Thursday, August 2

Rural Life.

No pics today. Didnt actually take many when we lived in our Country Hotel.

First of all there was no time. It was all rush rush & busy busy. I would be so exhausted I would fall asleep the minute I sat down. I was chief cook, housemaid, laundress, mother, wife, hostess, & at times Bar maid.

I lost a whole stone of weight in a week when we first moved into the Hotel. I was so tired at the end of each day, I just fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

Our Accountant was also a friend, & he was a very conservative man. He told us we could get by with as little staff as possible, & plenty of hard work ourselves. It was the largest mortgage we had ever had, & it seemed quite frightening to contemplate.

It was an old Country Hotel, & there was a large farming clientele, who liked a good few drinks after their hard days work on the farms. Dairy farms were plentiful, also crop farms, and there was an agricultural College nearby, where rich farmers sent their errant 18 year olds to get some sense & do a Diploma of Agriculture.

Those young lads could be trouble in spades! The antics they got up to would fill a book on their own. They did vandalistic activities, and pranks about the village, & were quite despised by a lot of the locals. We were the only Hotel in the village, & there was a Country Club also, which the students could not get into, unless invited by a Member, & members were not fond of Students!

The quieter older members kept to the Club, & didnt often visit the Hotel. We would occasionally be invited to the Club, & it was always good fun to compare rivalry notes.

Our clients were divided into the locals, who preferred the warm Public Bar, & the Students, who liked the big barn like lounge Bar, with a huge Juke Box. The most played songs were Yesterday, and The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan. Other songs came & went with popularity but those 2 were the all time top favourites.

We increased our staff as we realised how busy the Hotel really was. And of course, the first few weeks we were thoroughly tested by the locals, & the students alike, to see just how we would manage the place. The locals were hard judges, but once they took you to their hearts they were loyal & wonderful friends.

The students were not all ratbags, but a few were, so there was always a vigilance needed to keep track of them. There was a Meat Inspectors Course run by the College, & most of those men were married, with families, & they were very lonely for the months duration of the course, & spent a lot of time at the Hotel. And they were model customers, who were permitted by the locals, to share the public bar, & play on our pool tables.

The students soon learned the rules according to HYPH, (Who was Happy Young Publican Husband, before he became GOM) & they also learnt to their dismay, if he said he would close the bar, he meant it. It soon brought their behaviour to an acceptable level, & earned him the respect of the locals.

We were very lucky that our main Barmaid, had worked with us in the city Hotel, & she had asked if she could come to work for us in the Country. She was a wonderful capable woman, who took no nonsense from the students, & had many of them on their best behaviour in no time. A lot of our other parttime staff came out to work for us too, from the city Hotel, so we really had good staff we could trust.

We also employed some locals, and one of them was Mary, our cleaner, for the bars. (I still had the priveledge to be maid for the guests, haha). Mary was another of life's tragedies in many ways. Her first husband had died, & she had a son & a daughter to care for, & she raised them on her own. When they were adults, Mary became friendly with a local man who apparently doted on her.

He won a large sum of money, & they were married, & went on a wonderful honeymoon. Locals told us he spent money like water. Mary told us he lavished her with things she never wanted or asked for. Then one day the money was all gone. And Mary's husband became a recluse. He refused to leave the house. He would not work, would not get his hair cut, refused to shop for clothes. He made her life a misery. He wouldnt even speak to her.

So Mary became our cleaner. She was a very hard worker, & our little dog Katie worshipped the ground Mary walked on. She wet herself with excitement every morning when Mary came to work. And Mary was a really good Bowls player, & was in the top teams & very popular with all her teammates. Thank goodness she kept up her playing or she would have had a very miserable life.

And we had our laughs with Mary, such as the morning she came into work, & discovered to her dismay the students had stolen the whole toilet- pan cistern the whole thing! Imagine what the local policeman said when I rang him to report it. He was in disbelief too. And it was never found. We just had to buy a new one.

And Mary would stay late now & then, & drink too much. So we would offer her a bed, & though she would usually go home when her friends offered her a lift, she did stay now & then. And one night as I was helping her to bed, she fell into my arms & sobbed. She said she had just wanted someone to love her, & just wanted to be happy. She had never wanted any of her husband's money, & she still supported him, & still cooked for him, though he made her life such a misery.

After we had sold the Hotel, we came over to Australia to live. We went back for holidays & looked up our old friends in the country. Mary's husband had recovered & begun to live again, at last. But Mary got cancer & died quite quickly. Her life did seem sad, in many ways.

I often think, if we scratch the surface of almost any person's life, we will find a sadness of some degree.

Beatles, Yesterday.


h&b said...

What a story, Meggie !

Aunty Evil said...

Such a sad story Meggie. You keep making me cry!!

meggie said...

Oh I dont want to make people cry! Especially not preggie ladies & newly unemployed ones!
Good luck to both of you, with your endeavours.
Tomorrow I will try to do happy. The missing dunny was pretty funny at the time??

Alice said...

You could really write a book and a half with your lifetime of adventures. The best part of it is that they are stories about ordinary people,living ordinary lives - that's why they are so interesting, everyone can relate to them.

Thank you so much, Meggie.

riseoutofme said...

So true Meggie ... Some of the outwardly most cheery people I know have sorrows in their lives that would break your heart.

What a wealth of stories you have!

When are you publishing your memoirs??

And will there be one for EVERYONE here in blogland???

meggie said...

Oh Rise, ...if I thought anyone would read, I might give it a go!
I always used to tell people 'one day I will write a book!'. I think this blod is 'IT'. My son says he must save it all.

meggie said...

Errr blod??? obviously I meant blog!!

Fairlie said...

That story is just beautiful. Yes, I laughed at the missing toilet...but poor Mary...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Your stories about the people you have met are most interesting. Like as I read about Mary, I was drawn in, wanting more information and wondering if there would be a happy ending.

fifi said...

Doesn't everyone just wish to be loved and safe and happy?

That was so sweet and sad.
Sadness i think adds a different understanding of things.

but yes, a funny dunny story.

Sheila said...

Your stories are always soo good Meggie. The fact that they are true makes them even more enjoyable.

Stomper Girl said...

Poor Mary. What a sad story.

Isabelle said...

I too think you ought to write a book. You have such a memory and clearly such an interest in people.

Love your plant pictures. Surely the variegated one is a euonymous?

ancient one said...

I'm sure you are right about most people having sorrow in their lives. You are a very good writer. You can make us cry one day and howl with laughter the next.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

That is such a sad story. As always, you have shared it with such rich and vivid detail I feel almost as though I had watched the story unfold in a movie.

bluemountainsmary said...

Meggie I read this wonderful story whilst listening to your songspot - perfection! A story about a Mary (albeit a sad one) will always get my attention - Mary

crafty said...

You have a knack for describing the humour and tragedy in the everyday, and whilst lots of your stories are tinged with sadness, there is always humour to be found. I had to giggle at the dog wetting itself.

sueeeus said...

I love that you share such wonderful and interesting stories!

z-silverlight said...

That is a wonderful story from your life. And you do a good job telling it.
We all seem to know people similar.

Tanya Brown said...

Thank you for sharing these slices of your and others' lives. A great yarn, as always.