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The annual fishing trip to Torrumbarry was held a few weeks earlier, due to the request by some that it would be warmer in April than in mid-May. So it came to pass, and the three days on the banks of the Murray passed into our history with many mementoes for future discussion.

Pilot programs for some spin off Television shows were made during the weekend. My Camp Kitchen Rules and The Biggest Winner [as opposed to the biggest loser] may never get to prime time showing but have the makings of good entertainment.

Camp Kitchen Rules include; never bother to wash the cook’s pots and pans as they will not be good enough and will get the maestros attention before the next repast is prepared. Always check under a tea towel before placing spare plates on top. Serve Dim-Sims but keep the unopened soy sauce hidden away and bring your own Weet-Bix or other breakfast cereal. Do not request pork crackling as the risk to the cook is too great.

Black wattle was considered to be inferior wood for the camp fire and was subject to much criticism, but the detractor continued to accept the warmth. Roly Sandilands who normally keeps the fires stoked as high as the hobs of hell was absent this year due to his ongoing issue with a broken shoulder so some wood was left over at closing time.

But each year we get a bit smarter! The “General Electric” washing machine [Gerry Lavery] was introduced to the assembly and proved to be the best innovation for some years. At the “last supper” we had more diners than plates as the Keegan Family from Moama were day attendees not boarders like the contingent from the south. But it was easy to wash plates as the early starters finished and provide new plates and cutlery for the second sitting.

No critique as to plating ability was made as no judges had been appointed but as it was individual choice it would have been an impossible task in any case. No one complained about the quality or quantity so the proof is in the pudding. This year Friday pudding was lemon and apricot cheesecake and Saturday a self-saucing chocolate cake both prepared by Mick Halley but with his own kitchen rules.

It was a bit of a family affair with more than one member and generation of several in attendance. Ray Fleming introduced “SIL” [so named by Pup Law] AKA Troy is soon to be a son-in-law. Not only did Troy catch his first fish he was privy to the Fleming culture beyond the home front.

The race tipping competition became the pilot for the “Biggest Winner” when Brendan Keegan put in a Black Caviar performance with five straight winners. He claimed to not have any inside knowledge and to be not a serious punter but the serious punters amongst the congregation ran well behind daylight when the results were published. A fast finisher threatened Brendan’s hold on the purse but his staying ability proved superior.

There was of course fishing and Leo Law continued his proven ability to snare fish where others only catch a wet line. There were some nice Yellow Belly brought back to camp and a couple were first ever catches by the excited rod holders. They were then given a lesson in cleaning and filleting fish so they will come again. The cleaning teachers were not so prolific in catching.

There is nothing like a full belly and a cosy fire to refresh memories, so many tales of past adventures were relayed much to the enjoyment of the stayers and players. Some who were not in attendance may have had burning ears but nothing defamatory was said!

Apart from Roly our colleague Kevin “Sunny” Sundblom was an absentee due to a serious battle with cancer. Their absence should have kept everyone in camp but Danny Bowe, Jack Ramsdale and others escaped to attend to outside interests. Kevin Willey was absent due to family commitments and was missed by all of those who met him last year.

At Breakfast on the last morning President Arthur Clarke acknowledged the camp cooks and all those who assisted to deliver another memorable event. We held a minutes silence to remember those who had died and gone fishing in Heaven. Members who are on the sick list were also remembered and prayed for individually.

The trophy for the outstanding performance during the weekend has been recast and is now The Possum Trophy to honour Brother Paul Bourke. Had there been judges for My Camp Kitchen Rules Barry Grose would have been discussed when he introduced smashed rather than mashed potatoes for Friday’s evening meal. This was caused by his judgement and dexterity being impaired.

So Barry will have his name engraved for prosperity and be the custodian of the trophy until 2014 when some other attendee will be afforded [or not] the opportunity to qualify.