Last weekend I missed the boat at the butchers and fish people. I went to buy something and by the time I had got there they had sold out. The lady in the butchers suggested I order something to be put by next week. I had heard that beef prices were very good so asked about fillet steak....”£7.80 a kilo”, I was told. Sounds good to me so I ordered 500g or thereabouts.
Don’t worry I didn’t starve last week; I made a giant pan full of homemade soup and also a load of homemade bread. This week I was ready for action! I got to the fish people at 10.00am to choose one of 30 or 40 prime cuts of tuna. At £3.17 a Kilo I got plenty of fish for £1.50! Then to the butchers where the lady had saved me not only a piece of fillet but the Chateaubriand cut...i.e. the best bit! At £6.60 for the piece I was feeling VERY pleased with myself. The first meal was going to be a beef teriyaki type stir fry with loads of broccoli and rice. All went well until I opened the rice packet.........there sitting on the top looking like it should have been in one of those survival programmes was a giant cockroach! So in true Bear Grylls (one of the men on one of those survival programmes) style I took the packet outside chucked the cockroach out of the packet and stood on it! Probably Bear Grylls would have just calmly added it to his dinner but that was a bridge too far for me. I did nevertheless cook the rice and eat it with the thought that any nasties Mr Cockroach had left would be rendered harmless by boiling in salted water.....any scientists out there please say yes! There are cockroaches on the island as in many warm damp parts of the world, I have seen about 6 or so in and around the house, usually in the back of cupboards or on the floor and one I found in my bathroom sink. They don’t bother me too much although would hope I never find one in my bed!
The only other “little critter” I have to deal with is the white ants. These are tiny tiny little ants about the size of the UK thunder bugs. They will take over anything which has sugar or protein in it as I found to my peril on the first day. I had cut up some bread for toasting and left the chopping board in the sink with crumbs etc on it not washed. When I returned that evening from work the board and sink was covered with these tiny ants. Now I do what all St Helena folk do and clean up everything once I’ve finished cooking and eating. This is probably one reason why in my accommodation inspections the standard of cleanliness in all is excellent! They really put some UK accommodation providers to shame.
My assessment visits have been going well although the clock is ticking and we may not get to see all properties this time. Some of the places I’ve visited are shown on my photos. The standards are very good in the context of cleanliness, friendliness and service to the customer: all proprietors on the island meet their customer off the ship, take them to their accommodation, provide a free welcome pack of goodies in the case of self catering and ensure they have car hire etc organised. As mentioned in one of my previous ramblings, much of the accommodation on the island is pretty new so maintenance is pretty good all-round. At the time of writing I have only found one five foot bed on my travels. Most of the beds here are 4’ 6” which I think is something people visiting from afar may find unexpected as most of us are used to at least 5’ beds now.