Friends who fish together…

My great uncle Rodney is doing pretty well for his age. He had his 80th birthday last week, and we celebrated this with a small family outing on his new boat, which he expertly steered along the coastline while downing imported ginger ale. I hope I’m as full of life as he is when I get to that age.

The new ride was a gift from Rodney’s lifelong friend, Tony, who happens to be a bit of a nerd for plate aluminium boat fabrication. Once upon a time, Tony was into building boats from scratch; now, his eyesight not being what it used to be and welding no longer his strong suit, he pays other people for their services in this field. He did do a bunch of the fitting out himself though.

So it’s a pretty extravagant birthday present, for sure. But when you get to that age (and have as much cash to throw around as Tony and Rodney do), it’s not that big of a deal – especially when you consider how long they’ve been mates, boating and fishing together. The two of them could talk bait boards and bow rails for hours on end, then switch to analysing their relationships and dreams for hours more.

Tony didn’t get to come out on the boat for Rodney’s birthday party, though, because he’d hurt his ankle tripping over a random cat while on his way to buy snapper racks in Melbourne the day before. Knowing him, he was probably talking its ear off about custom stainless steel accessories. I think Rodney was probably a bit miffed that Tony had managed to hurt himself the day before his birthday, but didn’t show it too much.

Perhaps bonding over marine fabrication is one of the keys to long-lasting friendship and good health into your 80s. If it is, I’ll sign up right now. Just point me to the fishing rod holders – I don’t know what they look like, so I’ll need some help.

Concert on the Water, What a Pain

Sometimes you just run out of ideas, and this year, I’m all out. The show must go on…but at the moment, it’s looking pretty boring. Short, though. Maybe that’s okay.

Whose idea was it to have a concert in the bay, anyway? I know it’s a hallowed Melbourne tradition, and I think we just passed a century of concerts a few years ago, but really. It’s just silly. Back in the day, they just took out their rowboats and a few violins, and that was it. People gathered, listened to a bit of music and a good time was had by all.

Now it’s a massive deal, so we have to organise all the boats to carry the musicians. I’ve learned more about Melbourne’s outboard motor repair industry in this last year than I have about perhaps any other subject, and I studied music at uni for five years. So if any of my friends ever need their outboard motors serviced, or…you know, that sort of thing, I have all the intel AND the business connections. I don’t own a boat, my family have nothing to do with that sort of thing and none of my friends do either, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy.

Thing is, we basically need a fleet to make this ocean concert work, and all the boats have to be perfectly functioning. For example, if the boat carrying the strings section fails to appear, the opening concerto is basically ruined. Unless they play from their starting position, rally loudly. But as with 99% of musical instruments, just playing loudly will make a horrible sound. Oh, and then there are guitarists wondering where they can plug in their amps, so I have to make sure there are available power-points. Or…generators. Still sorting that one out. Apparently my attention is now being called to where in Melbourne quality anchor winches can be found, because the boat assigned to be transporting the percussion section is missing one. This is about 90% more stressful than it has to be. Maybe next time we’ll just hold the concert on a beach.