Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Full Service Eviction!

Don't want to leave? Don't worry, we at the Diver's Arms can organise it for you.

Just let us handle everything, even if you don't want us to, we'll still handle everything, hehe!

Or.... you could leave when requested.

Bonus points for guessing which of the 4 pictured above is Mine Host.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Really Truly, Never Assume.... Ever!!

In an eerily similar, but preceding, event to that which was mentioned a few posts ago, Mine Host was confronted in the office by a bitter and angry manager.

The manager had resigned and was on the last day of working out his notice.

"When were you going to tell me?" delivered in what was meant to be a cunning manner, was the baffling remark made to Mine Host.

It transpired that the Manager had seen "his job" advertised.

Mine Host stated that this was not so, as the position had not been advertised.

In the manner of one who knows, the manager continued as if Mine Host had not spoken. "I know it was my job, because it is the same ad I answered to get this job"

Mine Host pointed out that this could not be so, as when the manager was hired the position had not been advertised.

The recruiting agent contacted by Mine Host had just filled a similar position, had several candidates left over, and had been able to organise interviews immediately.

This information seemed to have little impact on the manger, who shook his head and repeated "You weren't going to tell me, were you?"

Friday, November 02, 2007

Employed for their Physique?

Building Site workers congregated outside the construction office. Wages were overdue and unpaid.

The corporation was insolvent, unable to pay. Little wonder the workers were angry.

The chairman had used hundreds of thousands of dollars of corporation funds for personal purchases, also given away hundreds of thousands more to any friend, relative or neighbor who came to see him saying they "needed money". Millions more had been spent without being accounted for, believed to be for extensive travel & accommodation.

The corporation had performed constuction work to the value of tens of millions of dollars with no written contracts for the jobs, and without any record being kept of the address at which jobs were done, or who the clients were.
Unsurprising given his actions, the chairman was under investigation by the Federal Police.

Thus with all cash reserves spent, and no way to recover money from the unknown clients, all work had halted, and the workers were unpaid.

A commonwealth government body had offered immediate funds to pay the arrears owed to the workers, and ongoing funds to allow the corporation to continue operations . However there was one condition;

The funds would only be forthcoming if the chairman was removed from the board.

The voting constituents of the goverment funded corporation were the building workers themselves, their families, relatives and neighbors.

An extra-ordinary election was quickly held.

The chairman was resoundingly voted back into office.

Back from Geneva/Paris/New York (presumably due to the corporation having run out of money to pay for his travel) the Chairman came ambling like an elephant out the front door of the contruction office after the vote. His vast bulk was shouldered (not easily) by the crowd of unpaid workers. Cheering loudly they carried him around until their legs threatened to collapse.

The federal government withdrew the offer of funding.

Mine Host witnessed this in his street, it took place only 2 doors away.

Human nature is often difficult to undertand.

They then returned to protesting in an ugly mood outside the construction office. Their chant alternated between:
a) demanding their unpaid wages (even though the corporation had no money),
b) condeming the federal government (for not paying "what they owe us"), and
c) rousing support for the chairman.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Payment Must be Made.

Back in the days before he learned a trick or two Mine Host would extend credit to longstanding local businessmen of good repute.

In a burst of youthful exuberance, credit was even extended to the hardworking operators of a small gymnasium and bowling centre. A couple, she a real estate salesman, he a motor mechanic, they worked evenings and the odd weekend shepherding school sports teams and drumming up informal local competitions.

A liquor licence was obtained, to lubricate the evening adult events. They purchased all their (meagre) liquor supplies from the Wayside Tavern. After some time Mine Host rewarded these loyal customers with a monthly account as an alternative to paying cash all the time.

The account, usually a few hundred dollars, was well maintained for a year or two... then payments slowed.

Concerned, but painfully aware of the rapidity with offence if taken at the mention of an unpaid account, Mine Host watched the account stretch out to three months overdue, and climb to fifteen hundred dollars.

Enough was enough, three months outstanding was testing Mine Host's youthful good nature, and the bowling & sports centre was no longer trading.

Mine Host fronted the mechanic, tactfully enquiring as to when the account would be settled?

Promises were received, guarantees, pledges, in fact everything but money was forthcoming.

Mine Host began to believe that the bill would never be paid.

The mechanic quit his job, drifted into casual labouring, eventually, with mounting household debts, he was declared bankrupt.

Though he was in work around town, he wasn't seen for some time after this. Eventually came the day when the mechanic breasted the bar of the Wayside Tavern. Mine Host hinted obliquely at the still unpaid fifteen hundred dollars.

The mechanic exploded in an indignant rage, loudly protested that he had "been through" bankruptcy, and all his debts were "cancelled by the court". This tirade was finished off with a poorly aimed swing at Mine Host, on the basis that nobody was going to get away with saying he was the sort of man who "owed money".

Mine Host stated flatly that until the bill was settled, the mechanic wouldn't be getting anything more from the Wayside Tavern. Waffle by a court notwithstanding, Legal Tender is what it takes to settle the bill.

Hotly & aggressively the mechanic reiterated that he was a discharged bankrupt and the bankruptcy process had "cancelled" all debts.
This is hardly grounds for getting all physical over suggestions that one's credit history is far from triple-A.

The mechanic remains insulted and deeply offended that Mine Host has reported a "lie" to surrounding pubs that the mechanic has booked up grog and failed to pay for it;
the bill remains unpaid;
the mechanic remains in an enforced state of exile from the pub, a state now entering its umpteenth year.

For the mechanic is, to this day, refused service at the Wayside Tavern. Still around town, presumably he is now teetotal, or subscribed to a wine club, or receiving year round deliveries of Christmas Club Beer Hampers, or perhaps he is home brewing.

But unless he ponies up the fifteen hundred, it will continue to be just him at home on his Pat Malone.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Never Assume.... Ever!

The resignation of key staff is rarely welcomed by Mine Host.
Particularly so when the resignation is a snap one.
In what seemed a fit of temper, delivered verbally, out on the floor, at midnight on a busy night, came such a resignation.

A management walkout. Just like that!
Calmer debriefing a few days later revealed that the resignee had spotted their job advertised on an employment forum, and done their block.

"What else am I supposed to do, when I see my job advertised?"

The resignee then glinted evilly at Mine Host "What would you expect anyone would do, when they get shafted like that?"

Mine Host remained silent, shrugged at the resignee and watched them, having just thrown away a key role, walk out the door into the world with a gaping hole in their resume.

Bitterly the resignee did not even look back, their heart full of contempt and despising Mine Host as a "backdoor operator".

* * *

It is always unwise to assume.

Mine Host had indeed advertised the position, though none but him and the recruiting agent knew this.

Mine Host had opted to promote the person who had (now) resigned. The new position would have been on double their current salary + bonuses, which when added up meant the new package was at triple the current salary.
Instead Mine Host now had the added burden of TWO key positions to fill.

Confide in the resignee? Show them their error, agree jocularly that they had jumped the gun, and allow the resignation to be rescinded?

Not on your nelly! Mine Host's business is his own. He certainly is not going to take into his confidence someone who makes an impluse resignation of a career position on the strength of spotting a generic classified ad.

Mine Host wonders how many people already in key roles are considered for a promotion at triple their current salary.

Mine Host wonders also how many of his fellow men have unknowingly walked away from what would have transpired to be similar circumstances?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Unexpected Spine from a jellyfish nation.

The blood of Vikings runs in at least one Swede!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

From Pouring Beer to Making Number Plates

Mine Host had just thrown out a female who on the occassion of her previous visit had hit one of the staff and threatened another. This is grounds for an automatic life ban. Hence she was refused entry.

No sooner had she gone and the screeching protests faded from the ear, than one of the male staff approached Mine Host.

"That's the second time you've thrown out one of my friends, I'm giving you two weeks notice!"

Mine Host's response was routine: "Offer accepted Sunshine, however no need to wait two weeks, I want you off the premises two seconds from now."

The [now] ex-staff stammered "B..b...b...b...but..."

At this point it dawned on Mine Host that the fellow had been bluffing!

The bluff had been a very risky one, as a subsequent discovery by Mine Host was that as a consequence of his resignation, the dear departed resignee was off to jail.

Unbeknowns to Mine Host, he had been sentenced to a term prior to starting at the Wayside Tavern, being kept out only by virtue of "having found gainful employment".

His freedom had been contingent upon him remaining in said employment.........

....Oh me oh my.......

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Hay Bale, an Eternal Chore

Mine Host, when even lower on society's totem pole than he is today, used to marvel at how publicans could actually moan about the "chore" of counting "washing baskets full" of money on a daily basis.

In a textbook example of the grass eternally growing greener accross the fence, Mine Host has learned what they meant.
Counting cash is simpler and more mind numbing than washing dishes. Though for obvious reasons counting cash cannot be done in the open by unmotivated uncaring staff who possess an actual "anti-work" ethic.

The sheer daily requirement of time that is spent handling a substance in quantities sufficient to (on a personal basis) solve all of one's short term problems and change one's life, has the ability to play havoc with the mind.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The business next door has no big trees, & thus no outdoor shade.

A worker from their office next door took to parking under a big shady tree on Mine Host's back lawn. While not really caring, Mine Host was shocked at the audacity of someone, without asking, just parking day after day on their neighbor's lawn.

Not wishing to fall out with the neighbors over such a minor matter, Mine Host began to occupy himself with cooking up a strategy to remove her without confrontation.

Wickedly, Mine Host got up early & turned on a powerful sprinkler, thus drenching that part of the lawn with simulated heavy rain.

........ She wound her windows up & parked under the umbrella of the sprinkler anyway. (Office workers generally leave their car during the day with the windows wound down)

Having failed to anticipate such a tenacious foe, Mine Host became serious in his plotting.

At 2am he started a heavy duty sprinkler on the well watered uphill (well, slightly uphill) slope, turning the hollow where she parked into a puddle.

The area turned to mud, however she parked there anyway, her tyres carving a 3-inch deep trench into Mine Host's lawn.

However she was unable to exit her car, as doing so would have necessitated putting her feet into the mud & slop.

So she reversed out again, carving another pair of trenches into Mine Host's lawn.

Coincidentally the problem was solved the following day, when she resigned, as she was finding it too strenuous to be working "every day".

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Zealand, For Valour.

One week ago today in Wellington, capital city of New Zealand:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Flatfooted, & fast with the flatfoots.

"You may as well just hightail it on shanks' pony mate" This was sound advice from the carpark staff at the Wayside Tavern.

The car had arrived at speed bouncing accross the kerb and scattering the crowd as if they were chooks, before drifting to a halt in a parking bay. The driver, upon alighting revealed himself to be belligerent and in an advanced state of intoxication (or worse).

In coarse language he informed Wayside Tavern staff that he would not be leaving, then exuding an air of violence proceeded to the beer garden & sat down, completely ignoring directives from the staff to leave.

When the police arrived his belligerent manner did not alter. Asked to provide a specimen of breath he refused in no uncertain manner.

This is about the point the bracelets were put on, only 40 seconds had elapsed between the police tapping him on the shoulder and handcuffing him.

Forty seconds is close to the fastest time Mine Host has seen anyone talk themselves into gaol.

Friday, July 20, 2007

An eye popping experience

At the far reaches of the lounge bar in the Wayside Tavern the manager was cornered, by three angry men, total strangers all and oozing menace.

Their intention was to "get" him as retaliation for the eviction a few minutes earlier of the 4th member of their party.

With superior numbers, apparent superior physical condition, psychological preparation, and with youth on their side, the ambush was sprung. They announced their intention in coarse language, positioned themselves with one on each side (the wall being the 4th side) and made their move.

The manager was no slouch, as would be indicated by the fact after a 20 year career in the cabaret (nightclub) industry he still wore a fully tied (not a clip-on) necktie to work every shift.

Effortlessly, but with no holding back, he got stuck into the trio, twisting thumbs brutally, using catapault force to kick crotches, poking eyes, using elbows to drive the wind from lungs & so on.

The entire incident took only a few seconds, the tie remained immaculate and he wasn't breathing heavily.

Seeing the (brief) melee Mine Host & two other staff whizzed accross the room, just as the manager completed establishing his supremacy.

However something seemed odd. While two were prone on the floor, conscious but unable to move, the third of the assailants was upright but hunched over in extreme agitation.

In a mind numbing flash, we all saw at once that an eye was popped out, hanging loose on his cheek like a marble on a string.

Time stood still.

Then, proving (as always) that if you have enough people around, you will have one of everything, a nearby customer strode over, got Mr Eyeball to stand up straight, positioned the eye high on the cheek, and with the heel of his hand calmly bumped it back into place (as if it were a trackball going back into a computer mouse).

The three assailants gingerly got to their feet and equally as gingerly stumbled away.

Nobody moved or said anything for a while. Then the manager, unruffled as always, noted that the training he had received many years before, on how to defend himself when unarmed, had taught him to poke into eye sockets, but there had been no mention of what to do if the eye popped out, and it was "quite handy" that the unknown patron happened to be on the spot to save the day.

Then we all returned to our work as if nothing had happened.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ambidextrous:Equally dopey with either hand

Observing the kitchenhand, male early 20's, was a most excruciating experience for Mine Host.

The lad, though married with a child, and thus presumably somewhat more motivated toward some energy at work, still moved too slow to justify his hourly rate. Potatos were taking one minute each to be peeled.

Grabbing a potato peeler, Mine Host barked "Watch this!" and whit whit whit peeled a spud fast enough for each peeling to be still airborne as the next was coming off.

"That's how you must do it" stated Mine Host, putting the peeler down.

"I can't do that" came from the kitchenhand. Mine Host paused on his way out of the kitchen...

"You did that right handed, I'm left handed, so I can't do it that fast"

Silently Mine Host grabbed the peeler, and with his left hand peeled another potato, every bit as fast as he had the previous one.

Mental images rotated through Mine Hosts' head of how the kitchenhand would have fared with any of Mine Hosts' old bosses, all of whom would (and sometimes did) flatten a junior staff for flippancy less than that.

The kitchenhand could feel that the air was too tense for a second dose of flippancy, however as Mine Host departed the kitchen after the second (and indisputable) demonstration he distincly heard the word "Nazi" muttered under the kitchenhand's breath.

There was a pause as Mine Host considered returning and pushing the issue. Then he considered that the prick was too stupid to bother clouting, and in the short time until he could find a replacement at least the potatos would be peeled at a more acceptable speed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Unrefusable Offer

A fairly standard eviction. Four male staff and Mine Host walk toward the door, preceded by the evictee, much in the fashion of beaters driving game into the open.

In the foyer the evictee stops, turns toward the lineup of men facing him, and speaks:

"Why don't you get a couple more fellers, make it a bit more even when I clean youse all up?"

All to script so far. The evictee goes on in the same vein, preening his macho credentials to himself to compensate for being called on his behaviour then walked out of the premises.

Then Smithy, a driveway attendant and new on the staff, speaks, very quietly:

"How about if all these fellers go back inside, then I'll hit you two times."

Suddenly there is real menace in the air, a marked contrast to the evictee's recently displayed fake machismo. Smithy is about 30 and has "the look" which comes from long term successful involvement in street violence.

"One of those hits will break your jaw in half. Can't say if it'll be the first or second hit, but I guarantee I'll snap your jaw."

Brief pause as the evictee summed up this offer, then wordlessly he turned and briskly walked off, not slowing, not looking back.

Real menace, when challenged, carries an unspoken promise of grievous injury.

Real menace cannot be faked.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Throwing out the Rubbish

An acquaintance of Mine Host recently returned from several months sojurn in a warm sunny overseas destination.

A memento (pictured below) was presented to him by his employer.

His girlfriend promptly and deliberately disposed of the memento into a garbage skip, from whence it was transported along with tonnes of other stuff to a landfill.

She isn't his girlfriend anymore, nor does she deserve to be any else's.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

62 tyres?

As a lad Mine Host was taught that "real" road trains had 62 tyres on the ground.

Some time back, a basic instinct for numbers told him (without counting) that road trains stopping out the front of the Wayside Cantina were sporting more than 62 tyres. (country boys will all have known this)

Confess now, who else knew there was more than 62 tyres on this road train without counting?

As an aside: The truckies of a certain country beat their chests over a comparitively schoolgirlie "18 wheels" (less than a quarter of a REAL truck). AND they drive on sealed roads. On top of that, they carry cattle in alumunium crates, which shows just HOW easy they have it over there. There is a very good reason one doesn't see aluminium cattle trucks in Oz.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

weak mind = no resistance to the bug

At midnight on the 31st of December 1999 all computers were going to shut off, flights would crash, dams would open sluice gates, electricity grids would close down, TV stations would be off the air, & so on and so forth.......

Mine Host got no further with the "millenium bug" than reading newspaper predictions of impending doomsday.

However, in an event that qualifies for "better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth & prove it" a multi-national corporation wrote to Mine Host on the matter of the "millenium bug".

This firm, whose name may or may not have been spelled backwards as "larob" wrote a letter which was more amusing than anything a newspaper saw fit to print!

To this day the letter is filed carefully in Mine Host's office.

Apparently "larob" at some point had put some blokes up at the Wayside Tavern for a few nights, as the letter was addressed to "all suppliers".

The letter demanded the Wayside Tavern "provide details" backed up by "proof" of the steps taken to combat the "millenium bug".

There was a threat in the letter: Larob henceforth would only be dealing with suppliers whose systems were Y2K compliant.

The letter (though carefully preserved) has since languished without reply.

Mine Host has little time for those whose grounding in reality is so deficient that they come out with stuff like this.

Corporations conduct their affairs with an air of gravitas and suits are not as prone as the bogan to rash & stupid statements? It would seem not.

One of these days "lorab" will be back to book some blokes in (choices are limited here).
That will be fun. They've put it in writing that they won't deal with me, ever. Some suit is going to have to eat quite a helping of crow, and eat it in writing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Mine Host has always been tickled by the sight of a Perodua "putt-putting" along in traffic.

Remniscent of a Breadbox with Lawnmower wheels!

They look so FUNNY!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pay up or Else !!!!

One of the more unique events of recent times occurred in the Wayside Tavern car park during broad daylight.

Agents repossed a car.

The saga of the person who thought they could keep the car but not make repayments had reached its unfortunate and inevitable conclusion.

We all watched with an unavoidable vicarious thrill as the agents surrounded, identified, then winched the car onto a tilt-truck.

All in all a very exciting change from the ordinary.

Like all others present, Mine Host presumed that his involvement went no further than furtively observing the events of the repossession through the office window.

A few weeks pass, then comes a letter for Mine Host. Clearly addressed to him, from the finance company which had repossessed the car.

The letter named Mine Host as the defaulter, detailed the amount "still owing", and made a demand for immediate payment of the "amount outstanding".

Mine Host has never had any involvement with this finance company, not as a client, employee, informant, contractor, or supplier.

This finance company bears the name of, and is owned by the instantly recognisable worldwide firm which manufactured the car.

The application & investigation process by a finance company, when granting a personal loan, is not a process in which the identity of the borrower is prone to be overlooked or mistaken.

Thus Mine Host, quite reasonably, is gape-jawed that this firm seems to have forgotten to whom they loaned the money, and from whom they subsequently had to repossess the car.

He is equally mystified as to why this firm then ups & decides to name HIM as the defaulter.

A phone call to the debt recovery hotline listed on the letter brings unanticipated results.

Instead of abject apology, the signatory to the letter (a bone-headed debt collector remember) launches into a fusillade of questions about the actual debtor. Does Mine Host know this person? Does he have any connection to this person? Will you be paying the bill? WHEN will you be paying the oustanding amount? And sir, how could your name have "just got" onto our database? etc etc etc.

Mine Host briefly outlined his belief that the identity, whereabouts & anything else about the debtor was not his concern.

His only concern was the the finance company rectify their error, immediately, in writing.

Due to the intractable nature of the debt collector, the matter will now be handled between Mine Host's preferred law firm and the debt collector's very very high up (& presumably embarrassed) superiors.

The debt recoverer was offered control over the ultimate outcome. He gave away this control.

Some people have a tin ear when it comes to career matters.

Friday, May 04, 2007

They are still down there!

Many years ago, Mine Host's father shot a crocodile in notable circumstances in the bed of a channel in the region of the East Alligator River. Mine Host now possesses two items which show signs of the encounter, the skin of the crocodile, and the rifle.

Mine Host pondered upon this, looking down on the now flooded East Alligator plains. To the east in Arnhem Land there are Buffalo galore, in surprising numbers, however there is little sign of them on the East Alligator plains.

Crocodiles however, are still there in numbers aplenty.

Surreal moment of the journey: At one territory hostelry, Mine Host was served both Camel and Buffalo as "native" dishes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Going Right? Turn Left! (of course)

Riding in a taxi in Melbourne, Mine Host was puzzled and surprised when instead of taking a right-hand turn, the cabby pulled over to the left, more or less still in the middle of the intersection.

"er... wasn't this supposed to be a RIGHT turn?" queried Mine Host.

The cabby gave a strange look as if to say "That's right, and just WHAT does it look like I am doing?"

Surreptitiously eyeing off the door handle, Mine Host wondered if he wasn't being set up for a mugging, or kidnapping, or heaven knows what.

Just then the lights changed, and the cabby simultaneously floored it & turned hard to the right.

As we shot up the intended street, the cabby (in response to Mine Host's weird look) said:

"You not come-a from Mela-born, rite? That-sa how to make the rite turn some place inna Mela-born"

For the rest of the journey Mine Host contemplated the outcome if an out-of-towner were to be spotted by the police making a normal right hand turn at that intersection.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Queensland Election Outcome (a bit late I know)

The good news from the reelection of the Beattie government?

We get Judy Spence back as police minister!

The bad news from the reelection of the Beattie government?

We get Margaret Keech back as liquor licencing minister.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Queensland" and "Brisbane" are NOT synonyms

(Perhaps even Antonyms!)

A seemingly universal ignorance of their own country, (geography in particular) is a common trait of Australians.

This is particularly so of that majority of the population located in the south-east between Brisbane and Adelaide.

The bulk of the nation's area is elsewhere.

The following incident could be repeated many times by almost anybody who is located outside a metropolitan area:-

In response to Mine Host's requests for some advice on a technical matter, something which had to be back in operation by that night, but the supplier & his servicemen were all located in Brisbane, thousands of kilometres away, the voice on the phone said:-

"No need to trouble yourself with attempting a repair sir, our servicemen are for that sir, we'll have you back in operation by sundown, stand by & one of our service vans will arrive to fix your problem, we have 2 vans on a short job in Kedron (northside suburb of Brisbane) right now sir, they will be despatched to your job next sir"

"Which suburb are you in sir?"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Just When I think I have Seen it All (part 5)

The quickest way to get yourself thrown out of Wayside Tavern is to relieve your bladder into a pot plant, ashtray, secluded corner of the room, or even just against the wall.

People who relieve themselves in this manner are usually somewhat clandestine about it.

Last night however, was something never before seen by Mine Host.

The entrace to the Wayside Tavern has outside a 10m x 15m slab of concrete, bathed in spotlights, and covered by several surveillance cameras.

People often congregate here to drink & smoke. Some will sneak away to relieve themselves somewhat discreetly.

However never has anyone been known to remove all their clothing and have a leak in the open.

A young man did just this (stripped), relieved himself, dressed again and carried on drinking as if this was normal and acceptable, right in the middle of this open entrance area.

Incredibly both he and his comrades were perplexed at being immediately evicted.

They could not see what he had done to deserve it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Located near playground!

In comments at Lita's place Miss J has accused Mine Host of being a "wet blanket" for saying something totally minor like the staff at Traders Hotel are aloof (to the point of cold-shouldered haughtiness).

It is very naughty of Miss J to say this, as Mine Host did (try to) talk up the physical luxury of the place.

Theme lighting beneath a translucent basin unit. Soap from a previous hotel visible in washbag, prior to Traders soaps being loaded for later use at home.

Nabbing guest soap from overnight stays means the home stock stands at roughly 5 years supply.

The bathroom is luxurious, with sufficient vacant floor space to set up a fairly good slot car track.

The room is spacious, with a cute oval shaped desk in the middle. The bed is wonderfully soft, however the careful observer will notice that (staff frostiness aside) the place is relegated to mere "clip-joint" status by the lack of a picture on the wall.

This means there is absolutely no hope of an RACQ 5-star rating.

A tantalising glimpse of this playground is visible from the window of the room. A dearth of playgrounds when he was a child causes Mine Host to these days reflect wistfully at sights such as this.
.. And here is the main view:

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Rugged Individuality of the Stockman!

Mine Host was raised, lived and worked as a ringer until the age of 27 before he noticed (to his everlasting delight) that occassionally he unwittingly wore an informal uniform.

These two fellows (pictured) would react with mildly irate disbelief were they to be informed that every day for a week they had worn exactly matching outfits.

The can't-tear-em shirt being sold in only 4 colours:....
Dark Green
Navy Blue
...sometimes resulted in entire stock camps being clad in exact match clothing.

PostScript: A question to sort the hobby farmers from actual Ringers:

What is it about the accoutrements of the ringer on the white horse which indicate he has done little if any scrub riding?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Waiting while the Tractor refuels

This post prompted by Dirk posting from Vietnam.

Many years ago in another era of his life, Mine Host snapped this photo of a tractor parked by the main highway between Saigon and Cambodia.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Think first, before you let the Boss Down

Halfway through mealtime on Saturday night the chef walks casually through the dining area, carrying his tools.

"I'm outta here" he informs Mine Host"I've had enough of this town".

"Can't you at least wait until service is finished? It's not long to go now?"

"Nope, I've had enough of it, can't stand the town, can't stand the people, I'm going now!"

... with freshly abandoned customers to worry about Mine Host pays no more attention to the departing chef.

There are only a few orders to finish off & the cleaning up to do. The grill chef for the night is well able to handle it. No harm done. For tonight.

Going to make things interesting for a few days though.

Later that night the Head Chef phones from the staff quarters: "He means it, I can't talk sense into him, he is going to book himself on the first flight tomorrow!"

Even later the Head Chef phones again: "He can't afford the airfare, it is more than a week's pay, he hasn't any money, he has made a one-week advance purchase, and needs to work the whole week to pay for it"

In the morning the chef ambles in ever so nonchalantly for breakfast, & offhandedly announces to Mine Host that he has decided to "stay on" for a week, to make the transition "easier" for Mine Host.

Mine Host, (who has known this was coming since the moment the chef walked off the job) informs the chef that breakfast is for "staff only" and that the chef had removed himself from the staff the moment he walked off the job mid-shift.

Also, could the chef please have his rooms in the staff quarters vacated and spotless within the hour?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Skills Shortage

Dental appointments require considerable advance notice.

A small piece of tooth broke off yesterday.

The denist used by Mine Host has closed his practice.

Phone calls to other dentists (up to 400km distant) were as thus:

(This is on the 11th of January)

"... certainly sir, our first availalbe appointment slot is in September, which dentist do you normally see?"
"Er... I used to visit Dr. Dedication, but he has closed his practice"
"Oh I see, you are not a patient of ours, I'm sorry we don't take new patients, goodbye"

This conversation could have taken place any time in the past few years.

In the case of a dental emergency, a dentist will usually see a patient within 3 weeks.

Is Australia badly short of dentists? Or are they all laying around near Bondi Beach & the Gold Coast, bleating that there is a "shortage" of patients?

The correct answer is a bit of both. Before he closed, Dr. Dedication answered Mine Host's query as to why, when he was booked out 7 or 8 months in advance, & working all the hours he could, didn't he hire a dentist or two to help him?

He answered that he had grown tired of advertising, had even been offering an equal share of the practice to graduates, ("I can't offer any more than that") and that the other dental practices in town had been doing the same.

What few respondees there were, upon discovering the location of the practice, terminated enquiries immediately, without even enquiring how much it would be possible to earn.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Innumeracy (part 2)

A staff member had borrowed to buy a car. Quite common, most of our society does the same.

The car was to be paid off in weekly installments.

The borrower was very pleased to have a car, and could well afford one.
However, here is where the attitude of the borrower differed from what one would expect.

Very little direct connection was drawn between the convenience of possessing a car & the weekly repayments.

The weekly payments were resented, as they used up money which could be better used (for longer drinking sessions, or getting new tattoos, and so on.)

Not making a payment was tried, this prompted considerable ire from the finance company, leading to an increase in the awe with which the finance company was held.

Some time passed & with it came a subsidence of the awe in which the finance company was held.

Eventually came a week when the borrower spent their meagre pay on "more important" things. Meagre yes, for the borrower was apt to not turn up for work. Work is resented, while wages are not.

The connection between "work" & "pay" is starkly demonstrated each time the borrower fails to turn up for work. This has lead to a grasping of the "no work = no wages" principle. A principle which is resented as equally as the "no payments = no car" principle.

Many tricks have been tried to get around the "no work = no pay" conundrum. None of the alternatives to "working" mangage to produce any actual "wages" and the borrower (resentfully) turns up to work most of the time. This is called "character" (or lack of).

There has however been more success with the "no payments = no car" dilemma.

The week when the borrower spent all their pay on "more imporant" stuff, they apprehensively phoned the finance company to explain (due to lingering memories of the ire apt to be exhibted by the finance company when no payment is forthcoming).

When the finance company learned that the borrower had been quite ill, and had large medical bills "this week" it was remarkably understanding, and allowed the payment to be deferred.

Armed with this new knowledge that payment was not necessary, the borrower underwent a change, suddenly seeing things on the bright side, for a time even turning up to work cheerfully and without prompting.

The finance company, suddenly confronted with a barrage of illnesses, family emergencies, unexpected hardships etc on the part of the borrower, was very understanding and agreed to endless deferrments of payment.

The borrower, thrilled at how easily hoodwinked the finance company was proving to be, embarked on spending the newly released funds. Parties were held, electronic luxury goods were purchased, late night booze-ups became more common, etc etc.

In conversation with the borrower, a concerned co-worker discovered that the borrower had no comprehension that all monies borrowed ultimately must be repaid, and that every skipped payment was adding to the interest bill, and adding to the term of the loan.

"But its a two-year loan, next June I'm finished with the payments, & then they can't do anything to me!" was the cheerful response, demonstrating total ignorance of the concept of debt & repayment.

The borrower still quite often goes about spending the amount of the repayment, making sure to phone the finance company to explain the illness/funeral/sick nephew. (Although this only has to be kept up until "next June")

The notion that the finance company hasn't actually been outsmarted is cheerfully treated with mild scorn.