Sat 13, Day 11:
Drove to Huonville to check out their produce market - the Aunt has a hankering for chicken. On the way I stopped at the second-hand book shop for a poke around.
The Aunt got talking to the owner, Mary. Expressing a desire to do some fishing while in Dover, Caroline was offered a tinny and Mary's partner, Allan, for a fish in the afternoon.
The road out of Dover has many splendid vistas down valleys to the river. All very beautiful, and slightly temporally displacing. It can't have changed much in many decades.
The market is staffed by loud pleasant young women. I find haricot beans for which I've been searching for ages so's Caroline can make her well-regarded baked beans. After the cries of joy and delight that met the puy lentils, this was even more of a coup! What an awesome nephew I am.
We were going to do the Tahune airwalk but had been talked out of it by Mary who hates Gunns (the forestry people). So instead we decided to meander back. I parked the car slightly in everyone's way under the shade of a stringy bark so we could eat at a slightly fancy looking restuarant called 'Petty Sessions' by the river just outside Port Huon.
It was here we met the Slithery Waiter.
I honestly thought he was stoned. He was about 30, well dressed with a long apron and did everything slowly. The Aunt was convinced he was mincing a little and elegantly swishing his way around the restaurant because he knew he was good looking. We ordered a scallop pie for me and um a sandwichy thing for the Aunt? He suggested a Boags beer called 'Wizard Smith Ale' so I got one of those. Food eventually arrived and he slithered over to us. By this time I think Caroline was making slow motion dancing gestures from the golden age of Hollywood and giggling.
She graciously allowed me another beer and volunteered to drive us home. I chatted to his Slitheriness about local beers for a while. After he'd left the Aunt suggested that he thought I was lovely and I was flirting with him. I was still of the opinion he was stoned and that explained his languidness, or maybe that's just how they were round here.
'Nope', says the Aunt, 'He's gay. And I think he liiiiiiiikes youuuuuuu.'
The Aunt noticed a very long caravan being manoeuvred around the car, and that our car was now standing in sun.
'Either the sun's moved or the tree has!' she observed.
Not really engaging my brain, I turned and surveyed the scene.
'It's the sun that's moved' I tell her.
She cracks up.
I blame the book on quantum physics I'm reading.
I read a book many years ago written by a Lancaster bomber pilot called 'The Eighth Passenger'. The eighth passenger was fear.
The TV serial killer, Dexter, has his 'Dark Passenger' - his killing urge.
I had a second passenger - the sausage.
This was the, well, actually two sausages, that I'd bought in Hobart to the amusement of both Ellen and Caroline. I had been dilligently eating a bit each breakfast and the occassional snack during the day, and now it was the time for the sausage to come into its own!
I can sing the praises of the sausage if I want.
The Aunt keeps referring to bread as The Staff of Life.
'It's in the bible!' she says.
Yeah? Well, so is shutting the hell up.
We were going to use the sausage as bait. Hah!
That afternoon we went boating where occured The Incident.
We went fishing.
The Incident happened.
"And _that's_ why you don't wear your good clothes to go fishing' said Aunt Caroline.
I confirmed every impression a seafaring country type can have about incompetent city-slickers. Allan laughed quietly to himself the whole time I was demonstrating that I didn't actually know how to row. I knew the theory, but I got an oar end caught in my shirt at one point; and I had generally to do two strokes with my left for every one of my right. With much encouragement from the Aunt ie 'You're going the wrong way!' I managed to move the boat so Allan could lay two gill nets in vaguely the right spot.
Then we drifted and I presented Allan with the bait. His face said that we clearly had no idea what we were doing. But we showed him! Well, the Aunt did, at least. She caught an octopus which quirted energetically in all directions but mine. We let him go and within fifteen seconds The Aunt caught a good sized flathead (or 'flaired' as it is pronounced by Northern Beaches locals). Allan told us many anecdotes - including jumping into the lion enclosure at Taronga Zoo in the 60s to get better pictures, and being evicted from the zoo after jumping into the hippo's pen for the same reason. We chatted happily and entertained each other thoroughly. My hat blew off into the water.
Allan took over the rowing, and retrieved a mullet from the gill nets.
Coming ashore: The Incident.
Allan and I had stepped off the stern because he'd reversed it in. The Aunt, however, decided to misjudge the depth of the water and stepped off near the bow into thigh deep water. One leg was still in the boat, and this presented a problem that I didn't recognise.
Instead, with a strange look on her face, she started pushing the boat away from her with her dry leg. Confused, Allan and I swung the bow back to her from the stern end.
Once more she slowly and steadily pushed the bow away before emitting one short 'Aark!' and falling straight down into the brine.
Shrieking with laughter (being the gentleman I am) I went to aid, but she was laughing too hard to stand up, so Allan was presented with a tableau of two lunatics howling with laughter - one with tears rolling down his cheeks and quite uselessly holding the arms of the other one who was happy to stay sitting in frigid water to her waist.
Eventually we got it together and Allan scaled and filletted the fish and gave us both, which was very kind.
He showed us his shack and then we headed home for a change of clothes.
My notes read "C fell in, in a strange way."
Relating The Incident to her second daughter a few days later, Caroline was told, 'But you NEVER ask for help, mum!' thus letting me off the hook.
I have a note here of 'C stung by some fiendish Tasmanian bug'. Evidently nature took a shine to her.