Ring My Bell

overcoming fear of the blank page

Going for a walk to Kings Cross on Sunday, my pal and I found ourselves at Woollomooloo. It happens. We by-passed the (very famous) Harry’s pie cart, past the (very renovated and dull looking) Wooloomooloo Bay Hotel and strolled straight into the Bells Hotel.

How this outback-Australiana-olde worlde-pubiness-pub survives in this location I can’t understand. Many years ago some buddies and I drove from Lismore to Tenterfield for reasons which escape me now, but I do remember it involved a 21st birthday at the school at Mummulgum. Anyway, on this road trip, we passed through a town called Drake, a town which was so low-class backwater Deliverance scary that we wound our windows up and sped up just a notch. It was palpably different to all the other rather nice country towns we drove through. I’m not saying that the Bells Hotel is as scary as Drake – but it is completely incongruous in its location.

AND it serves XXXX Gold on tap.

My pal put ten bucks through a poker machine while I read the local Sydney City Council propaganda. The cricket was on. An old geezer took ten minutes to walk from the door to the bar and the barman came round and gave him a stool. The girlfriend/wife/drinking buddy of the barman was wearing short shorts and white sneakers and had hair the colour of skank. It was all I could want on a Sunday afternoon drinking session.

On returning from the gents, my pal said that the toilets were as olde worlde as the rest of the pub.

“Is it a long drop?” I asked.

“No,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “Has it got one of those pull chain cisterns?”

He paused. “No,” he said. “I guess it’s just an old toilet.”

Unfazed, I visited the ladies toilets. I was transported back to country towns and school toilets of my youth. Check out these awesome tiles.

The ladies toilets did, in fact, have a pull chain cistern, and also some really poignant graffiti (for ‘poignant’ read ‘pissed’).

The graffiti reads

Angelique 07
loves glamma
and goggles

Well. That’s nice, Angelique 07.

Someone was so enamoured of this poem they wrote it twice.

AND ALL THE MIRRORS, RUSTED AND FLAKED
ARE SMUDGED WITH HARLEQUIN PAINT
And all the mirrors, rusted and flaked,
Are smudged with harlequin paint

I guess Angelique’s friend felt the need to yell it out the first time and then repeat it quietly, sadly, looking down to her left, her hands clasped in front of her. Just for effect.

Thanks Bells. You were a lovely Sunday sesh.

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2 Responses

  1. Should you ever find yourself in Stawell, Victoria, I recommend checking out the Stawell stalls on their High St – very reminiscent of these Bell beauties, with coloured tiles, high ceilings, and old-school ceramics bowls. Clean, servicable, free … much less chance of a XXXX when you’re done though.

  2. It’s so true that the pub has survived. Great little pub.

    I went to Kit+Kaboodle last night. Might I recommend the toilets on Level 2. Not quite as impressive as Beresford but tres glam.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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