On the way over to Byron we could not stay as planned in Port Macquarie because of an iron man competition having taken any slack in accommodation.( I wonder how many ‘iron’ men ever thought of frying a salmon cutlet on an upturned motel iron like I did) Not a bed in sight anywhere. We had nightmare visions of staying ramrod straight-up in our car all night parked on the highway or lonely bush-track. So, we drove on till Macksville.
After booking in a friendly motel we stayed at before, we decided to eat. We were starving. I could eat a horse. Macksville is one of those rare villages that seemed to have avoided the plethora of yawning car yards or acres of ugly signage. We strolled to the local RSL. We had eaten there before. After ordering we waited and soon our plates arrived. Two rump steaks for son and I, one roast lamb for the lovely H, calm as ever and smiling her Mona Lisa.
As we ate, some couples entered and joined the queue to order their meals. RSL’s clubs give great value. But, where does this value stem from? While some ate, others just sat down in the lounge. The men watched that rough game on the large screen, with an oblong ball rolling around and violent tackles. I noticed the wives sauntering off to a special room.
Those rooms are the same all over at clubs. A garish light and a tinkling noise usually associated with a darkness and nervous tension. They contain gambling poker machines and are loved by thousands. I tried it once when you had to pull a lever. It was in our early marital years, perhaps 1967.
We won some money but in the excitement put it all back and some more. We have never played those machines again. It was clear that they take more than they give. On top of all, it was ultimately a boring past-time. Not much talk, just a mean concentration on a machine that rattles on and on.
I asked H how her meal was, noting a slow eating in process. ” I think this meal smells of sheep”, she answered. “Well, you are eating sheep” I replied with some logic.(but not too much) “Yes, but it also tastes a bit like old sheep”. “Oh, that’s no good”, ” last time you had a lovely Caesar chicken salad.” ” Yes, I know, but this meal is old sheep that are wet and has sheep shearing shed tinges as well”. Her answers just about made me roll of the chair. Still, life is like that sometimes. I loved my rump and so did my son.
Back in the Public Lounge, the ladies had left the gambling room and the men were still watching the rugby.
Ps: I had a lousy, very punishing and smelly rack of beef yesterday and it was mother’s day. Milo had it. I wrapped it up in tons of paper napkins and it still stank out the car. God knows how old the cow was.