One of the really good, fun, interesting, provoking, and entertaining days in Gizo… For me I am incapable of walking through Gizo and not seeing the past.
I see long, lanky, Bobby King, walking from the old “volunteer house” behind Charlie Panakera’s down the hill to town. Vols like, Rob Hughes, Ian Harris, Kenny Holmes, Dan P, and many others lived there over the years. I recall a birthday party where Lou Graham jumped out of the cake. Good party.
The view over the “anchor islands” group never fails to inspire:
The walk down the hill past where I lived with Pat P, and where a succession of vols, misfits and miscreants like Bob Pete, Alan Freshwater, Drs Fegan, John Hardiker, Pete Hooper, and many others lived. I recall a MP’s go-finis party there where Pat danced on the pedestal table (of course upsetting everything) and, in the morning, there was not a usable cup or glass to have coffee in. Good party.
And down the second hill into town… toward the Mag’s office; I recall a late Friday night, The Fegans had just returned from maternity leave. We’d been to the Gizo club and were a wee bit tipsy… David, Rob H, and I took on the manly task of pushing baby Hanna’s buggy up the hill as we staggered and laughed our way home. Baby Hanna is now a young professional living in London. I do believe a three of us blokes petered out and Jackie had to ensure Hanna was not left on the roadside. Thank gawd for moms! Good party.
Of course the town/ market place is a bustle of activity. A riot of colors and sound. The bright orange and green and blue canoes, the yellow bananas, blending with the bright prints of the people. It is still nice to walk by and say “morning” to everyone you pass…
Gizo is well worn. The roads are worse than they ever were. It is more of a dirty little backwater than a quaint old sea port.The years have not been kind to Gizo. The rubbish collection is pretty much nonexistent. Maintenance is an unknown word. But it’s still a great place for a stroll.
As the day ended my few “things to do” were done or adequately procrastinated; and as I prepared to cease all meaningful endeavors, it decided to rain, but not just rain, to bucket down. I’d spent a few hours at the depot cleaning and re-rigging some fishing gear. I am slowly cleaning the tool room up, and my general puttering allows me to wander all over the facility I created but no longer control. I make everyone nervous; they perk up when the “boss” is around.
One group of guys is laying a half-dozen cubes of concrete, all mixed by hand… no mean feat anywhere but an every day occurrence here. They’ll have this job done by end of Saturday.
The standard pipe and tank work with welding and grinding –outside the fence– takes place. I do enjoy the engineering aspect of running a fuel business… The little fuel biz in Gizo is an interesting place.
So it rains, and I decide to grab my old cabella’s raincoat and wander to the Gizo Hotel. My raincoat has spent the last many months in a closet at the house. I had dug it out and rolled it into my pack before I came down. Smart me…
So I grab it, give it a little shake, unzip it and stick my left arm down the sleeve.
And something big grabs and bites my thumb… I knew right away that it was a hairy-legged spider. What I call a “Huntsman”. I am well aware of what is taking place up the sleeve of the raincoat, but for the 13 seconds I startle everyone as I make incoherent sounds, hop on one leg, shake my left arm and by gratis the black rain coat all over our small office… the big hairy spider drops out and run towards my son, Don. Don promptly screams like a girl and grabs a weapon to kill the creature. I stop him from killing the beast but we both stand back and take stock…
The spider is big: I have sense enough to snap a pict… albiet with a shaking hand…
Don suggests I put my thumb up to gauge the size of the beast. I respond that, after having been bit by it (and it did hurt) I was disinclined to put my thumb anywhere near it. So to prove he is a man, Don the brave, offered his thumb for the much required sizing effect:
To give and idea of it’s size: The space between the puncture wounds it made is about 1 cm (about 3/8th of an inch) so make no doubt about it, this is an avid meat-eater that grabs ahold and chews on things of reasonable size. The wounds on my thumb gives you a reference to the width of its bite.
And it hurt.
So I shook the coat out good. Checked all the pockets, and gingerly donned it for my stroll in the rain to the pub.
And what a better place to end the day than sitting up high in the Gizo Hotel watching the world go by…
Gizo is good…