Pacific Islands Society of UK and Ireland. This post is by Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about books and blogs). Pix show Afu, Sara and me (that's for you Jenny Wate!), and then a lunch group taken by Nell and her friend Fernanda.
For reasons entirely due to Michael Tuhanuku of Honiara this song makes my family think of the humid, beautiful Solomons. So you can read this post listening to it if you want! It's Soul Sister by Train.
SATURDAY: First organise a Pacific Special Book day and tempt some wonderful writers to give a talk in front of afficanados and islanders belonging to the Pacific Islands Society over in Earls Court, London. We were so lucky to get Will Randall who wrote the yet to be bettered book about the Solomons, Solomon Time. Years of teaching has left him an expert public speaker too. He gave a fabulous talk filled with humour and bon mots (well, he does live in France now).
Nell had been asked to talk a little about Solomon Islands Development Trust which does such important development education work - and both Sara and I worked for years ago. Mali (Sara's university student daughter) and Lola (mine) also gave a powerful advert about why the Tetepare Descendants Association needs support, making their respective mums proud. Then Rosie Millard read with pezzaz from her entertaining book Bonnes Vacances: a crazy family adventure in the French Territories which took her through the South Pacific via New Caledonia. Who would have thought this would spring so many tough questions, and none about trying to work and travel with four small children?
SUNDAY: If it's too carbon intensive - and expensive -to get ourselves back to the Solomons (15,000 miles away), then the answer is to tempt those people who love the Solomons around to your house. You do this by never mentioning we are vegetarian - instead we quickly become pescatarian when I'm thinking up a menu that is UK seasonal but includes fish (eventually settled on a cod-like white fleshed fish from Cornwall which the fishmonger said was called Poutin after what Posh Spice does. Name is still a mystery, but it does cook easily.
Result: lunch was enjoyed (I hope, I was too busy gossiping to notice how the food went down) by Afu, temporarily working here in an extremely high-powered job (she's meeting the Queen next week!), Sara and Peter who were part of the early team that helped allow people today call Tetepare "the largest uninhabited island in the Pacific" and provide an alternative to logging. Will joined us - and then there was Pete who has a chapter on the Solomons in his book, There's A Hippo in My Cistern which recounts his slight inept ability to cope with sleeping in a cave in Belona or master a bush knife or catch and gut a fish... And I've got Coconut Wireless, a whole novel about love, life and gossip based in Honiara (which you can download for FREE if you go to www.smashwords.com/books./view/29742 and use the code NP86T before 2 April) or just pay £1.92 off amazon.