LOVE ACTUALLY & SLIPPERY SLIMY EELS…..

Writer’s block, it can do your head in, I need to go and hook up with Aurelia from Love Actually… Now all I can think of is swimming with eels in a muddy pond, or learning the language of love and improbably proposing to a hot waitress, and by hot, I mean intellectually stimulating of course… But let’s get back to the black slimy cold eels, I used to catch them in a little stream at Safety Cove, near Port Arthur, paddle the little inflatable dinghy up the stream as far as we could go, slipping under the farmers wire fences, the water was clear but the colour of ice tea, boffins will tell you that’s from the tannins, vegetation breaking down etc. etc. We would set a line and leave it over night, bit of BBQ chop for bait that we’d saved from the night before. Then we would quietly sneak up on the water fowl hiding amongst the reeds, they would take off in a mad panic, seemingly walking on water as they got up to speed, with us hopelessly left in their wake, marveling at how close we had got, if only we were allowed the .22 rabbit rifle…. We would head back up in the morning to check the line, usually successful, but there was no way we were having a black slimy slithering eel in a 2 person inflatable dinghy! Such brave little warriors, we would tow the poor creature back to our landing site and after a swift crack on the head with a broken branch, we would attempt to gut the creature and feed the seagulls on the beach with the ‘gizzards’ Proper boys camping expeditions…. We actually cooked one up on the bonfire one night, and I vowed never to eat eel again, it was revolting to a 12 year olds palate whose culinary heights were the white paper bag of Lollies that we had walked what felt like an hour down the dusty pot holed road to Port Arthur and the now infamous Broken Arrow cafe to hand over a sweaty 20 cent piece for, a couple of milk bottles, a few mint leaves, a couple of chocolate winkies, a snake maybe even a musk stick broken in half, a priceless reward for the hazards of walking on a dirt road where the drivers often struggled for grip, as their solid live axles tramped madly as they accelerated out of sharp pot holed corners, the corrugations in the acceleration zones rattling the ash trays and sun visors loose in their HR Holden’s and XY Falcons, surf boards and fishing rods hanging out windows or off roof racks that looked like mums hills hoist clothes line clamped on top, we would walk past a couple of little sandy coves and escape the dusty gravel to kick off our thongs and run along the sandy beach, jumping on the piles of seaweed and watching the rise of thousands of tiny flies as they were disturbed from their job of breaking it all down, washing the stench of rotting seaweed off our feet in the water, carefree and footloose, what uncomplicated fun, those were the days, now we scurry around the city, rushing to catch the next tram or train, anxious we will arrive wherever on time, grabbing a coffee in the hope it will relax or relieve the tensions, and it does for a few minutes, and then we spend 8 hours in some poky little corner / office / factory answering endless emails or pushing paper work from one pile to another, perhaps knocking out a few widgets for the masses to waste their money on… Oh how we complicate our lives with mortgages and debt, car loans, phone plans, insurance in case we get sick and can’t pay those crazy bills…. To simplify and reduce the desire for needless things has to be a good thing, perhaps you only appreciate that idea when you’re in the twilight of your working years? Some are lucky, they find the right job that rewards them well, they use their funds wisely and invest for the future, making their money work for them instead of working for money which is frivolously wasted on the latest phone plan or the shiny new car, we were probably told all this by our parents but we don’t listen, we know better, or something along those lines…. Well, the writers block stopped, but the wanderings of an undisciplined mind ran away…. IMG_2027

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