And so it was time again to pack the rods and reels and hooks and sinkers and the water bottles and the Mellow Wood under the seat. I always wondered at the intelligence that created a flat bottle for the brandy and such perfect proportioned that it can remain concealed in a redundant army battle dress trousers. This flurry of energy usually took place on a Friday about 15-00 hrs after my old man had gone on awol from the railways. My job was to chop up the platforms for fire wood. This was a hard wood and you had greater chance of breaking your heart than the platform. Tyres had to be tested and overseen by the sire of us all. The coffee and tea flasks had to be filled with the mentioned liquids and boeteee it better be hot when we reached our destination.
And so laden, or should i say over laden we tentatively passed through the gate on our voyage to the sea. This voyage about 18 km was the worst because the Landy had to pass over a muddy section of the lagoon and that means carrying one land rover out of the mud. Sometimes the platforms were used for a make-shift bridge.
So we reach the camping site and find the usual visitors sitting around their fires, drinking out of bottles, drinking out of dumpie bottles and tin mugs. Beer cans were never invented in those long-gone days. The boerewors and vleis was always on hand for the picking and the atmosphere, other than the effects of the fire, was jovial and dependent on the amount of the fairer sex present: the usual subject, besides fish were resorted too. Quite a bit of learning I done then.
On the West Coast it was common to have the wind blowing the hell out of the place and even with the temerity to add eye-scratching dust to the melee. Tents were normally used but preference is given to the rear of the Land Rover when the wind overpowers the tent. Next morning, early, the manne are standing, some swaying, on the beach in a line to add their offering to the sea. One ouk had to look back to warn the rest that the fairer sex may be approaching. Breakfast then fishing with a dram ‘O’ the best to fight a moerse babalas. Often these avid anglers sat back on the beach and remained so until the effects of the night before became history. What usually upsets the annals of history is a bright and friendly sun cooking the last dregs out of a tired brain.
However, one must give most of these guys credit for their abilities and those abilities do not necessarily imply the contents of a bottle. That is culture. It does take experience and feeling to identify a fish and even its size when out on a hook about 80metres off-shore.
The children are usually occupied with digging white mussels which end up in the bait tin but seldom in the pot due to their toughness.
Some claim there is a secret, other than a 4lb hammer to tenderise the mussels.
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