I left Murchison late February this year, and travelled up with our trailer absolutely full of more household belongings that we had put into our fully furnished rental cottage to put our mark on it and our German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) Boo. We sailed on an afternoon crossing and overnighted in Paraparaumu across the road from the beach. The view was beautiful and we watched the sun go down over the water. The next morning, about 7am, I took Boo for a walk along the beach. As we were walking past some huge clumps of flax she stopped and held point, looking at me for directions. I ignored this for some time thinking it would be a piece of toast or a chicken bone. She then started shaking, still on point, finally the penny dropped and I knew it must be something, so I commanded her to flush. Boo dived into the clump of flax and out walked, and I say ‘walked’ the biggest fattest cock pheasant I have ever seen. He nonchalantly looked at me and stated to waddle off to another clump of flax. It was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time, Boo wanting to rush but slinking along and the cock looking for another clump of flax to disappear in to. Meanwhile other members of the public are walking along and this old bird is so desensitized from living right in town he just keeps walking. Out of frustration Boo tried to nip his tail feathers and finally he took flight, but he did look like one of those big old Russian Antonov aircraft trying to get off the ground. I had been laughing so hard at all of this I had tears streaming down my cheeks and it was one of those moments I regretted leaving my camera back in the motel room. I really had no idea these beautiful birds could happily live in town. The fishing guide tells me it’s not uncommon, as long as they have a food source and shelter they will set up home wherever it suits them. This old bird must have had a smorgasbord to dine at each day, he was so fat and heavy looking.
The next day I caught up with some Air NZ friends and finally got up to Turangi late afternoon, picked up a bit of food at the supermarket then arrived to our new home and collapsed into the guest studio accommodation that I knew was all set up for my arrival. We purchased our home with the studio fully furnished and this turned out to be a very smart thing to do. I could keep the studio tidy whilst the house was in chaos with sorting, making one bit tidy whilst making another bit messy and boxes and boxes everywhere, tripping over the dog and other hazards on the floor. I have only had a wee bit of help, apart from that I have managed to do it all on my own. It’s by no means finished yet; we need to get some storage units built into our office space and the fishing guide needs his Mancave Inner Sanctum fly tying and single malt tasting room sorted
Now, back to what this little anecdote is about! The fishing guide and I have endured several lengthy times of separation, and it’s all we have ever known in the years we have been together, the first few weeks are awful then we settle down into a daily routine of morning and evening phone calls when he comes in from guiding. Sometimes I will get a phone call during the day as he’s walking back to get the 4WD in between fishing spots and his customers are on a log somewhere having a snack and a drink. We always laugh a lot and cheer each other up with comments of ‘we will get through this, we’ve done it before’. Then we reflect upon our day and share stories. Even on the crappiest day the fishing guide will make me laugh and me him, which is always a good thing on any day.
Arriving at the end of this time apart has been quite poignant for the fishing guide as he is leaving his beloved Murchison, Nelson-Marlborough water after thirty one years of guiding and his whole life in the region. He has had many extra hot flat whites and even some drachms of single malt with old friends of late. Other people from the fishing industry have finally heard he is leaving the area and phone him up to wish him well, several people telling him he will enjoy living in Turangi very much, as Taupo is such a social fishery (we already know this having had the last two winters here with my mum).
I too have had some choked up conversations with him in the last few weeks. It has nothing to do with our situation and everything to do with leaving his mates. One friend and colleague in particular he is missing already, that being Tony Entwistle (Enty). He and Tony have known each other for over thirty years; Tony helped the fishing guide to fulfill his wish to be a full time guide as he has generously done with many others. Both Enty and Carty enjoyed tremendous highs within the industry, customers booking them for weeks, even months, sometimes twice in a season. However those times have changed and they are in the twilight of their guiding now. Enty uses the term, ‘fishing with ghosts’ as they talk about several of their long term customers whom have left this earthly plane for the big river in the sky. The fishery and guiding industry is very different today from thirty years ago. Enty would start the conversations with ‘How are you my Dear old thing?’ to which I would hear something equally cheeky responded and so on they would chat for hours.
A few weeks back, the fishing guide is having a challenging day on the water, when he finally gets the time to call me in the evening he’s a little out of sorts, he says he is looking forward to having a break from guiding for at least 12 months and he is going to hurl his boots over one of the bridges on the Wairau River on his way to the Inter-island Ferry, early next month. I am laughing so hard (as I often do talking to Carty) and can clearly see this in my mind’s eye, the wee Scottsman out there swinging his boots in fury and then those boots flying off into the river. Of course he won’t do that to the river and the fish, but the thought of it is wonderful. Then in another chat he says, ‘you know what, I think I’ll put my fishing vest on Trademe and auction it off for Casting for Recovery, one of my stalkers would love to have that I am sure?’. Now this statement really gets me howling with laughter and it takes several minutes for me to compose myself, as he was deadly serious when he said it and wasn’t too happy with my reaction to his statement. A small attitude adjustment for me was required.
In less than a week, the fishing guide and another trailer load of belongings including his Pink oops I mean Ping Golf Clubs, metal gun cabinet and hundreds of Sage fishing rods will finally arrive here permanently in Turangi. Our friend Russell Kennedy kindly hauled our trailer back to Murchison, via Christchurch to fish with Carty for a week and have some fun. The fishing guide will be greeted by a woofing GWP, with his Old Trout, holding a scrap of blue cheese, some shortbread (his favourite baking) and a drachm of single malt. My world will be a richer, stronger, more colourful and loving one, having the wee Scotsman back in the same house as I. We are both so excited to be starting a life of new beginnings here in Turangi and we look forward to hosting guest, friends and family as the years go by. A new GWP puppy named Kaiser will join our family in the next few weeks, he will be our last big gun dog, then I am planning to downsize to Spaniels. The fishing guide is not too sure about Spaniels, so I will have to ration his blue cheese and malt until he agrees a Spaniel will be OK. We have no intention of ever moving again until health and or advanced senior years force us to go into elder care accommodation. Now I have a wedding to plan for the fishing guide and I, early thoughts are something river side and Clark Reid singing into the wee small hours of the morning, his cover Copperhead Road being my favourite.