The large metal cellar doors clang open at 6.45 am. Empty beer kegs land with an echoing clunk onto the sidewalk in preparation for the beer trucks arrival at 7. I'm not there, I can't see it. I know the routine though because it's been the same every week for the last six months.
I remain upstairs, still in bed, directly above the activity at street level. The noise doesn't wake me, instead the sounds filter into my dozing state as I decide if it's too early and too cold to rise.
The truck idles, vibrations rumbling through the old wood and stone structure I now call home. The noise level increases as full kegs, plus cartons of bottled and canned grog, get lowered down to the underground cellar. Well they aren't exactly lowered, that implies a gentle action. The kegs are rolled across cement to the external cellar door, dropped through the hole in the sidewalk down onto a thick rubber tyre, caught (by whoever is lucky enough to be positioned at basement level) as it bounces slightly, then rolled/dragged over more concrete into position where it awaits it turn to be used.
Life in a country pub is interesting, exhausting, funny, frustrating and absolutely nothing like any of us expected. As I said we've been here about six months now. Routines are becoming second nature, lack of sleep and long days are a permanent fixture in life and, for a city girl, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world that I never imagined existed.
When you've lived in a city all your life, or most of it, you have a preconceived image of what life in a county setting is like. It's based on TV shows, commercials, movies and perhaps books. Those media don't present a full or often realistic image of life in the county. I'm sure my short experience so far hasn't painted the complete picture for me either, but I expect the learning curve to be an interesting one.
I'd previously spent eight years living in a semi rural setting so I thought I'd be better prepared for the rigors of a country setting. Not so. Semi rural, I discovered, is just another name for the edge of the city. Semi rural still gave me easy access to shops, choice of medical services and reliable public transport. Unless I travel, there is now none of that. Apart from the pub, Mendooran can lay claim to a takeaway food shop, a combined newsagent/general store/gas station, two recreational clubs, a school and a post office. Choice, just like transport and medical services, is non existent.
One thing we do have though is grog (alcohol, for those who don't understand the Aussie vernacular). And we get our grog every Thursday, rain, hail or shine. Just like the old west's Pony Express, the beer truck never fails to arrive. I'm just glad someone else unloads it because those beer kegs are bloody heavy when they're full.