1. Walking into the Weir pub an hour after their arrival and Leavi greeting those having a quiet evening meal by the canal with a: ‘Bula, we are here!’ Indeed they were.
2. The team arriving day one of build at Hampton Court in hard hats, yellow reflector jackets and steel toe cap boots; it was like a Fijian version of Resevoir Dogs with ‘father’ Marau leading the way. (The boots were soon removed as normal service resumed whilst doing the bure-top thatching).
3. Walking through London with Leavi as tour guide: ‘You build this (pointing at Westminster Abbey), we build the compost toilet.’ Seeing the re-unions with tribe members in the park that day was brilliant.
4. Strolling into the tropical biome at the Eden Project and Te pointing at the first flower and saying, ‘eh, we’ve got a song about this one,’ and proceeded to pull out the guitars and sing it. Those that had worked in the biome for the last 8 years were excited to hear their plants had songs and new medicinal values as well as Latin names. The boys were such a hit at Eden that day that they were offered jobs for the rest of the summer. Next time…
5. Taking the boys with the family across Devon at sunset in a hot air balloon. Oh. My. God. We landed in a field where there was a young farmers tug of war contest taking place. And although we missed the chance to enter the men from the sky in skirts as a team, we were soon invited for cider at the barn dance. Welcome to rural England!
6. Marau and Leavi’s random dancing on the bili bili rafts and around the village on the opening night of the show. No fear and absolute classic entertainment.
7. Api explaining on the BBC why, when he tried to say Bula to a swan it bit his finger.
8. Te lowering the Fijian flag as we all sang isa lei on our own little beach at Hampton Court to a slightly bemused, smiling and in some cases teary British public at the end of the show.
9. Api and Tale busking for their cocktails on Hampton Court bridge on their last night. Tale: ‘It’s easy to make money all you have to do is sing.’ Api, pointing at the guitar case: ‘heh, who put the pinapple in there?’
10. Marau two minutes away from attempting to take a bin-bag wrapped handsaw on the flight as carry on luggage at Heathrow. It was quickly shoved down the back of Tale’s rucksack. Laughter ensued before more tears as these big sensitive men said their final goodbyes. The laughter had gone back to Fiji.
Those were the moments I will remember. What were yours?
Almost time for me to return to Fiji, see through the three years and get ready for Vorovoro part two…
Vina’a va’alevu’s to Jane, Andrea, Ulai, Kelly, Keti, Sophie, Jim, Amy, Craig, James, Helen and all those who made this dream come true for the boys and help bring a little bit of the best of Fiji to the English summer.