Thursday, 2 May 2013


A blog about Australia without Vegemite is like.... I don't know, but the things one finds when googling Vegemite! This was quite sweet though, good on you little Tom Morton from Woodgate Court Ferny Hills.


AGE 12

On my lunch was vegemite,
a very brown and awful site.
I swapped it with Jake,
who gave me a cake.
But my brother Sam,
he had some ham.
So the cake he got,
and ate the lot.
I swapped with “switch”,
and got a sandwich.
I took a bite,
“Oh My God.”


  1. Young Tom's poem is a blinder, Some serious exegesis of the hermeneutics may be in order here.

    But my brother Sam,
    he had some ham.

    Doubtless a tasty bit of allusion there, recalling:

    Sam I am
    I am Sam
    Sam I am
    That Sam-I-am!
    That Sam-I-am!
    I do not like that Sam-I-am!
    Do you like green eggs and ham?
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
    I do not like green eggs and ham.
    Would you like them here or there?
    I would not like them here or there.
    I would not like them anywhere.
    I do not like green eggs and ham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
    Would you like them in a house?

    (& c.)

    But the Dr Seuss poem was done on a bet. Dr Seuss was challenged by his publisher with the task of working up a poem containing fifty words or less. The basis of the challenge was the assumption that young readers would have limited vocabularies. In our day however that limitation might well apply across the age spectrum... but never mind.

    The fifty words in Dr Seuss's poem: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

    And how many words has young Tom employed in his memorable Vegemite Ode?

    (Let us now bring in some younger readers to do the count, please!)

  2. Tom! I wish little young Tom bumped into this comment of yours! That is SOME exegesis of the hermeneutics! I had to read the full version of Dr. Seuss's poem, it's well worth it, I think I still have that smile on my face as I am writing this. Thank you! So I thought OMG OMG OMG, could it be that young Tom's Vegemite Ode was written with 50 words? Paper and pen please. On, my, lunch, was, vegemite, a very, brown, and, awful, site, I, swapped, it, with, Jake, who, gave, me, a, cake, but, bother, Sam, he, had, some, ham, so, the, got, ate, lot, switch, sandwich, took, bite, oh, God.
    Now I can't face total disappointment....

  3. Well, I suppose one could always add an asterisk and tip-in the ingredients... making sure that "extract" is counted only once.

    That would bump the total up to 51, with a designated "nonce"-word left over (always good form to leave a drop or two in the bottom of the jar, for luck):

    Yeast extract, salt, malt extract, colour (caramel), vegetable flavours, vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin).

  4. This is just brilliant, Tom! We got our poem there. Perfect!
    I wonder what vegemite would look like without the colour (caramel). Well, no, I don't want to know.

  5. I've now quizzed my Kiwi companion about Vegemite.

    "We had it in New Zealand, but I never ate it. I ate Marmite instead. We always had Marmite on toast."

    She still has her daily dose of the stuff. The Vitamin B and all that.

    I last tasted Marmite when residing for an extended time in the UK. That was the 1960s, when one put all sorts of unusual things inside oneself, with hardly a second thought.

    Surely young Tom Morton is wiser than that.

  6. Your Kiwi companion must have beautiful skin and hair and fingernails, Tom. That's what they claim marmite, vegemite (all mites?) do to you. True story.

  7. Yum, yum, yum! I had some on my croissant for lunch. I always try to leave some around the edge of my mouth for later in the day as a salty reminder. It's the best hangover cure too. Vit B and all that.

  8. Hmmm... she's certainly a handsome specimen, though I'd better not go into the anatomical details of the ongoing preservation operation... let's just agree to put it all down to the mites, then.

    Me, I can't do mites because of the salt. History of stroke, present-tense aneurysm, and all that wonderful residue of the genetic backlog, no arguing with or escaping it.

    The hangover-cure aspect does sound appealing, almost enough to make one wish to work oneself into a state that would require such a cure... but what with the senior dementia and all, once stricken with the symptoms, would one remember the antidote?

    But I must confess to carrying a certain residual Marmite burden, the result of a half decade spent long ago in the UK, where Marmite on toast supplemented the basic staples of beans, fish & chips, and of course not forgetting the ubiquitous ales, cure of all ills and in the morning-after backlash stage perhaps the incipient origination of the Marmite cycle. Maybe Vizma has this right after all.

    Before leaving the delicious topic of mites however I must briefly introduce the story of a friend, a very brilliant French postdoc physicist who lived only to do physics, his great love (his fiancée was kept, over a period of a decade or so, at a safe distance of some 500 miles, so as not to interrupt the physics), and whose life was as ascetic as that of a member of a medieval monastic order, and who had an amazing array of life experience (including being a bush pilot flying between Australia and New Guinea, with such attendant astonishing adventures as crash landing in the jungle and being forced to swim to safety in a croc-populated stream)... and whose most challenging life experience, after all of that, came of an infestation of his lab office space and then his tiny spartan apartment... by, yes, mites. No laughing matter. Eventually, after a year or so of agony, stripping away all furniture, carpets, dismantling ventilation systems, & c., he discovered a remedy, the oil of a certain exotic plant (Australian native if recall correctly), which repelled mites... and everyone else as well. When he went back to France on holiday, his family required that he stay in a hastily constructed hutch well away from the house; it was on the one hand the mites that caused this sequestration and quarantine... and on the other hand the repellent odour of the plant oil, which drove away not only the mite-hordes, but humans. Worse even than an army of Pepe Le Pews!!

    So, in short, one must agree, no mites should be taken lightly.

  9. How did I almost miss this comment of yours, Tom? What a story!, thank you for sharing! Pepe le Pew and your mite ridden pilot physicist friend are not without similarities. This is such a delectable story, I'm almost ashamed to say I laughed so much! I guess it was no laughing matter back in the days..
    I was about to say was that Australian oil tea tree oil? I bought a small flask of it to bring back to Japan, under Vizma's advice. I think it is mosquito repellent and good for many other things as well (although can't say exactly which ones). But it smells really nice, nothing like Beau Pew.

  10. Unfortunately when one is told that it is no laughing matter, one finds oneself laughing uncontrollably! This one anyway...and Marie too! Paradoxical laughter, what a troublesome affliction!
    Tom, I like your take on the hangover-cure. That 3rd paragraph/sentence is a beauty, wanting to work yourself into such a state for the benefits of the cure!! I must say I'm very forgetful when it comes to imbibing, Marie has heard me on several occasions say that I'm never drinking again, but then I forget. It's no laughing matter.

  11. I confirm all allegations of imbibing and attempts at unbibing.

  12. Er, what was it again that we were saying... (hic)?

    Oh yes, about my physicist friend and the wee cooties.

    No, Marie, the remedy he found was not tea tree oil -- which, as I'm sure both of you are quite aware, has a lovely fragrance.

    What my friend used was Neem Oil, pressed from the fruits and seeds of the Neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

    Neem Oil is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy, used to treat all sorts of skin disorders.

    Never have I smelt anything so foul. My physicist friend only turned to it as a last resort. Finally he became accustomed to the smell. Others however did not.

    Once my friend discovered it, he was able to hold the mites to a standoff. But he was not ever able to completely eliminate the bugs from his workspace or living quarters. Which place had been infested first, he never found out.

    In a way, yes, a laughing matter. But not for my physicist friend. The mites were not cute. They bit.

    At first he thought he was going crazy. Then when he realized the problem was not imaginary but extremely real -- well, of course that made matters much worse. An overactive imagination is easier to combat than a mite hoard.

    At one stage he was capturing (vacuuming-up) specimens (there were, in the early stages of this plague, teeming millions to choose from!) and sending them around to entomologists at various branches of the university, all round the state.

    They examined the bugs under high-powered scopes, and said... yes, these are mites. No, we don't know what to tell you to do.

    In the end he discovered Neem Oil, and was purchasing the stuff in big five-gallon containers on the internet. A very frugal fellow. Whenever he made a purchase of anything, he always made sure to get the best per-unit price. He used a bicycle for transport, and it rains a lot here, so at one point he discovered a Chinese online firm that sold yellow plastic rain smocks (made specifically for cyclists) at a ridiculously low price... if one bought 500 at a time.

    So of course he ordered 500.

    His mites were very well protected from the rain, thereafter.

    By the by, a year ago he got a job (he had always tried to avoid getting a teaching job, for fear it would cut into his pure-physics time), and left town, and I have not heard from him since. But others have. And I am told he is doing well. So perhaps this means his mite colony has not traveled with him.

  13. Tom, this story is just getting better and better with every line! I still can't stop laughing. Your frugal friend sure deserves a poem. I'll think about it. This reminds me of a character in a book by J. Saramago (The Stone Raft) who was constantly followed around by a mysterious flock of hundreds of birds. At some point he thought they were gone, but they always came back.
    Neen Oil... what if the solution to this mite pandemonium was simply Vege-Mite?

  14. Frugal Ode to Laughing Matters

    a mite peckish
    a mite famished
    This hutch without a carpet
    has bored my bones
    with Trombicula.
    Like ticks and unlike
    Neem seeds, the garden yes but
    how much rain until
    a Tree?
    a mite sated / satiated
    Easy rain
    on the carpet without a ceiling
    A fist, the last coin
    of small value
    500 smocks will dress my Horde

  15. But if the smocks were mite-sized, the outfitting might require a trillion of them!

    And just imagine all those trillions of tiny bicycles... made in China.

    But the good (??) news, one spoonful of Vegemite would keep the whole mite-army well-fed.

  16. Mites flying around with little mite-sized yellow smocks. Ah, I wish our young Tom Morton knew how much fun he has sparked. This has been a fantastic thread, thank you my dear sweaties.