Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Hmmm, good point Dirk. However, station policy (formed by the manager) was to maximise the operating life of everything mechanical via an astute policy of ringers not being allowed to touch anything with an engine. (There were boremen, a cowboy and a grader driver for that)
The one exception to this "no-engines-for-ringers" rule was the ubiquitous red body-truck of the outback, the Toyota D-6000. Deemed by many to be "ringer-proof" this workhorse always lived up to the faith shown in it by the Manager.
(pic expands nicely when left clicked)
Anyway, a discussion about bikes would have been academic, as the station did not possess any. Nor did it possess any staff capable (or willing) of battling on a motorbike accross a mitchell grass plain where the tussocks were the size of milk crates.
The merits of this were not discussed at the time. The boss gave the orders, we carried them out!
(Note: In Ozzi outback terminology the word for "gardener" & "houseyard helper" has always been "cowboy" - origins of the name are from the responsibility of looking after the station's milking cow. The term "cowboy" when applied to one who rides a horse & handles cattle is most insulting, although in an unrelated development of recent years it seems to have usurped "rough-rider" as the word to describe a rodeo competitor. Personal opinion:- "Rough-Rider" is a much better word)
Among the station's two stock camps there were only 3 men who had seen a motorbike used on a station. Two of these were the respective headstockmen, and also me. Coincidentally the 3 of us were also the only non-aboriginal ringers on the station.
Many of the younger ringers were related to the older ones, and were learning the trade in the same stock camp and under the tutelage of their uncles, fathers, cousins or older brothers.
Made of very stern stuff, most of these fellows were away from family for months at time working quite hard, for an amount little different to (or sometimes less than) what the "blackfeller sit-down money" which is available to them if they stayed in town (& "sat down").
Friday, December 23, 2005
Trade at the Wayside Tavern accelerates from merely brisk to downright frenetic. Liquor leaves the bottleshop faster than would a rocket sled on a greased railway line.
The pace is such that Mine Host & staff feel an anonymous kinship with Florists (St. Valentine's Day), Bookies (Melbourne Cup), Accountants (30th of June) & others who experience a once-a-year logarithmic burst in demand for their services.
This season of crass drunkeness may be known elsewhere as "Christmas", and has its origins in a religious festival. None of this non-alcoholic explanation stuff applies for the townspeople who surround the Wayside Tavern. Christmas is nothing more than the rapidly forgotten first word of a party invitation.
"Christmas Parties" abound, though Mine Host believes that "Spew-Fest" would be a more apt term.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Senior Stockman (pictured) and Offsider (later to become Mine Host) had been tasked with a long hot boundary ride. Why was this done on horseback, on flat blacksoil plains? Because the fence was accross tussock country. The danger of snapping a centre-bolt would have kept a Toyota to a speed even slower than a horse. The logistics (and cost) of maintaining graded tracks along every fence was not to be contemplated.
In a concession to the modern world, motorised transport had been used to drop "lunch" at an accessible point roughly halfway along the assigned fenceline. Billys and Damper were left. Offsider was sufficiently ingratiated with the camp cook to get his camera to be deposited with lunch, (without it being broken) thus enabling this Photo to be taken.
The dynamics of a young feller getting a gruff leading stockman to agree to be photographed are perhaps difficult to explain. But the day was long, the ride dull and tiring, the lightness of the task (keep an eye on the fence) refreshing, it was almost like a day off, the only disconcerting thought being that the headstockman may lose patience at the rendezvous that night, waiting with the truck to pick up the horses (and us).
Thursday, November 17, 2005
They had been good customers, drinking quite heavily each night. Howevever a familiary with the Wayside Tavern bred in them a certain contempt. They became quite rough in their attitude toward some of the bar staff, their behaviour worsening by increments.
Assessing their case, Mine Host decided to take no action, Bob & his crew would be gone in a few weeks, they drank what seemed to be most of their pay, and hadn't actually done anything more than talk violence.
One of the barmaids was detailed to drop a hint to Bob that him & they boys should tone it down a bit, & the matter was left at that.
However they couldn't leave it at that, wankers rarely can. One night when Mine Host was occupied with an extremely aggressive drug-fuelled heavyweight boxing contender, & was trying to keep any of the customers from being killed before the police arrived, Bob began screaming at Mine Host like a lunatic, making a very desperate situation even worse.
When the police arrived & commenced pussyfooting around the boxer, instead of arresting & charging him as they should have, Mine Host informed Bob that he was no longer welcome in the Wayside Tavern. Bob went quietly, as people tend to when there are blue shirts in the room.
A few days later Bob & his crew entered the Wayside Tavern, their demeanour speaking of a desire to make trouble no matter the circumstances.
They were advised that they were not welcome, & were given directions to any number of nearby pubs.
The 3 younger fellows began a hot-headed yelling & threatening session, while Bob charged behind the bar, put his shoulder down & knocked the 19 year old barmaid flying, then he dashed into the office and with mind numbing violence proceeded to smash the telephone.
"Now you can't call the police & I have got you!" Bob exclaimed.
This was rather a tense moment for Mine Host. Having entered the office & endeavoured to prevent any damage, I was now hemmed in by Bob, who was between me & the door.
Perhaps Bob preferred not to grapple with a much younger man when inside an office with no room to move, perhaps he realised the situation he was in. Mine Host was quite relieved when Bob dashed out of the office, out of the bar, & out of the Wayside Tavern, taking his 3 compatriots with him.
They went unhappily, screaming obscenities & horrifying threats as they went.
The barmaid seemed shaken but otherwise okay.
Someone had phoned the police (mobile phones have their handy moments) and Bob & his crew, now more than a block away, were interrupted mid-scream by a car full of police drawing up beside them.
A curbside interview followed, snatches of which carried on the air back to where we were all standing in front of the Wayside Tavern.
The usual denials were made of ever having been in the Wayside Tavern, switching to an admission of having been inside but having been wrongfully mistreated by the publican. "Thats the person who done wrong, yet you coppers come & stop us innocent people on the street, you should go down and arrest him" etc etc etc.
After some minutes the police came down to the Wayside Tavern.
Sgt. Burns (of the previous post) came in & spoke to me, he glanced over to where the barmaid was still sitting nursing her bruises, her face speaking of the pain she was experiencing. Sgt Burns was shown the smashed telephone.
Taking all this in, Sgt Burns said:
"I've spoken to him, he won't be back tonight, really it isn't much to worry about, nothing I could arrest him for, as no real offences committed"
From experience Mine Host has a familiarity with laws regarding street offences, liquor offences & public disorder. At least 15 offences had been committed, 3 of them of sufficient gravity to lock up & charge the alleged offender.
Wonder if Bob & his 3 friends would still have been considered unarrestable had they made sarcastic remarks about "pork" whilst Sgt. Burns was interviewing them on the street?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Then a young man begins to punctuate his playing with loud, exaggerated sniffing noises. Then he begins to speak:
"I smell something... "
"Yes, definitely smell something"
"ahh.. it is pork..."
"Has someone left a pig on a spit or something? The pork smell is really strong.... ohhhh"
This goes on, nothing else is said, & it is as if the young man is speaking to himself.
But we all know what is going on, we can hardly believe our ears, this young man is sticking his neck out......
.....Two machines down, now sitting ramrod straight, is Sgt. Burns.
Completely ignoring the series of pork & swine references, he waits until Mrs. Burns gets up & goes into the bar for a drink.
Then Sgt. Burns (a non-drinker) puts down his coffee, extends his left arm along the back of the stools & speaks directly to the young man:
"Be at the police station before 10am tomorrow, report to me. Got that, dickhead?"
The following day at 3 minutes past 10am Sgt. Burns & 2 ramrod straight constables march into the Wayside Tavern.
"Who was that dickhead who annoyed me last night?" Shrug from Mine Host... he was a face in the crowd to me.
"Well, 10am has come & gone, he failed to front up, now he is going to feel some pain."
For most of that day, the Sergeant & two Constables do nothing but search for the pork sniffer.
By lunchtime they have his identity, address, place of work & have formed a plan to begin making life in this town a world of inconvenience for this young man.
At varous times during that day the 3 police call in to the Wayside Tavern, to check if the pork sniffer is back playing the poker machines. They update us on the progress of the "case".
Mine Host & his staff say nothing, but behind the straight mask of our faces, we are wondering what would be the police response if we went accross to the station & reported that last night someone in the pub had made a rude remark about us ..............
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Obviously Alpalca has no grip on reality. Perhaps Alpalca is accustomed to being given money for doing nothing?
For the benefit of Alpalca, & any others who are reality challenged, I state this:
The department of social security exists to service bludgers.
The Wayside Tavern exists to serve clients.
Not being able to comment on the obvious free ride & soft background of Alpalca, Mine Host can only refer to his own jobs from the past.
No boss of mine would ever have tolerated a bludger. The blokes I worked with even less so. If someone did not pull their weight (mine host included) they were most robustly advised to mend their ways.
Failure to mend your ways would lead to a most physical "blue collar reprimand" being dished out, usually by the other blokes in the stock camp, but by the boss if necessary. The consequent black eyes & swollen lips were not permitted to be an obstacle to immediately starting to pull your weight.
There is no room in a shared accommodation and work environment for anyone who is a lone wolf, drug user, bludger, or has bad personal or social habits.
Walking off the job, lying to the boss about feeling crook, & getting drunk while a workmate covers for you (as Wacka did) would have at the very best have resulted in your departure on the first available transport to town. (Anyone who stuck up for you would be on back of the mail truck with you). At the worst... well, just imagine the ire of blue collar workers toward someone they feel has "had a lend" of them........
Anyone who did not eat or drink would not only be rightly considered an idiot (& told so) but would have been at risk of being held down & force fed in a most unpleasant manner. Also there is an almost 100% guarantee that the other workers would insist that the boss "get rid of him".
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Chefs at the Diver's Arms are quite well paid. A 2 year contract with Mine Host leaves them with $60,000 in savings with which to re-enter the southern world. Alas most of them are unable to keep off the grog, live from hand to mouth, & are broke when their contract is finished.
In short: They can handle a frying pan, but not a chequebook.
Of course there has not yet been a chef who has lasted 2 years. Their artistic temper rapidly leads to them being either, locked up, hospitalised, sacked or run out of town.
Illegal drugs are one of the main causes of chef downfall. How can one who is so brilliant with food be so incredibly stupid with their own metabolism?
Wacka has just finished up, involuntarily. When he started the job he concealed from his employer a few things about himself;-
A chronic liver condition, which alone would have prevented him from completing his contract.
His employment history with at least 2 other businesses in the same town.
A significant criminal record dating from his previous sojurn in town.
Wacka collapsed on the job. Right in the middle of the kitchen, passed out *unconscious*. This happened 3 times over a fortnight. Each time we got him awake & off to the hospital. Later that night the hospital would release him.
Mine Host tires very quickly of unreliable staff, and nothing is more unreliable than a chef who continually falls unconscious at work & has to be carted off to hospital.
Asking Wacka what is wrong was a waste of time, as a certain element of the population is too dumb to be able to answer a question with any accuracy. Wacka is one of these.
The hospital naturally was most confidential about Wacka's condition. However a fishing companion of one of the staff, who may or may not have worked at the hospital, may or may not have revealed that Wacka was suffering from dehydration & malnutrition.
"Sounds about right!" thunders Mine Host when he hears the news, "the blighter looks awfully pasty, never drinks water, guzzles coca cola, & nobody has ever seen him eat. Typical druggo!"
The dilemma of how to get rid of the useless bastard (THANKS to the rump bandits who brought in unfair dismissal laws) was solved however, when Wacka knocked off work 4 hours early because he felt "a bit crook to work".
Wacka then returned to the quarters, got stuck into the rum (as sick people do.. haha) & after a couple of bottles fell down the stairs & broke his shoulder.
Mine Host was waiting on the hospital steps the following morning, handed Wacka 2 cardboard boxes which held the contents of his room in the staff quarters, advised him to not set foot back on the property, & wished Wacka all the best, as his final pay was not enough to purchase a ticket out of town.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Baffled, I enquired what on earth made the police think that ANYONE could remember a random pedestrian some months later, especially one which passed by AFTER the pub had shut?
In the surly tone of voice usually only heard when police are telling you that a green light was "Red", one of the constables adjusted the weight on his feet, dropped his hands (with notebook) angrily by his side & said:
"Look, cut the crap, he walked past here on the night of (date X), now TELL US what you saw happen!"
Not very far this could go. Empty handed the two constables departed.
It transpired that some months previously a young man had been killed in a hit & run, only a few hundred metres from the Wayside Tavern. An inquiry was about to be held into the death.
The night had been black, the stretch of road ill lit, the hit & run vehicle, which nobody had seen, was presumed to be a semi-trailer, the victim had been full of drugs & alcohol.
Straightforward you say? Hmmm.... so why the police so stirred up about people who didn't see him further up the street?
It transpires that only 15 minutes before the discovery of the body the victim had been in police custody. Held in the cells for a street offence, the police had released the prisoner after the required 4 hours, as he was sobered up & "able to look after himself".
Walking past the police station, & then along the most direct route to the site of the hit & run, Mine Host can only make the distance within 15 minutes by vigorous "power-walking".
The victim had been drunk & drugged, neither of which help you to walk fast.
The inquiry was a short one, & would have been even shorter if it were not for the efforts by the police (the uncharitable would say "stumbling" or "squirming") to demonstrate that between release from the cells & being hit by the truck, the victim "must" have been to see his dealer & gotten some drugs, & also despite the lonely hour & the deserted streets somehow obtained alcohol & drank a quantity. All in 15 minutes?
Friday, October 14, 2005
When the unfair dismissal laws are scrapped, their passing will result in a celebration by Mine Host, & no doubt by each of the other thousands of small business operators who have been victimised by these unfair laws
For those who regret the demise of such laws, I say this: Blame your Union.
The unions have used the unfair dismissal laws as a method of extorting money from small business.
There is no penalty, financial or otherwise, to an employee whose unfair dismissal case is taken on by a union.
For the employer, there is a minimum cost of fighting the case, which could be as "low" as $7,000 to $25,000. On the upper end of costs, the sky is the limit
Remember, these costs to the employer are for winning.
Remember, the average employer is not BP, Toyota Motor or Microsoft, but Mum & Dad, struggling to make the average adult wage.
Even cases which have absolutely no merit have been used by unions to extort cash from employers, who pay a small amount rather than face the financial & emotional cost of neglecting their business to fight a case.
Bring on the end of the unfair dismissal laws, the sooner the better.
Mine Host has has two unfair dismissal cases brought against him, each is the subject of an individual post below:
Their room (they were in a common-law marriage) in the staff quarters was vacant, the key left in the open door.
He was a Chef. She a Receptionist.
A yellow post-it note reading "Good Luck" was stuck atop the 10cm high pile of paperwork she had supposedly been processing the night before on (what became) her final shift.
What she had been doing instead was tampering with every accommodation booking for the next several weeks, dates of arrival, contact phone number, length of stay etc. were all altered, many were deleted.
Three days of full time work, referring to the handwritten paper copies, was required just to rectify this damage.
A few weeks later a bill arrives from the taxi company, dated the morning of their departure, for their 6am ride to the airport! Until that moment, Mine Host had been unaware that taxi rides were on anything but a strictly-cash basis.
For this Mine Host reported the pair to the police, for fraud.
Some weeks later a fax is recieved from the Industrial Relations Dept.
The pair were claiming for unfair dismissal (including for wages to be paid in lieu of "no notice of dismissal given by the employer".)
Shocked return fax advised I.R. that all allegations were false.
Several senior staff & professional advisors informed I.R. that the wording of the complaint was defamatory. The police were notified that the taxi fraud suspects had surfaced.
I.R. kept faxing, tersely noting that payment had not yet been made to the claimants, & recommending that Mine Host pay up, to "avoid the matter being handed to a compliance officer for investigation & prosecution".
Several statements were produced by I.R., all supporting the pair of claimants. Every statement was by disgruntled former staff.
In support of Mine Host were statements by:
Several CPA's (Accountancy professionals)
Contract Head Chefs (with several leading overseas hotels on their C.V.)
Four persons of sufficient character to hold a liquor licence, including 2 who were J.P.'s.
I.R. openly took the view that all statements made in support of Mine Host were by people who "would say that wouldn't they?"
I.R. openly took the view that statements supporting the claimants, by persons with outstanding arrest warrants in other states amounted to "damning evidence" against Mine Host.
Mine Host's representations that the Two claimants had "done a runner" may have tweaked a chord with the I.R. investigator. Very early in the investigation the pair were called in & asked had they absconded without notice from their employment with Mine Host.
Gravely they both denied this.
The following morning both had disappeared from their rented accommodation, from their new jobs, their mobile phone numbers had been deactivated. They were suspected of fleeing interstate (to avoid jurisdiction). I.R. was never able to contact or locate them.
But none of this was revealed to Mine Host by the compliance officer. The terse, demanding faxes continued, for months.
Statements by Mine Host that the pair had "done a runner from their job" were scoffed at by the compliance officer.
The rough treatement of Mine Host ceased only when the housekeeping staff at the Divers Arms wrote a joint statement in their own words: "Fritz & Xaviera had been bragging about what a laugh it would be to make a mess of the paperwork, then do a bolt without telling the boss, this hotel was a joke to them, but to the rest of us it is our job & our living, we reckon they done the wrong thing."
I.R. then faxed that prosecution would not be proceeding at this point, due to "insufficient evidence".
No message, no warning, no nothing.
Phone calls to her house dialled out.
Casual conversation in the staff room revealed that the secretary was on holidays. Long planned holidays, booked & paid months in advance.
Several weeks later the secretary reappeared in the office, at her old desk, & was busy with paperwork.
She had been interstate "on holiday".
In the abscence of a valid reason for several weeks abscence from work, she was advised there was no longer a job for her.
Subsequently Mine Host was hauled before the Industrial Relations Commission. The secretary had made a 14 page complaint (apparently this is quite a long one) alleging "unfair dismissal".
The claim was for in excess of $30,000. Advice from the QHA was that just to fight this particular claim would cost $20,000.
Mine Host was contacted by an officer of the Clerks Union, (representing the former secretary).
The conversation ended with Mine Host & he agreeing to disagree. Mine Host called it "Workplace Abandonment", the Union Officer called it "Unfair Dismissal".
(The Union Official also had a poorly worded go at entrapping Mine Host into a comment that would compromise his position)
A "Mediation Hearing" was ordered by the IRC.
Mine Host was present, along with an Industrial Officer to represent him, likewise the former secretary was there with her Union Officer.
Mine Host's representative whispered to him that the Commissioner presiding over the mediation was a former magistrate, & thus likely to be impartial. (For those who never had to endure the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, impartiality by the Commissioners was most uncommon)
The hearing commenced with the Union Officer presenting the Commissioner with 20 pages of new documentation.
The Commissioner refused to allow Mine Host or his representative to see these new documents.
The union official opened by stating the secretary had been summarily dismissed for taking holidays, "which is a bit rough".
Mine Host's Industrial Representative opened by stating the secretary had walked off the job and gone on holidays without so much as a by-your-leave or any concern about how her job would be performed.
The Commssioner announced he would now speak with each party in "private conference". He then moved into a side room with the secretary & union officer.
Returning 20 minutes later, the Commissioner informed Mine Host: "Things don't look very good for you, I recommend that you settle immediately".
Mine Host refused to agree to an immediate settlement, confident that his 20 minute session with the Commissioner would throw a different complexion on things.
Instead, the Commissar spoke:
"Okay, I'll give you two weeks to come to your senses, all parties will reconvene at date X time X. I recommend you think about settlement"
Stunned, Mine Host put it to his representative that if this was an "impartial" commissioner, what could be expected of one who was anti-employer?
Over the next 2 weeks the representative earned his fee. Several telephone discussions were held with the union officer.
The secretary had not been full & frank with the union about the exact circumstances:
She had told them that she had applied for leave in writing & that leave had been granted.
This representation collapsed very quickly, after which the Union Officer quickly reduced the claim by 90%.
By the time of the reconvened Mediation Hearing, the claim had been reduced to 3 weeks pay + 1 week pay in lieu of "notice not given".
When asked how he felt about this by the Commissar, Mine Host weighed his options, a $20,000 cost to win, or pay a few weeks wages now to get it out of the way?
Mine Host poined out to the Commissar that the only thing he had been asked in this whole kangaroo court was will he pay? NEVER had he been allowed to state his response to the claim.
The Commissar expressed disgruntled surprise at this, & explained that Mine Host had been given "ample opportunity" to say his piece on the matter.
To this Mine Host retorted that "his piece" had been limited to a simple Yes or No to the Commissar's endless demands that cash payment be made to the secretary, whilst the opposing party had been given a 20 minute private audience.
The Commissar was unmoved.
The "week's pay in lieu" was dropped, and Reluctantly Mine Host agreed to a payment of 3 weeks wages. Laregely because the Wayside Tavern did not have $20,000 to spare.
Feeling ashamed at having put money before principle Mine Host was in a tense emotional state, very close to an outburst.
Then something happened that triggered Mine Host to dig his heels in.
As part of the settlement statement, the Union Officer asked for, and the Commissar granted, that Mine Host would also write a statement that the secretary had been a highly competent employee, & had left on very good terms.
Mine Host let go an emphatic "NO!"
In disbelief the Commissar asked for clarification, unsure of what he had heard, unable to believe he was being defied.
"I will not sign any such thing, such a document would be untrue, and I will go to gaol before I will ever put my signature to something which is not true."
Mine Host then gave a quick summation of the lack of due process so far, ending with an expression of shock & surprise that the Commissioner would expect someone to put their signature to something that wasn't true.
Sensing that the settlement offer was about to be withdrawn by a wronged employer who had been pushed too far, & knowing the secretary's case had limited prospects in a substantive hearing, the Union Officer hurriedly withdrew any requirement for a signed statement of "competence & goodwill" from the employer.
The settlement was signed, & the legalised shakedown was complete.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
A "sad fire" would provide a brand new Wayside Tavern, at insurance company expense. This new building would be without any of the design flaws, inefficiencies etc. which exist in the current building. With but one strike of a match, Mine Host would be provided with a new glitch free pub AND some relaxing downtime, without loss of profit, due to "loss of income" insurance.
For a fire to be successful, the Wayside Tavern would have to be drenched with what in fire brigade parlance, is known as "accelerant". Such activity would leave sufficient of what is known in police parlance, as "evidence", and after the resulting conviction, Mine Host would not only be denied insurance payments, but would serve what is known in common parlance, as "a stretch".
A fire without evidence of being deliberately lit is easy, any number of possibilities spring readily to mind: The kitchen is good for any number of fires, stove spill, burning roast, deep fryer accident, etc etc. Unfortunately the fire brigade with their big powerful water hoses will easily put out any such unaccelerated fire.
Or so mine host thought!
Recently a very small & easily put out fire broke out a few doors down from the Wayside Tavern. (see the fire? this fire engine photo is all smoky)
The Fire Brigade arrived after several minutes, the firemen dressed in heavier clobber than Shackleton. With lots of macho heaving & grunting, the firemen set about their business, some going to to inspect the "blaze", whilst others connected the fire engine to the water mains, then set to work pumping lots of water. Thus impressing the bystanders.
Then the "stream" ceased. Much furrowing of brows amongst the firemen, rapid consultations between fire brigade, police, council officers, etc.
The "blaze" was extinguished (just) by other means, as the hoses remained dry.
The water mains are not able to carry water as fast as the fire brigade can pump! In the event of a fire in the CBD, there will be insufficient water to put it out!
This nugget of information has been remembered by Mine Host. It could be very handy, hee hee hee!
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Head Chef, without looking up from his scrubbing, verbally issued kitchenhand his instructions. A few deep fryer parts to be rinsed off, given a mild scrub & then put through the dishwasher, followed by making up some pre-made salad portions.
A short while later Head Chef realised he hasn't heard any of the sounds of activity, half an hour had passed & none of the kitchenhand's appointed tasks appeared to have been completed.
A quick squizzo around revealed the kitchenhand outside seated in a relaxed manner on a milk crate.
Mystified, Head Chef enquired why only half an hour after starting time, kitchenhand was sitting on his bum instead of working.
"Having a smoke" grunts k/hand over his shoulder.
"I didn't ask you to go outside & light a cigarette, I asked you to put all the chopped salad parts together into bowls as portions"
"That's your job mate"
*brief silence from Head Chef* <--- whilst he digests this, & compares it to what would have happened in this case when he was learning the trade in Glasgow. (in deceptively mild tone of voice) "Sonny, you do realise you only get paid if you do some work?" Most reluctantly k/hand stands & comes back into the kitchen. "Due to your starting just now, instead of half an hour ago when you were supposed to, we are a little behind, so you better get stuck into cleaning off those inserts for the deep fryer" "I don't clean" replied k/hand. *another brief silence* "er.. waddaya mean you don't clean?"
"The other cook said I can smoke when I want, & it is degrading to clean"
"The other cook has quit, & I am in charge now, it is only your 4th day in this job, & part of all kitchen work is cleaning, get cracking!"
Sticking his chin out k/hand got out his most surly tone of voice "Better get another dishy then mate, coz I'm outta here, you can stick it up your *deleted word*"
With that, the lad who "cleans nothing" (he must really stink) pulled a pair of sunglasses down from where they had been perched on his head, stepped onto a skateboard, & departed.
Mine Host is no stranger to the ill mannerd lazy arrogant young who, when asked to concentrate, or to be diligent, curse the "nazi boss" & huffily walk off the job. However, never before has he known someone to "skateboard" off the job.
Quickly updated by his secretary on developments, Mine Host entered the kitchen to find Head Chef standing idle in shock, eyes like saucers, mumbling to himself "I dinna believe it, I canna believe it, I've never seen anything like it".. (has rather a unique sound to it when spoken in a Glasgow accent)
Apologising to Head Chef for inadvertantly hiring a kitchenhand of royal blood, Mine Host set off to catch up with his rarified majesty the departing kitchen hand. Alas, venegance was elusive, as the kid moved a good deal faster on a skateboard than he ever had at work. His blood was not to be shed on this day.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
A few streets away from the Wayside Tavern, a small group of serial offenders was committing vicious assaults, a situation which had continued for more than a year.
Late at night they would lurk in the car yard (of motor dealerships) waiting to ambush commericial travellers returning to motels after a night of convivial drinking in a nearby pub.
Ambush as these morons understand it does not mean stealing a wallet & things, it means a vicious assault by a group of 20-year olds upon a 50 year old law abiding man. They would belt 6 shades of hell out of him, & when he falls to the ground they continue by putting the boot in until either they wear out, or until they are running the risk of being observed. Hospitalising, & possibly maiming a law abiding citizen is an irrelvance to them.
The police seemed unable to do anything to prevent this state of affairs, & commercial travellers became wary of venturing out after dark.
Note: This was not a case of the courts letting down the police, as NO ARREST was ever made.
The identity of the perpetators was not in doubt. Mine Host & his fellow hospitality providers grumbled to each other about how to prevent this, as clearly the police were not interested..... For when something arouses the ire/interest of the police, things happen, & the associated criminal/disorderly/reckless activity ceases.
Wistfully the small group of publicans/moteliers wished the police would treat as seriously a vicious & cowardly assaults upon elderly travellers as was a housewife driving out from a supermarket car park without wearing a seatbelt, or as was 10 minutes too little rest recorded in a truckie's logbook.
As would be expected from any decent citizens, a group which one would have expected to include the police, the hospitality providers made a plan to stop the violent street assaults.
"Oh, if only we had the powers of the police, this rot would stop overnight... " we all fumed!
Word did not spread very far that a group of businessmen were planning to pay serious CASH to import a small group of Tongan/Samoan/Maori/anybody else built like a brick outhouse to selectively belt the living daylights out of a few street thugs.
However, suddenly the street violence recieved police attention! Did the police lurk in the shadows to catch the perpetrators in the act? No.. the police visited every business house in the town to lecture sternly about the dangers of vigilantism, & to distribute literature about an upcoming "consultative meeting" between police, liquor inspectors & the hospitality businesses.
When faced with someone about to do their job for them, police bravely cracked down on their competitors, a group of law abiding hospitality operators, attempting to find breaches where there previously were none, & instilling fear into the hearts of those who were of no threat to community safety.
Liquor inspectors called at odd hours, demanding we produce our licence documents, we recieved impromptu stern warnings about "serving drunks" & "serving underage"..... however in the proximity of motels the savage assaults continued....
It is no wonder the police are loathed.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Observations on this secluded southern city: Melbourne is as chilly as was expected, despite the fact that Mine Host was rugged up in more jackets than he has worn in many a year, people around him in the street were heard to be commenting on how "mild" the day was, & how "pleasant" the weather is compared to a little while ago. Just goes to show that everything is relative!
As indeed is sunshine. Melbourne is far further from the equator than Mine Host is accustomed to being, with accompanying reduced severity of sunshine. In fact the reduced sunshine of Melbourne gives it a rather 1950's technicolour movie feel, & Mine Host had a nagging feeling that he was transported to an alien world. And people on the street were heard to comment on how "sunny" the day was!
Food! Melbourne is food heaven! Mine Host has an incredible weakness for congee! All year he covets the stuff, then suddenly he is in a place where it is available 24 hours! And in sit down restaurants, with tablecloth & waiter & all.... *Melbourne is the place*
At any time of the day or night, not only congee, but all sorts of food could be had. Mine Host was able to eat in fantastic upmarket restaurants whenever he chose, without detecting even the slightest reluctance from restaurant staff. Finding any restaurant open at 11pm (even fast food) is usually too much of an ask, then there is Melbourne, with mouth watering food available sit down with wine at any time!
Mine Host is now scouring his diary for an excuse to return to the deep south!
Sunday, August 28, 2005
The presence of this young man was so overwhelming for the coroner that he stopped the hearing & went "for a walk", being unable to deal with stark reality of being confronted by a paint sniffer.
Shock, Horror!!! A judge forcibly shoved face to face into reality!
A member of the "soft hands" urban tertiary class, one of the influencers and deciders of how we live, of how our system will operate, shoved face to face with the bland nothingness of a spaced out kid, & he cannot handle it, had to suspend the hearing...
The rest of the population have to deal with such reality, only without the option of "time out" to go for a walk to calm our nerves. But we do have the sure knowledge that how we handle the situation will be placed under the intense scrutiny of 20/20 hindsight, quite possibly by some naive, glib members of the legal profession.
A dose of how the rest of us have to live should happen to the legal profession more often, it may even shock some reality into them.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Jumping from the wharf is prohibited. It is dangerous. For those who are too stupid to recognise danger, there are signs telling you. These signs also tell you of the legal penalties for jumping.
In case you are a "rebel", or can't think ahead far enough to conceptualise penalties, there is still the danger, (danger is a non-escapable, non-sueable thing which can "get" you, beware of it)
The double barrelled attack of danger AND penalties means, of course, that there is the odd person who DOES jump. Such person would have only a strong vacum between their ears.
Mine Host & his co-workers suspected two of the staff of occassionally doing some illicit jumping.
Unfortunately the two staff were both chefs. Chefs are a resource which is as rare as is common sense rare in wharf jumpers.
How to save the chefs from themselves? Informal advice was given, stern denials were the retort, written warnings were issued, again total denial. (The denials were of sufficient vigour to confirm everyone's suspicions that the chefs were indeed jumping from the wharf)
The wharf jumping habit was cured one day, in a most memorable manner:
The two chefs were jumping into the water, paddling to a ladder or stairs, climbing back up, then jumping again, all very much in the manner of a group of laughing children.
On one of his jumps, chef A knocked himself out. The tide was low, hard objects were in the water. Chef B jumped again to rescue chef A. This was not as easy as it first looked. Hidden hard objects was one reason only stupid people would jump, the other is strong currents. VERY STRONG. Chef B managed to get chef A out of unconsciousness & aware of what was happening.
However the currents had taken them quite some distance offshore. Being as the current is about 8 knots, there was no hope of them swimming back. They trod water & simply went with the flow, just as sailing boats do (for this reason sailing boats are quite rare in these parts).
Not having been seen by anyone else while they were jumping & knocking themself out, the 2 chefs would have drifted until they either came to another island, or were eaten by a crocodile.
Mine Host's best customers are the Customs Patrol. A small customs boat coming back from a job saw the bobbing heads, rescued them, & recognised the chefs who cook the mouth watering food the customs staff love to eat.
The customs staff did provide a happier ending for what would otherwise have been a mysterious missing persons case. Mine Host also notes that when they saved that pair, the customs crew did no favours for the gene pool.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Right in front of Mine Host's office window, in the twilight, thigh deep in the water, several fellows were standing fishing. After quite some time one of them made a comment about "sharks".
Mine Host wryly noted that over the next minute or so, all the fishermen moved closer to the edge of the water, until it was not so deep, covering little more than their ankles. Apparently this was to "improve the chances of catching fish".
Shortly afterward a fin was observed by all, ominously gliding past. (Most sinister, just like on TV, hehe). The water under the fin was no more than waist deep.
Suddenly seeing the appeal of casting their lines from a "firmer footing", the fishermen all retreated as one to above the waterline.
7 times they lost bait & hook to a sudden "hit" on a line. Then one of them landed a 4 metre shark, as round in the body as a human torso.
Observing this cute little diorama, Mine Host felt little horror, shock or surprise. A long held knowledge of what the water contains has meant he has never, & will never, dip so much as a toe into the water in front of his office.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
A representative of another establishment in town, the "Tosspot Cricket Club" (hesitate to use the word "rival" establishment) .... entered into the Wayside Tavern & spoke to one of Mine Host's staff, offering her a job at their cesspit bloodhouse.
There are very few things which cause Mine Host's blood to boil properly. Poaching staff directly from someone else is close to as low as one can go. The only thing which saved this lady (for it was a female) was that she ran out the door as soon as she saw Mine Host approaching bearing a look of thunder!
She is unlikely to be back, & the Tosspot Cricket Club can rot in hell, *scoundrels*
There are certain rules in this world, & direct poaching of staff is justifiable grounds for flattening someone... & flattening them properly!
Saturday, June 18, 2005
One of the disappointing aspects of society is just how many people will speak to shop staff in a manner in which they would never dare speak to anyone else.
Abuse, threats & ranting are not uncommon. There is an unhesitating expectation that there will be no response, & no consequences.
This abuse can be most unreasonable, quite vitriolic, even violent at times.
Over time this treatment can have quite an effect on people, especially those who are paid relatively lowly to provide a good service to the public.
Mine Host had pondered in vain how to reduce the amount of abuse. Perhaps give more to the customers? A free drink each day for every regular customer?
No matter what was tried, the abuse continued to grow steadily.
The solution, stunning in its simplicity, came from one of the suppliers, Mr. Welsh. Elderly, he wore braces & a cloth cap (a very rare sight in the tropics).
He operated a vending machine run, & called to the Wayside Tavern monthly.
A lifelong member of the Showman's Guild, Mr. Welsh had been raised on the fairground circuit. At each of his visits Mine Host would experience the privelige of being allowed to peer through a window into another world, and be allowed to listen enthusiastically to tales of a childhood spent repairing merry-go-round horses, & other exotic events from the show circuit.
The pearl was dropped unexpectedly during one of these conversations. "You know young fellow" spoke Mr. Welsh "you should NEVER give anybody anything. If you give them something you only get abused for it."
"Always charge full price & do not compromise on this, it makes the public more polite.”
This policy was immediately adopted as gospel by the Wayside Tavern.
In the years since, with a firm policy of no free drinks, no bar draws, no discounting, & no happy hour, Mine Host has lived a relatively stress free life.
Drinkers in the bar greet him by name, offer to buy him drinks, no more does the sour chant of "shout c**t, shout c**t" commence when Mine Host enters the bar.
Never again will Mine Host be foolish enough to give anything to drinkers. All else aside, it is bad business!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Progress has finally caught up with the advances made by the wayside Tavern, "happy hour" now experiences the same wowser backlash as does smoking.
For happy hour at the Wayside Tavern went west years ago. This piece of Ozzi social fabric has holds the same fondness in Mine Host's heart as does 6 o'clock closing in the hearts of his clientele.
Mine Host shall explain his rationale in the next posting, however for an alternative view see Slattsnews.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
This is Mr. Cranium's 3rd visit to the Wayside Tavern, it will also be his last. His behaviour on both previous visits resulted in him being thrown out before he even ordered a drink.
Mine Host is perfectly happy to allow nature take its course. Richard Cranium is 19 years old, feeling strong, nothing can touch him. His aggressive attitude to others is being directed onto the 4 men at the next table.
After considerable bad language & obnoxious behaviour, Cranium finishes his drink, demands another & is refused service for reason of disorderly conduct.
Becoming even more obnoxious, both to staff & the 4 men at the next table, Cranium grabs a bottle of cordial from behind the bar & runs. Nobody does anything to stop him.
Note: Nothing is theft until the stolen object has been removed from the premises.
The 4 men who have borne the brunt of Cranium's insults watch him run, the instant Cranium crosses the threshold onto the street the oldest of the 4 says to his companions... "Get him boys"
The 3 Constables do as their Inspector orders.
Cranium is running & laughing, waving the cordial bottle. Seeing 3 strong young men in hard pursuit, the look of glee evaporates, the cordial bottle is dropped & he runs for his life, fear lending wings to his feet.
The 3 off duty police swiftly overtake Cranium. One grabs him by the waist & uses Cranium's own momentum to drive him into a handy brick wall. Cranium collapses face down onto the concrete footpath.
The next constable launches himself from several feet away & lands with all his weight, knees first, onto the back of Craniums prone torso.
There is no cheek left in Richard Cranium.
Two of the pursuers now take an ankle each, & drag Cranium face down along the footpath, & accross the street.
None of them even look back to see how Cranium is coping with being pulled by the ankles face down accross a bitumen road & along a concrete footpath.
Nobody even checks that Cranium is conscious.
A mobile phone call is made, a police car arrives, Cranium is thrown into this car.
The police station is the opposite side of the block to the Wayside Tavern. Mine Host can make it there at a trot in 45 seconds.
The police car (containing the prisoner) sets off in the wrong direction. It takes 45 minutes for the prisoner to arrive at the station.............
Richard Cranium, in the years since, has never given any trouble or done anything to bring attention to himself.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
By the pool table was a crazed Cook Islander, incongruous in stockman's hat & shirt with torn off sleeves, in one hand gripping a pool cue by the thin end, eyes enlarged & crazed, biceps bulging, neck & jaw clenched. A fearsome sight. Backed up to the wall in fear is a semi-circle of customers. Despite the miscreant not having been seen at the Wayside Tavern for many years, Mine Host knew him as a former regular, who had moved out of town ages ago.
"This could be tricky" thinks Mine Host
"Mr. Esmond!" bellowed Mine Host, as hearing their own name often shocks troublemakers into calming down, removing their anonymity is very effective, as running off into the dark will no longer be an effective escape.
However Maori, when drugged or drunk, know no reason. Mr. Esmond dropped the pool cue, & made as if to calm down (known as "dummying"), then from the side he threw a tremendous "king hit", which landed perfectly on Mine Host's lower jaw. Reeling, (but to the amazement of all, including himself, still standing) Mine Host braced for the flurry of follow up punches, as the first one was quite a beauty.
But there was no follow up, through bleary eyes Mine Host saw Mr. Esmond, Mike & one of Mr. Esmond's sons grappling, then the 2 Esmonds ran.
Mike had moved in behind & caught the backswing of the follow up punch, however Esmond Junior then (from behind) threw a couple of punches at Mike, who had his hands full, hanging onto one thug whilst avoiding blows from another.
The 2 Esmonds ran into the night. From the back door Mike bellowed into the dark "Running are Ye? Scared are Ye?"..... Whilst Esmond Jnr was smart enough to keep running, Mr. Esmond himself fell for it .. (Come in Spinner!) & marched back into the light, announcing loudly what he was going to do to us, etc etc.
His escape thus delayed, Mr. Esmond was still on the scene bellowing with sufficient belligerence for the police to collar him immediately upon their arrival.
Upon sighting the police, Esmond underwent the usual metamorphosis from belligerently challenging all comers to sitting quietly in a chair & acting totally surprised as to why the police would want to grab him.
The sergeant later reported that in his pockets they had found "something which should not have been there..." They had then released him & told him to come back at 10pm the following night (sometimes we wonder if they actually have to fail an intelligence test to get into the force) But they expected that they would issue him with a fine for failing to leave a pub when asked.
In exasperation Mine Host then set about (vainly) trying to talk knuckle-headed cops into actually charging the thug with assault. After all, a room full of people had seen it, & almost been victims themselves.
The following night the same 2 police came to the Wayside Tavern, Mr. Esmond had not appeared for his interview & now he was going to be charged with "serious assault", affray, disorderly conduct on licenced premises. etc etc...
When Mr. Esmond had done nothing more than belt a few people around (because he could) the police had only a most minor interest, but now that he had failed to do what a cop told him, they were going to throw the book at him. Mr. Esmond subsequently pleaded guilty to all charges at a special hearing in his new home town.
Several weeks later Esmond Junior crossed the threshold of the Wayside Tavern, accompanied by a sexy young thing. "You can't come in here" Mine Host said, with palm outward. Blank look from Esmond Jnr, as if he had no idea why he was being refused entry. "Anyone who throws a punch at the staff, never comes back inside, not for the rest of their life."
"I haven't hit anyone"
"Correct sunshine, you missed! But you were man enough to take a swing at someone from behind"
"Don't know what you are talking about"
"Tell you what sunshine, how about we look at the video, & if it ain't you in the starring role, then the subsequent police interview is going to make me look a real fool, ain't it?"
Esmond Junior turned & went, thus confirming Mine Hosts version of events. Shamed (in his own eyes) in front of girlfriend & mates, indisputably the type who hits from behind.
Friday, May 20, 2005
In all this time Mine Host only ever spoke to Jim to serve him a drink. Jim was quiet, had a sense of humour, held down a high paying job, occassionally took a bottle of Kahlua home with him.
"Chilly tonight" "Yea" was the extent of several years of conversation between Jim & Mine Host. On nights when Jim was in, Mine Host wistfully wished there could be more customers such as Jim.
One evening Jim stood, walked behind the bar to & placed one hand on Mine Host's shoulder. "Jim, how can I help you?"
With the speed of a striking cobra, Jim violently wrenched Mine Host into the coldroom wall.
On the backswing Jim flung Mine Host, by now with torn shirt & trousers, like a rag doll into the corner below the sink. Jim then landed on Mine Host with both knees, then taking a hand full of hair with one hand, began belting away with his right.
Mine Host could not have been in a more helpless position.
A 70 year old bystander, half the size of Jim, came around behind the bar & dragged Jim off by the neck, using his forearm to crimp Jim's windpipe. Jim was suffocating, turning blue, approaching the point of unconsciousness. "Good, that will slow him down" thought Mine Host
Jim was released, his windpipe revererted (slowly) to it's original shape, & he began to gasp out of his catatonic state. All present were incredulous at this uncharacteristic display by Jim.
Still gasping, Jim turned slowly, sighted Mine Host, & began to flail away most violently, with arms like twirling sledgehammers. The elderly samaritan once again put his forearm around Jim's neck & cut his windpipe. Jim gasped folornly without noise (hehe, can't make gasping noise unless at least a little air is coming in!) Slowly he starved for oxygen & toppled to the floor.
Jim would weigh 140-150kg.
Mine Host & his saviour dragged Jim (quite an effort) through the foyer & toward the street. However he slowly became lucid & commenced again to struggle.
Just then 2 police officers (females both) arrived, summoned by alarmed customers. One officer remained outside, & did not enter the Wayside Tavern. The other berated Mine Host's saviour, stating that "choking someone" could land us in serious trouble.
Mine Host leapt to his feet & pointed out in a most undiplomatic tone of voice, that he had been in trouble, & now was not. Furthmore, Jim's state of health was of little concern, if Jim didn't like being knocked out, he could only blame himself!
Due to his mild drunken state , the police refused to interview or arrest Jim at the scene, telling him to go home. Then proceeded to berate Mine Host & his saviours about "using violence"
Mine Host acidly pointed out that the police had delivered no such diatribe to Jim.
Some months later the police informed Mine Host that "nothing can be done" about the "alleged assault" by Jim, as they had arrested Jim at the scene & charged him with public disorder.
Subsequently, and without Mine Host's knowledge Jim had already been found guilty of public disorder.
He cannot be tried twice on the same evidence. Thus no assault charge could now be pursued. The police took the opportunity to deliver a further sermon on the evils of using violence to defend oneself, stating that instead Mine Host should have "called the police".
Having had enough of this rot, Mine Host thundered most direspectfully at the officers that if someone had not dragged Jim off, the only call being made would be to the funeral director.!
Mine Host will go to his grave without any comprehension of why Jim attacked him, nor without any idea of why the 2 police were not only unhelpful, but were downright hostile to the victims of crime.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
This is not to suggest that Mine Host was ignorant of Islam. On the contrary it is Mine Host's belief that country people are by far the best informed on current affairs & the world around them, being scrupulous readers of newspapers & devourers of all sorts of books & magazines.
Islam remained a foreign & irrelevant thing which nobody ever imagined they would come in contact with, or have any practical use for. (Thus putting islam on a par with a university education)
However when economic reality forced Mine Host's career path away from cattle-punching (& ultimately into pubs) he began to rub shoulders - unknowingly - with adherents of this faith.
Much of Islam held great appeal to rural folk, and were it not for the grog-free aspect, (a guaranteed recruiting blooper) the faith would be almost revered among the humble farming folk of the inland.
For Islam is seen as one of the few places where toughenss on villany can still be found. A Fair Dinkum attitude toward crooks is percieved to be most definitely absent from the Australian judiciary, & with do-gooders campaigning in favour of criminals & other bad eggs, there seems little hope for improvements.
For much of Mine Host's young life many a conversation was had accross the sawn timber bar of a country pub: "See that blank pansy judge in Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne acutally let off some thug/rapist/murderer/burglar, .. christ.. in Saudi Arabia the bastard would've had his hand chopped off... maybe even his head... .. christ! I wish we had laws here like that.. stop all those dole bludgers in SydBrisMelb from running amok & bashing grannies I tell you... sigh.."
When years later Mine Host was as far from the bush as an ex-stockman can get, running a halal kebab shop in the far western suburbs of Sydney, he sold to Turkish, employed Turkish, was supplied by Turkish, recieved detailed advice, help & follow up support from operators of Turkish kebab shops in his area. These people are the salt of the earth, Mine Host will go to his grave still a defender of the Turkish people of western Sydney.
When one day in the office of the kebab factory, Mine Host made a positive comment about a photo on the wall of a big round mosque, & said how nice it looked, & how it would now be difficult to imagine Sydney without it on the skyline... and they were off!! This comment was taken as a desire to be converted!
For the record: Mine Host will never become an adherent of islam. Ever since the day he discovered fine Barossa reds, he was never going to forgo the grape!
However the teaching went on, & every visit to collect kebabs now included a lesson on islam. However, much to the distress of Mine Host, no mention of chopping of hands or heads of wrongdoers was ever made. This main selling point of Islam was explained as being "not representative". The "do-gooders" had reached the Turkish immigrant community years in advance of Mine Host, & the damage was now irreversable.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Mahmood Al-Yousif said...
is this story real? I know that some people (regardless of religion) are arrogant to excess, even surpassing your Ali, rather than keeping quiet about the impending "problem" I would have first "shamed" him with his family, refused to marry him and then bludgeoned him to death, thus reducing the asswipes in the world by one.And Allah, being mercyfull, would have condoned my actions.But then, that's only me. A male Muslim talking.
To clarify: All posts in this blog have happened to me, in a pub I was running, every word is true (excepting chronological & other small changes, to preserve my anonymity).
To address Mahmood's comment: Yep! This story is real.
Shaming "Ali" to his family was the advice I gave to Iris.
After cooling off, she didn't want his money, didn't want anything from him, & never wanted to hear from him again.
At his wedding to a nice decent Turkish girl, it would be great her take the child to see his/her father being married. This revelation should cause all the revenge Iris could ever want.
Especially if the Turkish bride-to-be has lots of brothers & other able bodied male relatives.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
She was quite friendly & very hardworking. Even though she was often a trial for Mine Host & her co-workers at the Wayside Tavern, Iris always turned up for work, worked quite hard, & was not afraid to throw her weight around when confronted with those who tended toward rowdy behaviour.
As is usual for backpacker females (who each have their own room upstairs in the Wayside Tavern) Iris formed a series of short friendships with local males. Her choice of quality in males was similar to all the Wayside Tavern backpackers, that is: varying from the mildly unsuitable to downright no-hopers.
As the months wore on it became apparent that Iris was seeing someone seriously. All were shocked when it transpired that the "serious boyfriend" was Ali. Hailing from way down south, although a native of Turkey, Ali had blown into town a year or so before and taken over a vacant Turkish kebab shop.
Ali was flash, albeit a somewhat budget version of "flash" (due to the impecunious nature of the kebab shop's trading figures) He was one of the Wayside Tavern's best customers, sitting all night drinking, playing poker machines, & most energetically trying his luck with the lovelier looking of the female staff & clientele.
Mine Host, though allowing that Ali was a regular & hassle free customer, never had respect for him. Occassionally, when a more pushy lady was trying her luck with him, Ali would decline, stating that his religion (islam) would not allow him to have anything to do with the "sort of girl" who would pierce her ears or allow herself to be tattooed!
Wryly Mine Host noted that liquor, gambling & casual sex (well, at least attempts at the latter!) were habits which Ali pursued to excess, despite his religion viewing such pastimes at least as seriously, if not more so, than girls with pinprick ear piercings or hidden tattoos.
Shaking our heads, we all watched as Ali (businessman with his own shop) & Iris (backpacker with lowly paid pub job) carried on their affair. Iris bought a fancy car stereo for Ali's car, at the same time installing large & expensive speakers. In return the charming Ali allowed Iris to ride in the car with him while he drove fast. As the affair progressed Iris' wage allowed Ali to present himself as a flasher & flasher version of a rat than ever before.
Iris became pregnant, possibly her only tangible gift from Ali.
Suddenly Ali became difficult to find. Iris could not get him on the phone, or find him at the shop. In exasperation she left a message with his staff, to the effect that if she didn't hear from him very soon, his precise role in her predicament would be brought to the attention of his sister-in-law (a very Bossy Turkish Lady.)
THIS brought Ali out of hiding quicksmart. He was pathetically desperate that his family not find out that he had been dabbling with a blonde "anglo-saxon" girl.
In an act which demonstrated that his character was as weak as Mine Host had always suspected it to be, Ali told Iris that if she was Turkish he would marry her, however as she was not, he could never have anything to do with her (rather a bit late for that old chum) & she had better get rid of "it" soon as possible. Not understanding how the dynamics of the relationship had altered, he then crassly delivered what he imagined was an ultimatum: he would not be "getting it on" with Iris until she had gone & got rid of "it".
Shocked to the core, Iris left the discussion without a further comment, & never spoke to him again. Arrogantly Ali believed Iris would carry out this latest directive (remove the "problem") with the same degree of compliance with which she obviously had carried out his previous directives ("buy me a car stereo", "spend all your salary on me" etc etc).
Far from being being only a clinic visit from resuming sexual relations with Ali, Iris was quite likely to coldly, calmly & perfunctorily kill him. For some time he avoided the Wayside Tavern, although he was occassionally seen driving past, with his car stereo cranked up to full volume.
Iris declared that she was going to keep the baby, begged Mine Host to be allowed to work right up until the last possible moment, as she "needed money" & hadn't been able to thus far save any. At the exact moment she said this, Ali drove past with his car stereo booming.
Over the following days Iris glared daggers in the direction of Ali's shop, her return to New Zealand to give birth all planned, she was ready for her new direction in life, & unforgiving in her hatred now that she had reviewed her relationship with Ali through suddenly more mature eyes.
Getting into the spirit of impending motherhood, Iris arranged to tag along to ante-natal class with the expectant daughter of one of the barmaids.
Ante-natal classes must paint an accurate & earthy picture of the realities of giving birth. The day after her ante-natal class Iris failed to show up for work, having had to make an urgent appointment with a specialst on the coast. She surfaced later that week down south in Brisbane, having "lost" the baby. She returned to the Wayside Tavern only to collect her things.
Ali continues at the Wayside Tavern, simultaneously drinking & gambling to excess. Still chasing every piece of skirt he can, he occassionally rejects a girl who displays traits (usually pierced ears) which offend the sensibilities of "him & his religion"
Saturday, May 14, 2005
So many written warnings for being late had been issued to this cook that one saved copy of each may have been near enough to clog the office hard drive!
The following morning was another late start (a quarter of an hour, despite the rather unforgettable nature of the previous day's "reminder").
Actually it wasn't a start at all, Mr Slow Coach was sitting outside in a car. Mine Host went out & inquired ever so sweetly if Mr Slow-Coach would be starting work this morning?.. Or was his heart not in the job, in which case he should go home?
"What do you mean?" asked Slow Coach
"I mean get into the kitchen & start cooking, or go home, as you are of little use here."
"Go & get blanked, you can't tell me what to do!"
Without pause Mine Host reached into the car in which Slow Coach was sitting & removed the ignition keys...
"Come to think of it" drawled Mine Host, "I rather think I shall go & get blanked, & another thing sunshine, you get out of my car & walk home, staff priveliges just ended for you 3 seconds ago, you're sacked!"
Having dispensed with a liability, Mine Host went did breakfast the only reliable way, himself.
Later, in the midst of mid-morning scrubbing of the kitchen, a shadow was noticed out of the corner of an eye... with a double take it was seen to be the recently terminated staff, (Mr Slow Coach) moving around the kitchen as if he were still on the payroll.
"Excuse me sunshine, staff only in the kitchen!" exclaimed Mine Host in disbelief.
The ex-staff cum intruder turned, in what he imagined was a slow, deliberate & tough manner. Brandishing an ever so sharp, long & nasty chef's knife, he spoke slowly & ominously:
"Don't try to tell me what to do or else I'll stick this into you!"
Not doubting for an instant the seriousness of this threat, Mine Host pondered his options.
Mine Host has no shortage of experience in dealing with people who refuse to acknowledge that they have been sacked... for this is a characteristic of a certain demographic, however never before has he encountered one who is prepared to enforce with a sharpened blade the annulment of their termination.
Faced with the choice of being tackled for possessio of the knife, with the unfortunate consequences of losing said possession, Mr Slow Coach chose discretion over valour, walked home, vacated his room & booked an airfare south.
Friday, May 13, 2005
In an attempt to deflect any possible criticisms from the diner, the Bistro manager gave undivided personal attention to Mr Tosser's table.
University educated, in a high powered government job as regional director with the health department, mixing with the cream of the up & coming public service, one would expect Mr. Tosser to have some manners & be able to conduct himself in a social setting. (Haha...)
However nothing pleased Mr Tosser, (as usual). The drinks were "too long coming", meals were "off", were "cold", & were "not what we ordered" etc etc.
Each & every complaint was delivered in a most unreasonable, brusque & rude manner.
Before long we had:
Refunded all payments made for drinks
Bought a further round of drinks
Replaced all meals
Refunded all monies paid for meals
Still Mr Tosser demanded that we satisfy him.
The Bistro manager explained:"I am sorry Mr Tosser, we have given you everything free & replaced everything. At this point there is absolutely nothing more we can do for you. We have done all that we can."
Glaring at all of us, Mr Tosser departed with his entourage, but without the emotional victory for which he had been hoping.
Later, on a day off, the Bistro Manager of the Diver's Arms, stopped for a cold one at the Bosun’s Tavern.
"Right you *redacted bad word*, now we are going to smash you for what you did to me the other night!"
The Bistro Manager turns at these words & sees Mr Tosser, accompanied by a half dozen or so brawny types, his cousins.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
One cannot help but notice how thugs, toughs, king hit merchants & the like, all of whom claim that when riled, they can be stopped by "nothing", will when they realise they are within view of a camera, exhibit no such uncontrollable urges.
Most inconveniently for wrong doers, deeds performed in view of a surveillance camera are not subject to the previously known rules.
That is: Events recoreded by the camera are indisputable. Lack of, or presence of, human witnesses is irrelevant. The naked & unprovoked aggression of the culprit can be seen by all, in living colour, months afterward.
None of the usual concocted tales will get you off, ("I was only a bystander, it wasn't me at all, I wasn't there, he hit me first, I only hit him once, it was an accidental bump, etc etc")
Police investigation time is slashed, no time is wasted investigating claims made by witnesses who are in collaboration with the offender.
Mine Host watches benevelontly as the town ruffians behave like choirboys when under cameras.
For it is my face upon which they would be most likely to practice their trade, & I am perfectly happy for their natural urges to go unfulfilled.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Keen to meet the one who may be person who has just burned his truck, Mine Host looks out the back window. A young buck, stripped to the waist, is pacing up & down in a most agitated manner beside the burned pub truck, & is kicking it with lots of vigour.
"Kick away bucko" gloats Mine Host, from a distance.. "that is a 1979 Toyota Landcruiser, a survivor of 10 years worth of carpark prangs in the shopping centre, & there is not a mark on it.. better still, why don't you head-butt it.. heheheheh"
Suddenly there is the sound of smashing glass, & accompanied by one of the house guests, Mine Host breaks into a sprint of pursuit.
Converging with the police, who had just happened to witness a brick go through the truck window, Mine Host & the house guest leap fences, dash accross roads, & run the fugitive to a standstill in a back alley. (Sort of like a proper Darwin police foot pursuit)
Not realising he has the irate owner of the truck on his hands, the fugitive snarls & advises his pursuers to "clear off & leave me alone"
Salivating at the chance to get square with the arsonist, Mine Host advances. Before anything can happen the Sergeant, from 100 metres distant, calls out "Police, get face down NOW!"
Obviously experienced at the rules for arrestees, the fugitive complies!
Suddenly there is a meaty smacking sound, the house guest has decided to take matters into his own hands and is laying the boot into the prone fugitive, sort of like soccer practice, except with the suspect's head!
The kicking/beating continues until the police arrive & handcuff the suspect. Even Mine Host is shocked at the ferocity of the attack, (although not complaining about it, Mine Host has limited sympathy for crooks)
As he is being loaded into the police car, the Sergeant dishes out another small "reminder". Later he apologizes to Mine Host, "I would have given him a 'bit more', but wasn't game to with you watching"
He had to be kidding?
Sunday, March 20, 2005
There is definitely smoke in the air, electrical type smoke, (not cigarettes) nor it is the smell of Mine Hosts coffee burning (a not unknown occurrence). As we wonder where it may be coming from, the pacific atmosphere of the Wayside Tavern is shattered by a customer dashing in the back door...
"The pub's truck is afire!" exclaims the panting midnight visitor, & without pausing he races behind the bar, grabs a fire extinguisher & disappears again out the back door.
Electrified out of his somnabulent state, Mine Host stumbles along behind. Once outside the smell of smoke is very strong, & there is the pub's delivery truck, clearly the victim of arson.
Someone has opened the quarter-vent & tossed in something to start the fire, which has begun on the drivers seat, the inside of the cabin is a mess.
All the plastic bits, including the steering wheel are dripping like melted cheese! The fire extinguisher has given everything the colour of ash/snow. The seats are burned back to their frames.
Fire Brigade & Police arrive too late, but not too late for the police to keep Mine Host tangled up for a good half hour with their paperwork.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Sammy, who possesses some notoriety, is someone Mine Host did not expect to see in public for some years to come.
Having been in steady employment, cellarman at the Angler's Rest, Sammy had been staying off the grog. He had on occassion been quite a help to Mine Host, by walking him home through the teeming crowd of muscular young natives who pour onto the street at closing time, thus keeping Mine Host safe.
Recently a house guest at the Angler's Rest, (ie, one who is booked into a room) had been enjoying the convivial atmosphere in the public bar, when Sammy for inexplicable reasons had struck him from behind, with what is known as a "king hit". The constabulary took Sammy away in their truck-mounted cage, the ambulance took the hapless hotel guest to hospital. (Quite a king hit thinks Mine Host)
Iin the morning concerned citizens are told that the victim's condition is too serious for visitors to be allowed, the hospital is attempting to stabilise him sufficiently for aerial ambulance to fly him out to better hospital facilities in the south.
"Sammy will serve serious time for this" Thinks Mine Host.
Hah!! Should have known the Queensland justice system better than that!
It transpires that at the time of the assault Sammy had been on temporary release awaiting sentencing for a serious assault, for which he had been convicted the previous year.
One would presume that in light of the serious & unprovoked assault upon the hotel guest, that Sammy would be dining on bread & water in the remaining interim between conviction & sentencing.
Passing Sammy in the street, Mine Host pondered both Sammy's greying goatee (an indication that he is old enough to know better) & the fact that committing serious crimes and being a threat to public safety seems so often to be insufficient reason to get one locked up.
Mine Host would once have said that the colour of Sammy's skin would keep him out of gaol, but he has seen plenty of white thugs who also for the fun of it bash people into near mash, & never see the inside of a prison.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Whilst there Mine Host attended a liquor licencing meeting, held by the licencing inspector & the police, attendance is voluntary, however if you hold a liquor licence & are called to such a meeting, be rather a good idea to turn up.
We waited 15 minutes for the manager of the "No-Holds-Barred" Pub & Nightclub, when she failed to appear, liquor licencing phoned to the pub (the sort of phone call it is recommended licencees answer),and the answering machine was what they got. (This is during trading hours). They then called her mobile phone, once again answering machine. The meeting proceeded without her, Mine Host is glad he is not in her shoes, for there won't be much flexibility on compliance issues with her pub.
The meeting was otherwise a dud: The new licencee in the town waffled on considerably, with constant reference to "my solicitor's advice" (remember, he is a Victorian, never even been in retail, nevermind the liquor industry, and is not yet adjusted to the real world) while everybody else listened bemused by the legalese.
Were he to consider "solicitor's advice" before engaging in daily commerce, Mine Host wouldn't get the doors open in the morning.
We thought in the past few weeks he had learned some of the hard lessons of the pub trade, seems there are a few to come.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Goody! He exclaims, we are actually making a small quid from this whole cheap meals programme. Still, lots of work & lots of money handled for not much return, but at least the Wayside Tavern is making a small bit out of it.
However, a dreadful feeling began to creep up on Mine Host, something was not right! Perplexed he investigated and found that almost everyone who was availing themself of the $3 lunch, was drinking water with their meal. Instead of making a dollar, Mine Host was funding staff member who was doing nothing but serve glasses of chilled water, then clearing the empty glasses, & washing them.
Gasping with the shock that comes to all of us when we discover a hole where our wallet had been, Mine Host added up the cost, about $26,000 per year to fund the free water at mealtimes.
"I don't know how much most people in this town are paid, but $26,000 out of my salary is a bit too much." bleated Mine Host in a manner most forlorn. "There be a limit to altruism, & $26,000 a year out of my pocket is a shade too much."
So the Wayside Tavern joined the ranks of those pubs which charge for water. A fine bottled product was made available, & a glass to drink it from.
Naturally there was resistance from all to *ugh* paying for water. Mine Host was steadfast in his resolve. A drink of water supplied has the same costs as soft drink, beer, or orange juice, & he had to charge for it or face the prospect of eviction. For the Wayside Tavern has flint-hearted creditors of its own.
"No, I don't want the bottled stuff, just pour me a glass from the tap" was the cry from all who had been greedily slurping at Mine Hosts water trough. "Certainly" came the reply from Mine Host "However the service charge for pouring water will be the same price as a bottle"
The resulting stream of invective was as water off a duck's back to Mine Host, for what choice did he have? He was perfectly happy to pour a glass of water for someone, however he was paying someone to perform 6 hours of free water service, every day of the year.
Then came the expected scream about "charging for what the council gives free" & "I'll sue you" etc etc... Never mind that the council water rates were of an amount to render Mine Host parsiminous, he explained to the angry hordes that "This is not the american south, is not the 1840's, & this girl is not anyone's negro slave, it is The Wayside Tavern, the 21st century, & if you want her to pour you a glass of water, you shall pay her for it"
In a strongly trade untion town, this very powerful choice of words ended the matter with all seeing Mine Hosts' point of view & firmly agreeing with him.
However the complaints about "paying for water" never stopped, so Mine Host, seeking a stress free life, adjusted the price of meals from $3 to $14 ,watched as the budget driven water guzzlers decamped to the supermarket for $2 noodles, water arrangements reverted to normal & the clientele complimented Mine Host on the wonderful meals at "excellent" prices ($14) whilst ordering a beer or two or three to wash it down. The takings went up, & Mine Host vowed to never again do anything for the public.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
He sharpened his pencil, & calculated that he could sell very decent meals for Three Dollars, thus soothing some of the guilt he is supposed to feel at fleecing the public via the vile medium of eletronic gaming machines.
So the Three Dollar Lunch & Three Dollar Dinner programme was commenced.
All went well, the kitchen staff were fully employed, the kitchen more or less broke even, & the people of the town recieved restaurant quality meals for the price of a scratchlotto ticket.
One of the touching moments of Mine Hosts' life came when a pensioner halted him as he strode purposfully accross the dining area. Slightly irritated at the interruption, (Mine Host is after all a busy man, with important stuff to do) but putting on the practiced face of a hospitality provider, & concealing his irritation, Mine Host stopped to hear whatever annoyance the pensioner was going to put to him....
The pensioner then spoke with a humble dignity & a patent honesty which gave the delivery of his words an exceptional poignancy:
..."I would just like to thank you, for what you have done, making meals like this available to people like me, It is a wonderful thing you have done, & I am very grateful for it. There is no other way I could afford food like this."
Saturday, March 05, 2005
A certain National Party member of state parliment has recently been laying the boot into pubs/nightclubs for selling bottled water at $4 or more per "bottle". This ingenuous member of parliament has called for legislation to force nightclubs to provide free water.
The logic used by the good lady member: "Kids" buy ecstasy, then enter nightclubs/pubs where, being as they are high on ecstasy, they don't require or consume much alcohol. Thus "greedy" publicans sell water at "inflated" prices knowing that ecstasy users are extremely dehydrated & will want to consume large quantities of water.
Wryly Mine Host notes that the lady politician should know better. Kids don't get into nightclubs, and it is well known that once inside ALL drinks (not only water) are relatively expensive.
Mine Host has an issue with the mental competence of those who believe that purchasers of ecstasy are somehow forced to buy their essential water supplies from nowhere but nightclubs.
Why should licenced & regulated operators (ie, nightclubs/pubs) be forced to provide the antidote to an illegal street drug? If the street price of ecstasy leaves the user with insufficient funds to purchase water in a nightclub, there are alternatives: Venture to the nearest service station & buy bottled water (for 1/3 the nightclub price) for an even cheaper dose of water go to the park & drink cost free from the duckpond.
What Mine Host would NOT do were he to have a need of water, especially one brought on by an illegal act, is enter a nightclub, knowing full well the price of everything, THEN complain & whinge in the media about the price. If drug users spend too much on drugs & have not enough money left for going to the pub, perhaps revese the order of their purchases? Buy water & entertainment first, THEN purchase illegal drugs, & take up the issue of price with a corner drug dealer?
Mine Host is shocked, nay incensed, that a National Party sitting member has formed a coalition with drug users & is now complaining publicly about the price of water in nighclubs.
The price & sale of ecstasy, however, remains unregulated, unlicenced, illegal, & to date has not been the subject of complaint by either the good member or her "coalition" partners.
Friday, March 04, 2005
"Irresponsible service of alchol!" cry some, "We'll close pubs early!" bleats Premier Beattie, "More liquor inspectors!", "More Taxis", "More Free Water" chorus others, & so on & so forth...
By Gosh! Exclaims Mine Host, there are hooligans out of control in the deep south (Brisbane) & the blame is being laid at the feet of publicans & nightclubs. Can this be true? Could Mine Host's southern counterparts collectively be responsible for the mayhem of the front pages? Murder for a pair of sandshoes, mindless violence in taxi queues, punch ups in the mall, etc.
Is the answer so simple as to stop pouring grog down the gullet of people who are already incapable of standing unaided?
Can the answer really be so simple? His competitive nature coming to the fore, Mine Host prowls the room, brow furrowed, wondering if he is doing something wrong: "Surely none could be pumping more liquor into their patrons than I, & none could have customers who be greater morons than the flatheads frequenting the Wayside Tavern?"
"If street violence be the inevitable consequence of excess alcohol sales, why are my patrons not creating their own brand of fear among the local population?"
Recalling that after dark the streets surrounding the Wayside Tavern are noted for their tranquility, Mine Host wonders if there may not be other factors influencing the spread of violence in faraway places such as Brisbane.
"If abuse of alcohol is the main contributing factor in savage violence," thunders Mine Host "with the per capita consumption here, my town should be a 'Baghdad-in-the-mulga'"
"For sure, if there is violence to be had, these drop-kicks around here will be up for it. However, despite me rendering them legless with record quantities of Rum, a fluid noted for it's aggression enhancing properties, in this town there is nary even an instance of fisticuffs between consenting adults"
Mine Host believes that the alcohol supplied to him by various breweries, distilleries, wineries etc, is every bit as potent as that which is supplied to nightclubs in central Brisbane. Furthermore, he is of the belief that hooligans break the law in Brisbane not because they are more drunk than the patrons of the Wayside Tavern, but because they CAN.
The thugs who lurk menacingly near the Wayside Tavern commit what little pieces of mischief as they do, in the full knowledge that they face certain arrest, either on the spot, or if they leg it, before they reach home. As belligerent as they may be when facing the citizenry, these "toughs" are sooks when confronted by police. Fear of consequences (ie: being taken to the cells via the "long scenic route") means none give significant grief to the police.
Mine Host is of the belief that the thuggocracy of Brisbane would voluntarily cease operations if they also faced a 100% chance of being arrested & held accountable for their crimes.
Furthermore if cowardly attacks upon the weak & vulnerable were to have physical consequences for the thuggocracy (ie, being descended upon by several police, wielding batons & ready to use them), street violence would be on it's way to being no more than a memory.