The other day my nephew who works at Gladfield Malt got into a bit of trouble when having a party while his parents were away on holiday which brought back some memories of when I was young.
One of the drawbacks I found growing up on a farm was that you never knew when the Old man would go on holiday. He used to say, “You’ve got to make hay while the sun shines young lad, better off being in the hay paddock thinking about a holiday than being on holiday thinking about the hay.”
The trouble was, it wasn’t just the hay the old man liked being around, there was the lambing, the harvesting, the shearing, not to mention dipping and dagging. Poor Mum had a lot of ducks to line up before she could get to the beach.
It was the Autumn of 89 a year I’ll never forget, I was 16, ten foot tall and bulletproof. It was a good harvest that year and the old man was in high spirits. He should have known it wouldn’t last, especially a wise old man like him, but I guess he had just got too complacent.
I remember it clear as a bell, he said to Mum “righto darling I’m taking you on Holiday, you kids better sharpen up and look after the place, remember the Rams in the top paddock are running low on feed and no parties”!
That was the Old man’s first mistake you see he never told us when he was planning on coming home.
As the Old man said, you have to make hay while the sun shines, so I didn’t waste any time. In 1989 there wasn’t any cell phones or social media we were still on a party line and it wasn’t long before I found out why it was called a party line! It was way more efficient than social media.
I got on the phone and rang my mate, “Guess what I’m having a party not just any party but a real party! You better get around here fast and help me organise it”. He didn’t need a lot of encouragement.
I was determined that I was going to have the mother of all parties. I wanted to make my mark, I was sick of living in the shadow of my older brother and sister. Well, I made my mark all right!
Things started out pretty quiet and by 9:00 o’clock on the night of the party I was starting to think it was going to be all a big flop especially when my mate Fatty Jenkins turned up with a tin of biscuits which his Old lady had made. I was angry with Jenkins, we didn’t need food we needed more alcohol! But the funny thing was there was something about those chocolate brownies that really seemed to move things along and things quickly became a blur after we started tucking into them.
By 10:00 o’clock the party was beginning to hum. The Country girls club had turned up along with half the local netball club. They were a bit confused, apparently my mate Johnno had told his sister that it was a Tupperware party, but the chocolate brownies went down well with them and it wasn’t long before they started to cut loose.
By 11:00 o’clock the local pub had closed and there seemed to be a lot of people turn up out of the woodwork all of a sudden and they all had flagons! (remember it was rural Dunsandel 1989).
At 12:00 o’clock the McNeil Brothers who made up most of our senior rugby team decided to put a scrum down in the middle of the living room and in their enthusiasm managed to ram the youngest of the McNeil Brothers head through the kitchen wall. (Dad had always wanted a servery into the living room).
By this time things were starting to get a bit rowdy and the local police constable (everyone liked him he was a friendly copper) decided to pay a visit. Luckily, he took a bit of a shine to my older sister and was whisked away before he could stop us from setting fire to the Old man’s woodshed which seemed a grand idea at the time.
Looking back, it was amazing how fast things got out of control after that.
As you may have guessed the Old man decided to come home early from his holiday which was a bit of a bad move on his part.
There are several morals to this story, the one that stands out most to me is that apples don’t tend to the role too far from the tree so never be surprised about your offspring, genetics is an incredible thing! The next generation is never as bad as we think we just have selective memories sometimes.
The second thing is life is short, so always make hay while the sun shines!
And the third thing to remember is that beer with Gladfield Malt inside is always the life of the party! 😊
Thanks for supporting our malts and I am always keen to hear from you.
Maltster and Director of Gladfield Malt