(Apologies in advance, particularly to overseas readers for this attempt to capture his accent).
Jimmy Roberts never married. He and his brother lived on a farm down towards Payne’s Crossing on the Wollombi Brook and worked for the Cessnock Council.
Every night an old truck pulled up outside Mel's tavern and Ben Bowyang and Bill Smith walked in. One was short and stout, the other tall and skinny.
There was no need for Mel to ask what they wanted. It was always brown Muscat in a five ounce glass, eight cents. Beer was not officially available because the wine bar didn’t have a public toilet, but beer from the bottle shop was OK.
Actually, the bottle shop was at the same counter, divided by an imaginary line where it returned near the street door. So if you wanted a beer, you took the two paces to the end of the counter and collected your stubby, 32 cents. Now, because the stubby had been bought at the bottle shop, it was yours and you could drink it in the licensed premises as a BYO, which means you took it back to your place at the bar to drink it. If there was a space near the end of the counter when you came in, that was the place to be. You only needed to reach around the end of the bar to collect your beer from the legally correct department.
Anyway, Jimmy overheard me telling Mel I didn’t know what to do about the crows that were digging holes in my water melons. Now Jimmy grew a lot of water melons every year and was somewhat of an expert.
He turned his attention to me.
‘I’ll tell ya,’ he says. ‘Ya gits a hegg.’
‘Jesus bloody Christ!’ says Jimmy to Mel. ‘Where ja git this silly bugger?’
‘His name’s Ford.’
‘Righto, Pford’, he says, turning back to me. ‘Ya gits a hegg.’
‘What do you mean? What’s a hegg?’
‘An enn’s hegg, ya dill, like ya gits fr’m a bloody chook. ‘N enn’s heg, ya git me?’
‘Yes I get you, so you get a hen’s egg. OK, then what?’
‘Ya puts the hegg on a rebbit trep like, ‘n when the bastard gits cort ya leave ‘im there t’ frighten away the other bastards!’
‘Seems a bit cruel.’
‘Crule! Bloody ‘ell it’s owny a damn crow, fer Chrissakes.’
He turns again to Mel.
‘This ‘ere stupid mate a yers, bloody Pford, ‘d rather leave bloody crows eat ‘is melons th’n frighten ‘em orf!’
‘Ya gotta make allowances,’ laughs Mel. ‘He’s from Sydney.’
‘’Nuf said,’ says Jimmy and turned away to talk to his brother.