May be no ace fisherman, but, oh what a day

THE RILKOFF FILES

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 22:31 24/11/2012

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You have to make yourself remember the good days and Thursday was a good day so I am remembering it.

By an infrequent stroke of luck I had the day off, which meant rather than sitting in an office circa 1973 I was free to do as I pleased. By another infrequent stroke of luck the sky was clear, the sun was warm and the wind was little more than a tepid breeze. Anything was possible.

For me that meant getting up at 5am and going fishing. Getting up early doesn't always mean an early start. I am expert at pilfering time on such things as reading the back of my muesli box and then searching the internet to find out just what those numbers mean.

It was engaging stuff but it put me slightly behind schedule and it wasn't until 7am that I dropped anchor and started fishing off the Port Taranaki breakwater.

Almost immediately I didn't get any bites. This happens a lot though you tend to forget. But this is essential or you'd have to admit how boring fishing usually is and how ridiculous it is for grown men to put so much effort into catching animals with a brain the size of a smashed walnut.

These are not healthy thoughts for a fishing man to have so it was fortuitous that a gurnard helped banish them from my mind. I should have called it quits then because for the next two hours I didn't get another bite despite most fishermen agreeing even an idiot with a piece of string and a bent nail can catch their limit at this time of year.

"I got my limit out there just yesterday," said a man in a car who pulled up so close to where I stood tying the kayak on my car I assumed he intended running me down. And because time slows down just before you die I had the headline written in milliseconds. "Fisherman" Run Down - Had Just One Gurnard.

That one fish was a pair of fillets about 30 minutes later and after that it was 11.30, which is a perfect time to read the paper in the sun. Unfortunately, the effort of unrolling it out of its thoroughly annoying plastic wrapping and battling to get it to sit flat proved too much and the next thing I knew it was 2pm and for some reason I was angry. This could only mean I had fallen asleep.

The curious thing about midday sleeping is you often dream you are awake, so much so that when you do wake up you cannot understand how your mood, satisfied and content just minutes ago, has left and you now want to punch everyone in the face.

To cheer me up I went to Mitre 10 Mega. As a circumstantial DIYer, Mitre 10 is the one place, aside from supermarkets, where I can spend money without feeling guilty. And nothing feels better than spending money, though I don't know why.

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After picking up a set of wrenches, a new lock for my new garage doors and a handful of unnecessary items I drove over to Resene's for a tin of Tango, the orange I was going to paint the new garage doors.

"That's going to be one bright door," the Resene chap said.

I wanted to explain the brightness of the orange was an effort to demonstrate, despite the stunningly conservative middle- class renovation job I had done on my state house, I had a funky edge. Of course I would have immediately contradicted myself by using "funky", so I just agreed.

On the way home I stopped in to visit my Grandma. It was about 4pm by then, still warm, and we sat on her patio overlooking the trees of Pukekura Park and I sipped on a can of cold beer.

"Look Lucy," I said. "There's tui everywhere." One was even making a nest in her copper beech tree, in between dive bombing birds that flew into its patch and making a racket with other tui. Beautiful as they may be, I've always suspected tui of being the bad-element of New Zealand bush. The type of neighbour no-one wants moving in next door because of the loud music, predilection for pre-mixed alcohol psychosis and the six broken down Holdens they'll be repairing on their front lawn.

"I reckon they'd have names like Sid and Baz and Tezza," I said to Lucy. "What's that dear?" she said.

Before I left I borrowed some left over irrigation piping from my Grandad's shed. He died 13 years ago and would be thoroughly annoyed it had taken me so long to get around to using it.

It took a bit of doing but an hour later I had an intricate watering system set up in my vegetable garden. When I turned on the water 10 mini sprinklers came to life, gently soaking every inch of dirt, which is all I am growing right now.

But I intend to fix that today with a trip to the SPCA market and the old fella with the little dog I usually buy my seedlings off.

"Great day for it, don't you think," I might say.

- Taranaki Daily News

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