Taking Ourselves Seriously

March 2, 2007

Some more thoughts about my friend Ewin. It is actually proving an interesting exercise to try and quantify and describe exactly what it is about the friendship that is so valuable, and what the chemistry might really be. Of course you can be too analytical and forensic on something that is abstract but no less real for that. And I run the risk of trivialising something by not being able to do it justice with words. One way to tackle the challenge is to describe as simply as I can the things we find ourselves doing through which the relationship and especially his qualities can be highlighted. Don’t forget this is in part an exercise of acknowledging his qualities while he is alive and not waiting until he is dead before admitting them.

Ewin and I go fishing, but never as often as we should. We have good intentions – I even leave my rods and gear at his place to help prod us along to the beach when I am visiting his part of the world. He has even gone to the trouble of building a special rack from which to hang them in his garage. We admire the rack (his beer fridge is out there so we often do what blokes do and drink a beer and stand around in the garage admiring the latest hardware adventure) more than we use the rods!

But the fact of the matter is that when Ewin and I fish we catch absolute crap. Apart, and we have great tales to tell of amazing catches. Together, we land the tiniest fillet, stand for hours and catch nothing but the breeze in our hair, or land the ugliest thing cruising the coast that day. I mean, that catfish was seriously disturbing.

Regardless of the result there is always a lot of hilarity, stupid jokes, long drives, insect bites, moaning kids, and a cold beer at the end of it. And an irrepressible Ewin who refuses to let the fact that we invest more bait into the water than we take back deter him from having a GREAT day. If you need any instruction on how to let go and not take yourself too seriously come and spend a day with Ewin. I can promise you it will be remarkably therapeutic. And yes, we did throw them all back, both the small and the ugly. The eel did not fare so well as he had wrapped himself up in the line and refused to give up the hook. Oh yes, there was a single squid as well that got turned into bait. A splendid, hilarious, productive day.

Ewin – An Introduction

February 26, 2007

OK. Enough is enough. Two tales on my blog of dead friends. Writing up what they meant to you after they are gone is all well and good but there is a perspective on those notes which is self absorbing. So I am going to try and put my heart on my sleeve a bit (an unnatural act!) and write a series of short blogs which highlight what a living friend means to me. And perhaps examine the meaning of friendship. My “case study” occasionally reads Pickled Eel so this will be a test of my honesty, and his stamina. Meet Ewin. Here working on a church working bee and taking his health and safety pretty seriously. For the last fifteen years it seems that we end up on each other’s working bees. We have always lived in separate cities apart from the eighteen months in Ipswich when we first met. So a visit to him, or to me can always run the risk of finding yourself laying cement, lopping trees, erecting sheds or mowing lawns. In this case he was working and I was helping with the painting. He got the short straw and was prepping the toilets. But the gleam in his eye is pretty typical and regardless of the job he is always ready to muck in. There are lots of qualities about Ewin I love and his ready hand to help is one of them. With no strings attached. No expectations of anything in return. Just because he can, and because he enjoys himself immensely in the giving.