18 December 2014

2014-12-18 orchids at Nadi Airport R

Behold the gorgeous orchids at Nadi Airport. They set a high standard for what we hope to achieve with our orchid house.  And for folks who don’t aspire to be orchid-growers they offer a small consolation to those boo-hooing as their visiting loved ones leave.

That’s how my blog-week started – saying good-bye to the last of the visiting relatives six nights ago.

2014-12-18 beggars tick 1  R


A dear one has a sore that is not healing, so we decided to try local herbs.   This is Beggar’s Tick, and we have it growing all over the property.

2014-12-18 beggars tick 2  R

Austin picked this much.

2014-12-18 beggars tick 3  R

And then rolled it in his hands and squeezed the juice out and put the juice in the wound.  The next day the wound looked much better.

But then we went to Suva, and when we came back two days later we found the sore was infected – so onward we will march, with Western antibiotics.   Yesterday afternoon a local friend saw the sore and suggested we use a really effective local leaf.  I asked which one.  She told me a name I didn’t recognize and said we had it growing all over the property.  I asked her to bring some … and what she brought was Beggar’s Tick.


Saturday night in Suva Austin and I went to a big birthday celebration for twins celebrating their 21st birthday.  Lovely party, huge spread of food.   But by the time I was going to sleep, I was starting to suspect the potato salad I’d eaten there.  I woke up feeling like I had dengue again – achy joints.

I dragged myself to the meeting I was in Suva to attend, and my friend Jone (Johnny) immediately smiled at me and said, “You’ve got fish poisoning.”  He KNEW it because we’d gone through the line together, gotten fish together, and he knew EXACTLY what the achy feeling was when he got it, because he’s had fish poisoning before.   I called Austin to let him know, since he’d been feeling achy, too.

By afternoon I was feeling lots better, but Austin was feeling worse, so he went to the ER.  We knew from Micronesia days that mannitol is a quick and complete cure for ciguatera poisoning.  Anyway, Austin sat in that ER  from 5:30 til midnight – and when he was finally seen, they would not give him mannitol (“it hasn’t been published”) – and only gave him a shot for the itching.  Gee thanks.

HERE:  I found it published!  Took me a grand total of 2 minutes on Google.  http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/FAME/InfoBull/Ciguatera/2/Ciguatera2_09_Lew.pdf

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2014-12-18 first flat tyre 1  R


So driving back from Suva Austin was so tired he let me drive.  And he woke up just as I was driving into the edge of the pedestrian walkway of a bridge.   This is a fellow trying to get the jack placed well under the truck.

2014-12-18 first flat tyre 2  Cr

This is what I looked at as I waited while the tyre was being changed – bees in yellow flowers.

2014-12-18 first flat tyre  3   Cr

This is the damage I did to that tyre.  It’s a goner.

2014-12-18 second flat tyre  1  R


Within the first five miles (8 km) the spare went flat.  F…L…a…t.  And so here is Austin with a new set of guys detaching the second flat tyre in 20 minutes.

2014-12-18 second flat tyre  2  R

This is what I looked at as this tyre was being changed – beautiful coconut trees down by the coast.  I think the salt air is good for them.   But this time, of course there was no spare – so it meant Austin hitching a ride to Sigatoka to get the tyre repaired.

2014-12-18 second flat tyre  3  Cr

So I entertained myself with my laptop until the battery was out of juice – and then was fascinated by this little bug.     No idea what it is.

2014-12-18 peachy mango 1  R


The week has ended well.  Yesterday Akka and Monica hiked over to the far property to get mangoes from a tree over there.  It is a different variety – utterly delicious, creamy, and with no fiber.    When I was a small child in Miami, we had a mango tree and the fruits were my very favorite – I called them “peachy bananas.”   This is the first time I’ve had a mango that made me think “peachy banana” since I was seven years old.

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My high school classmate “Shoddy Wrenn” grew up to be a magnificent artist – Charlotte Hutson-Wrenn.  I’ve been waiting for the right time to link to her page of strange and evocative paintings from the low country of South Carolina.  She has a series of small paintings she is doing right now for Christmas and I am waiting for the one that sings to me.   Here is her link and a sample of her work:


Charlotte Hutson-Wrenn Red House at Edisto

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4 thoughts on “18 December 2014

  1. Hi Shottie – I always liked the old spelling, but understand why you don’t; what a hoot that it was your older brother’s doing. Your paintings are magical. I hope someone sees the link and ventures over to your page to fall in love with your work. Merry Christmas to you, too.

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