count and if he keeps going to garage sales he’s going to end up with a whole lot more.
There’s a worm farm in an old bath tub.
Merv uses the wrigglers to catch jewfish in the Burdekin River.
I ask him what made him collect fishing rods and Merv gives me that age-old reply that men use to answer questions that even in their most lucid moments they cannot explain: ‘‘ F**** d if I know’’.
There’s stirrup irons, hobble chains, bridles, 120 hand-painted ker o s e ne l a nt e r ns , f i v e wood stoves, two dentists’ chairs, tobacco tins, pocket knives and eye glasses.
There’s one question I have to ask Merv as he caresses his treasures scattered about the yard.
Looking at all of the appliances, tools and machines, I ask him what is his most-loved and rarest treasure.
‘‘ Norma. And I’m trying to restore her, too,’’ he says without missing a beat.’’
I said he was cheeky.