Building a fence with your boy is right up there when it comes to father/son type occasions. But smoko was the icing on the cake. Photo / Getty Images
It was like we had our own private cafe and bakery 10 metres away, tantalising aromas wafting along the fence line as we battled for concentration. Photo / File
So, I've been to New Plymouth to build a fence. Not a particularly long or tricky fence, you understand, but certainly one of significant enough design requirements to tax the mind of a 50-something long-time journalist looking to expand his employment opportunities.
I have to admit the first few hours on the job did not go well.
Forty years of mainly sitting at a desk typing has not given me the well-conditioned body of a builder – though I do have two typing fingers I reckon I could easily push a car with – so I was eagerly looking forward to a break. Or 'smoko' as we in the building trade call it. Ahem.
It was about this time the lady of the house emerged and I became aware of some, shall we say, "bonuses", that came with the job.
At this stage I probably should point out the "client" was, in fact, No 2 son Banker Boy and his wife.
They have just bought a house and needed some help from Dad.
I leapt at the opportunity for two reasons.
One, building a fence with your boy is right up there when it comes to father/son type occasions. I never got the chance myself, my father taking an apartment upstairs, if you get my drift, at a ridiculously young age.
And two, I'd recently bought a horrendously expensive saw which Mrs P had suggested we might have to on sell if it didn't get some use soon.
So I packed up my bag – and shiny new saw – and headed to the Naki.
I have built a few fences in my time, mostly a few years ago, but figured it might be good to see if I could still do it comfortably. Perhaps it might even open a door to some fulltime fence building work following my redundancy.
Anyway, 10am on day one and I'm sitting on a stack of fence palings knackered. Wondering what the hell I've got myself into. And then my daughter-in-law arrives with smoko.
Now in my family food, and the consumption of the same, has always been important. On that basis I was overjoyed when Banker Boy married his sweetheart - a trained professional chef who has worked all over the world.
And this is where my bonus comes in.
Not for her your normal run-of-the-mill snacks.
Out came an array of delicious home-made delights which tasted like heaven and somehow satisfied aching muscles and brain cells while at the same time convincing you another two hours of hard slog was worth it to see what we would be having for lunch.
And there was heaps of it. Never ending supplies of sumptuous goodies.
It was like we had our own private cafe and bakery 10 metres away, tantalising aromas wafting along the fence line as we battled for concentration.
I worked solidly on my waistline, oops I mean the fence, for four days. Every second mentally ticked off as first morning smoko, then lunch and then afternoon smoko came and went, each leaving a quivering sense of anticipation for the next break.
But all good things must come to an end and eventually the fence was done and I came home to Mrs P and the news the bloke up the road had seen the flyer I put out and he wanted a fence built too.
He'd had a chat with Mrs P and she'd been able to negotiate supplied smoko and lunch as part of the job which was to start next day.
It would be fair to say the first two hours of the job were a bit of a blur as I marked out lines, cut out some shrubs and generally got things ready.
As I laboured away I was wondering what delights would emerge from the house come smoko time while also mulling the possibilities of this becoming a fulltime thing.
Sure it was hard physical yakka but if I could keep the price down and still negotiate smoko and lunch in the deal each day I wouldn't mind. Perhaps it would grow into a nice little profitable business. Maybe I'd end up with a series of little franchises across the country.
The thought stuck with me for those first few hours as I say. But my dreams for fence building industry domination all came crashing down around smoko time.
Served up with a large side order of 'welcome back to the real world' was a cold sausage roll and a chocolate biscuit.
• Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to email@example.com .