Story Blog

Codine's off for the moment, but if you haven't read 'Turning Stones' it's still up there - free read!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shoulders gently smouldering from unwonted exposure to UV, generally befuddled and dazed. All through a few hours in the sun in the middle of the day – not something we'd normally do. However, today was the Fishing day.

Oh yes, I'd signed up to fishing classes for kids at the Maritime museum and had persuaded Anna and family to come along as well. Started at 11 and finished at 2 – heat of day on a very hot day.

As it turned out, we'd booked but it was ONLY us turning up. Seems the Fisheries Association (or whatever official-sounding body it was that I can't remember) usually came along to these classes with lots of bumf, but they'd pulled out this year so most of the classes had been cancelled, but as we'd booked they didn't like to disappoint, bless their sweet Australian cotton socks with added durability for bush-walking. So we had the little geezer all to ourselves, instead of the usual 30 odd kids milling about. Spent a pretty long time going through a booklet of instructions like where to get your fishing licence, rock fishing safety, bag limits and acceptable fish lengths, types of fish, etc. Then he got out a mullet and put a hook in its mouth, and tried to get the kids to take it out. Unsurprisingly, they all failed signally... however I think it's acceptable to parents to be doing that bit of things for a little while. We even learned about 'fish resuscitation', would you believe. (Involves sort of 'whooshing' a groggy fish through the water to get the water flowing over the gills.) The things one learns. Don't get a landing net with knots in it as it damages the scales, get a smooth plastic one. Don't handle a fish with dry hands, but wet ones (or it appears a towel is fine). Don't throw a fish back into the water, place it in. Mind you, when Lillian actually caught a fish (the only one to do so) the instructor handled it with dry hands and threw it back in the water. Also it seems that although you're not allowed to catch fish under a certain size, with many you can catch small ones as long as you use them as bait. (Ah, fishing laws... the domain where logic simply does not reach).

In the meantime, we also learned how to string a rod, tie hooks on properly, and (ahem) cast a line from a fishing rod... that is to say, if you use the term 'learned' in the very, very loosest sense. I actually managed to catch the Maritime Museum on one occasion (by the roof) and for the rest of the time the line seemed to drift uncontrollably with the wind. Frankly, the distance those rods get the lines I think we're better off just using the old fishing line rolled onto polystyrene and throwing it out, never mind all the palaver of the rods. Plus he didn't use an floats, so the hooks kept sinking to the bottom and snagging on the seaweed. And I'm sure the hooks we used would have caught a small shark at the very least - why we were using those monsters to angle for tiddlers off Newcastle Quay is a small mystery but hey, we had a good time. The Littles was, incidentally, surprised to learn (as I was) that you're allowed to bag one tiger shark per fishing trip. I tried to reassure her this wasn't a problem we would be encountering in the near future. She still seemed a bit worried.

Anyway, we were good and cooked by about 2 p.m. and went off to get an ice-cream at Scratchleys (W&W will remember the place that we got fish and chips and took it home). Surprisingly, the Littles chose a flavour and actually ate quite a bit of it. I probably ended up having about a half because it was running everywhere, and half of the rest ended up on both me and her but the rest she actually ate. She might finally be turning into a normal child. Rarely have you seen (or felt) anything so sticky.

Not entirely sure what happened to the rest of the day. It was the kind of day that was so hot I filled up the bathtub with cold water and jumped in. Encouraged Littles to do so as well but she refused, deciding to go round the place in a constant sheen of sweat. Kind of like body glitter in the right light, might become the next celebrity look, like puffy lips. 'Get your false sweat applied here. Guaranteed to last for 3 months. As worn by Brittney Spears. Only $599 per face, $1,500 for whole body makeover.'

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