My English broke early in the Solomon Islands. I was surprised and slightly alarmed – I earn my living from knowing about these things. I realised I was in trouble when writing in my journal (lying in the hammock, a breeze keeping the heat at bay …) I wrote ‘siteseeing’ and could not work out if I should’ve written sightseeing. With many custom sites – significant ancestral places – in the Solomons, ‘site’ seemed like the right word to me. I turned to my husband – known for his skills as a firefighter not as a speller – to ask him about site and sight. He looked at me with great pity.