No better way to prepare for a week at the salt mines | OPINION

THE Lioness is a simple person, with few wants and easily satisfied with her lot in life.

Mind you, I am not suggesting she is stupid — quite the opposite.

She is incredibly competent across a whole range of tasks and gets things done quickly and effectively and without any fuss.

But sometimes she can get right under my skin when it comes to the great outdoors.

Camping at Easter is a bit like going on safari for six months, with every possible comfort taken from home — which is five minutes away from where we camp — and transported to the banks of the Murray River.

As a consequence, it takes three hours to put our camp together and a similar amount of time to take it down — along with constant cleaning and reorganising in between those two events.

But she took her antagonistic ways to a new level on Sunday.

Perhaps she did not think it was such a big deal sitting by the fire in a comfortable chair and knitting while I risked life and limb on the slippery banks of the river, trying to put food on the table.

Particularly when I was trying out my new fishing bag, fishing jacket, fishing cut-down fingers woollen gloves, fishing beanie and miner’s headpiece lamp and she failed to utter any words of admiration while she continued to knit one and purl another (and me hoping she’d drop one).

But, I suppose, perhaps, I was just taking out my frustration on her because I was not catching any fish.

Which was a bit weak really, because separating something piscatorial from the water would have been just a bonus on top of four hours or so of what is becoming an enjoyable Sunday night ritual with two good mates, Kayonedoubleuone and her partner, Geoff “Alligator” Dunsel.

Now “Alligator” is the only bloke I know who I will let call me “Shakey”; a sobriquet inspired by my inability to be firm of hand caused by a medical condition and nothing to do with excessive consumption of alcohol.

The reason I let him be so familiar is that he never hesitates to help me out when my eyesight stops me from rigging up tackle, which is often.

Or baiting my hook when the shakes have taken hold and the bait is not cheese, worms as thick as my thumb or yabbies that are so large as to almost look like a small crayfish.

He also has a lot of clues about fishing and “lobstering” in general, and as a consequence I am starting to lose my distaste for fresh water fishing.

The “Alligator” also collects the wood, starts the fire, provides a small grill for cooking hamburgers and even cooks them.

And, to be fair, the two girls provide coffee, hot water, milk, sugar, cake, fresh bread rolls, margarine, tomato, cheese — both cheddar for the rolls and camembert to eat with biscuits — and a couple of different types of dip.

Now you haven’t eaten until you’ve tucked into a fresh hamburger, cooked over the coals of a fire on the bank of an inland river fortified with bits of worm or other bait still attached to your fingers.

And my contribution?

Well, not a whole lot except to provide a bit of light with my new headlamp.

But even that was not a big hit, with my companions complaining I persisted with shining it into their faces.

Now — in addition to the cuisine de bait dinner — one of the highlights of the night was a full, or near-full, moon.

That was a deliberate thing, because “Alligator” reckons that is when the fish are “on the bite”.

That may or may not be so.

But I can’t think of any way to prepare for a week of slaving away at the salt mines that is half as enjoyable as being a couple of minutes away from home on the banks of the mighty Murray — with the love of your life and a couple of close friends — chewing on a huge hamburger, drinking coffee and munching on cake or bikkies and cheese.

Even if the fish don’t co-operate.

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