Barom­e­ter in the bar room

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - RACHAEL KELLY

I’ve lived in the coun­try for a few years now - but some­times the city girl habits die hard.

At my lo­cal pub there isn’t re­ally a dress code, ex­cept you leave your muddy boots at the door.

Most peo­ple come in straight from the farm or the truck cab, and I’ve dis­cov­ered that what they’re wear­ing is an in­di­ca­tion of how the weather has been dur­ing the day.

It’s more ac­cu­rate than the weather fore­cast.

Rugby shorts and work boots, with woollen socks, are a given for most of the lads.

One of them wears them all year round, ex­cept for the odd day once or twice a year when he puts longs on, and then you know it’s been re­ally cold.

An­other farm­ing friend mixes it up with his footwear.

Shorts and jan­dals means it’s been a nice warm day.

Shorts, jan­dals and socks - prob­a­bly a bit over­cast, per­haps with the odd shower.

Longs, jan­dals and socks - it’s the mid­dle of win­ter.

But you know it’s re­ally cold when the gum­boots that have had a blowout and been cut down to ‘pub slip­pers’ make an ap­pear­ance. They’re saved for when there’s snow on the ground.

The real chal­lenge can be mak­ing sure you pick your own boots up at the front door after a few big bot­tles, in­stead of wear­ing some­one else’s home.

That’s not to say it’s not a classy es­tab­lish­ment.

It is, but it has a re­laxed, homely feel as op­posed to your craft-beer and tapas-serv­ing wine bar.

It’s pretty re­fresh­ing hang­ing out some­where where no-one cares what you look like or what you’re wear­ing.

In fact, the worse you look means you’ve done a de­cent day’s work and that’s to be ap­plauded.

Tail­ing gangs come in cov­ered in blood and sheep poo.

Truck drivers make an ap­pear­ance smelling of an­i­mals or fer­tiliser.

There’s no shirts and ties at our Happy Hour.

Dressed up is a polo shirt and a pair of jeans, if you’re lucky. Fe­males aren’t a lot dif­fer­ent. If I rock up straight from work wear­ing a skirt, I get ac­cused of ‘go­ing all girly’.

And there, for me, lies the prob­lem.

I’ve never been a tight dress and six-inch heels kind of a girl.

But when I lived in the city it used to be the done thing to get dressed up to go out.

Now if I do it, and not even to the stan­dard city girls at­tain, the lo­cals look at me like I should be locked up.

So I’ve found a happy half-way, where I can wear jeans and a t-shirt, but still with jan­dals. Un­less it’s cold.

I just can’t seem to walk straight out of the gar­den and into the bar, no mat­ter how hard I try.

The real chal­lenge can be mak­ing sure you pick your own boots up at the front door after a few big bot­tles, in­stead of wear­ing some­one else’s home.

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