The ‘Poolies’


Here is another very funny story from Stephen Ainley. I am including it on my page to get a link. This is far too good a yarn not to share. This story is about a rebellious time in history…and what you are about to read, in my opinion, is absolutely brilliant…just saying…

Ragtag Daily Prompt — Nervous

The Poolies

THE GREAT PENSIONER RIOTS OF 98

Well, I’m not particularly eager to rush into things, but I think I can finally remove my earplugs. The last of the ‘schoolies’ have gone home, we have picked up all of the empty cans and broken glass, and the graffiti on the cat has nearly faded away.  Mind you, as bad as ‘schoolies week’ is, my wife and I do not get too stressed out by it.  The main reason for this is because before moving to Dunsborough, we lived in Pemberton, and while Pemberton does not have a problem with ‘schoolies’, it does have the dreaded ‘pensioners week.’ As someone who survived the ‘great pensioner riots of 98,’ schoolies week seems relatively tame. I still have nightmares about that infamous occasion, but after some time has passed, I feel able to talk about it; perhaps it will be good therapy.

There was little indication of the carnage to come as the coach load of pensioners headed towards Pemberton one Friday afternoon. They could have used their annual free pass to go anywhere, but some sick twist of fate made them choose our peaceful town. At the time, I suppose we generalised and blamed them all for the trouble, but now, looking back, most were well behaved and just looking to let off a bit of steam. It was a bunch of older pensioners or ‘Poolies’ as they became known who were the real troublemakers.

The first clue that things could get out of hand began on the journey down south. Eighty-six-year-old Albert Jenkins had only joined his more youthful companions on the trip because, as he later told a shocked inquiry, “It seemed like an easy way to meet young chicks”. Flasks of tea and lamingtons had been passed around, but Albert wanted something more substantial, and from his bowling bag, he produced a bottle of medicinal sherry. Albert then attempted to use his charms on 72-year-old Doris Higgins, and unfortunately, it soon worked. She later stated, “He was a bit more mature than some of the boys on the bus; he knew a great deal about the Boer War and still had most of his own teeth”, she also admitted to consuming two large glasses of sherry and a thyroid tablet. Next thing, all hell broke loose, and by the time the coach pulled into Pemberton, we could hear the loud yelling of rebel songs like ‘The white cliffs of Dover’ and ‘There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Lisa, dear Lisa.’

The first night was not too bad, although the mob who rented the house next door to us were still playing their Glen Miller record at 7.30 that evening. Obviously, they knew that they were playing it too loudly, but I was informed later that some of them had actually removed the batteries from their hearing aids because of’ peer pressure’.

The next day was just chaotic; there was a mob mentality. Despite repeated warnings, Mavis Ramsbottom attempted to climb the famous Gloucester Tree.  On the second rung, her hip went, and the fire brigade had to be called in to rescue her; luckily, they were already in the area because 79year old Nellie Elkridge had got over-excited during a game of bowls and spontaneously combusted.

The previous year, there had been derogatory comments made by the pensioners, such as ‘we were bored,’ or ‘there was nothing to do’, so at great expense to the ratepayers, we had laid on several activities, but they were just not interested. The bouncy castle and rock-climbing wall were virtually unused. Admittedly, Agnes Giblet had broken the world record for staying on a mechanical bull, but that was mainly because her “Zimmer frame” got tangled up on one of the horns.

That evening, the out of control mob gathered in the town centre; Albert Jenkins, by now, high on a combination of bronchitis syrup and arthritis tablets, was doing wheelies on his three-wheel electric cart. As he sat on his lumbago support cushion, he looked like Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One’ from a certain angle. In the little basket on the front of his cart were two bottles of stout in a brown paper bag. Even though Albert knew that it was against the law, he refused to wear a helmet. Instead, he had a knotted handkerchief on his head with skull and crossbones crudely drawn upon it. A police sergeant approached carrying a breathalyser; Albert immediately put his foot down and took off down the main street. There was a high-speed chase. I am not sure what sort of speed Albert reached, but I know the police sergeant had to walk reasonably quickly to catch up with him. He was arrested and charged with being drunk in charge of an electric cart.

There were other arrests that night, including one unfortunate gentleman who forgot to put on his incontinence pants and was charged with urinating in public in his trousers. Of course, most troublemakers had to return to their accommodation at 6 pm to watch the news, but some of the hardcore element was still around at 7.30.

The next day, the pensioners piled back onto the coach; some were wearing t-shirts with ‘Pensioners Week 98’ on the front and “We Came, We Saw, We Played Bingo” on the back. Then they were gone, and we townsfolk were left to pick up the pieces and try to put our shattered lives back together. We immediately began the big clean-up. We found a walking stick, some dentures, and a half-empty jar of Vic’s Vapour Rub in our back garden alone.

So, there you have it, whenever you complain about schoolies, always remember, things could be so much worse.


Thanks for reading

3 thoughts on “The ‘Poolies’

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