“Woke up and smiled this morning. Wishes swam like fishes in my head. I rub my eyes as all the reasons chased the demons from my bed. I’m on top of the world, but it’s just for a moment.” ( The Lightening Seeds – Open goals)
We watched the All Blacks semi-final with a guy named Fish. We arrived at his place in the tiny and beautiful settlement of Helena Bay via a straitforward road hike of 12km and so we arrived at the relatively early hour of noon. Despite being forewarned by a text of our impending arrival, Fish looked slightly non-plussed but showed us to our cabin with en-suite. Fish’s place was a riot of caravans and 40-foot containers and the en suite to our port-a-cabin was cleverly constructed from one third of a juxtaposition Ed container. My original synopsis of Fish as a taciturn loner proved spectacularly incorrect, when he popped round and invited us to tea, which, knowing which freeze-dried meal we had in our packs, I immediately accepted. We headed over to his place and found a couple of caravans linked by a DIY annex which housed both a full size spa bath as well as a woodburner dominating the lounge room. Soon we were having some cold beers with his mates Gazza, Pete and Jock who entertained us with stories of the region and possum hunting back in the day. Just when i thought Gazza and Pete were getting pretty pissed they stood up and announced they were going night-fishing. The rest of us headed indoors for some scrumptious pork belly and the telly was on with the warm-up for the game. Casey the immense Labrador cross dominated the only couch and Fish ignited the woodburner to ward off the spring chill. Confounding any statistical norm another fella called Jock turned up and proceeded to yell at the TV as the game had eventually kicked off and NZ were immediately under the cosh. It struck me as being both convivial but slightly surreal, bound as we were in our support of NZ but at the same time being so different. We meandered to bed, mindful of the physical challenge that awaited us the next day but buoyed by the selfless generosity imbued by our host, Kevin Fish.