Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I got back from Tonga on Saturday, but for the first time ever we had used all our months' internet data, and when they put you on slow they really put you on slooooooowwwww.... like the bad old days of dial up! But we're into a new billing month now and I can show you some more Tonga photos. This is the Tongan Stonehenge - Ha'amonga a Maui. Like Stonehenge, the stones come from a long way away, and no-one really has any idea how they got there, how they put them up, and what on earth they are for.

Tonga is the only country in the Pacific never to have been a colony - mainly because they instituted a constitutional monarchy in the 19th century that and have been united ... more or less ... ever since. It was interesting to me because of family history - my great-grandmother grew up in Tonga in about the 1890s. I don't know much about it other than from a autobiography her younger sister wrote that was published in 1995 - and it is hard to take it terribly seriously as a book because of her strong tendency to tell everything as being wonderfully fabulous. But putting aside questions of historical accuracy, I was on the lookout for anything that might show how it would have been over 100 years ago, and there was actually quite a bit to see. The Royal Palace is still there, and a few historical buildings, and the basic shape of the town isn't much altered.  These are the royal tombs, just across the road from where we were staying.

After work one day we went and saw the blowholes - a long stretch of coastline that gives straight onto the Pacific ocean and has a shore of volcanic rock with lots of holes in it. This picture isn't very good but it is really impressive - a great heaving sea with huge waves that crash into the cliffs, forcing water up through the cracks and fissures like an explosion. And it is miles long - going all the way to the far point in this photo. It is really spectacular.

I had a birthday while we were there (and had a lovely celebratory evening with a few beers and some delicious fish. Actually we had delicious fish at just about every meal - except for the times we had crab. Yummmmm.... )  So when I got back late on Saturday night after a thirteen hour trip - this was waiting for me on the kitchen bench. Number two son has been improving his fondant skills!! It was a delicious dense chocolate cake that we are still slowly eating our way through. Nice to be home...


  1. Her father was a trader, I understand. Which island, I know not. Well done Gabe, I love the cake. The letters look like raw biscuit mix. Dad.

  2. According to the book, they settled in a house not far from the royal palace where "Princess Salote adopted her [Lydia] as a sister" and the children were "brought up happily in the palace alongside the royal children". Mmmm..... maybe.