46 years ago the Talpas had the enormous privilege of living in the Fiji Islands for several years. We spent some of our happiest times in that enchanted place and the memories haunt us still, in the nicest possible way. Today I was once again looking through the things that we brought back to Scotland, the fans, the mats, the yaqona bowl, the tapa cloth and the shells and seeds picked up on the white coral beaches. This is a Meke fan, a large fan used in formal dances. The "extra", taken from a slide looking its age shows a group of villagers dancing with similar fans. Sadly, like the photograph, our precious memories are inevitably fading; as June Knox Mawer so eloquently put it in her writings on the South Seas:
"With every day that passes the figures on the shorelines grow smaller. The smells of the land grow fainter too, woodsmoke and frangipani, the coconut oil and the hot moist green of the inland forest. The sound of drumming is dying away, the flood of singing voices, the haunting bass and treble of ocean and lagoon."