I’m leaving for Vanuatu on Friday. Yes, it is now Sunday and I did have vague intentions of mentioning the trip before now, but that is the problem with vague intentions.

I thought I’d better mention the planned absence in case anyone was bothered by three weeks of radio silence.

On Friday evening I fly out to Port Vila to make myself useful with Wycliffe Associates for three weeks, repairing verandas at the translation headquarters, among other things. I was told I need to be willing to swing a hammer, and I confirmed I was willing but couldn’t guarantee I would hit what I was aiming at.

Whenever I say this, people joke about me hitting my thumbs, and I realise that maybe I am the only person who holds the nail in place with pliers. It’s a brilliant technique and I don’t intend to change because of peer pressure.

I still have to buy more full, below the knee skirts (and I intend to feel very Isabella-Bird, working and exploring in skirts). I confess it took me a moment to remember not to be bothered by the thought of wearing skirts and sneakers together. I am also diverting unnecessary brainpower to the question of what size sketchbook to take: pocket or large?

The following is from the Tourism Vanuatu website and I have pretty much learned it off by heart:

There are no public transport systems in Vanuatu. Privately owned mini buses are common and run unspecified routes through the municipal areas. You need only board one heading in approximately the right direction and tell the driver where you wish to stop and you will get there, albeit by a circuitous route! Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive. To get to other parts of Efate, utilities are licensed to carry passengers and can be found at the Markets.