Works in the Herald 1934

"I dunno wot this here Centen'ry is all about," said George Alfred Applecrop, as he reclined on a heap of cut bracken beside his superior guest-house set in a mountain clearing surrounded by giant gums. But I reckon, as far as us boardin' house keepers is concerned, they had ought to of put it off for a couple of years.

Springin' a thing like that on a man all of a sudden is a bit over the odds.

Take me, f'rinstance.

Now, what chance did I have to go studyin' hist'ry, with all the work I got to do with me bad back and everything. How did I get a chance to know when this here Batman landed? And what's a hundred years, anyway?

Supposin' they made it a hundred and two or three who'd know the diff'rence?

Then it would give a man with a business like mine time to get ready and think things over how to plan celebrations and goat races and things so as to attract world towrists to come here and see something unique.

But they got to spring things on a man all of a sudden, with hardly a year's notice; and me with a bad back and everything.

Seems to me this here centen'ry is just a stunt to make a man spring off his tail and work himself to death just because some total strangers wants to see some platy pusses and trees that is made out of real wood and give people a lot more work whether they got bad backs or not.

(Here, chuck us that bag, will you. If I ain't got something soft under me head that back of mine gets worse than if I was doin' something. Thanks.)

What was it I was sayin'? Yes; about centen'ries and things. Well, I reckon centen'ries didn't ought to happen till people is ready for 'em.

Now, take my wife Em'ly. I know she's a pretty good worker and good at early risin' and all that sort of thing; but when she puts it to a bloke that with this centen'ry comin' on we had a right to get this front paddock cleared so as to make the place look decent for foreign visitors and that, well, I reckon it's a bit over the fence. Foreign visitors might like to see ferns; you never know. Anyway, we didn't have enough notice about this; so they got to take the rough with the smooth.

Anyway, it's all the Gover'ment's fault. They ain't put no ashfelt on our road yet, though they had plenty of warnin' this here centen'ry was comin' on, and people might be comin' up here.

But Em'ly is that pig-headed. She puts it to me that I didn't ought to mind the Gover'ment, but to come out here and cut the ferns and things as the exercise might do me back good.

The trouble is, women ain't got no psychology.

(No; I ain't cut this heap. Young Dick done that before breakfast. I reckon that ought to be enough to call it a day. Besides; it's a good place to rest me back.)

Take Austria, f'rinstance. Think they are goin' to give up a decent civil war to come out here and look at the centen'ry? Think Hitler is goin' to let any Germans get away to say what they think of him? Think America is going to -

Aw, what's the use of talkin'? You know as well as I do this ain't no time for centen'ries.

So, as I says to Em'ly, why cut ferns what the few nacher lovers with light appetites comes up here to see?

But what Em'ly can't see -

(Stand a bit to the left, will you, so's Em'ly can't see me from the kitchen winder. Thanks.)

What I was sayin' is, ferns is ferns and towrists is towrists; and what Em'ly can't see is that princes or people from them countries where there is a bit of a war on who is likely to come up this way is bound to have pretty good appetites. And what Em'ly won't see is that appetities and boardin' houses don't go together.

Anyway them foreyners and people is always unnatural feeders.

An' that reminds me. I can't lay here listenin' to you all day. I got to make an effort (said George Alfred Applecrop) to get somethin' inside me to stand up to me against the time I got to think out the mental problems that is always croppin' up in a business like this.

A ounce of mental work is worth a ton of bullockin' work, like cuttin' ferns. And that's how I put it to Em'ly.

But she's that busy makin' jam, or washin' dishes, or sweepin' floors that she don't seem to have time to listen to a man.

Aw, well -

(Kick them ferns about a bit, will you, so's to make 'em look a lot. Thanks.)

Aw, well; s'pose I better be gettin' in to dinner, before our two towrists mops up the lot.

Smells like bacon and eggs. So long.

Herald, 16 February 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002