The Hordern Hotel

Well, I said I’d fill in the gaps today, so I’ll try and keep it as short, and sweet as possible, which probably means another three days of useless information, before I get back to Shay Gap.

After spitting the dummy and leaving the Ford dealership, I thought I’d give a GM/Holden dealership a whirl, and went round to James Clay Motors, and they put me on straight away. A lot easier back in the 60’s to get work, than it is these days.

They didn’t bother trying to indoctrinate me with their products, they had a fairly new model out at that time, the HK Holden; it was a big improvement on their HR. I got a couple of sales up my sleeve, but wasn’t too happy, I thought the Holden HK was inferior to the Falcon XT, the direct competitor; still the people who’d done the deal with me, were Holden people, not Ford, and didn’t need any hard sell.

In my second week, I was given a lead on what looked like a promising big order, I can’t remember the company now, but Clay’s sent me round to see them. I went through the usual pitch, then the  buyer hit me right between the eyes.

He said ” You look like an honest sort of bloke, tell me what’s the best vehicles, to do the work that we want, and why.” or words to that effect. He’d told me the hard work, that his vehicles were subjected to, and he wanted an honest opinion

What could I do? I told him ” What you need, and the best vehicle to do the work you wan, is the Falcon 500 Ute, (the 500 was the more expensive, bigger donk model)” Then he asked me who I’d recommend he buy them from, I knew that the mob I’d dumped had the best service, and after sales service; so what could I tell him?

“Anderson Ford in Adelaide Terrace ” I told him; he thanked me very much for my honesty, ( I know that he did go order his vehicles through that dealership; I had some good drinking companions there); I went back to James Clay, told them what I’d done handed over the keys, to my demo told them to forget the commission due to me, and I  left. Bit stupid really!

Having been in the car sales game/business/racket for a while, I’d got to know plenty of blokes in the business, especially the used car business. You always had to ‘shop’ your trades around the town, to get the best price, to seal a deal, you got to know just about every genuine used car dealer, There are/were some.

Anyway, one of the used car feller’s, said he’d give me a go selling his used cars, if I was stuck so I took him up on it, but I couldn’t hack it,  I won’t go into the reasons why this is getting to long drawn out as it is!

I was having a drink at the Ozone Hotel,  (the old watering hole for Anderson Ford salesman) on Adelaide Terrace, with Neville Mountain and his offsider, Jack, (they ran the used car’s division, before going off on their own a year or so later) and Jack asked me what I planned on doing, I said I’d probably go back to Anderson Fords, and he said “Why don’t you get yourself a job in a pub?”

“What the hell do I know about pubs” says me. “Well” says Jack ” you do half of your business at a bar,  your girl friends dad’s, got a pub, and  you ought to know what’s going on,  you spend more time in a pub than on the road”; we were pretty good mates, so I didn’t take offence, “so why not give it a go” says he, then comes the point.

“I’ve got a mate, who’s got a pub in the bush, and he’s having trouble getting a reliable bloke to look after his bars, he asked if I knew anyone who’d be interested” “You’re conning me”, was my immediate retort, “No” says he “He’s a real good mate, and needs a bloke, no harm in my asking” “Okay” says me “where is he?”

“Down in Narrogin” says Jack, “Where’s that” says me; “Halfway down to Albany” says he; “Okay” says me,” how do I get there, I don’t have wheels”.”Take one of the cars from the yard”, says Nev,  getting in on the act.  He could do this, he was the boss.

So having nothing better to do, I said okay. Next morning  Nev fitted me up in an old 63/64 Ford Compact (wasn’t that old, this was 1968 or 9) and I cruised on down to Narrogin, which was around 120 miles, we still hadn’t graduated to metric; it took me a couple of hours, I didn’t see any point in pushing it, enjoying the ride.

Great car the old Compact, big and comfy.

Pulled up outside the “The Hordern Hotel”, on the main street of town, and wandered into a small bar. Really quiet, not a sole in there, and this bloke comes  around and says to me “Come round this side” pointing through a doorway, so through I went, and he asked what I was drinking, and I said “nothing, I’ve come to see a bloke named “Goochie” ,who’s looking for a bloke to run his bars”.

He pipes up, “I’m Goochie” so I make myself known, and we have a chat, and I told him I’d never worked in a pub, or bar, in my life but had had my  fair share of drinking, at them.

He said “Okay I’ll give you a try, if you’re no good at the end of a fortnight, your gone” I said ” fair enough, if I’m no good at the end, of a week I’ll be gone.” We got on fine.

Then he tells me, the reason he wouldn’t talk to me in the bar, I first went into, was because that was the Aborigines bar, and that that, was the only bar, they were allowed into.

The Aborigines had only had the right, and freedom to drink, and go into bars for a couple of years, and they were segregated in most hotels. I won’t go into the reasons, for or against, here suffice to say that in 1968/69, this was pretty well the case throughout the West. One of the pubs in Narrogin, barred them completely.

We agreed that I’d start the following week, so I tootled back up to Perth, gave Nev his Compact back, and told them I’d be starting in the pub the coming Monday. I went home to my digs, I was staying with another car salesman, and his mother, in a nice house close to the city, told them that I’d got a job, in the bush and I’d be leaving at the weekend.

I arrived at the hotel on the Sunday, I can’t remember for the life of me how I got down there; I didn’t have any wheels of my own at the time. I think I must have gone down by bus, anyway it doesn’t really matter.

When I got there I was met by “Goochies” wife Rae, (they were a good team) and she  got me settled in, she gave me a nice big room, well, and comfortably, furnished and told me to make myself at home.

Little did I know it at the time, but it really did become my home.

There were two opening sessions on a Sunday, each of two hours, in  country towns of WA back then, but I didn’t go in for a drink that afternoon, I had to unpack, and settle in,  I was starting work first thing Monday morning.

Rae told me that she’d be there to show me the ropes, and to set the bar up at 9 am, the pub opened at 10.

I didn’t get any sleep that night. Not from thinking, or worrying about the job, that didn’t bother me at all.

Narrogin, as it turned out, was the half way mark on the railway between Perth, and Albany, it was here that the steam engines, did the shunting, and shuffling of goods wagons, all night long. I kid you not! 

I was washed out completely, and  when I put in my appearance in the morning, the rest of the staff, that’s the cook, and the waitresses and Rae, plus the yardman, all were laughing their silly heads off.

They knew what was going to happen to me, that first night, and didn’t warn me, so that they could have a laugh. I did manage to put away a damn fine breakfast though, the best food I’d had in years.

After breakfast, and I didn’t have to wash up, Rae took me to the bar, and gave me a run through. She asked if I’d ever pulled a beer, and I assured her that I’d never pulled a beer in my life, but I’d seen plenty pulled, so she told me  that I’d better beware, the customers always gave a new, untrained barman/maid, heaps but not to take any notice, they’d soon get bored; I told her that I’d be ‘Jake’.

It didn’t take long to remember the prices, and the cost of spirits/splits, was stuck on the cash registers, so I didn’t anticipate any problems. Rae was going to leave me, and throw me in the deep end at 10, when I opened the doors.

But before that at 9.30 on the dot, a quiet knock on the bar door, “That’s Bill” says Rae “he always pops in for a couple of whisky’s before opening time”; Bill was one of every pub in towns (there were 3 pubs) best customers. He owned a large furniture business, and was an alcoholic.

His first stop in the morning, was the pub on the other side of the railway line I think it was named ‘The Cornwall’, where he had his 2 whisky’s , then the other pub, up the road from us, can’t recall it’s name at the moment, for his 2 whisky’s, then across to the Hordern for 2 more. He did this 6 days a week!

In all the time I was in Narrogin, I never ever saw Bill drunk, he was always quiet, and polite, drank only Macleay Duff Whisky, and if we were out, he’d reluctantly drink White Horse.

I’ve never come across another drinker like Bill, once, late in the afternoon, when he’d probably got the best part of 2 bottles down him, I thought I’d fool him, when he came in for his 2, (always 2, never more, I think he thought we didn’t know what he was doing, going from one watering hole, to the next) and poured him a White Horse. Now I know he’d drink that in an emergency, but never if there was his Macleay Duff.

Anyway to cut the story short, I poured the White Horse, he took a pull, and called me over and said ” I don’t mind having White Horse, if you haven’t got Macleay, but don’t pull that stunt on me again!” After all he’d knocked off that day he still knew what he was drinking. That was Bill.

Ten o’clock came, and Rae opened up for me, and the troops came parading in, a lot of shift workers from night shift shunting, and I started taking orders, and pouring beer, like I’d been doing it forever, nobody picked me for a tyro, some asked where I’d worked and poured before, and I’d just say something like here, and there, you know what it’s like in this business.

Rae came up to me and said,  “You’ll be right no problems”, she left and I never saw her again until lunch time. Jean the barmaid joined me around 11.30 to help with the lunchtime rush. 

Goochie himself, arrived to give a hand, he took me down the cellar, showed me how to change the kegs, set the gas, and the general running of a cellar. He was a good teacher, and I was a willing pupil, I’d decided I liked this side of pub life.

And that will do for tonight!

27 thoughts on “The Hordern Hotel

  1. There, and I read it all, M’Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well done thou good and faithful servant; or something along those lines.

      Obviously it didn’t grab and enthrall you 😥

      Seems I never finished the tale, might just go ahead and do that now; punishment for all my negligent followers!

      Both of ’em!

      How’s the arm, everything okay now? No problems? You youngsters do heal pretty quickly and well,

      Pleased to see you back, didn’t have an email to contact you, find out how you were, always strikes me as strange the way we bloggers seem averse to handing out our e-mail addresses, I used to have mine on the blog site but it seems to have disappeared, must try and put it back,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You and John make me realise what a dull life I have led.

        Nah, my elbow healed improperly, so I am awaiting an appointment with the Goddess of Elbows, to see if she can get it out of the stubborn fixed 90 degree angle. It’s amazing what you can’t do when you can’t bend an elbow.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you can’t bend your elbow you die of thirst, bet you hadn’t thought of that.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hah! I have found I can use my left arm for that, just lucky we have 2 elbows, the wine industry will survive this hiccup in my life.

          We’re all waiting for the result of the onslaught on you and your colon.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I see god on the 3rd at 15.15 hours, at that time of the day he will be running at least an hour behind. After discussing whiskey, the state of our ALP he will probably tell me that they are none the wiser as they couldn’t see a damned thing. At 1400 hours on the same day I see Prof Kilian who wants to start chopping me up too, He wants my ticker, god wants whats left of my insides; they’ll be nothing left of me to go to the Gong Uni by the time they’re done! 😀 🐻

          Liked by 2 people

  2. My ex father-in-law taught me how to pour a beer Aussie style when I was still a teenager, and how to wash the glasses too. First bar job I got in the UK, I did as trained – beautiful head on that beer. The punter took a long look at it and asked, ‘could you fit a whisky in there?’ I took a long look, and answered, ‘S’pose I could,’ … ‘Well b—dy pour it properly!’ he ordered me. That’s when I learned they not only like their beer warm, but they prefer it flat too 🙂 Love your yarns – maybe you can ask if the Picoprep can be diluted in beer rather than water???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. unny you shoud mention that, the other week when Neill and I were having a drink at the Vic, after the barman had pulled Neill’s beer I took one look at it and asked ” can you get some lemonade in that? and he smiled and said sure, so I told him” well fill it up with bloody beer!’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So it’s a case of ‘you can take the Pom out of the Anderson Shelter, but you can’t take the shelter out of the Pom’ – or some other mixed metaphor?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Theres a photo somewhere on these pages of my sister and me with my dog Bob outside our Anderson Shelter after the war we were allowed to keep them and use them as garden sheds

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I expected no less. Bet you can still describe the sound of doodle-bugs too.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. How can they be forgotten. My sister was born the exact moment one crashed perhaps 100-150 yards behind our house and she still has the birthmark to prove it


    2. It is sacrilege to even contemplate diluting PicoPrep in beer so we’ll say no more about that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just trying to come up with helpful suggestions to get it down 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well you can blame Derrick, ‘e was rabbiting on about mud maps, and that got me a thinking about my walkabout time


  3. Reblogged this on LordBeariOfBow and commented:

    For those that are not yet bored stiff and have wondered how on earth or why I got into the booze business I thought I’d break the momentum / monotony of Shay Gap for a little and throw this at you; I’ve always liked to digress as some may have noticed; just as I like asides, big asides, little asides, and that’s a side of me that gets on many nerves 👿


    1. “She’s Jake'” meaning everything is okay. When something is working properly everything is Jake. I think it’s an old expression from the roaring twenty’s, might be Australian could be a Yankee one that we’ve taken up here with a vengeance

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That side of pub-life can be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YAY! 🙂
    How wonderful to have such a good teacher and to genuinely like what you are doing!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes True Carolyn,
      Seems that these re-blogs have started to pall on the few readers that I have, excepting you; so I might as well suspend them and just concentrate on putting all my memories and stuff together for Ruby & Poppy May, 😥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw. 😦
        Well, I sure have enjoyed them!
        And I will, of course, enjoy reading anything you post! 🙂
        :mrgreen: 😎 o_O 😉 😀 🐻 😈 ⭐ !!! 🙂


  6. I’ve been “on the road again” and just had a chance this morning to catch up. I’ve nothing to add to my earlier verbosity . . . but it doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gwen; wish I could get on the road again, Emma keeps trying to get me to head North, and here am I giving serious thought to surrendering my driving licence after 65 years
      I must admit I’m enjoying the revisits to those old posts and I’m trying to add more, have managed one

      Liked by 1 person

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