Mickey, Minnie, Tapa and Tania


Up to here

Sunday 7 July
Up early for a snorkel before breakfast with my big sister…. Simply divine. So many fish in a little coral garden just off the beach. We also whiled away some hours playing scrabble beside the sea… What more do you want?
The crossing home was uneventful and all fine until we walked inside and discovered a mouse had been having a rave party on our kitchen bench. First course involved gnawing through the lid of an ice cream container for some cheese biscuits. I think he gave up before he got through to the ‘prize’ as the lone biscuit was still intact… But we have it to our sentry Tim Tin just in case.
Obviously exhausted from all the effort, he/she the decided a cuppa would be nice and proceeded to gnaw through a thick ziplock glad bag and rip teabags to shreds. Not sure that the tea would have been enjoyed without the brewing process. Anyway he/she did create a bit of a mess…
Later I found little teeth marks on another glad bag filled with sultanas, rolled oats, coconut and coca powder. None of which seemed to take the mouse’s fussy fancy pancy tastes. Now I know there are animal lovers out there… But our house just ain’t big enough for us AND a mouse or two so it has to be them or us.
Sister Keoma told us to buy some stick traps which we now have sitting on the floor next to the fridge with a few crumbs as an enticement for Mickey/Minnie. It looks a bit like an open book. Apparently the mouse walks onto it and gets its feet stuck… Should be funny when we catch the little varmint.

Monday 8 july
Had a very yummy Tongan lunch/feast at the convent prepared by the ‘Anhopanilolo nuns before strolling into town. They had a large banquet table laid out with Tongan dishes and salads and made us feel ever so welcome. The walk into town was a necessity after our fill!
Home made Vego curry and rice for dinner… I do love the Chinese fresh tofu we can get if we get to the market earlier enough before it runs out.

Tuesday 9 July
Kotoni… Where are my best thongs? Ok my thongs broke a few months ago so I shall have to settle for my best crocs. We are off the NZ High Commission tonight after receiving a gold gilt invitation to attend a cocktail party.
A very special art exhibition is opening tonight. It features traditional tapa cloth (made from beaten mulberry bark in a long involved process)used by contemporary artists to interpret life in Tonga. Every day we hear the thump thump of tapa being made so I am looking forward to this evening very much.
Later… Great NZ wine and an enjoyable event. I spent a lengthy time talking to an Australian artist Fiona Hall about art, politics and travel so a stimulating evening. (She makes amazing works i remember the early works made out of sardine cans… you may have seen at national gallery in Canberra: google her!) To top it all off we swung by a friend at the High Commission residences to pick up a long term loan of a vacuum cleaner! I know… I can hear you say… Get a life Sonia… But truly, after 4 months of trying to sweep beige carpet tiles with a coconut broom that didn’t quite make the cut, I am on cloud nine!
Had a drive around the East coast before sadly depositing Tania at the airport this morning… What a terrific five days we had with her… An easy guest.

Wednesday 10 July
Pizza night to meet the new volunteers tonight… This happens 3-4 times a year… Only seems like yesterday that we were the newby gringoes sitting there all wide eyed, full of questions and expectations for what would be ahead of us.
Timm an art teaching friend from uni days arrives in the wee hours tomorrow. He has kindly donated two apple laptops to the college so Harri, the art teacher is over the moon.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our visitors. Tania also donated a laptop she hardly ever used. I was able to assure her it will be much welcomed at college as there are only a couple of computers between about 15 staff so this will greatly improve efficiency.

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4 thoughts on “Mickey, Minnie, Tapa and Tania

  1. Scrabble is high on my list to get organised. Along with a car and the gentle start of a social life, but it’s early days and there’s plenty of time for all of that. Wonder if the nice AVI volunteer I met last week would be up for Scrabble – probably not what he had in mind for a “night out”! ha ha. Loving the word pictures you’re painting of Tonga …


  2. A fantastic report. Yes saw Fiona’s work at National Gallery and at Newcastle Regional. She’s great.


  3. Sonia- I can totally relate to the wish for a vacuum cleaner! I was forever trying to sweep under benches and getting fluff, dust and soot (from the sugar cane fires) off the floor and mopping so as not to have dirty feet hopping into bed. (In Fiji)
    As a mouse deterrent- I found aluminium foil into corners/gaps in cupboards and tin containers the only way to go. On the side…. I kept most of our cereals, rice and flour in the fridge to deter weevils.
    Love reading about your daily life.


  4. What a wonderful five days, filled with such a variety of experiences. I am sure Tania had a marvellous time.
    Fiona Hall is a brilliant Artist. How fortunate to have had a chat with her. She has several pieces in MONA. All totally amazing…… such detail and clever reuse of materials. I know how important a good Vacuum is. Glad that you can enjoy the mod cons. and Good luck with the Mouse. They are cute but I agree not in my/ your house. Sending lots of love. Snow still all over Wello. Wearing lots of Wool but the suns out and we are happy. XX TT


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