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Name: knitabulous
Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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The tale of the luckiest publican in Queensland

24 Aug 2005

Imagine for a moment you are a female manager of a pub in a bush town some 800 km from the nearest city, Toowoomba. Now Toowomba is hardly what we would call an urban oasis, there is a population of less than 200,000 in this town. However I digress. We're not talking about Toowomba, we're talking about somewhere 800 km away.

Imagine you are running your little watering hole somewhere between Roma and thea armpit of the earth. You are trying to do the place up a bit. You buy some tiles for the kitchen and the toilets, but there's no tiler in town. You try to get a tiler to come in from the nearest town, but did not have much luck so you gave up after a couple of months. The tiles lay in boxes stacked up on the floor.

You could do with a new driveway, but there's no concrete company who will lug a cement mixer truck out here to the middle of nowhere so you just put up with the red dirt and the dust and the dry and hope for the best.

Out the back there is potential for a camping area. There are powered sites. Or rather, they would be powered if only the cowboy electrician who did a runner in the middle of the night after taking a thousand dollar deposit had have installed the circuit properly. But it's all ready to go, if only we could get a tradesman to come and do the work.

Your little town consists of a pub, a bakery and a general store. Sometimes you wonder what the hell you're doing here really.

So there's this concreter who lives on the eastern seaboard of NSW. Every two years, he takes his mate Bobby the carpenter, Billy the Electrician, Dave the plumber and Paulie the tiler on the now infamous outback adventure. He takes a generator, a boat or two, several fridges, food supplies, fuel and camping equipment and they drive to the Northern Territory.

Their journey takes them to the most remote and beautiful places in the world. They fish for Barramundi, spot crocodiles, visit aboriginal communities where no english is spoken. They see for themselves the harsh and brash beauty that the wild of Australia really is.

But first they gotta get there. It's a bloody long drive. And unfortunately, the stupid truck blows up in the middle of this tiny godforsaken town in the middle of nowhere, about 800 km from Toowomba. Enquiries indicate that the part necessary to repair the truck must come from Toowomba and will take at least a week.

So what do they do? They walk into the nearest pub to see if they can stay there for a week while they wait for the spare part to arrive.

Imagine how you feel when out of the blue on day while you're polishing your beer glasses waiting for the four regulars to arrive, in walks a tiler, a plumber, an electrician and a concreter - all stranded for a week?

This is what happened to my dad the concreter. Last week he celebrated his 60th birthday on his 4th day in the town. The local bakery made him a cake and the town had a party for him. The publican got all her tiling finished, the sites got powered and water connected and she got a new driveway from 50 bags of cement mixed by hand by my dad and his mates. They got a free week's board and I hazard a guess at a gazillion free gallons of beer.

Henceforth, my dad's truck shall be knows as Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

I didn't quite catch the name of the town when I heard the story, but when I do I shall update this post.

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