Byron Bay 3

images16V8MKAUbrewing coffeeWith Byron Bay slowly fading. Here a snippet of an experience at a local RSL club. The experience is not unique and gets repeated a thousand fold every day of the year.

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.

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14 Responses to “Byron Bay 3”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    I say a vegetarian lasagne seems to me to be the better choice as well as playing “Free Cell” on the computer rather than throwing money into the poker machines at one of the clubs that you find all over Australia.
    When I go to the club it’s usually for coffee and cake! 🙂


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Aunty, I saw the lovely photos of your daughter’s cooked vegetarian lasagne on your blog. It looked so delicious I could almost atste it here in Bowral.We had our son and daughter with our two grandsons over and decided to go to the local hotel. They were flat out serving a huge crowd.
    I ordered the ‘ BQd beef bone rack’. The smell was overwhelming. Perhaps they had run out and they went outside and dragged in an old ‘entire’ (uncastrated) bull, knocked off its horns and hooves and banged some of it on my plate.
    Some is still in the fridge wrapped in knling wrap, waiting for our JRT Milo.


  3. Patti Kuche Says:

    Mutton dressed as lamb is never good . . . 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Oh poor Helvi, what a disappointment. I know what she means about the lamb. I’ve had a similar experience and it’s not pleasant. It sounds as though Milo came up trumps on the culinary front this weekend.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes most times Helvi is astute with her choices, generally gravitating to vegetable dishes while I go more for bangers and mash or pork bellies.
      Yesterday, the table turned on me. Milo was the main beneficiary.


  5. M-R Says:

    Gerard, could you please try to be a little less graphic in future ? I swear I could smell both the mutton and the beef. And me a vegetarian ! [grin]


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My 12 year old grandson remarked ‘someone must have marinated the beef-ribs in the toilet’.
      This remark will be written down in the annals of Oosterman folklore.( for posterity)


      • M-R Says:

        Couldn’t be for any other reason, I’d think … 😉


      • Rosie Says:

        12 year old boys say it how it is! I’m afraid that I would rather go hungry than enter an Australian Club. That is obviously because of the gambling which you explained perfectly. A pity to have two meal failures within a week – just keep remembering the calamari at the Beach Hotel in Byron.


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, the calamari is what I am clinging to now. I think we will do more house cooking. Just had some nice salmon cutlets with vegies and spuds; perfect.
        In twenty minutes time I’ll go to my first ALP meeting for over forty years. Hopefully they’ll agree that our present policy to boat people is atrocious.


  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Mrs H ate “a smelly sheep” and you tried to eat a very old cow. 🙂 That’s what happens when you eat the furried and feathered. Try eating just the things with scales. I eat salmon and never deviate.

    Anyhoo, Gerard, you are a hoot. Great post. Gave me some good laughs.


  7. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Hmm, my father introduced us to ‘one-armed bandits’ when we were quite small (I think in French cafés), we were allowed to play for a bit until our coins disappeared and he then explained the name to us. It’s good to learn early not to give your pocket money to a con-man (machine).


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