Saturday, March 25, 2006


Careful observation of patrons playing any of the jukeboxes at the Wayside Tavern will uncover the basic thriftiness of people.

They insert coins one at a time, purchasing credits for songs, and when those tunes are played out, will insert a further coin.

Very occassionally someone will insert two coins at once, three coins at once is so rare as to not be worth a mention.

However at closing time, when the jukebox is switched off, invariably there is some Donkey who claims to have "just put thirty bucks in", and wants his money back.

Mine Host has long grown weary of the folorn bleating which results from a refusal to refund. The jukebox area is dominated by signs warning of the time the jukebox will be switched off, and clearly state that no refunds are given, so be careful feeding in coins near to closing time.

However people still seriously expect us to believe that in the full knowledge that closing time is in three minutes time, they went ahead and fed $30 into the jukebox.... HA HA HA HA....

.... Recently a local businessman, Peter Poonce, came out from the pub to accost Mine Host in the street, and followed me into the administration area, all the while stating in a very aggrieved manner that he had fed $16 into the jukebox and "no songs had played".

Tired of idiots, and particularly tired of Peter Poonce, (whose character is best described by the part of anatomy to be found between his buttocks) Mine Host pointed out that the jukebox was on the blink, and was Peter Poonce "really sure" he had fed $16 into it, as the jukebox was SWITCHED OFF....?

"It was switched on when I came in, I fed in money, never got any songs, & kept feeding it in, nuthin' played".

Peter Poonce makes a pretence of being of good character, largely due to having a father and uncles who are respected in business, and by virtue of being of an "old" family of the district.

Wearily Mine Host makes his way to the bar, where the only patrons are Peter Poonce's group. They all agree that $16 was inserted into the jukebox by Peter, and Peter goes ON and ON in a manner which leaves no doubt as to his feelings of being ripped off.

"Okay, I can refund that, I will have to get it out of the money receptacle inside the jukebox"

"You * blank * well make sure you do, yeah, good idea... I been waitin' more than an hour for me money already"

Turning to the jukebox, Mine Host conceals a wickedly mirthful grin, for when the jukebox had malfunctioned that morning, he had emptied the moneybox, and harboured serious doubts that anybody would have fed money into a switched off jukebox.

The jukebox was opened to an accompanying triumphant grin of evil mirth from Peter Poonce, which turned to red-faced humiliation when I upended the money tin on the table amongst his cronies, and ONE DOLLAR rolled out.

Their heads all swivelled to follow the roll of the single coin as it toppled onto it's side & wobbled to a standstill......

.......Then the fellows who had played no part in the saga looked up at Peter Poonce and began laughing very loudly and purposefully, and they kept laughing.

Gosh that was a sweet moment for Mine Host.

This is the same as being caught cheating at cards. And the story is too funny not to make it all over town.

Peter Poonce will never live it down, one of the consequences of being well established in a small community.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"Stick 'em Up"

Making a routine survey of the main street just before midnight one Tuesday night, Mine Host was witness to a very rare scene. (Very rare in this sleepy part of the world)

A policeman was walking along the edge of the street. Mine Host recognised him as one half of the duo rostered to work the overnight shift this week.

The second policeman was walking in a line abreast with the first, but the other side of the carriageway.

When 2 policemen walk several metres apart, it is almost always serious.

"They are after that bloke in the singlet" spoke a bystander, the manager of the next pub (actually he was behind me, and the only other person present). Indeed, a careful squint revealed a figure standing under the awning of the shops on the next block, clad in singlet and jeans .

The policemen, from a distance of about 50 metres, told the mysterious singlet wearer to place his hands on his head, to move off the footpath & out into the middle of the street, then turn around so his back was to them, and lift his shirt.

As the "wanted man" did this, the two police officers moved into his 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions.

However the most dramatic twist was that both police had their pistols out and pointed at the "person of interest".

While one moved in and at arm's lenth patted down the stationary figure ( who was standing in a star-shaped position), the other remained back twenty metres with his pistol fixed unwaveringly on the singlet clad target.

Pat-down complete, the pistol remained fixed on the baddie, whilst the other policeman backed the paddy wagon up to a point some twenty metres distant from where the prisoner stood. The door of the padd wagon was then unlocked & left open.

Both police moved back to a 3 o'clock & 6 o'clock position, all the while drawn guns pointed at the wanted man.

The prisoner was then instructed to approach the paddy wagon under his own steam and to put himself into the cage. He was then instructed to move to the furthers point from the cage door.

One officer then approached the paddy wagon & locked it.

Only then did the other officer holster his pistol.

Many people have been arrested near the Wayside Tavern, but never before has the prisoner had to stand waiting in the middle of an empty street while a paddy wagon is backed up to him.

I & the other publican were the only people to witness the event. Neither of us know any more than what we saw that night.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I'm having the night off!

Irene lasted eight days at the Wayside Tavern.

On the 9th day she worked the lunchtime shift, (2 hours) and just before she was due to start the evening meal shift, telephoned to say that she had met someone, & would be having the night off to go out to dinner & drinks, however she would be "back to work" the following day.

The next day Irene showed up ahead of time.

However, it is impossible to be ahead of time when one no longer has a job.

Mine Host advised Irene to immediately vacate her room in the staff quarters.

A firm policy at the Wayside Tavern:
You don't turn up for work = You won't be turning up for staff perks either.

Irene had already been occupying her staff quarters for 24 hours longer than she had been staff.
Irene burst into a tirade about how "hard she has worked for this pub" and how Mine Host had "no right" to sack her, etc etc.

Not turning up for work is the opposite of hard work.
Other staff (ones who actually do work hard) having to do even more on a Saturday night to cover for you, is the opposite of you being hard working.

Later that night Irene's act of petty rebellion was to deliberately breach almost every rule of the boarding house.

The following morning was to be the enforced eviction. However during the night Irene had decided against confrontation, had cleaned out her room, and "gone".

Her pay owing was just enough to cover her room at commercial hotel rates for two days. Due to the clean room she recieved all of her bond back.

Since then Irene has held jobs at several other places in town. The eight days at the Wayside Tavern is the longest she has held down a job.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fair Trading

In response to a bar job ad, Irene arrived on the bus, with a huge suitcase, a big smile, blemish free complexion like polished yellow china, lovely hourglass figure, long blonde hair, however all of this is ruined by the blank eyes and coarse gravelly voice.

She is 19, has a 3 year old child who is in the custody of the father. (Clearly she was doing more than her homework when at school).

She works quite hard, has obviously worked for someone with exacting standards. However she exhibits no maturity, and Mine Host refrains from putting her on late night shifts.

Each evening when she finishes work, Irene goes around the end of the bar, and the first man who will buy a drink for her is "allowed" to buy drinks for her for the rest of the night.

No matter how scruffy, how dirty, how old, she will stick with this fellow, (provided he buys her whatever she chooses to drink). Quite a sight sometimes, unwashed mid-40's bloke with lovely blue-eyed blonde dutch girl.

Thus far the scenario is a familiar one for Mine Host: Hot young thing bats eyelids at unattractive older man, gets several hours of free drinks, then ditches him.

However Irene had standards. At closing time she never failed to go home (or somewhere) with whoever it was, to "pay for the drinks".

Mine Host cannot recall ever seeing such meticulous scruples from a young chick who sponges drinks from older men.