The Missing Ashtray Mystery

Posted: 22/01/2014 in Box of Chocolates, Vanuatu
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is the view from our patio. Lovely isn’t it?

View from Patio

Most afternoons, my wife and I sit at the table and “watch the waves”, chillax and….talk…to each other. It’s a nice time and we have been doing this for several years now.

HOWEVER, all of that was temporarily thrown into turmoil today. We are both smokers. We have a ‘permanent’ ashtray on the table. This afternoon – it wasn’t there.


It wasn’t like this  > > > >

Glass Ashtray with butts





Nor this > > > >

push-down ashtray






…. and definitely not like this > > > >

nude woman bronze ashtray






No, it was more like this, only with about four times more butt space > > > >

Used sea shell ashtray

Hardly valuable. We live on oceanfront and these things are as common as flies on a rubbish cart. That’s not the point.

We eventually found it sitting on the edge of our coral stone/cement fire pit – 36 paces away from the patio table.

How? Why?


We can blame it on our house-girl. Only been with us for eight years. Gone home and forgotten some of the basic duties of the day, including replacing our daily ashtray that we have become used to as an accompaniment to the afternoon coldie and G&T. Sacre bleu!

Our gardener, the house-girl’s partner, has been with us for nearly nine years. Yesterday I was told when questioned on the whereabouts of my pliers, the response was – Sori tumas, mi lusim hem since long taem (translated from a form of pidgin English, Bislama, into real English, means – “Sorry boss, I lost them a long time ago”.

As an ex-pat amidst an entirely different cultural ethic, it is this type of small event that colours our day! Small stuff. The “don’t sweat it” stuff…..because the other joys that their ‘kastom’ and culture bring to us far outweigh the niggly bits that go with the territory of living in a strange land.

We all have our petty frustrations in life. Don’t sweat it.

Don’t worry, be happy!

Don't Worry, Be Happy!


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