The team leader, Mike, had rented up a project house in Calodyne, a small village in the north east corner of the island so he could be away from the hustle and bustle of Port Louis. He was attracted to a pleasant modern 3 bedroom house in a gated community, mainly because at the coastal end of the plot was a large kidney shaped swimming pool. Mike had trouble with his knees and swimming was the only heavy duty exercise he was really capable of. I loved to walk, and it did not matter where I went as long as I got out and saw the world. I did use the pool a few times but am not a massively confident swimmer and what is more, plodding up and down the pool after work when the sun was going down and the mosquitoes were coming up, was not especially appealing.
The house’s ground floor was predominantly a large open plan dining room/living room where, apart from meals on a cold evening, we did not spend much time. Mike and a couple others from the project team were smokers and had set up seats in the car port to keep the smoke out of the house, and we naturally gravitated out here to share a few beers and talk after work. The car port was open – we actually parked the car down the driveway – and during the day was pleasant shade against the tropical sun, in the evenings a bit of shelter from the onshore winds. To the left of the car port was an open space to hang washing behind which was small but well kitted kitchen, and upstairs a couple of bathrooms and three bedrooms.
But it was the car port that held our attention. We all got up in dribs and drabs and made our own breakfasts. I needed plenty of bran in the morning. The Mauritian food tended towards its French influence which meant there was a lot of bread and pastries around and I needed something to offset all that stodge. Mike would have a croissant or two, the others pleased themselves. We’d brew up coffee or tea to taste then sit in the comfy chairs out front and watch the world warm up.
If we lunched in, the same would happen – it was just a shame to be indoors in such a climate but with no deck or veranda this little square of tiling was the best we could do. Conversations were varied, usually starting with the team letting off steam over what had happened on the project that day. Once that was done we could talk politics, culture, arts, occasionally sport. We were all very different with varied backgrounds and taste, but we could generally find something to pass the time away. Mike was often vociferous when he had taken a glass of wine or a beer, and this gave an excuse for the rest of us were happy to sit back and let him ramble.