Love among the cable huts

On the shores of Suva Harbour, just along from Government House, there was once a row of concrete constructions. They were called the cable huts. It was probably because they were built there by Cable and Wireless. This was an organisation that, among other things, laid international cables under the oceans of the world. It was long before the internet and so many other things that we could never have imagined. I have an idea the huts may also have been gun emplacements during the war but this piece is not about all that stuff. It is about young love. (Cue the music.)

In our time the cable huts played an important part in our lives. This was a favourite spot where many of us would go to “park”. Parking was important because we didn’t have flats or apartments and we still lived at home and parking at home was out of the question unless the folks were away. This was tail light alley. This was our place.

Looking back it does seem that those were more innocent days. Sure, there were some who may have gone “all the way” but ours was a small town and what was shared was private and generally it stayed that way. Mainly it was, as the song said, puppy love. Still, we steamed up some windows.

Perhaps this all sounds a bit romantic but that was the way it was. At least that was the way it was in Humber Hawk – registration number 4996. (How many others of you remember the numbers on your plates?)

There were other parking spots, of course. I had a hideaway parking spot in the guava bushes but I’m not telling you where, even today. Nor am I telling you who might have come parking with me. If they remember then I am happy. I remember.

One of the problems for the driver was the “who shall I drop off first” conundrum. Say you were driving two girls home and the one you were “die there” for lived the shortest distance away? You didn’t want to play your hand and maybe she wanted to stay on board, but the other one was saying “Drop her off first she’s closest” and annoying stuff like that. What did you do? Well, you either ignored her or took her home before your favourite or, if you were really thinking, you would drop your favourite off first, rush around and drop off the other one quickly, and come back. Then, off to the cable huts.

To the cable huts or the yacht club: The Royal Suva Yacht Club. But that’s another story.


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