The time had arrived.
5.30pm at the community Hall.
Public meeting to discuss the merits of a building that has already been approved by the council 8-3.
This means little to the Tannery Point Cove Community Assocation Inc [TPCCAI].
The TPCCAI have a history of halting any development in the area.
A Coffee Bean maker fled the district because of them.
Discuusion around a proposed walkway along the area's shoreline will probably still be going on next century.
The convenor of the meeting Ken Toskings says he has invited the developer.
The developer has not been invited [an old trick but a good one].
The developer Mr Rightbody, a colurful character and well known on the manor, gets wind of this and turns up anyway.
It is 5.40pm and people are still filing in.
There are more people than chairs.
The TPCCAI clearly thought the meeting was to rubber stamp their views and misread the mood of the manor this time.
Whitehead the heart surgeon tells me he won't be here long as he has to get around to the trumpeters to put his footy tipping in.
Barry Brunton, an old womaniser is busy going in and out of the store-room to get more chairs for 'the ladies'.
Then there is a shock announcement.
The convenor is an apology!
No reason given.
He has appointed Paddy Snowball as chair.
Paddy is furious and says so.
He kicks off the show by introducing one of the appellants, a limp wristed chap with a beard and glasses.
Clearly from the mainland.
He has diagrams [if you have no ability to argue you use diagrams] which show the architect put a spin on the proposal.
He goes on about views of the church steeple being impeded?, the streetscape being ruined? [A builder there agrees about the streetscape - first builder I have heard that cares abut streetscape].
He says the building will block the view down Kelly St.
"Bullshit" shouts Peatlow from the crowd.
The bearded chap doesn't miss a beat and swaps Kelly St for Jackman & MacToss the bakery.
Whitehead the heart surgeon decides to leave [to put his tips in] but does not go quietly.
"Bugger this for a joke.
I have better things to do" he bellows and storms out.
Seconds later he sneaks back in and retrieves his groceries from under his seat.
The developer states his case.
The council have approved it so what is all the fuss about.
The room is stacked with the anti development brigade by about 85% to 10% with 5% there for the entertainment.
A woman who has lived on the manor for only 3 years but 'knows about these things' talks for 5 minutes mostly about herself but also states she is against the development.
She is treated to great cheering and applause.
Peatlow raises to his feet and requests to address the meeting.
The chair grudgingly obliges. [He looks like he wants to go to bed].
Peatlow has written several books on the district and has been out to lunch.
He talks mostly about himself but mounts a good pro developer argument as well.
He is not allowed to finish a sentence however.
He is howled down to the point where he starts to head back to his seat.
I surprise myself by standing up and shouting "Point of order Chair.
The speaker has not been shown the decency of being heard properly and you have made no attempt to correct that.
You allowed the previous speaker to waffle for 5 minutes about nothing".
I am supported by a few of the developers friends and Peatlow returns to further his argument.
The chair points his finger at me and says "and you have anything more to say you can come up here and say it".
"Fuck off" I mutter under my breath.
After he is howled downed once again he leaves the stage saying "My book is on sale in the foyer." he declares.
The chair decides to close the meeting - might as well, nothing has been achieved.
At least the police were not called this time.
I left the hall and retreated to the pub across the road.
The Bishop, Moree, Bryan and his dog, Merv and Bazza are all keen to know what happened.
I tell them the hall is 20 metres away and there was nothing stopping them attending.
They say there is no beer available at the hall and they were relying on me to find out what happened and any the meeting time clashed with the happy hour.
Moree has a band-aid on his head.
No need to ask why - he has hit his head on the steering wheel driving home drunk from work again.
About 4 days later the local rag 'The Voice' runs a story saying the meeting was well attended and was 'very positive'.
They did not attend the meeting.
Instead they rang Paddy Snowball and asked him what happened [par for the course for this publication].
"Bullshit" I said to myself as I read the story.
The Little Tramp