“You should have done this!” Jimmy said as he lifted up his singlet and exposed his pale chest to the bar, only Jed would appreciate the sight. Jimmy was back in town after working away for a couple of days, and was teasing me because last time he’d seen me was on Friday night when I was buying Brett a drink. My coworkers had been interested to find out what happened that night, but nothing had happened, Brett had had to get up early to drive back to Townsville and had stumbled out of my room at 2am after drinking beers on the balcony.
Jimmy was a few rum and cokes down, celebrating pay day and even though it was a Monday night invited me to get ‘white girl wasted’ with him, officially giving me the nickname of Hannah Montana, before inviting me to the pub down the road. “Come on Hannah Montana!” He said, the barmaid at Tatts had created some special valentines cocktails, which she’d let Jimmy have the first taste of, I was to try a “Jimmy kiss” as he called it. At Tatts I chatted to the locals, telling them about the guy from Townsville and what an anticlimax that had been, as well as what it was like to be a Brit in the outback. In the end the barmaid shouted me a pot of beer, and even though it felt a little like fraternising with the enemy, though relations are friendly between the hotel and the pub, I decided I’d be visiting the pub more often.
Last Valentine’s Day I had done some overtime before taking myself to Camden Market and Yo!Sushi, it was a pretty nice way to spend Valentine’s Day. The roster surprised me when it had said I had Valentine’s Day off, I thought about going to Longreach, but then the resident tour operator had approached me as there was a Lark Quarry tour going out that day. In the end, I was called in to work the café as the boy who was meant to work pulled a sickie. I had hoped to go to Tatts for Valentine’s Day cocktails, but in the end I worked the bar over dinner service.
The manager’s son had returned from holiday, and was overseeing the shift, there was a rush from a Christening and the bar was heaving, the busiest it had been since I’d arrived in Winton. People were draining their bottles of Great Northern and Hahn Superdrys, and I chucked bottles into the bin as I went to replace their drinks. The manager caught me and said ‘Can you be a little softer when you throw the bottles out? Chucking them loudly.. That’s Bogan!”
Jed had Valentine’s Day off, after making the biggest attempt to convince us all that she wasn’t really excited to spend Valentine’s with Jimmy, we hadn’t seen hide nor hair of her all day and didn’t spend too much time wondering what she’d be up to.
“Is your name Miss?”
Before I came to Australia I tried and failed to pass my driving test multiple times, and still to this day do not have a driving license. Talking to the locals, they’d suggested I go and ask the council if I could do a driving test out here, as it would be easy apparently.
I went to the council office and told them I had my provisional license from England and I’d been learning for five years and was wondering if I could possibly do a driving test in Winton. The man behind the counter thought it’d be possible for me to get a Queensland license and took my details, as he was filling in the form on the computer, he asked what my name was and I said “Miss Holly Joscelyne,” which led him to ask “Is your first name Miss?” This question alongside “which part of Pommie land are you from?” deserve a place in ‘Funny Questions I’ve been asked travelling #2’, when I told this story to the guys at the pub they all laughed and said “Dave, you must have been served by Dave.”
Steak and Blow Job Day
“I want to do something nice for Jimmy on my day off.” Jed announced one evening as I sat at the bar with Jim, “you could celebrate Steak and Blow Job day,” I joked.
“What?” Jed said, and I explained to her that it’s meant to be the male version of Valentine’s Day celebrated a week after Valentine’s. “I’m going to do it,” she said, “What time does the Butcher’s open?” She asked, “5am,” said Jim “but they’ll serve you from 6am,” I laughed because there was no way in hell that Jed was going to get up at 5am on her day off. She then asked for advice on which cut of steak to get and Jim gave her advice before asking her why she was going to buy steak. “Steak and Blow Job day!” She said, at this point I wondered aloud whether it was entirely appropriate to discuss the day out loud in public, “Jimmy’s half deaf, and he’s an outback man Josso, I’m sure in his life time he’s heard much worse.” Jim asked what she’d said and so she repeated what she’d just said and explained what steak and blow job day was and at this point Jim blushed.
The next day I was in the café chatting to the girl who worked there, before Jed came through and found me, “I’ve been looking for you!” She said, for a moment I thought she was going to tell me I had to work when I was working that afternoon anyway. “I need to go to the shops, fancy a drive?” I was game and we went off to find the car keys, only to find someone had locked the keys in the car. We had no choice but to use the manager’s son’s yute. The yute was filthy, it had no windows, there was a crack in the windscreen, no mirror on the left hand side, and Jed couldn’t find the parking break. It took us ten minutes to work out how to reverse, including a panic text asking how to reverse the car. We’d been told we couldn’t stop the car and needed to leave the car running whenever we stopped incase the battery went flat.
After working out how to drive the death trap, we set off to run errands, we were only driving around for about twenty minutes but it was the most outlandish car ride I’d ever taken.
You didn’t come here to fuck spiders!
It was another evening off for me and as I’d begun to get cabin fever after a month working and living in the hotel, I’d ventured to Tatts for a drink, but the chatty barmaid wasn’t working that night. Instead the bar was quiet and the patrons were watching Grand Designs intently, if there’s one thing worse than Australian television it’s the English shows the Australians choose to watch on telly, Grand Designs does my head in and though I sat and watched for ten minutes, finding the presenter’s accent weirdly comforting, I finished my pot of beer and ventured back to the hotel.
I sat at the bar, and there were two young guys sitting drinking schooners. I got talking to them, they worked for Telstra and were visiting from Brisbane. After a while I tried to get Mad Dog’s attention so I could order dinner, “Oh come on Josso, you didn’t come here to fuck spiders!” This made the guys from Brisbane burst out laughing, apparently this is an old Australian saying which just means get drunk. I was learning the perils of drinking at the bar I worked at fast, and I found myself getting drunk again.
Later in the week two guys from Newcastle came to stay, Ginge and Garlo, Ginge was chatty from the off and Garlo was quite quiet until he revealed himself to be a fan of death metal to Jedi and when the guys from Brisbane visited they talked sports for ages. Ginge and Garlo were only planning on staying until Thursday and I told them I was gutted they were leaving then as I had Friday off, on hearing this Ginge decided they could change their plans and stay an extra night to hang out with me. I was chuffed!
By this time I’d been in Winton for a month and hadn’t left town, even though I’d settled in and was enjoying my work and had made friends with the locals, being in the same place was sometimes draining. That Friday night I decided to dress up for my night off with Ginge, Garlo and the boys from Brisbane, I was going to paint the town red!
It started with dinner at Tatts before returning to the Old Greg for drinks and pool, I started with beer, and then Jed made me a ‘Fruit Tingle’ which she later told me was more gin than vodka. As the night went on I got drunker and drunker before returning to my room, I threw up in the toilet, and decided it was totally rational to pull the duvet off my bed and set up camp on the bathroom floor. I awoke a couple of hours later, wondering what I was doing on the floor before getting into bed.
Obviously I hadn’t come to fuck to spiders.