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Goodbye Honiara
The signs were there for some time that Jack's
contract in the Solomon Islands wouldn't run the full
term. The last of my remaining projects were due to
finish early this year  and several projects that the
company was depending on to follow on from them did
not materialise.
So Jack was expecting to finish his contract early in
2013, a few months earlier than the planned two years,
and we were a bit surprised  when marching orders
came in November.
He was hoping to have time to check out the market and
to send out a few applications early in the new year but
the timing, just before Christmas, meant that we were
to have a longer holiday than planned. Especially since
we had just used up several weeks of leave for our UK
trip.  
All in all, our time in Honiara was peaceful and not
unpleasant and we made many good friends. Of course,
and, unfortunately, as usual in many developing
countries, things could be so much better with just a
few basic changes in administration. However, Solomon
Islands is a long way ahead of places such as PNG for
the all important security issue. Also the people are
very friendly and reliable and they much more focused
on improving their situation through combined effort
than are their northern neighbours.
We would have no hesitation in accepting another
contract there if one were offered.
Retirement?
Or course there may be no more offers from anywhere.
Jack definitely lost at least one opportunity because of
his age, despite the 'no discrimination on the grounds of
race, religion or age'!  ... and despite the fact that he is
considerably more healthy and active than many others
much younger than him. Plus the very important fact
that he very much wants to continue working in
developing countries doing what he enjoys.
Brisbane
The four weeks we spent in Brisbane was our longest single
period in Australia since 2003. It was good to spend so much
time with Kim and Sam but, apart from some work in their
tiny garden and a few casual rounds of golf for Jack with
Sam's boyfriend Kiran, we didn't really have a lot to occupy
our time. So, when Viv's brother Tony suggested we pay him a
visit in Perth we decided to take up his offer.
Perth
Jack had been to Perth in the early 1990s attending the
Golden Oldies Rugby Festival with the Gold Coast Gorillas XV
and had brought back some very good memories.  But Viv had
never been there so the decision wasn't a difficult one to
make.
We have enjoyed wonderful weather since we've been here.
Only two days with little light rain and almost too hot on a
few occasions. Luckily a cool south east breeze has kept the
temperature down on most days.
Our time has been spent sightseeing in Tony's spare vehicle
(not exactly luxurious but dependable) and cleaning up a
garden that had been unattended by the previous tenant at
Tony's rented house.
Jack was also lucky to get in a few rounds of golf with Tony
and his friends and his old friend from Port Moresby Hash
House Harriers, Con Papamihail, who lives near the beach just
to the north west of Perth.
Jack, Roy, Marguerite & Viv in Albany
20 January 2013 – Goodbye Honiara. Hello retirement?!!
On the Tree Tops Walk on the WA south coast
Albany & Jamaica Reunion
One of our sightseeing trips was down to Albany on the south
coast where we met up with, and stayed with, two other old
friends, Roy and Marguerite Gwynn.  
Jack and Roy played rugby together in Jamaica for Kingston
RFC between 1965 and 1968. So it was an almost 45 year
reunion since they hadn't met in all that time despite both
being in Australia since we arrived in 1985. Roy arrived some
time earlier but settled in Western Australia while we
settled in Queensland.
Surprisingly we were able to recognise each other easily and
soon the faces in our memories were replaced by the older
versions.
After the initial stories of our adventures since Roy and
Marguerite left Jamaica the conversations turned, naturally,
to long forgotten names of mutual friends during the time we
were both in Jamaica.
Roy and Marguerite took us on a guided tour of the Albany
region and then pointed us in the right direction for the
return trip to Perth via the south west corner including the
Tree Tops Walk, the Valley of the Giants, Cape Leeuwin and
the Margaret River area.
Return to Brisbane
We are scheduled to return to Brisbane on 29 January and
time will tell where we next travel to live and work ..... or to
retire!