My secret stash
  |  First Published: April 2013

Right down the back of my shed, in the corner behind a pile of old lawnmower parts, a cricket bat with red spotted edges and a bucket of broken rods and reels, there’s a secret collection of things I’m hiding from my better half.

On quiet weekends, when she goes off to visit her friends or family, I visit my little stash. It’s just beside the garage, so if she arrives back unexpectedly, I have time to put them away and saunter outside, whistling. Hands in pockets.

I feel more comfortable having them there, as it helps me to think about the days of old, when I was younger and for some reason I had a little more control of my life. Which is worrying when I think about it. Nowadays, fondling these old reminders is all I can do to commemorate what I was once capable of. They are all very dear to my heart.

I’ve taken Boobies in there, but he has no need for a collection like this, nor have Skipper, Pommers, Doughers or Stuffer. They don’t need a collection like this because you see; they own boats. Well Doughers doesn’t, but he has to pay for his shares in Kentucky bourbon. There’s no need for them to sneak pieces of their last vessel past their partners and hide them in a corner of the shed like a shothouse rat.

But being boatless these last few years, I have a few little pieces squirreled away; they could come in handy one day. There’s an old light board that didn’t need to go with the last sale and a pile of anchor rope taller than something that’s very tall which I somehow managed to keep. There’s a boat hook, which I used to use to pick up crab pot ropes and wasps nests. A few bungs as spares in case I forgot to put my other bungs in the boat. I never remembered to put them in the boat anyway. A gaff, which helped a couple of Maryborough doctors build their pools, that I bought it for my first boat.

That boat is the one the Dudds don’t talk about after the great Barra Bounty Episode of 1999. Even writing about it makes me more anxious than Julia Gillard at a K Rudd Murder Mystery Dinner Party. I would discuss it but I would then have to go and have a long lie down and some very strong foreign beers.

But these little bits and pieces, along with a number of other bits and bobs are all things I won’t have to buy when I get my next boat.

It’s a good plan because, as you might know, buying a boat is only the first in a long, long line of costs needed to keep a boat up to date and safe. Having about $6 worth of extras means that there’s an outlay of $6 that I don’t have to come up with when I argue…I mean, ‘discuss’ buying another boat with my beloved. Given that I would like my next boat to cost about ten thousand times that, it’s not much of a saving. And also considering that as a Dudd I would have to consider replacing and repairing broken skegs, burnt motors, busted rods, lost reels, lost rods, lost hats, lost tackle boxes, lost eskies, punctured tyres, busted trailer lights, busted navigation lights, smashed fish finders, destroyed biminis, scratched and dented panels not to mention numerous medical bills (and that’s only from the first trip out) then the value of that little collection seems smaller than Dave Warner’s batting average. But trust me, when it comes time to argue…I mean discuss buying a boat with your cheaper half…I mean better half, it all helps. And I need all the help I can get. As do we all.

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