"Towrists?" said George Alfred Applecrop - "Gosh! Ain't it ever goin' to stop rainin'? I seen rain in me time, but this is the limit! Makes a man glad he never put no potaters in this year. I put 'em in last year and they wasn't worth the skins they was wrapped in. The primr'y perdoocer's down an' out, if you ask me.
"That's wot give Em'ly, me wife, the idear of startin' this 'ere boardin' 'ouse. Saves me bad back, too. Wot's the good of tryin' to sell raw spuds by the ton when you can sell 'em cooked to towrists by the pair, with a dash of gravy an' make money at it?
"You see, my wife Em'ly's got brains. When she seen the way spuds was goin' - an' me with me bad back and everythink - she puts it to me why go on plantin' spuds just to stay where they are put when we can turn the farm into a 'ome from 'ome an' get a few select tourists to eat them we dig with a few trimmin's an' pay accordin'. Cash on the nail, she sez, an' no middlemen.
("Hey, Em'ly! Will you keep that there dawg away from the drippin'? No; I ain't going' to shift the drippin'. You shift the dawg. Me back's 'urtin'; an' besides, dawgs ain't no right in the kitchen, even if the door is broke.)
"Gosh! Will you listen to that rain? Six days of it an' no signs of lettin' up. Glad I don't live in Orbost.
"Well, as I was sayin', I kills the ole pig an' shoves 'er down in very near noo brine and everythink, an' the fowls was layin' pretty good an' two cows in milk, an' the spuds growin' tremenjus - like they always does when the price is 'arf of nothink.
"So we shoves an advert in the papers sayin' a 'ome from 'ome an' all that, an' real farm food growed on the farm, an' 'ealthy surroundin's. So then the towrists began to bite better than any fish I ever seen in this river. An', b'lieve me, I done a fair bit of fishin' since me back's been too bad to work constant. So along about Chris'mas the towrists begun to come up. Towrists!
"Hey, Em'ly! There's that dawg at the drippin' pot again! Well, shut the door an' shove the drippin' pot behind it.
"That's the worst of dawgs in a boardin' 'ouse. The towrists gives 'em wot they can't eat themselves an' makes 'em lazy. An' the bush at the back fair swarmin' with wombats. It ain't eckernomic.
"Well, as I sez, the towrists come up an' straight orf I begun to wish me back wasn't so weak an' I could do a bit of wood-cuttin' or somethink just to make ends meet. Towrists!
"Gosh, 'ark at that rain! I'm glad it never come at Chris'mas time to stop the towrists gittin' a few fish an' rabbits an' things jist to keep things goin' like.
"Them male towrists is all right if you keep 'em in their place; but the female of the speechies gits me ropeable. Knockin' round all day in silk py-jamers! An' they ain't even slep' in 'em either - so Em'ly sez.
"Fancy me takin' orf me shirt when I gits up of a mornin' an' puttin' on a bran' noo night-gown to go out to milk the cows (supposin' me back wasn't bad). Nice sorter name I'd git.
("Hey! Look at that dawg tryin' to scratch through the door. Heave a hunk of wood at him, someone!)
"Well, the next thing they starts chuckin' orf about the tucker. The bacon was too salt, an' the menoo was too monotonis. Em'ly got that rattled she was all for sendin' down for butcher meat an' fancy groceries. But I puts it to her reasonable; wot's the good of spendin' good money you gits from towrists so as to get more money to buy more tucker? It's wot you might call the internal; circle. It ain't eckernomic. So I ups and puts it to 'em plain -
("Hey! EM'LY! For the love of Lucy, look at that dawg! He's broke in an' et half the drippin' already! Hit him a kick! Wot's that? No, I won't. How can I cut a bit of wood with my bad back? Send young Dick to do it. . . Wot? Well I know I was fishin' all day yesterday. That's wot mad me back worse. Besides, I'm a boardin' 'ouse proprietor; not a wood an' water joey).
"Towrists," said George Alfred Applecrop, "is all right if they're kept in their place an' don't git tryin' to put it over you with wot ain't in the contrack. But, 'owever you take 'em, towrists do make an orful lot of extry work. You ask Em'ly."
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002|