Tuesday, 19 September 2017

More Fiji ....and What's The Point

Next day we stop at the local market in the nearby town, Somo Somo, to buy fruit for lunch.

Coconuts, ginger.....and their lemons which look like limes but taste exactly like lemons.

Typical houses in

the main street.

We drive in a taxi  further up into the hills on a rutted road to visit friends of my brother. They have made a home and a guest house and an amazing garden on a plot of land hacked out of virgin jungle.

The view from the garden.

Everything grows so well and so fast in the humidity....

the lady of the house has planted a wonderful variety of orchids....I've never seen one like this above.




and a Surinam cherry  - which tastes like a black cherry but not so sweet.

We were treated to  chai tea  and delicious homemade cookies and they opened

a fresh coconut for us, with a panga called a sele. Tthe milk was sweet and the flesh was soft and chewy and fragrant -  nothing like the coconuts we buy in the supermarkets here.

To be continued...

Today after a gentle session with my family constellation therapist - she prescribed gorse Bach Flower Remedy for hopelessness and despair - I drove to Castle Drogo (one of Robin's favourite haunts) on the edge of Dartmoor and

walked around the late summer gardens in the sunshine ...sharing them with the bees

and the butterflies,

who are too busy staying alive to ask what is the point of it all?

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Return/ Travel Photo Blog

 The Return

I have been back a few days but still in the upside-down spin wash of jet lag.

Now that my exotic summer is over, manoeuvring my way around my empty house ....re-treading the pathways of my old/new Robin-less life.

Searching for tentative  footholds in the steep climb of a blank future.

So for a while this will be a photo travel blog. Adventures in Fiji.

We fly, via Hong Kong to Nadi, on one of the biggest islands in Fiji, Viti Levu. 

While we wait  at the poolside to get into our room at the Toka Toka hotel we order breakfast -  our first fruit smoothie - pineapple, pawpaw and coconut and some undefined lurid pink syrup.

Miner birds hop around between the tables making their distinctive call. We hear them everywhere we go.

 A day and a night later, leaving Nadi in a small 14 seater plane to fly to Taveuni, a smaller island,

a journey of an hour and a half across this picture postcard turquoise sea surrounding hundreds of atolls and small and large uninhabited islands.

Arriving at Matai airport we are met by our brother

who takes us out to lunch at The Coconut Grove where we have  delicious samosas,

fresh vegetable curry, 

and the best fresh coconut cake Ive ever eaten.

Our view from the restaurant balcony,

 and in the gardens masses of  hibiscus flowers, 

and this butterfly perched on a very exotic succulent plant - name unknown .

We stay at the Taveuni Island Resort, a beautiful quiet chalet hotel with wonderful views,

and  the luxury of an infinity pool which my sisters and I love, which makes me feel I'm swimming  a travel brochure.

The sunset from our chalet balcony that evening - having to pinch myself it's all real.

Back to today.... and an English autumn morning...

I climb a ladder to pick some of the red ripe apples drenching our tree in the garden. I sort them  in the kitchen and store them in cardboard boxes in the shed. I cut the bad bits off some of them and then feed them into the juicer...making a fragrant, sweet, nectar the colour of roses and pink hibiscus.

And I wonder how I can ever leave this house and the free bounty of my apple fountain.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Final Goodbye

On Sunday 
they came,
our families
our friends,
the ones who could.

To Robin's
on the hill.

And they brought 
a heavenly 
to share.

He wanted a 
"G&T Affair"
for his memorial
because he 
loved to see 

we raised glasses of
home made
Pink Elderflower Fizz
 to honour him 
and remember 

after we sang for him
 one last time,
it was 
the most

Wrapped up in 
 the final

And this is my last blog for a while as I'm off to Fiji  soon with my sisters to spend time with our brother on the other side of the world.

Back in mid- September.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Chaos in my Kitchen

The first fresh sweetcorn has arrived - so early - in the organic farmers' market.
When I'm queuing with my overflowing basket I overhear a man say -
Ah mealies!
So I lean across the carrots and spinach and say,

Ah, you must have an Africa connection..

 We chat  a bit awkwardly, briefly, and it turns out he has worked extensively in Zambia and South Africa....I only say I was born in Zambia but I don't have a chance to wonder if  he might have known my father and when I finish paying he has disappeared.... and I wish I'd been bolder. I'm not very good at taking to people at bus stops ...or in queues....not like my father who would have invited the man to tea in the space of 3 minutes.

The messy chaos of my kitchen today...creating lunch for Robin's family tomorrow....and finger food for the picnic on Sunday. The carrot and sweetcorn and walnut burgers were a good idea but they didn't stick together very well...so we may end up with a lot of tasty crumbly bits.

I always have all my recipe books and files out at the same time....getting ideas....trying to remember where it was I read that particular recipe...searching on line.. Sometimes - like today - I plan a whole menu and then get inspired by picture or a dish in a magazine  and change my mind at the last minute....which can be risky and time consuming and can lead to mistakes...I made a whole upside down peach and polenta cake this afternoon and as soon as I put it in the oven I saw the measured jug of olive oil sitting on the counter which I'd neglected to add. Well, I'll find out tomorrow if it's a disaster or not.  There is always ice-cream in the freezer.

I haven't forgotten this weekend isn't about the food. It's is all about remembering Robin.....I just can't   quite imagine how to do it without him... 

Thursday, 10 August 2017



Busy productive.
Busy tired.
Busy cross.