We see a lot in the Front Bar throughout the year. Here’s a taste of what we endured during 2020.
Hello, and welcome to 2020. It’s already been a tough start for some and The Roadhouse was most relieved to return from holidays to find the front bar still standing and all our fixtures intact.
Needless to say, our thoughts are with those who have battled and those who continue to battle the bushfires.
There is, as they say, no rest for the wicked and although we don’t know who ‘they’ are, nor do we know anybody wicked enough to deserve such punishment, we do know that we are head down and bum up with our nose to the metaphorical grindstone as we jump into what is shaping up as a busy year ahead.
The Roadhouse received a surprise visit this week just at the most opportune of times.
We were filling in our grant application for new uniforms for The Roadhouse Lawn Bowlers when the bell above the front door tinkled, heralding the arrival of Senator Bridget McKenzie.
It is not lost on us the she now runs the Agriculture portfolio, but we thought her experience in doling out splashes of cash for sporting clubs in dire need of a leg-up to enable them to compete with their more well-heeled rivals would be most advantageous.
As we poured out her order of a dubonnet and coke, we asked for her thoughts on how best we should word our Federal-funded-focused application.
She replied that it really all depends on who our local representative may be.
When we replied that The Roadhouse was staunchly planted in Independent Territory and always would be, she downed her drink, stood up and said…good luck with that.
As the nation prepares to explode thousands of dollars of pyrotechnics to create man-made clouds of smoke to drift across the nature-made clouds of bushfire smoke currently shrouding our sea girt land mass, The Roadhouse feels it important that we should maintain some connection to the day.
There are many re-enactments of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove way back when, yet none ever stick to historic accuracy.
When he took his party ashore back in 1788, Governor Phillip ordered his men to drop their trousers to demonstrate to the indigenous population that, despite their different skin colour and wardrobe choices, they were, in fact, the same when it all came down to tin tacks.
This was an odd choice for a number of reasons: a) even back then it was generally considered good manners to simply shake hands, and b) acknowledging the presence of said indigenous population surely shattered any fanciful ideas of Terra Nullius.
To truly recreate that moment, and to create an opportunity for the government to reach out to, and salute, the original owners of the land, The Roadhouse suggests that ‘the boy from the Shire’, PM Scott Morrison should march his caucus troops down to Cronulla Beach adorned only in Australian flags draped around their necks – super hero-style.
Thongs can be worn at the individual’s discretion.
This would truly be a wonderful opportunity for our besieged PM and his band of followers to show us, and the rest of the world, what they are really made of.
You would think that nothing much could surprise The Roadhouse these days, but we have to admit to a moment of astonishment with the latest visit by PM Scott Morrison.
Upon hearing the bell ring over the front door, we looked up to see our PM enter the bar adorned with a necklace of garlic and sporting a posy of herbs as a boutonnière.
When questioned about this ornamentation, Morrison explained that he was taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously and was leaving no stone unturned in his pocket to ensure a preventative was established.
While he was speaking, Health Minister Greg Hunt shuffled in asking for some space where he could hang his shingle and set up his blood-letting clinic.
We can all rest easy tonight.
The early bird – as the old adage goes – gets the worm, however these mornings The Roadhouse has noticed that said aviarian gets the toilet paper.
Still – after weeks of people ransacking supermarket racks of bog roll, there is still a community-wide madness on display.
Surely, there must be enough dunny paper squirreled away across the country to shine the bot-bots of the population two, perhaps three times over.
This gives rise to a number of questions: How many bums do these people have? How often do they need to wipe them each day?
Are they as full of excrement as the greater Australian population is considered by some other nationalities?
The PM – and others – have described this behaviour as “un-Australian”.
Obviously, it is not. It seems this is how we are wired to operate and it also seems that this is just the sort of situation that brings out the real Australian way.
Get in, get in quick, load up, stuff anybody else, I’m alright Jack.
The Roadhouse was given a surprise this week when we came downstairs one morning to find PM Scott Morrison sitting at the bar hoeing into a hearty breakfast.
We were surprised on a number of fronts: The Roadhouse has been in lockdown for a week or so; the kitchen has been closed, so who cooked the food; and when did he get his own key?
The PM informed us he wasn’t stopping long, just long enough to polish off his eggs and bacon and then continue on his way home, as he – along with all current sitting members of Parliament – would not be populating the chambers of power until August, at least – on full pay.
Given that our man at the top has said that all essential workers should be going to work, it seems the esteem a substantial section of the community has held our political class in of late has now been validated.
After all, if those who the Australian people have elected to make the hard decisions to keep the nation running in good times, aren’t considered by the man in charge to be essential to, and capable of the same in bad times, then we have a problem.
Morrison mopped up his plate with a slab of bread, stood then said he would be on his way and that he would let himself out.
We asked him to leave the key on the bar, but the request seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Needless to say, it’s been a fairly slow week in The Roadhouse.
Just to remind us of what we have achieved this week, we had a quick flick through the diary.
Monday: Checked the ASX watchlist: posted new stories on the web page: Walked the dog.
Tuesday: Checked the ASX watchlist: posted new stories on the web page: Walked the dog.
Wednesday: Checked the ASX watchlist: posted new stories on the web page: Walked the dog.
Thursday: Checked the ASX watchlist: posted new stories on the web page: Walked the dog.
Let’s hope the weekend holds some variety.
Implementing the correct social distancing requirements, The Roadhouse held its annual ANZAC biscuit bake-off this week.
This year we received a record number of entries, possibly due to the fact a good deal of the community has a healthy amount of spare time on their hands to put towards such activities.
Malcolm Turnbull was perplexed that his entry landed outside the top five, but the judges had to mark him down, saying his biscuits were somewhat more bitter than his efforts of previous years.
Pauline Hansen emerged out of seclusion with a plate of something she described as being the most Australian batch on the table, however it was discovered she had used Maple instead of Golden Syrup and the oats were found to have been procured from “assorted locations”.
The judges narrowed down the candidates to a top three, each of which were then assessed on criteria of regulation, authenticity, and taste.
Third prize went to Josh Frydenberg, always a plodder, but reliable in the trenches; second prize to PM Morrison for a batch complete with a three-word slogan “These Eat Well”.
The top gong, however, controversially went to Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan who introduced mashed banana to his recipe and plated up what he called BANANZACS.
Rivals complained this flew in the face of the rules that strictly require regulation and authenticity.
Judges said they were just too bloody tasty to ignore, quickly introducing a new category of innovation for next year.
This week saw a round of furious renovations kick off at The Roadhouse to meet new COVID-19 guidelines.
The relaxation of controls demands that venues may host up to 20 patrons at a time, a ruling that has been mooted to increase to 50 should all ducks behave in an orderly manner.
Our conundrum is that we rarely get such numbers in the front bar at any one time, which means we have had to extend the building out into the car park.
This resulted in having to move the ACROD parking space and a redesign of the façade to accommodate moving the front door to remain in regulation distance from said parking space.
We have also had to ship in a number of protective face masks, as twenty people, required to keep at least 1.5 metres apart, will have to speak much louder than usual to be heard over the juke-box, which can only result in volumes of sputum and spittle flying around the bar with reckless abandon.
We will have a bowl of emergency plastic ponchos sitting on the bar for customers who feel extra protection is warranted.
There was an unexpected opportunity for reflection in The Roadhouse this week, during our Tuesday night Classic Cinema Club screening of the Peter Sellers film, The Party.
In the opening scenes Sellers’ character attempts to tie up his shoe by resting his foot on the T-bar of an explosives plunger, resulting in the destruction of an expensive film set – thus ruining the only opportunity the film’s director has of the take.
Above the laughter of the socially-distance audience one punter yelled, ‘he must work for Rio Tinto!’.
The laughter abruptly stopped and those in the room were silent, eyeing each other, waiting for somebody to laugh at the interjection, giving all others permission to follow suit.
Permission was not forthcoming, however, as the crowd was made up of mining industry flunkies including lobby groups, contractors, journalists and investor relations companies – all who rely on the work provided by the large earth mover.
The Sellers film was made in the 1960s, at time when cultural appropriation was at its height and the disregard for cultural sensitivities an accepted part of the zeitgeist.
Living now, as we do, in a new age, in a new century, it is expected that such ignorance has had its day, unfortunately the destruction of a sacred indigenous rock shelter site by Rio Tinto proves that big mining does not heed such societal norms.
No doubt they will atone for their act of vandalism by purchasing a few dot paintings for their offices, or sponsor some highbrow arts festival or company so their executives can gather in black tie and splendid frocks to drink champagne and enjoy sophisticated social intercourse.
Perhaps to really make up for this horrible ‘mistake’ the company could forward all royalties from the iron ore mined from the area it has blown to buggery back to the community it has so terribly insulted.
The Roadhouse rarely gives oxygen to conspiracy theories, unless of course we start them.
So, it was with much interest we observed a meeting in the front bar this week consisting Queensland’s portliest business tycoon, the nation’s hard-working King without a Parliament, and the Liberal Party’s notorious WA-based Belgian grenade thrower.
To maintain their anonymity, we will respectively call these three, Double-Double; Toil; and Trouble: who we found sitting at our largest booth, surrounding a bubbling cauldron of cheese fondue.
The main discussion centred around the most popular of Labor state-based leaders – he with the Scottish name of McGowan.
McGowan, it seems, is too popular for the stomachs of conservative politics and needs to be reined in, especially with a state election looming that could see him extend his party’s dominance, so the election destroying talents of Double-Double are urgently required out west.
Suddenly the bell above the front door tinkled and in walked the Thane of Rockingham himself.
Before they could be seen the Troublesome Triumvirate cloaked the booth with a tablecloth of invisibility.
As useful as these are, they don’t provide coverage for olfactory misdemeanours, and soon the front bar was filled with the aroma of a freshly-fondued wedge of blue cheese, combined with a fresh bottom burp from Double-Double.
McGowan stood still, sniffed the air and asked if Clive Palmer had recently visited as he thought he could recognise his cologne.
We had to close The Roadhouse gymnasium this week due to some serious damage received to some of our equipment.
In particular, the exercise bikes used in our Spin Classes that were ridden during the week by PM Scott Morrison, and his WA cohort, Mathias Cormann and Christian Porter.
The bikes in question were being regularly used by the three men as they trained as part of Clive Palmer’s Tour de WA charity fund-raising cycling team.
Unfortunately, these cycles are made for going in one direction and were not able to take the strain of the back-peddling session Morrison demanded of his team mates during the week.
We are waiting to hear what compensation may be on offer.
What if they re-opened parliament, and nobody noticed?
The Roadhouse was reminded of an old adage this week, being – you can’t keep a good former Prime minister down. Nor, so it seems, can you keep the average to ordinary ones down.
The recent response of Tony Abbott to UK PM Boris Johnson’s SEEK ad for a new Trade Adviser certainly got the interweb rattling.
But we should spare a thought for the man who wears his labels of misogynistic, homophobic, and climate change denier with pride.
Why shouldn’t he be able to return to the land of his birth to work up a healthy pension, especially given that through the nasty interference of his long-time nemesis, Malcolm Turnbull, Abbott was shunted from the main gig in Australia just days short of qualifying for his former PM pension and associated privileges.
It also gives light to the famed, and much abused, section 44 of our constitution that insists parliamentary participants denounce any previous birthdom for the good of the land of girt and no others.
Perhaps section 44 should also demand said pollies maintain the rage as long as they remain on our pension payroll.
As we watched the train wreck that was the US Presidential debate earlier this week, we couldn’t help but ruminate over how lucky we are to live where we do under the political regimes we endure.
Discussion arose amongst the 1.5 metre-separated locals that dotted the length of the bar regarding the childish nature of the debate as it continued on the big screen.
We reached a group consensus that neither name calling, cheap political point scoring, nor throwing adversaries– or allies for that matter – under passing forms of transport for your own gain would ever constitute the Australian way of conducting government.
It just wouldn’t pass the pub test.
As a final fist-thumping of the bar closed down the analysis, the bell over the front door tinkled, and in strolled our fearless PM and his retinue of state premiers.
A fresh discussion quickly ensued.
The Roadhouse experienced a moment of clarity when watching the nightly news on the big screen in the front bar overnight.
The flash appeared when watching the story about how four Australia Post senior operatives were awarded a Cartier watch each for work accomplished in 2018.
We managed to amuse ourselves – and others within earshot – by remarking that if they had been bestowed said watches by Australia Post back in 2018 the probability was high that those packages are still on route and yet to be delivered.
That’s when the ‘moment of clarity’ hit.
Although our humorous response was instant – and well received by the locals – there would be a very strong chance that by the time this hits the letterbox of our readership the same jest would no doubt have been spruiked by quick-witted breakfast radio hosts around the country.
That is; yes, it’s a most obvious jape, but we wanted The Roadhouse’s loyal clientele to know we are still on the ball.
However, I bet nobody has pointed out the resemblance of Australia Post chief, Christine Holgate to embittered former federal government minister Bridget McKenzie of sports rorts fame.
Funny how our brave and bold PM is eager to publicly lynch one and not the other.
We’ve been in a state of confusion this week at The Roadhouse trying to coordinate a raft of celebrations that have all booked in at once while we try to maintain social distancing.
Without sounding too xenophobic, it is getting harder and harder to celebrate in traditionally Australian ways when the land of the free is constantly stealing all the oxygen.
This weekend should be straight forward. Put up some bunting, fire up the barbie, rinse the carrot stains from last year’s fascinator and get ready to watch the race that stops the nation.
Nothing says Oi, Oi, Oi, quite like watching an assemblage of thoroughbred equines trooping around Flemington on a sunny Melbourne afternoon, even though at least one will fail to complete the circuit and its eventual demise not shielded anywhere near well enough to protect impressionable kiddies watching both live and with televisual aid.
But no, our work load has doubled this weekend as neighbours insist we festoon our front door with all things ghost-like to help those soon-to-be traumatised kiddies celebrate Halloween.
The scariest thing we could find around the place was Grandpa’s old big white Reg Grundies, which we have filled with miniature polly waffles.
What about the big orange pumpkin? I hear you ask.
Well, he’s running for president.
The bell above the front door of The Roadhouse tinkled yesterday, and in walked an exhausted former finance minister Mathias Cormann.
Having recently quit his Canberra-based representing the people gig, Matthius has been on the road submitting his application for secretary general of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Fortunately for Mat, he has friends in high places, so has been able to visit all the necessary folk dotted around the cities of Europe and personally drop off his resume.
A RAAF plane, no less, with an operating cost of over $4k an hour has ensured Cormann avoids the chance of contracting any commercial flight strain of COVID as he delivers his environmental credentials with no pang of guilt or irony.
Maybe the government is thinking of providing those on JobSeeker with Cab Charge vouchers allowing them to avoid catching trains and buses when attending job interviews.
The Roadhouse enjoyed a visit from one of its dedicated regulars during the week, who has been experiencing an extended stay in the local hospital.
Always one for imparting interesting titbits of information, our man sat at the bar and provided a startling exchange he had with one of the dedicated front-line nurses that was tending to him.
The subject of hospital parking came up and our protagonist’s modern-day Florence Nightingale related that even as an employee of the hospital, and as pollies of all persuasions tell us, one of the most important workers the country has during this time of pandemic, she must pay for the privilege of parking her car when she comes to work.
The figure she reported spending on an annual basis is $11500. Let’s write that in words to double the effect. Eleven thousand five hundred dollars per annum.
That is a huge chunk of anybody’s yearly wage, particularly the wage of one of our most important workers (see above).
Now, we don’t pretend to know everything here at The Roadhouse – we really don’t – however, if this is the case for nurses Australia wide, then we have a problem.
If nurses really are the front-line workers that we all owe so much too for the work they have done throughout this year of COVID-19, then all pollies, Federal, State, Local Government – whatever, have to find some way to remedy this situation to reward those who are doing so much for so many and asking so little in return.
It all happens at The Roadhouse…
Wishing all our loyal regulars a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year – after all we all deserve one.