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An Island to Oneself by Tom Neale

By Tom Neale

Thomas Francis "Tom" Neale (November 6, 1902 - November 27, 1977)[1] was once a brand new Zealander bushcraft and survival fanatic who spent a lot of his existence within the cook dinner Islands and sixteen years in 3 classes dwelling on my own at the island of Anchorage within the Suwarrow atoll, which used to be the root of this autobiography.

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Sample text

It’s all I’ve got," I said. " Dick was the sort of man who always carried a fair amount of money in his pocket. Without demur, he handed me two five-pound notes. I was able to off-load my belongings before the Mahurangi sailed… all except the stones and three big cases buried beneath other cargo. Fortunately, I had kept lists of the contents of each package. Dick’s lorry took eighteen of them back to the room after I had arranged to rent it again for a few weeks longer. Before the Mahurangi sailed, I went to the skipper and every member of the crew, begging them to look after the three cases I could not off-load.

Instead, I would relax in the evening and, if the weather were fine, I would brew myself a bowl of tea and carry it down to the beach. There I would sit with the faint sigh of the trade winds rustling the palms which bent like a canopy over my head. Sometimes I would light a small fire to cook the cats’ supper, and later Mr. Tom-Tom or Mrs. Thievery would jump up on my lap and purr contentedly. On some evenings the air would be so still I could hear my own breath; at others, my little world would be filled with the screams and sounds of birds wheeling above me, mostly the terns (which I watched patiently, for I knew they would soon start to lay) and frigate birds, which nested on the islets in their thousands, knowing they had no humans to fear.

I did make a start by sifting out three sackfuls which I put into shallow boxes so that I could at least start growing seeds, though whether I would ever be able to transplant them was another matter. My first attempts at separating the fine soil took me several days—simply because I had not thought to buy a sieve in Rarotonga. I did, however, have a small tea strainer, and I sieved enough fine soil for six seed-boxes, using only this wretchedly small implement. How I missed a boat! " Why hadn’t I brought some caulking material?

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