Friends and clients

2014-01-16 00:00

IT must have been 25 years ago. I am not sure of the exact date, but it was one of those rare occasions when our new wives allowed us a little slack and we ended up on a boys-only fishing trip at Hluleka on the Wild Coast, south of Port St Johns and north of Coffee Bay.

Six or seven of us all told. To make things interesting, we split the party into two opposing fishing teams. I guess I must have had something to do with the team selection because I ended up in a team with some serious fishermen, including Trevor — pilot, intellectual, talented lateral thinker and connoisseur of the brewers’ finest.

One of the wonderful things about my profession is that over the years, clients become friends and friends become clients. Trevor was one of the best.

It was inevitable, I guess, that our transient freedom would be preceded by some sort of celebration, so that first night copious bottles of bright ideas were poured into receptive guts, resulting, as the evening progressed, in our team concocting a cunning plan to outwit/outfish our adversaries. I am finally willing to admit that I was the instigator of the idea which, with whispered messages and barely intelligible gestures behind the backs of our unsuspecting rivals, gradually evolved into an action plan. Simply put, when they had drunk themselves to sleep, we would tiptoe out and fish the rest of the night. In our tiny little minds, it was inevitable that the fish would line up to take our bait and then we would retire to bed before the drunkards awoke, bags full with the night-time catch, competition won, deed done and dusted.

I am not sure if we actually went to bed at all. I think we did. The bonhomie of the evening had barely receded, however, when we tip-toed out of the comfort of our shebeen and headed for the rocks. The contented snoring from the opposition rooms meant that subtlety and silence were entirely unnecessary. Outside, it was bitterly cold and drizzling. We did not talk much, having exhausted our repertoire of wisdom, wisecracks and song many hours earlier. The only sounds I recall, as we trudged along that desolate beach, waded the freezing river and scaled the slippery rocks, was the odd unintelligible curse emanating from the last of our little group, someone who put the sanctity of bed and home comforts far higher up his priority list than unnecessary nocturnal activity. Trevor was a singular figure, attired to the hilt in a bright yellow rain suit with only a rather purple nose protruding and the odd glint from a bloodshot eye, dragging his feet more slowly than a municipal grave digger. His conversation, if that is what it was, was monosyllabic, overwhelmingly in favour of words featuring only four letters.

I don’t remember him putting a line in the water that night. He squatted under a little overhang and stuffed his face with an unending procession of cigarettes, looking like a constipated car guard caught in a veldt fire and about as happy as one too. Needless to say, it was an entirely unproductive night. One undernourished sand shark, returned to the inhospitable briny, unloved and unwanted. I realised then that Trevor did not do discomfort well. His happy disposition was further put to the test when we trudged off the rocks at first light, cold, dispirited, fishless and hung-over, to be met by our opponents approaching the beach, well-rested, full of the joys of spring and very willing to share with us their opinions, which were characterised by abuse.

I remember glancing in Trevor’s direction. He was nodding his head every time they mentioned less-than-complimentary adjectives about the mindless soul who had conceived of the hair-brained scheme.

• The writer is a practising vet.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.