Meanders with Bert and Beryl

BY KAREN DAY

    

 

     ‘Bert, Bert’

     Oh Lord, thought  Bert, listening to the dulcet screech of his wife, I wonder what she’s up to now. He felt the van shake as Beryl lumbered up the steps, puffing.

     ‘Bert, I’ve just met the people in number 6, nice types, brand new van and car.  They’ve never done the van thing before, so I thought we could give them a few helpful tips and show them how it’s done with style.  They’re coming for drinks at 5.30.’

     ‘Goodo,’ said Bert.

     ‘You’ll have to go down to the bottlo and get some drinks, no wait, I’ll come with you, I need to get some supermarket stuff, have to make a good impression, don’t we Bert?’

     ‘Righto, shall we go then?’

     Bert headed for the door, it wasn’t easy sidling past Beryl.  His Beryl was a big girl, big heart, big voice, big hair, all big. In the ute, Beryl screeched on about the new campers. ‘They’re from Victoria, somewhere called Brayton,  they’ve just retired, he was something to do with the law, policeman or something, must have a good pension, you should see the outfit they’ve got, but I don’t think they know how to camp, they haven’t even put up an annexe, just a pullout verandah thing.’

     Bert listened to her chatter on. He never interrupted, that would only get her started on something else. Least line of resistance was Bert’s motto.

     ‘Here we are love, I’ll get the drinks, while you’re in the supermarket, what do you want me to get?’

     ‘How about that Fruity Lexia. You know, the one in a cask and you’d better get some beer for you boys. I’ll get the cheese and bikkies and I think some kabana, pickled onions, and we better impress so I’ll grab some of those fancy green gherkins.  Is there anything else you can think of? ‘

     ‘Nup, I’ll leave it up to you, luv.’  Bert had great faith in Beryl’s catering abilities. She had been the best shearers’ cook in the district when he met her, and thirty years later he still looked forward to dinner.

     Beryl waddled into the supermarket. She was as happy as a clam at high tide.

Driving back slowly through the caravan park, Bert noticed a flash-looking big black four wheel drive. ‘Fancy car that one,’ he mumbled.

     ‘That’s theirs, Bert, you know, the people coming for drinks.’ 

Oh Lord, thought Bert, she doesn’t know what she’s done this time.

     Beryl bustled around the van putting the cheese and gherkins on the Jatz crackers, cutting up the kabana and sticking tooth picks in the pieces, setting the card table up with a cloth in the annexe, and setting out the wine glasses, with pretty folded paper napkins in them.  She was ready to receive her guests.  She opened the cask of Fruity Lexia and sat it on the table. There, she was done. Bert came back from the showers and sat down next to her.  He was just about to take a piece of kabana, when he looked up.

     ‘Oh Lord,’ he moaned, ‘I think your guests are here luv’.

     Beryl looked up to see a glamorous couple walking arm in arm up the road. He was carrying a bottle, she had a large platter in her hands. 

     ‘Good evening Beryl, we thought we would just contribute a little something to the soiree, I hope you like Moet.’

     Beryl spluttered, she was totally bewildered, ‘But I thought you said you were from somewhere called ‘Brayton.’

     Oh Lord, thought Bert, it was gong to be a long evening.

 

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