Tag Archives: South Pacific

Looking Back

Still on the subject of my blogcation; first there were the  Preparations  and, then……..

My guest arrives….

We look back.

From 2014 to 1966

From 2014 to 1966

Mr Carter's classes

Mr Carter’s classes

The Two of  Us at Malolo Street 1966

The Two of Us at Malolo Street 1966

Mr Hodge's Sunday School Class 1964

Mr Hodge’s Sunday School Class 1964.  St Peter’s Anglican Church ,Father Butler’s residence, Drasa Avenue.

The Beginning

The Beginning : ‘When I was Three I was hardly me. When I was Four, I was not much more.’  A A Milne

Update: It has been a difficult week. It is tempting to look back to the past and think all was perfect. It was not. As a child I was dumbfounded, and unbelieving, when I realised that, at the age of five, I would be going to  Lautoka European School and my best friend would not. Fortunately, those policies were changed within the next few years as Fiji headed towards Independence, and my friend and I were able to spend a short time together at the renamed school. It became Drasa Avenue School.

The events of my current week, and  those contained in my post, seem to relate well to this quote

“Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.” 

This is the prayer inscribed on the bronze memorial to Robert Louis Stevenson in   St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland. Robert Louis Stevenson was, amongst many other things, a witness to the colonial history of the Pacific Islands. Clanmother writes (and recites) about Robert Louis Stevenson’s connection to  the Pacific  here.

© silkannthreades



A place setting for restful memories

I had a couple of  dizzy spells during the weekend.  I didn’t, and don’t, feel unwell, so maybe the dizziness was caused by insufficient fluid intake or, perhaps, it was my body telling me to put my feet up for a while. I was going to say “telling me to slow down” but I don’t go very fast anyway .If I went any slower I would come to a stand still. However, in my slow way, I potter around a great deal and rarely sit down except for meals or when I am driving.

To appease the Gods of Dizzy, on  Saturday I had a rest on the sofa which the dog thought was wonderful. “Yay, she’s sitting still. We can snuggle” seemed to be the message from a delighted pooch. Yesterday, I went to the hairdresser where I had a lovely sit down for 30 minutes. And, today, I am forcing myself to sit down at the computer. Usually, I stand to work at the computer. Why? Bad habits, I suppose. And it’s easier to multi task that way.

So, although I am feeling fine and undizzy today, I do feel in need of quiet and one thing that says quiet to me is this photo that I took, last year, in my pre-blogging days. Be StillIn the photo, you can see a small breakfast set that I have had for more than 30 years. (It’s been with me longer than my husband!) Why does this say “quiet” to me on this day?  I am not sure. Is it the design, the colours, the shapes or the associations? Or all of these things?

The set  certainly takes me back to a time, and a place, where putting up your feet  and having a relaxing daytime nap were considered  a normal part of a lady’s daily routine. Memories of my colonial childhood in the tropics are full of images of mothers (not mine!) who were not to be disturbed during their afternoon siesta. Children were required to play quietly. That might have been boring, but we soon realised that  quietly didn’t have to be synonymous with staying out of mischief. Although we were well-behaved, most of the time.  I can only remember being told off once for being too noisy and disturbing a napping mother.  And it really wasn’t my fault, it was my friend’s! 🙂

And that is all I will write because today is for quiet moments and memories and contemplation.

China note: The pattern is Mayflower and the china is made by Figgio of Norway.

South Sea Island Pearl of a Recipe

Yesterday afternoon I made a banana cake because: a)  I had too many ripe bananas in the fruit bowl; b)  banana cake reminds me of my younger years in my long ago home; c) it’s easy to make; d) most importantly of all, I love banana cake.

We didn’t eat much cake as youngsters but, if we had a staple cake in our home, banana cake was it. The same could probably be said for many other homes in Fiji in those colonial and early post colonial years.The reason for its popularity was the plentiful supply of the main ingredient; namely ripe to over ripe bananas. The recipe we used then, and which I use now, is based upon one in the South Sea Island Recipes cookery book, first produced in 1934 by the Girl Guides’ Association of Fiji.   I say based upon because making our South Sea Island banana cake is not an exact science. It simply happens, as you put in some of this and some of that and mix it all up till you know that it is exactly how you want it to be. And even then, it will turn out in its own different and delicious way  each time.

My mother was always slightly vexated that every time she made a banana cake, no matter how it looked when it came out of the oven, it would eventually sink in the middle. I thought the sinking made the cake extra good since the centre of the cake then became dense and moist and fulsome with the banana-eriness that only genuine Pacific bananas can impart to a cake. (Apologies to supermarket bananas; I do appreciate you, and would be lost without you, but your flavour is so meagre compared to your Pacific cousins that it is hard to believe you belong to the same family.)

So here is some of the cake I made, with supermarket bananas 😦  Note the texture, if you can see it clearly enough. It is quite different from that of the richer banana cakes I make from my American recipe books.Banana Cake

And here is the recipe, in a completely disreputable state, which should appal the former neat and diligent Girl Guide in me but doesn’t at all.  Instead, I consider the spots and blotches, badges of honour, love and affection. Banana cake recipe The recipe amuses me in its brevity and its assumptions. The instruction is simple, “Mix in the usual way..” with the implication that, if you don’t know what that is, you shouldn’t be looking at a cookery book! No baking times or temperature settings are given; those should be obvious to the cookbook reader too, apparently.

Other wonderful gems in the cookbook include Turtle Soup and how to polish shoes with a red hibiscus.

Lastly, here is the cover of the book looking like the flotsam or jetsam of a castaway’s life, rather than the precious pearl of the Pacific it is to me.

South Sea Island Recipes