"It depends how many wrinkles are on 'em. Some of 'em, I'm flat out shearing 110 in a day."
"Jesus mate, I probably would be able to shear 50 a day in 'em."
"Ya gotta' get used to 'em first mate. It's a different style of shearing."
Just then, Bill walked in the Lounge and said with a big smile,
"Yorky mate, did you get my missus drunk tonight?"
"No fucking way mate. She didn't need any help, she did it all on her own. We just bought the drinks for her. Is she alright?"
"Yeah, she flaked out on the couch. She couldn't make it upstairs."
"Are ya upset mate?"
"No fucking way Yorky. She was too drunk to nag at me. That's a good thing."
"Ya want a drink Bill?"
"Yeah, a lager and a whiskey chaser but I'm buying Yorky. I'm gonna' have a peaceful night tonight thanks to you. How much do I owe you for Shirleys' drinks?"
"Get fucked Billy!"
The following week, Bill got himself a new wool roller. His name was Bruce and he came from Brisbane. He never had much to do with shearing sheds in his life. He was what we called a city bloke.
In Australia, Once the fleece is off the sheeps' back, it gets thrown onto the table and then 'skirted' to remove any 'dags'. It's then put in a bin, ready for the presser to press it into a large bale. In England, all they do is roll the fleece up and put it into a big hessian sack.
Bill showed Bruce how to roll up the fleeces and how to tie them. Along with rolling fleeces, Bruce also had to drag the sheep out of a pen, onto the shearing stand which was, admittedly, not the easiest job.
It didn't take long for me to realize that Bruce was a lazy bastard and a bit of a con man. On this particular day, we were shearing on the Salsbury Plain in Wiltshire. Billy had told Bruce to drag sheep for me that day. I made sure that I kept him working flat out.
In those days, I could shear most English sheep in under a minute. Bruce had a hard time keeping up with me. The field we were shearing in had a huge monument in it called STONEHENGE. At smoke time, myself and mi shearing mates sat in the Stonehenge circle with out backs to some of the stones, drinking a beer and eating our sandwiches that Shirley had made for us.
It wasn't until years later that I heard that Stonehenge was, supposedly, a mystical place that the Druids used for their ceremonies. As I sat there, eating mi smoko, Bruce came up to me and said,
"Hey Yorky, you've gotta' slow down mate. I'm fucked! I can't keep this up all day."
"So why don't ya fucking quit mate? Ya don't tell a shearer to slow down. That's how I know ya bullshitted Kinghorn when ya said ya worked in the sheds in Queensland."
"Well I did work in my Uncles' shed for a couple of hours, one time."
"Hey Bruce, I shore at quite a few sheds in Queensland so I know what I'm talking about mate. You wouldn't last two fucking minutes in a shed out back a' Quilpy. Those fucking shearers out there would eat ya for fucking dinner!"
After smoko, we had our heads down and our arses up, going flat out as we had a lot of sheep to get through that day as Bill didn't want to come back next day just for a couple of sheep. Bruce was slacking off, standing around laughing and joking with some of the local women that Bill employed every year to roll wool.
When my hand-piece wasn't cutting wool, I wasn't making money. I said to Bill,
"Ya gotta' give me another bloke to drag sheep for me. That Bruce is is a lazy fucking bastard. He wouldn't work in an iron fucking lung! Why did ya give the bastard a job anyway?"
"It's hard to find wool-rollers at this time of year Yorky. He assured me he'd been in the sheds before."
"Yeah well, he's a bullshit artist mate. Give him to Warren, he's the slowest shearer. He might be able to keep up with him."
"Alright Yorky mate, I'll get ya a better man to drag 'em out for ya."
"Oh and by the way Bill, I'd keep a good eye on the bastard if he's camping out at your place or he'll be after ya missus."
"Ya think so mate?"
"No mate, I know so. Every time I look up, he's bullshittin' those local women."
That evening we all decided to drink at the Manor as Steve said he had noticed the same cop car parked at the end of Bills' driveway with their lights out. They were obviously still pissed off that I'd got away from them.
Towards the end of the evening, Steve walked back across the road to Bills' place to get some more money as he had run out. When he got back to the bar he said to me, in an excited voice,
"Yorky mate, you're not gonna' believe what I just saw!"
"What are ya on about mate?"
"Bruce Yorky. Him and Shirley are drinking in the front room. They're sat on the couch, real close, laughing and joking together. I think he's trying to get a root out of her. Ya think we should tell Bill?"
"No mate. It's none of our business what she does. She's a grown woman. I can tell ya from experience mate, never stick ya nose into a situation like that or you'll end up getting covered in shit ya self."
It was only a short time later that Billy walked up to me at the bar, with panic in his voice and said,
"Yorky mate, come outside with me will ya? You're not gonna' believe this!"
"What's the matter Billy? Have ya seen a ghost of something?"
"No, it's much worse than that."
Once we were outside he said,
"Let's walk down this way a bit so we can't be seen."
"Where are we going mate? Who are we hiding from?"
"I'll show ya."
We walked across the road to the wall at the end of Bills' house as he said,
"Don't make a sound!"
"Alright mate, but what's going on?"
We snuck up the side of the wall until we got to the window of the lounge room. Billy peeped in the side of the window and then said to me,
"Take a look mate."
"All right mate, move outa' the way so I can see."
Being careful not to be seen, I looked in the window. There was Bruce and Shirley laid out on the couch, kissing each other. Bruce had his hand up Shirleys' skirt.
"Fucking hell Bill! The bastards trying to shag ya missus. How did ya find out without being seen?"
"I was thinking about what ya said today about not trusting the fucker so I dropped the girlfriend off early tonight and instead of going into the house, I snuck around to the front here just to see what Shirley was doing. What d'ya think I should do Yorky?"
"Well if I was you mate, I'd sneak into the house and catch 'em in the act. I'm off back into the Manor."
Once I was back at the bar, Steve said to me,
"What's going on Yorky? Bill looked real worried. Did he get caught drinking and driving?"
"No mate, he just caught Bruce on the couch with his hand up Shirleys skirt."
"Ya fucking kidding me mate."
"I kid you not Steve."
"So what's Billy doing? Is he pissed?"
"I don't know mate. I didn't want to get involved so I left him to it."
"Jesus Christ, I knew they were up to something when I went back to the house to get mi money."
Half an hour later, Bruce walked up to the bar with a half-smile smirk on his face and ordered a pint.
"What are you fucking smiling at Bruce?", I asked.
"Bill just caught me trying to root Shirley."
"So you think that's something to smile about mate?"
"Yeah it was funny. Ya won't think it's funny if he knocks ya arse over head mate."
"He's not gonna' do that or he'd have already done it. He just told me to get out a' the house and then he started yelling at Shirley."
"Yeah, well ya know what Bruce, fuck off and drink somewhere else mate. Bill's our mate and we don't like bastards like you."
"Yeah, go drink in the other room Bruce or I might job ya miself.", said Warren
A short time later, Billy walked back into the bar.
"Ya wanna' beer Bill?", asked Sarah.
Yeah, a pint of lager and a whisky chaser."
Once Sarah had put the drinks on the bar, Bill said to me,
"Can I talk to ya in private Yorky?"
"Sure mate. Let's go sit at one of those tables."
Bill downed half of the lager in a couple of gulps and then said,
"I'm fucking stunned Yorky! I can't believe Shirley would fuck around on me like that, especially with that fucking loser, Bruce."
"What can I tell ya mate, shit happens."
"Yeah, but we've been married for 10 years mate. How can I ever trust the bitch again?"
"Have ya ever heard if 'what goes around' Bill?"
"Course I have but this is different! It's Shirley, mi missus!"
"Hey Billy, I love ya and all that and I feel for ya mate but haven't ya been shagging that girlfriend of yours for months?", I said.
"What's that gotta' do with anything? I'm a bloke.That's what we do."
"Maybe Shirley thinks what's good for the goose is good for the gander?"
"Not in my fucking house Yorky. She's the mother of mi kids!"
"Then, I don't know what to tell ya Bill. What about Bruce? Why didn't ya knock that slimy bastard arse over?"
"I can't really do that Yorky, I'm short of wool rollers. If I do that and he quits on me, I'll be in the shit."
"Well if ya gonna keep the bastard on the payroll the least ya can do is make him sleep outside in one of the caravans when we're local shearing and don't let him in the house for breakfast. Feed him outside with the fucking dogs."
"What a good idea Yorky."
"I think so mate. Go over to where he's sitting and tell him the good news. That'll wipe the smile off his face."
Billy finished his pint, downed his whiskey chaser in one hit and said,
"I can't stand women who cheat on me!"
Wargret Manor was only 15 yards way from Kinghorns' back door. Myself and my 2 Kiwi shearing mates, Steve and Warren had no legitimate complaints, apart from the prices. I really enjoyed spending my evenings there as the customers were 'Up-scale Drunks'.
One evening, Sarah the owner, said to me,
"Yorky, Kinghorn tole me you're pretty good on the guitar, is that right?"
"I'm not bad Sarah. Why? What do you have in mind, a party?"
"Well, sort of. I've got a group of older ladies in our big room. It's their annual diner and I thought you might consider entertaining them for half an hour or so."
"Yeah Sarah, no worries love. that could be good fun."
"I should warn you first Yorky, the youngest one's about 70. They're a pretty raunchy crowd."
"That won't worry me. I've been known to get a bit raunchy miself at times."
"Give me another pint of lager and a couple for mi mates and I'll head across to Bills' place and get the guitar."
'This is gonna' be a good night.', I thought as I headed over to Bills' place. This will put me in good with Sarah. Who knows, there may be a bit of a root in it for me at the end of the evening. She seems to like me quite a bit.
"Yorky, What are you doing back so early?", asked Shirley as I walked into the house.
"I just came to get the guitar. They're having a bit of a party at the Manor. Why don't you come across for a while and have a drink? It'll do you good."
"I'd like to Yorky but I don't have a baby sitter for Alister."
"Is he asleep?"
"Yeah, for now."
"Well, you can pop back every half hour and check on him."
"You know what Yorky, I might just do that. Is Billy over there?"
"No love, he took off somewhere. He said he'd be back soon."
"Yeah, like 'early in the morning' soon."
Guitar in hand, I headed out the door and said,
"See ya over there Shirl."
"I gotta' get dressed first. I'll be there in half an hour."
Back in Wargret Manor, my pint of lager was waiting for me on the bar.
"Hey Yorky mate.", said Steve. "Are we having a party?"
"It sure looks like it Steve-O."
"That's great. It'll remind me of all the wild Maori parties back home in Kiwi land."
"Yeah, I know what ya mean. I've been to a lot of 'em miself. I never met a Maori yet who couldn't sing and play a guitar. I liked it best when they sang their cultural songs in Maori."
"Me too Yorky."
"Ya know, I spent a Xmas in the North Island with an old shearing mate of mine called Boy Peck. It was one of the best times I've ever had. They put down this massive Hungi and had 10 kegs of beer. The party lasted for seven fucking days. No one went home, they just crashed wherever they could and when they woke up they just carried on partying."
"Have you to the guitar Yorky?", asked Sarah as she came back in the lounge bar.
"I sure have. It's tuned up and ready to go."
"I'll just get this couple their drinks and then we'll go into the other room and I'll introduce you to Warehams' Senior Ladies Club."
Once we were in the dining room, Sarah hit the side of a beer glass with a spoon and said,
"Ladies, Ladies, quiet please. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Yorky. He's from Australia and he's very kindly agreed to entertain you with his guitar, so let's give him a Wargret Manor welcome with some clapping."
"It's all yours Yorky.", said Sarah as she put the empty beer glass and spoon on the table.
Now, I gotta' tell ya, this group of around 30 ladies were not your ordinary conservative elderly old ladies. Every single one of them were wearing their Sunday best and were as drunk as monkeys.
As soon as I strummed the first chord, they started to hoot and holler. The first song I played and sang was Tom Jones' Green Green Grass of Home. As soon as I finished they clapped and hotted even louder. The next song I sang was an old Elvis song, The Wonder of You. Half-way through the song, Sarah brought me in another pint of larger and sat it on the table and said,
"Thanks Yorky, they're loving it."
Once the Elvis song was finished, one of the ladies shouted out,
"Can you play something more lively?"
"Sure love, what would you like to hear?"
Another older lady shouted out,
"Can you play any dirty ditties?"
"I can, but there's a lot of swearing in them and they're pretty raunchy."
"That's what we want to hear!", shouted another old girl. "We're all spinsters here tonight and we need a bit of raunchy stuff to remind us of when we were young."
I was a bit apprehensive at first but then I thought,
'Oh well, fuck it. If you get offended, you asked for it.'
My first song was Maggie May. There's a line in the song about those old red tattered drawers that Maggie wore. When I got to the line about how they were wet all down the front from the dripping of her cunt, I missed out the word 'cunt'. To my surprise, a roomful of old girls shouted out at the top of their voices, 'CUNT!" From that point on, it was all systems go. The more foul language that I sang, the more they loved it. Halfway through one of the baudy ballads, one of them go up on the table and removed her 'granny knickers' and swung them round and round her head. At that point, the whole room started clapping and cheering the old girl who was so drunk and happy as a pig in shit! At the end of the ballad I shouted out to her,
"You must have been a bit of a goer in your youth!"
"I still am!", she shouted back. "Look what you've done to me. Ya sang the bloomers off me."
Once I'd run out of songs, which took a half-hour or so, I thanked my audience of old girls and went back to the lounge bar.
"Yorky, that was absolutely fantastic and so generous of you.", said Sarah. "Those old ladies will remember this night for the rest of their lives."
"Are you behaving yourself Yorky?", said a female voice behind me.
When I turned around, there was Bills' missus. She had done her hair, applied some makeup and wore a pretty that showed a bit of cleavage.
"Shirl, how are ya mi love? What can I get you to drink?"
"Vodka and orange sounds good Yorky, if ya don't mind."
"Course I don't mind Shirl, why would I?"
"Well Wargret Manor is known for its' prices."
"Oh fuck that Shirley, who cares. We're making money a ton of money shearing. Besides, it's a working holiday."
Both Warren and Steve, who were by this time quite drunk, chimed in and said,
"Yeah, fuck the expense Shirley. It's our shout. You cook our meals and wash our greasy dungarees so you're not allowed to buy any drinks tonight. Order whatever you like, we're paying."
"That's very sweet of you boys. It's lovely to be appreciated for a change."
"No worries Shirley.", I said. "Here ya go love, One large vodka and orange. Have as many as you like."
The night progressed along well and everyone, including Billys' missus, were having a great time. At one point, Shirley who was a little bit on the drunk side started to tell me her marriage problems which made it a bit awkward.
After a while, I said,
"Shirl, Billy's mi shearing and although I feel for ya, what can I say love? I gotta' stay neutral cause I'm good friends with both of ya so let's change the subject eh."
"You're absolutely right Yorky.", she said with a bit of a slur in her speech. "I shouldn't have put you in that position. That wasn't fair."
"No worries Shirl, forget about it."
A short time later, I saw her talking to Steve. By the look on his face I could tell what they were discussing.
"Let me get you another Lager Yorky.", said Sarah.
"Good on ya Sarah.", I said and emptied my glass.
While I was sat at the bar talking to warren about New Zealand, a bloke who had been sat at the bar for a couple of hours tipping them back, said to me,
"So you blokes are shearing for Kinghorn are ya?"
"Yeah, that's right mate."
He looked older than me and was roughly about my size.
"Ya think you're a smart bastard don't ya, just because you can shear sheep and make a ton of money."
"Why do ya say that mate? I don't remember saying anything wrong to you sport?"
"Ya haven't", he replied.
"So why would ya say something like that? Ya don't even know me."
"Cause I don't fucking like you."
"Well that's alright mate. Nobody says you have to like me. That's up to you."
Warren, who had been listening to the bloke mouthing off said,
"Hey mate, leave us alone. Were not bothering you are we?"
"Yeah you are, as a matter of fact."
"Forget about him Warren, have another Lager. Give us your glass mate, I'll buy ya one.", I said.
Five minutes later, the bloke started again and said to me,
"You think you're a big shot don't you? Buying drinks for every one."
"Listen mate, I don't know who the fuck you are and what your problems are but if you keep running ya bullshit on me, I'll fucking knock ya arse over head! Do you understand what I'm telling ya sport?"
"Fuck you, you bastard. I'd like to see you try!"
By this time, the few people who were left in the Lounge had noticed what was happening and the nose level had dropped a few decibels.
"Would you like to say that again mate? Why do you think I can't? Just go home mate."
"Fuck you, don't tell me what to do!"
That was it! It was obvious to me that this bloke, whoever he was, had every intention of ruining a great night out. I drank the last dregs of Lager, then put the glass on the bar. I turned around fully to face the bloke and said,
"Last warning mate, Fuck Off home while ya still in one piece."
"Fuck you! Are you going to make me?"
"Yeah.", I said. "I am!"
Without any further warning, I drove a well-aimed right at the bridge of his nose and splattered it across his face. The bridge of his nose was now reshaped flat as he went flying backwards off the stool. Blood was pissing out all over the floor. The bloke was laid out on the floor, not knowing what hit him.
"Give me a hand Warren."
"Sure Yorky, anything mate."
"Help me drag this loud mouthed bastard out the back."
Once we had him out back, I said to Warren,
"Lay the bastard on the lawn so he doesn't bleed all over the concrete path."
The bloke started to moan as he came to. The last words I had with him were,
"I fucking warned ya not to fuck with me mate but ya wouldn't listen. if ya come back inside and bother me or any of my mates, I'll give ya another fucking dose. Now go home like I told ya!"
This time no 'fuck you' came out of him. He was too busy moaning,
"Ya broke my nose, ya broke my nose."
That was the last I ever saw of the bloke.
Back inside, Sarahs' brother, Raymond, was still mopping up the blood from where the bloke had hit the deck.
"Thanks for that Yorky. He's been bothering some of my other customers ever since he walked in. I was wondering how I was going to get rid of him, without getting hurt."
"You're welcome Raymond, anytime mate."
As I sat back down on mi stool, Sarah placed another lager in front of me and said,
"Thank you. He's been asking for that all night. He got abusive with me, once I told him I wasn't going to serve him anymore."
"Oh well, he won't be abusing anyone else for a while, that's for sure."
Bills' missus wobbled up to me with a shocked look on her face and a large drink in her hand and said,
"Are you all right Yorky?"
"Yeah, I'm good Shirl. How're you going?"
"Oh my goodness, I've never seen like that in my life. I think you broke his nose."
"I'll be disappointed if I didn't Shirl."
"Why did he start picking on you for no reason?"
"I have no idea love but he's probably still out back if ya want to ask him."
"Oh no, I'm not comfortable around people like that."
"Neither am I Shirl. I grew up in the Outback and no matter how much grog a man drinks, it's no excuse to disrespect another man. That is, unless ya want a smack in the chops. Drink up love, I'll buy ya another drink."
"No way Yorky. Thanks for offering. I can hardly stand up as it is. I'd better go after I finish this one or I'll be so hung over in the morning I won't be able to make breakfast."
"Fucking shit.", said Steve as soon as Shirley had gone to find a seat. "What a fucking punch Yorky mate! Did ya see that blokes' nose splatter and the blood that came out?"
"That's what I aimed for mate. I wasn't gonna' mess up mi good clothes rolling around the floor with that fucking yobo."
"How did it start mate?"
"He just started disrespecting me for no reason at all."
"I guess he didn't need a reason. Did it bother ya, hitting him that hard?"
"Not one fucking bit mate."
"It must be a tough life in the Outback of Australia, is it?"
"Well, it's not fucking easy mate but life's not too fucking easy no matter where ya live, is it?", I said.
"No, I suppose not Yorky."