Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sir Lunchalot

Another excerpt  from Tales of A Publicans Wife by Lyn McGettigan. Read more about her upcoming book here.

The term 'Sir Lunchalot' was popular before it was immortalised by the lengthy political Chinese banquets of the 80s and 90s and the political shenanigans of the that era. 

We had our 'Sir Lunchalots' and they did the term justice. Sheila’s drew the white collar workers of North Sydney for what was commonly called, 'the long lunch'. Various government Departments  did the tradition proud, the bank employees had to be hauled out by their respective bosses and told “lunch is one hour, boys and girls.” 

In fact, to reinforce this, often the banks would book a long table of 60, one for the 12 noon sitting, one for the 1pm sitting, to get them in and out and back to work on time. But the 'Lunchalot' boys made them all look like workaholics. 

Long lunches features in the TV series The Sopranos.

These guys, generally a core group of four, held very responsible jobs in four big corporations. They would get to work no later than 7am in the morning, which meant that they got most of their paperwork, office administration and phone calls completed by 11am. Their secretaries knew where to find them, but rarely were they interrupted in their pursuit of conviviality.

 The real business of the day began about noon. Today it would be called 'networking' as three three of these guys worked in inter-related industries, and the forth was a public servant. There were also the bosses of the interrelated businesses such as telecommunications and banking and the guys were all known to each other and were happy in each other’s company. 

I wasn’t privy to the business discussed, but there seemed to be utmost amiability. Billy, the wine waiter, was kept busy. So much so that he was constantly getting up from his traditional afternoon schooners of VB with The Boiler to replace their empty wine bottle. Mind you, the guys showed their appreciation handsomely. 

So, I’m sure that there was some business benefit to the lunches, but there was a huge benefit to Sheila’s and to Billy. The guys would often drink a dozen bottles of wine between noon and 8pm before their drivers came to take them home. Their wives may not have been happy, but they had nothing to worry about, other than inebriated spouses. These guys had principles and morals and the attractive girls that were a feature of the place were simply that – female drinkers.  Even the fashion parades we ran on a regular basis did not distract them too much from their conviviality.

Sheila’s blokes came from all walks of life and because of Sheila’s went their many, sometimes shattered, ways. Some got married because of Sheila’s, some were married at Sheila’s some were divorced because of Sheila’s. But all agreed that it was 'the place to be in ‘83' and for a good many years after.

This content for this blog are excerpts from the forthcoming Tales Of A Publican's Wife, by Lyn McGettigan. Editor Jan Cornall and author Lyn McGettigan are preparing the book for publication in 2014.

Please leave a comment or get in touch HERE if you have a Sheila's story to tell.

(c) Lyn McGettigan 2013  

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