"So, it's Kangaroo Island is it?" I asked one morning. The trip had been in the planning stage for some time since we had gone over for a holiday together.
"Yes, we've got the money and a car for about a fortnight, so it all looks pretty good at the moment," said Ken.
Names changed to protect the guilty.
The two of us have always been fond of fishing, so a trip to one of the state's premier fishing areas looked good. Added to this was the fact that I am part-owner of a large land holding on the island, so accommodation would be very easy and cheap. In the beginning, Ken had been contracted as my carer, but now nobody knew who was whose carer. The difference was that he had access to a government car and I did not. So that's how it came about, the blind leading the blind, and with a group of disabled fellers in tow, off we went to catch the Cape Jervis ferry to Penneshaw for a fortnight of fishing and debauchery. The ferry is called the Philanderer so that's what we did.
Safely arrived, we stopped at the Penneshaw hotel for our first meal of pizza before tackling the rough road out to the farm. "This isn't the way, mate," I said to Ken. He explained that with our numbers he had got hold of another farm, which was let, in its entirety, for holiday rent. I couldn't argue with that, so we went on to the place and set up for our stay.
In the morning I discovered Ken pulling madly at the starter cord of a ride-on mower he had found in one of the sheds. It sounded okay, but would not start, there being no firing or apparent spark.
"Have a look at it, Peter, you're good with these things."
That's true, I'm a bit of a bush mechanic and can make dead things go. I first had to get Ken out of the way and stop pulling things about. Like most men he would never admit to not knowing anything about an engine. Also like most men, he stood over this one, peering at what were mysteries and pretending intelligence he did not have. It was quite evident that there was no spark and the engine did not want to fire. When I managed to convince Ken not to take the ignition system to bits but to start off simply, we looked at the fuel tank, and found fuel, so next we looked at the carburettor. Empty and dry. Both Ken and I like a drop of 'tangle leg' now and then, so he should have known that if something is dry, it would not go, rather like us. A carburettor has its own little cup in the bottom and if this is dry it means no petrol.
"But I don't think it's got a spark," said Ken, looking smart, and leaning over the stubborn motor. Noticing he had one hand over the top of the spark plug lead, I gave the starter cord a powerful pull and when Ken finally came to earth, calmly intoned, "There doesn't seem to be too much wrong with the spark, Ken."
He was torn between murder and laughter while I concentrated on laughter.