South Pacific Island Sojourn

by Patrick O'Brien

Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

I’ve stopped off on a large island in the South Pacific and taken up residence in a grand old house across the road from its port. Nice view!

From my porch I can watch the fishing smacks and cargo boats as they come and go, while across the bay are mountains that drop down to an alluvial plain which runs to the sea. I should be comfortable here for a while; around 18-months I expect.

The house has a large, colonial style garden, long neglected, which I’m slowly trimming back to shape. The lady next door is teaching me how to tend roses and a large walnut tree promises a good crop of nuts come autumn.

The locals are friendly and speak a strange dialect of English to which my ear is slowly becoming accustomed. The food is excellent and my staples are rice and fish which I supplement with fresh vegetables from a small salad garden I’m establishing.

My purpose here is to write a book about this. The publisher is understanding, even sympathetic. He writes: “It must be a strange feeling; you’ll develop itchy feet quite soon, I suspect. Just take it out on the keyboard!”.

Funny thing is, though, I’d always thought a biography was something we wrote following retirement — and yet, here I am, off the road, having been persuaded that this work needs completing now. One hundred thousand words: dead line 18-months.

In my spare time, when not writing or pottering about in the garden, I take long beach walks or wander along some cliff-top tracks around the bay. Once a week I stop off at a local outdoor café where I read the papers and catch up on local gossip over coffee. Thanks to a mobile PC-Card and our global, wireless networks, the outside world is only a mouse-click away.

The gelfling has joined me. Life is good . . .