I missed my best friend’s 80th birthday party last week! Rodney and I have been mates for a good 60 years now, so I’m a bit upset about it, as my grand-kids would say. Nothing to be done about it, though – at least until my ankle is back to normal and I can get out on the boat again.

When people ask what the secret of our friendship is, Rodney always says that it’s beer, but I reckon it’s boats. That’s why I gave him a boat for his birthday. His family made a big deal of it, but to me it was the only thing I could think of that he’d actually like. His relatives wouldn’t know the first thing about how to buy an aluminium plate boat – in Melbourne, having a boat isn’t as common as it is down the coast – so they weren’t about to get him a one, even though he’s been going on about wanting to upgrade for years now.

Truth be told, I’d already had the hull custom welded with the intention of creating my own dream boat for myself. But I realised that what I’d ordered wasn’t quite what I wanted (not enough space for my custom snapper racks). So I had the thing kitted out in a style that I knew Rodney would like, and ordered a perfect new hull for myself.

Anyway, Rodney said I was nuts when I presented it to him a week ahead of his birthday, but he was elated. Then, the day before he was due to take his family out on the thing, I decided that it needed a rod holder – I’d overlooked putting one in because Rodney’s not quite as into fishing as I am. I went to pick something up over in Melbourne and somehow tripped over a cat and fractured my ankle.

Rodney thought this was a great laugh, the whole thing with the cat. Yes, very funny indeed, mate.