Monthly Archives: May 2012

Off the Beaten Tourist Track

The best thing about touring with ‘No Worries’ Neville is that I often find interesting places to take my family to later.  Interesting, and cheap.  One such place was a country pub not far from here, that the tourist blurb described as ‘A typical Queensland Hotel.’  Which is code for ‘Dive’.

The whole place leaned alarmingly, and the water tank looked like it had been hit by a passing machine gunner.  A battered sign announced that this fine establishment also served the “Best pork chops in Queensland!!”  The two exclamation marks had swayed Neville.

One of the many ‘interesting’ places we’ve stayed, and there’s at least another 3 stories I could write about the night we spent here, and the weekend that followed. But probably won’t, to protect the innocent… (me) 🙂

The rooms were dirt cheap, and slightly better than sleeping in the car.  My room had a bed, a broken lamp, and what I sincerely hoped were dried red wine stains all over one wall and the bedspread.

Downstairs, Nev handed me a beer and said, “Come on, we’ll go see Cookie.”  I followed him into the kitchen where we found a large woman excavating her nostrils with a grubby finger.

“Waddayawant!” she yelled.

“Pork chops for two thanks luv!” replied Nev cheerfully.

“Mate,” I hissed, tugging at his shirt sleeve, “I’ll just eat the bikkies in my bag.”

“Nonsense!” cried Nev, “Best pork chops in Queensland here, put hairs on your chest.”  The ash from Cookies’ cigarette dropped into the frying pan, “Yeah, they put hairs on my chest,” she cackled, “wanna see ‘em?”

Nev and I fled to the bar where I downed several neat rums in the faint hope that the alcohol would ward off the galloping botulism headed our way.  Minutes later our dinner landed in front of us, swimming in pools of fat.  Nev tucked into his while I ordered another rum.  Well, they were pretty good pork chops.  I gave Cookie the thumbs up, and her bloodshot eyes twinkled.

The evening wore on; we met cattlemen, farmers, pig hunters, miners, and the village idiot.  I must have been pretty tired, because I can’t remember crawling into bed that night.  My last memory was of Cookie staggering over and slapping me heartily on the back, “You won’t get none of this in them fancy resorts luv!”

She was dead right.  And we didn’t get botulism either!!  But I reckon my family are going to take some convincing to stay at the place.

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Summing Up a Maths Problem

My Grandfather was a brilliant mathematician, and it was the bane of his life that his grandchildren were, and I’m being very kind here, mathematically illiterate.  I could spell arithmetic, I just couldn’t do it, so I stumbled through school looking at maths in much the same way as Tony Abbot would gaze at a Health Union membership form.

Grandad tried to help by giving me random maths problems, and long before I’d finished punching all the numbers into my calculator, he’d have already solved it; in his head.  Then he’d, look at my result, sigh, and wander off to get a beer.

I’d redo the sum, grimly determined to get it right this time, and he’d return to discover that my second answer, while vastly different from my first attempt, was still wrong.  He’d shake his head, take a long drink, then give me ‘the look’.  The sort of look you give to someone you love very much, but wonder why they are as dumb as an ant.

Well, everyone has a weakness, including my Grandfather, and it was one of the mysteries of my youth that Grandad, the Human Calculator, also happened to be the worst gambler I’d ever known.

Now, I might have to take my boots off to count big numbers, but I quickly worked out that gambling was for dummies.  I only had to look at Grandad, who was forced by economic necessity to holiday at our place every year, while his bookie slummed it in five star luxury in Fiji.

So this week, as the Government number crunchers handed down the budget, much of it slid over my head, but I was extremely relieved to see that Wayne Swans’ pockets weren’t stuffed full of Lotto tickets, or Julia sitting behind him scanning the racing pages, so we may come out of this alright.

And whenever I get disheartened at my maths dyslexia, I think of a fellow sufferer who makes me look like a genius:  “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.” — George W. Bush.  If I were a betting man, I’d lay good odds that his Grandad must have given him ‘the look’ plenty of times.

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Political Tipple Tickles

The bottle of wine cost more than my weekly wage, so I read the label to find out why.  Well, I scribble some nonsense in these columns, but whoever wrote the drivel on the back of that bottle made me look like a rank amateur.

Intrigued, I spent the rest of the afternoon pawing through wine racks, reading labels and laughing my head off; which didn’t make me very popular with the folk at the bottle shop.

Since then, I’ve been ‘Wine Labelling’ everything, and here’s my handpicked selection for the political connoisseurs among you to enjoy:

Campbell Brothers’, Sparkling Newman: a blue ribbon white, created exclusively for mining magnates.  Opens with a bang, but may quickly go flat.  Does not sit comfortably in its’ green bottle, and will react violently if mixed with reds.

Forked Tongue Cellars, Anna Bligh Shiraz: a pale pink which produced some unpleasant surprises leaving a bitter aftertaste.  Stock obsolete.

Cardie Chardies, Gillard Merlot:  A tricky blend of reds and whites packaged in a wide bottomed bottle.  Unique accent.  Serve with stuffed duck.

Mad Monk Vintners, Abbot Blanc:  Grown in an exclusive, non-climate changing environment on the far right side of a hill overlooking a surf beach, the sour grapes have resulted in a harsh palette that won’t suit most tastes.

Passé Port Plantations, Rudd Red:  A high flying vintage which travelled extremely well.  Has since been recalled by its’ makers and placed on a back shelf away from the light.

Mad Dog Breweries, Katter Claret:  An outspoken white, with a strong nose, which will suit independent tastes.  Chill to prevent foaming.

Way Out Farms, Bob Brown Burgundy:  A mellow red in a deep green bottle.  Special herbs added to enhance the fruity, yet retiring flavour.

Millstone Holdings, Craig Thomson Riesling:  A cheeky white, enthusiastically squeezed by scantily clad ladies.  Teflon coated bottle may have a very short shelf life.  Union Shopper credit cards welcome!

Slipper-ee Slopes, Champagne Pete:  Once flavour of the month, but lacking popularity now.  Expensive hand written labels recently removed & stock recalled.

And finally,

‘Barnay Point’ Exports, Greg Bray Passion Pop:  A cheap but cheerful plonk, usually drunk alone, but can be enjoyed with various mixed nuts.  Cheers!

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