A Noel Guthrie Acrylic on canvas

A Noel Guthrie Acrylic on canvas
The Cockabully Hunters --- from an original painting by Noel Guthrie

Thursday, 11 August 2011

friday 12th August 2011

The Albury Hotel is located on the edge of the Mackenzie Country, in the Central South Island of New Zealand, about 60 ks nth/west of Timaru.  Still standing today, in 2011, it has many more years of life in the old place yet.  Many years ago it was my home town, or village if you like. Away in the background you can see the old Albury Store, or what's left of it.  It is still used today, but not as a store.  Some enterprising young bloke had ideas of turning it into a back packers, but nothing seemed come of it, but yet you never know what's around the corner.  The old store can recite a few stories, however I'll leave them for another day.  But back to the pub, I have many fond memories of that, not as a drinker, no publican would ever get rich on the takings from my pocket, I'm an original skinflint from away back.  The pub was built around the end of the 1800s, being the second to be erected.  I remember the publican, a wonderful lady by the name of Mary Gibson, she  served behind the bar in all the years I lived in the district.  I was born in the village in 1937 and I left the township about 20 years later and I think from memory Mary was the publican for about 40 or so years.  Since Mary death several have had a go behind the bar, but none have ever been able match Mary Gibson as a bartender.  I can recall when the young women school teachers used to stay at the hotel during my very young years.  Of course all the budding young cockies would be hanging around the hotel like bees around a honey pot, and Mary acted like a stern old chaperon, chasing those randy young bucks from the door.  A few must have made their mark however, for a good number of them seem to have ended up as farmers wives. 
I can recall embarrassing my mother during the early 1940s.  Mum used to invite some of the young teachers home for an evening meal sometimes in the weekends.  This particular evening, mum had done everything just right, she put on a spread fit for a King, or a school teacher as it was in this case.  However she forgot about her kids.  At that stage it was only my sister Doris and myself.  Now we had never seen the likes, mum was out to make a big impression on these two girls.  One of the things she laid out was a butter plate with this flash silver butter knife.  Yes, you know what I'm going to say don't you.  I pointed at this dish with the fancy little knife, "what do you do with this thing mum?"  As mum told all her friends later, she reckons she could have screwed my bloody neck.  From what I can recall the teachers all thought it was a great joke.

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