas yours looks to be aluminium. Very smart. I love to camp on 1 condition - that I can get clean every night before I go to bed. If it has to be a bath standing in the washing up bucket so be it, but I will not go to bed feeling filthy. I'm sure it would come back to you, and no they are not my yard shoes - they are in fact my walking and work shoes. A bit of cleaning will be required.

Chookyblue...... August 23, 2007  

hey I had to explain what a chook was the other day.....wonder what else we say that os people just don't get........we don't do the billy to often but do the campovens and damper....nothing like a camp fire.....hope all is well....take care........

meggie August 23, 2007  

Lovely post. Surely it is not hot enough to warrant Mac dipping his bum??
Some of those fabrics are ugly... but they look so good with a little help from friends!

Andrea August 24, 2007  

I actually like some of those fabrics although not all I hasten to add - lol ! We go camping and I'm with Jenni - I can't go to sleep without feeling clean ! I also will not sleep in a sleeping bag - I have to take proper duvets and sheets. I know - the kids think I'm mad.

Fiona August 24, 2007  

Never used a billy-can but it brings back memories of my childhood in that my Mum had a record of Frank Ifield singing Waltzing Matilda - my brother and I loved that song - we used to sing along to it over and over again.

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