Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Are you hereafter what I am hereafter?

Kitchen (& kitchen staff) stories are among the fertile ground of personal experience from which Mine Host harvests blog stories.

Davo was big and strong. Standing around 6'3", he was lean, carried no fat, blonde and well built. His arms were strong and had range, sort of like horizontal telegraph poles.

He had for some time worked "door" just up the street at the Slaughterhouse Room in the No-Holds-Barred Tavern. Now he was a kitchenhand at the Divers Arms.

He was local, white, could fight, and also what is these days known as "gay".

Everybody knew, nobody cared, Davo bothered nobody who hadn't asked for it, at one time or another had flattened some of the toughest fellows around town, and being more butch than most men was at no risk of being considered effeminate.

"Dukey" was an energetic and enthusiastic chef and, as events transpired, the only person in the kitchen who was unaware of Davo's orientation.

The mists of time have obscured whose idea it was. Mine Host believes it to have been Dukey's suggestion; that Dukey & Davo, on a night off, borrow a dinghy, load it with grog, head to a deserted beach, run 'er up onto the sand, light a fire, and then far from the strife & trouble of the workplace spend the night yarning until they fell asleep.

All went well. They caught fish on the way. Upon arrival they lit a corker of fire, then in a leisurely manner proceeded to enjoy their surrounds.

The night became black, hours wore on, and still nothing besides drinking, yarning, eating fish and stoking the fire.

Davo, tiring of what seemed a much too extended preliminary session, decided to get things a moving along a little. He reached over to Dukey & put a hand on his thigh.

Not until this moment had Dukey the faintest idea that Davo was gay. Dukey's reaction (which we can only imagine) was the first glimmer for Davo that Dukey was unaware of Davo's.. uh.. orientation.

Thus horrifyingly and simultaneously the penny dropped for each of them.

The ride home in the dinghy (they arrived back before midnight) undoubtedly was a most awkward experience for each. (Though a subject of considerable mirth for their co-workers)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

We asked the kids

Those who have actually experienced the unique subculture of the outback cattle station will know of the "manager's kids".

These rascals are not only untouchable, but can (& do) get up to all sorts of mischief, often whilst role-playing a wild-west themed activity. These activities can become extreme.

For example: Station dogs, pet sheep, poddy calves, chooks etc have been known to be hanged as "outlaws" - that is REALLY hanged, until dead, from a slaughtering gallows or a cap rail in the stockyards.

Mine Host himself has a small hairless patch on his scalp, the result of (as an 8 year old) using rapid fire from a cap pistol to add some realism to the galloping pursuit of "indians" through light timber. The old stockhorse didn't take to well to the new trick.

However the "managers kids" are often a source of information, and their innocence when pumped by the station or stock camp staff can be quite revealing......


The sudden removal of the governess from "Hardwork Plains" had us all wondering. Though she was a "hottie" she had, over time, grown aloof toward her fellow workers.

In the twilight one afternoon, playtime brought the kids (armed to the teeth with capguns & carrying an assortment of "lassoos") around the lawns of the ringer's quarters.

Taking this opportunity for some inside gossip from the "big house", we asked why the governess had left.

"The governess and Daddy were fighting a lot, and Mummy wasn't happy about it"

This was a shock to us, as privately we had all suspected that the manager was rather "close" with the governess.

"Are you kids sure they were fighting?"
"Oh yes, we saw them, through the steel louvres of her quarters, it was horrible."
"Er... we thought Daddy had been friends with Miss Hourglasshape"
"Oh no, it was proper fighting, like grownups do, they took off all their clothes and lay down on the floor, we were scared by it and we went and got mummy."