DAY 255: Finding a pub in a paddock

13 May

WE’VE already driven past ‘The Homestead’ – a makeshift saloon on some land 20 minutes out of Launceston, at which you can tether your horse and hit the turps, and now here’s a pub in a paddock.

The sisters boozing on in the main bar are cleaners by trade, and save up every cent to go travelling once a year to see something new – more vital than owning a house back in Geelong, they testify.

They’ve gawked at a woman swimming with snakes in a tank at the Moulin Rouge, sampled olive oil that made them weep in Italy, and travelled the length and breadth of Australia.

Now they’re visiting the Pub in a Paddock (famed secondarily for Priscilla the Beer Drinking Pig) near St Columba Falls, and are quizzing locals on why it’s alleged most Tasmanians have two heads, while screaming in unison at the antics of “local character” Dale.

Dale could be a bushman from any of the black and white photos of loggers and pioneers lining the walls. He sports an unkempt beard, swagman’s hat, a holey jumper, and pants, from the legs of which pepper berries keep a-rolling. He’s keen to disprove the idea that Tasmanians are only interested in inbreeding, and so sings bawdy sea shanties and keeps up a relentless offensive on one sister, who he reckons he’s on a promise with. For every remark about places she should smear her gravy, though, Diane gives it back twice as hard. It’s like porno ping-pong.

Bruce didn't have the same finesse as Dale.

The barman supplies me with a bottle of light beer for a dollar and we all troop outside with a torch to feed Priscilla. (It’s okay, the RSPCA have approved the light beer; although they may not have endorsed 12 bottles a day.)

Priscilla’s not playing ball, having gone to bed, so I climb the fence and try to rouse her — but ominous growling from the sleeping quarters quickly sends me packing again.

Keeper? Best pub ever.

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