People of the Ugly Islands

Some of the people who are mentioned elsewhere are described here -- in a few cases, we have also been able to get sketches of them as well.

Barry Grey

Barry Grey The husband of Councillor Jean Grey, Barry is normally referred to as Bazza. He works in one of is wife's stores, and runs messages for her, as well as running the banking agency. Whenever possible, he takes tourists fishing, but most people quickly learn that Bazza seems to have a unique ability to frighten fish away, just by sitting in a boat.

Bazza is the butt of many jokes around the Ugly Islands, but he has a good nature and does not seem to resent the fact that people laugh at him. And once in a while, very occasionally, he manages to get the last laugh.

Parrot Williams

Parrot Williams is the school teacher on Little Ugly. He is widely respected by the islanders for his tremendous knowledge of most of the unimportant things in life, such as Greek mythology, ancient history, archaeology, and related topics.

His main interests in life centre on reading and fishing. Whenever possible, he combines the two. Most islanders believe that Parrot has been the inspiration behind a number of daring hoaxes that have been created over the last few years, assisted probably by Barbara James and Steve Lander, but they do not talk about this with outsiders.

Professor Fenwick

Fenwick Professor Fenwick spends most of his time researching the prehistory of the Ugly Islands. He has been able to reveal a number of exciting finds over the past few years, including Viking runes, Egyptian hieroglyphics and other unlikely finds. He has also been able to turn up a number of rather curious artefacts made from obsidian, but he has not published anything about these yet, although Parrot and Old Bill have been encouraging him to go public with his finds. (Their interest stems from the fact that they have been with him when he made these finds.)

The Professor is valued by the islanders because he writes up all of his theories in popular books and magazines, and these articles and books help to arouse the interest of potential tourists who come to the islands, hoping to make similar finds themselves.

At the moment, Professor Fenwick is working with Bill James to try to track down the wombahs of Big Ugly, searching mainly in the dense forests at the base of Cloudmaker, but they have had no success so far, in spite of all the money that the professor has paid Bill to act as his guide. That is, they have not caught one or photographed one, but Bill sees these elusive animals most days, just as they disappear into the fog, and far too late for Professor Fenwick to catch even a glimpse.

Peg Wilkins

Peg is short -- less than 150 cm, and very light in weight, but she is an amazingly energetic worker. She is a self-trained biologist, and she does a useful trade in biological specimens, which she sells to several overseas biological supply houses. Her face reveals that she has spent most of the past fifty years out-of-doors, generally on her boat, Peggyback.

Peg is a bit of a loner, and she often prefers just to sail off up into the Uglets on Peggyback to collect marine specimens for sale, but she brings them back to her house on Little Ugly, where she prepares them. Peg is very concerned that her collecting should cause no damage, so she usually only collects once from each of the Uglets each year.

Peg is the only person licensed by the Ugly Islands Council to sell preserved specimens of the hairyoddity, which is a bit of a problem, as she only preserves them in one way, by embedding them in resin. This makes it impossible for outside zoologists to dissect them, or to obtain any DNA for investigation. Peg has tried to remedy this by providing material, but the results have been confusing, suggesting that the hairyoddities are closely related either to a bender fish, a seagull, or a plant of the meadberry family.

She also collects plant specimens wherever she goes, bringing them back for the research that she and John Wellington-Wells have been doing now for twenty years. They have now found about thirty species of plant which appear to be "biologically active". That is, they contain chemicals which may be useful in treating diseases.

Tim Finnegan

Tim is the "bar useful" at Hirohito's Bar and Grill, and also works as a general handyman, palm seed collector, tourist guide, timber-cutter, and will do almost anything else that is legal, provided he is paid for it. He enjoys taking people fishing best of all, even when he isn't paid for it.

Tim is the third islander to bear his name, his grandfather and father both having the same name. Both of the others are dead now, but Tim is usually still referred to as "Young Tim". It was Tim's grandfather, by the way, who first found his way up through the Riverrun to Finnegans Lake. His mother, Jane, is a Council member, and the nurse at the Dead Whale Bay Cottage Hospital.

Antonio Garibaldi

Antonio is a descendant of a cousin of the famous Italian leader. The cousin fought at the Eureka Stockade in Australia, and then fled to the Ugly Islands in an American whaling ship. There have been Garibaldis in the Ugly Islands ever since then.

Antonio is 16, and still at school, although he prefers to be out sailing his Ug-boat, a class which is very popular with the children of the islands. He manages to sail most days, and is the current Ugly Islands champion, having taken out the Plughole Rush and also the Widdershins Cup in each of the last three years. In spite of his Italian-sounding name, Antonio looks distinctly Asian to outsiders, and so does his cousin Limmo, for each has five Chinese great-grandparents, the result of a shipwreck in the late 1850s.

"Limmo" Lim

Limmo is immediately recognisable at a distance, because he has a shock of frizzled snow-white hair -- apparently he was dealt a rather strange hand from the shuffled genetic deck that his parents collected and then passed on to him.

Limmo is 15, and looks forward to the day when his cousin turns 17, so he can have his year as champion Ug-boat sailor: he has come second to Antonio for the past three years, and should have no trouble winning, once Antonio is out of the running.

Anneliese Plurabelle

The descendant of Irish, French and German families who fled Europe after 1848, Anneliese is a boisterous young woman, who at 24, has been the champion pool player of Little Ugly for the past seven years. She plays on the pool table whenever she is not serving the customers' tables in Hirohito's Bar and Grill.

She shows all of her ancestors' attitude to authority, and is likely to be elected to the Council whenever she chooses to stand. At the moment, she is rather enjoying annoying Jean Grey by not saying what she plans to do at the next elections. She is registered as a resident of Big Ugly, and sails across to Little Ugly when she is working.

Anneliese is a former Ug-boat champion, and she is one of the best Screamer skippers on the islands.

Hyacinth O'Donnell

Hyacinth turned 87 just recently. She is able to recall many facts that other people have never heard of, and there are those who believe that she makes the facts up as she goes along. Still, Hyacinth was born on Little Ugly, and only spent a few years away while she gained a B. A. degree in Britain, before returning to the islands.

When people find out that Hyacinth's degree is that of Bachelor of Arts, they usually become alarmed, as Hyacinth has been the only doctor in the islands for the past sixty years. Hyacinth explains that her University only awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree, even to medical graduates. This would not matter so much but when Hyacinth treats outsiders, she always gives them her card at the end of the treatment, revealing her qualifications, but without explaining anything.

In a few cases, patients have actually left her surgery feeling sicker than they did when they went in. This is probably assisted by Hyacinth's collection of antique surgical instruments which she has hanging on the wall, many of them manufactured by grateful islanders with too much time on their hands, and too gruesome an imagination.

Henry Cruciform (1870-1963)

During a long and very successful scientific career, Cruciform made several visits to the Ugly Islands, and his notebooks are a remarkable resource for anybody studying the islands, as Cruciform was a keen observer, and a careful recorder of all that he saw.

The notebooks, with the exception of one diary, held by the Mitchell Library, are still in the possession of Cruciform's family, but they have kindly allowed the islanders almost unlimited access while they are assembling the material for these pages.

If you want to know more about Henry Cruciform, you will need to ask Hyacinth or Old Bill, both of whom met Henry when they were younger.

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© Copyright Peter Macinnis, for The Ugly Islands Council,
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Last revised March 6, 2007.

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