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secret codes, lunches and building sites

Beware: coarse and unbecoming language

· two sausage and egg rolls, no fucken sauce, one large coke, two bags of chips

· one bacon and egg roll plus sauce, don’t fucken burn the bastard,one Benson & hedges, one chocolate milkshake

· dagos milk bar, three baked bean sandwiches, one vanilla and egg milkshake,

· one sausage and egg roll, no sauce, no salt, no pepper, one box of matches, one pint of milk, one daily telegraph and fucken hurry up dickhead

· same as yesterday, idiot


This almost incomprehensible code is the one used by builders and senior tradesman as a coded instruction to the lowest of their pecking order or the youngest, or the most inexperienced and fearful apprentice who must, upon having it thrust at him, go to the nearest food outlet immediately and fill the orders – to perfection.

The codes themselves can be scrawled on anything that is lying about at the time of need. A piece of timber or paper. A piece of rough white concrete, a brick, a shirt, a car bonnet. God forbid they should ever be committed to memory, not that apprentices to the building trade have any.

Grave consequences have been meted out when Tuesday’s menu is written on the back of Monday’s brick and the front of Monday’s brick is mistakenly taken to the shop and re – purchased.

Nothing must ever be burnt, or cold, or hot, or stale, or spilt, or opened, or unopened. Unless specifically requested nothing can be wrapped in foil, or brown paper, or plastic –
Where ns (no sauce) is omitted, sauce is permitted.
Tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, chili, chili-honey, chili-soy, soy-honey – All needs in this respect must be thoroughly canvassed by the unfortunate charged with the lunch pick-up.

Mistakes are inevitable yet unpardonable, when they invariably occur the individual responsible will be subjected to profane and cruel abuse for the remainder of the working day, and he will also be assured that the food fetching job is his for the length of the job or the remainder of his life – whichever is the longer.

A famished bricklayer who has little objection to the taste of his own bitten down and encrusted fingernails will hurl an untasted fresh baked steak and onion pie to the ground in a fury at having to consider eating the unordered onions. We are not dealing with rational men here, especially if they be Englishmen – they are the ones wearing straw hats and with a chip on their shoulder. Wiser project builders will not employ them as hard sunshine diminishes their capacity for quality work and they tend to barbeque up.

Some of the more sadistic builders will insist that an unpardoned apprentice work as an offsider to the most recently offended tradesman  – and I use the word tradesman lightly as certificates of trade accomplishments are not usually requested at the site gate of many projects in this great metropolis . As matter of fact evidence of short-term domicile in the central coast is sometimes taken as a de facto qualification. There are some benefits to being a coastie.

Workers inclined to bring their own food are constantly dissuaded from doing so in a variety of ways:

Plastic foam lunchboxes, when coated with resin, dissolve.

Lunchboxes can be affixed to the floor, the roof or the walls of the building under construction, or under a ute.

Lunchbox lids can be permantly glued to the container, ditto contents.

A lunchbox can be covered with an adhesive of such high grip ability that it may require surgical separation from the hungry hand that grasps it.

This type of anti-social behaviour is of course the basis of almost all the working relationships in the construction industry, except for the wankers in the office, who should never be shown any mercy under any circumstances. Young ladies from the office are quite welcome at the site however as long as they do not communicate with apprentices or Englishmen.

note: the nicknames used in the above post are what these gentlemen remain known as – some still inhabit Avalon, others are uncomfortabley close to the author.

Pb 2011

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. John sanders #

    A maggot bag with free rosella what a lucky little fella. Just a bob with ginger beer the good olde days of yesteryear. And down the creek with pretty Bella cheese and fucking mortadella. Lets raise our glasses have good cheer for olde lang syne…happy New year.

    January 1, 2017
  2. Don’t know what sort of building crew subbed you, Johnno, that sort of tucker would have you put on the wet cement barrow for the rest of the afternoon.

    January 1, 2017
    • Chasing for Mario Flematti, Bella’s dad plastererer, Cronulla. five inch scutchcomb, four pound sledge, three inch thumb, didn’t go back after lunch, never went near a building site ever again.

      January 2, 2017

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