Sign of the times

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as “half-deaf and half-blind”, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Sign of the times continues his series of true short stories and observations.


Waiting at the bar for my small beer, I noticed a table in the corner near the door to the toilets. On the wall above it was a sign saying, “RESERVED. This is the OBP”. I asked the lady who delivered my beer, what “OBP” meant.

“Well,” she said, “years ago, a couple of old fellows used to sit there of an afternoon and it became a gathering place for the old blokes. Not far from the bar and close to the toilets. They’d sit there, have a few beers and spin each other the biggest lot of bull that you would ever hear.”

With a smile, I asked her, “But what does the sign mean?”

“Oh that,” she said. “Well, at first, because they were men and talked such a lot of bull, the sign meant ‘Old Bull Paddock’.

“And now?”

“Well,” she said, with a smile, “all we girls reckoned it was discriminatory and sexist. So the boss had it changed. Being the smart-arse he is, he says it now could mean … ‘Old Boilers’ Pen’. Sometimes I wonder why I married him.”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

Related articles:
Why do you keep doing this?
Advantages of disability
Palliative ‘self-care’ group

Written by Peter Leith


Why do you keep doing this?

The old physio explains why he's yet to ‘hang up the hands'.

Advantages of disability

Could there be positives in failing sight and hearing? Peter Leith believes so.

Palliative ‘self-care’ group

Staring death in the face, friends tell stories - while they can still be told.