Hi Toff Here: As I stepped from my best Jaguar in the Westies car park I thought here we go again.
There they all were, huddled around looking old and world weary.
My name is ‘The Toff’, I’m a big headed better than you Compositor.
I gave myself that name and I come from a long line of English Robber Barons.
First person to greet me was Honky Tonk who looked up and said, “you’re looking very pale Toff” What a bastard he is.
I snuck through to the Dining Area without having to buy anyone a drink. I’ve managed to do that at every Luncheon I’ve been to.
And I feel very good about it, even if they call me a ‘tightarse’ or that ‘C’ word.
John Manfield gave a nice little entertaining speech on his time living at the Adelaide Zoo when he was a kid.
We learnt how the Manfields lived off East End bread, greens, potatoes, carrots, River Torrens Giant Yabbies and Adelaide Zoo peanuts that the monkeys chucked away and Manfield stole of a night time.
Oh! And the time the Zoo Rhino urinated all over the State Governor.
Trevor Roberts and wife Barbara showed up. I guess Trevor will rejoin the Roosters after their illegal Grand Final win.
Kym Morrison finally made an appearance and what a breath of fresh air he was. Boy! Can he talk
He spent most of his time dumping on poor old and bald David Walker.
Don Woolman told a story of a machine minder who brought a service revolver into work to show his mates and was arrested for planing to kill the Government Printer.
Late withdrawals: Jenny Easther, hip operation; Judy Marks has got a crook pooch and Dennis Duthie was having a knee replacement (again0.
The T off
Our Alex Riley (The Toff) was a frequent visitor to Government House, Adelaide during his time at the Old Guv.
Numerous stories abound about his grovelling to the Queen’s Representative in South Australia.
During his visits selling Christmas cards to the Government House staff he managed to acquire some lovely items of silverware to grace the Riley mansion at Bridgewater.
However, on this day in 1998, this pathetic and lonely photo was taken at Government House as Alex was about to welcome an old mate back to Adelaide.
John Winston Howard, our beloved Prime Minister was delighted to catch up with Alex who had once polished the great man’s shoes in Rundle Mall.
Last year Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills was hit with a hail storm accompanied with the worst winds in 20 years.
The mercury plunged to around 0.9 degrees around 11.00am.
In the past 12 weeks 553mm of rain has fallen up here.
We had four trees lopped at the top and branches were strewn about like feathers and some acted as spears entering the soft ground by up to 100 to 150mm.
The hail lasted around 20 hours before melting. Our power supply was off for approximately 14 hours.
Fortunately, the Rileys have a combustion wood heater, but no fan.
Les Hawes to Alex Riley
“Laddy! I am the the Government Printer – don’t you ever, ever. answer me back – do you understand?” “And I will be watching you very closely.”
Alex Riley (trembling) to Les Hawes
“Yes Sir, it will never happen again. I hope.”
Ron Evans to Jack Wells
“Jack it is better to arrive late – than not arrive at all.”
Nobby Clark to the Jobbing staff
“The next person who whistles that bloody “Joey’s Song”, I will personally sack.”
Edgar Andrews to Alex Riley
“Alex, MR HAWES IS THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER and he wants to see you now! Not bloody later”.
Fred Hardwicke to Ron Evans
“It’s my little job (foreign order) Ron. So, fuck off out of it!”
Ron Evans in reply to Fred Hardwicke.
“Oh! I’m very Sorry Fred.”
Ron Evans to Frank Harding
“Frank it is several minutes before knock off time. Mr James would NOT like to see you with your coat on way before the knock-off bell.”
Frank Harding back to Ron Evans
“But Mr Evans I have been wearing it all day as it is been so cold in here.”
Ron Evans to Alex Riley during overtime
“Alex, I do hope you haven’t been factory drinking tonight?”
Alex Riley back to Ron Evans
“No Sir, Mr Evans as you can see the beer bottle tops are all from interstate.”
Les Hawes to Alex Riley
“So I see that you have placed an order for two gallons of petrol. What, did you go to Victor Harbor?”
UNKNOWN to all Staff
“Henceforth the Old Guv shall be known as the Home for Incurables.”
Alex Riley in reply to Les Hawes
“No Mr Hawes I had to return some cake trays to Balfours Bakery up in Rundle Street”.”
Les Hawes shouts back at Alex Riley
“You did what? You will get NO petrol from me!”
Fred Hardwicke to Peter Sheppard
“None of my staff will be setting up your daughter’s wedding invitation so fuck off and ask someone else!”
A ridiculous dispute over Alex Riley not sweeping up some flame tree leaves off the pavement outside the Old Government Printing Office in King William Road some 54 years ago has been finally settled.
On the one hand we had a snotty nosed apprentice Alex (the Toff) claiming that Brian (Grubby) Hartshorne (Senior Apprentice) had set him up by scattering flame tree leaves on the pavement after Alex had supposedly cleaned them up.
Alex got into trouble with the Government Printer, Les (The Bull) Hawes who had screamed at Alex and accused him of being an incompetent lazy idiot and what’s more a Liar.
All which was true, of course
Grubby Hartshorne denied any involvement in the flame tree incident and continued to do so for the next 54 years.
This incident has given Alex thousands of sleepless nights whilst Grubby has gone on blissfully unaware of the pain he may or may not have inflicted on the now 70+ year old Toff.
And then after over 54 years of cowardly silence and inaction Alex finally fronted Brian at an Old Guv Legends Luncheon.
Brian being the happy go lucky bloke that he is finally owned up about his guilt, by saying. YES, I DID IT!
So the two aging men finally shook hands.
Oh, What a Lovely Little Boring Story about a bruised Toff’s Ego.
Approaching the GP’s door red faced I timidly knocked on the door hoping he was out. A huge bellow roared ‘Come in’ and as I approached him I said ‘Good morning Mr . . . ‘
My voice was drowned out as he roared ‘ARE YOU RILEY’. trembling in fear ‘I replied yes Mr Hawes’.
He then told me that I had missed cleaning one of the light wells and it contained those fuckin PLANE TREE LEAVES.
Now here is where I went seriously wrong. I suggested to Mr Hawes that he could not be entirely correct as I always took a final look making sure that there was no PLANE TREE LEAVES about.
When he finally replied he went nuts. Riley! I am the GP and nobody, nobody ever answers me back – do you understand boy? –
T rembling and humiliated and worrying about my future employment I quickly stammered out that I apologise and it will not happen again.
His reply was you are so right and from now on he was going to watch me very closely – very closely indeed and don’t let it occur ever again.
After removing the offending PTL’s I returned absolutely shell-shocked to complete the lunches. The next day and thereafter I made doubly sure that the area was clear of those PLANE TREE LEAVES.
During my 3rd week of employment whilst doing the lunch orders the Senior Apprentice Brian Hartshorne breezed by and asked if I had cleared the pavement of you know what.
My reply was, ‘yes Brian I make sure’.
He then replied with a broad smug smile grin – ‘ are you sure – I mean really sure’. With that I crapped myself and raced to the pavement expecting to see those PLANE TREE LEAVES back…
Thankfully there was nil – but I still wonder even today if the Senior Apprentice set me up – thanks Grubby!
You A. . . hole.