Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Mixed media

My friend GB recently posted about an artist exhibition by Emily Valentine that he attended.  She uses mixed media, mainly feathers to make her creations.
I have two pictures hanging in my office creatively done by some obscure artist using a mixed media of what else?  Butterfly wings.
I acquired these pictures at a sale many years ago. They were not by any well known, or up and coming artist, but they appealed to me. 
Brought them home, and wasn't sure where I would hang them, until I discovered that they looked very much at home on my office wall...and they have been there ever since.

Butterfly wing pictures

I know for sure we don't have all the various butterflies represented in the pictures here on the island, so perhaps the artist was an avid collector who traveled abroad?
I also had at one time, a few pictures that had been  created with various kinds of leaves, but alas, I gifted them to a friend who exclaimed that she just absolutely LOOOVED them.

I absolutely LOOOVE my butterfly wing pictures, so don't get any ideas girlfriend!!!  These pictures are staying with me.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Horsey ride

Today, I witnessed a sight that I have not seen for a long time.  As a child growing up, it was a very common sight, but these days, not so much.
At various events where crowd control is necessary, yes, they are an absolute must, but gone are the days when the roads were littered with dung, due to the travels of the horses.
Horses belonging to the patrol branch of the police force.
Back in the good old days, (I never thought I would be using such cliches like the old folks) a friendly police on a horse was greeted warmly by the neighbours, with perhaps a glass of ice cold lemonade to beat the heat.  Not so anymore.  Gone are the days.
But then today, a quick glimpse out of my back window, and surprise, surprise, there they were..... riding through the neighbourhood downhill from mine.

Mounted patrol of the Royal Barbados Police Force monitoring the neighbourhood

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Starfish Story

I love my life in Blogland.  I learn so much every day from all of my Blog friends worldwide.
Not only do I love reading some of my favourite blogs, but I also love reading some of the comments left by other posters.
It's always so amazing to me, how similar we all are, our thoughts, our words, our deeds, yet we live in such far flung places on the earth.
One of my favourite blogs is Angus at the Rickety Old Farmhouse . A couple of days ago, he posted about a little Jain lady in India who was helping the dog population in her neighbourhood by extending her little bit of kindness in any way she could.  This included feeding, medicating or doctoring, or just giving a word of encouragement to any stray dog that crossed her path. What a saint.
As I read this story, I immediately thought that even her small contribution was equivalent to the proverbial drop in the bucket, but I consoled myself that it was better to have a drop in a bucket than none at all.
Like many commenters to his post, I also remembered the story of the Starfish, which demonstrates quite eloquently why we should always jump in to help, no matter how big the task at hand may seem, and even though we may think our small contribution won't go very far.
There are many versions to the story of the Starfish, but they all have the same outcome, and they all portray the same moral "you can make a difference, no matter how small your contribution."
So here is the Starfish Story.

"While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

 “A single, ordinary person still can make a difference – and single, ordinary people are doing precisely that every day.”
Chris Bohjalian, Vermont-based author and speaker

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Do not disturb!

As you know, Brazen now has two comrades at his side. Between the three of them, they are able quite expertly to terrorize the entire neighbourhood.
"No more fresh fruit for breakfast!" cries one neighbour.
"The dogs are going crazy!" cries another.
We are all up in arms.
The trapper has been called, but his vehicle is undergoing some repairs, so we have to play the waiting game.
Some of us, are playing the game all too well.

"Do not Disturb" 
Brownie keeping a look out 

I made this little video so you could see how Brownie's concentration can not be broken while he is in Brazen mode. Note how he looks at me with annoyance when I call his name, and then totally ignores me.
"Mum, go away, and leave me alone, I am looking out for that crazya$$$ Brazen monkey."

Brownie scares them away most mornings. They run across the back wall a little after 6.30am making their way down to the orchards in my neighbours' gardens.
In another 45 minutes, they retrace their steps along the back wall, sometimes sitting comfortably to munch on some foraged fruit.  Brazen takes pleasure in doing this and deliberately dropping the skins behind in my garden, making poor Brownie go crazy. He does not like anyone littering in his garden.

And so we wait.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Errol Barrow Day

Today is Errol Barrow Day.  It's a holiday here.  Lots of events planned to celebrate the "Father of our Independence".
The beaches will be packed with families having picnics, and folks playing beach cricket, and thoroughly enjoying the waves and the sunshine.  Some of them not even bothered about the true meaning of the day....just another day off from the grind of work.
Errol Walton Barrow (1920 - 1987) The Father of Barbados' Independence Statue
9ft tall bronze statue in Independence Square weighs 2000lbs and was sculpted by St. Lucian sculptor Ricky George

 Errol Walton Barrow was born on January 21, 1920 in the northern parish of St.Lucy.  Upon finishing school, he joined the Royal Air Force, where he rose to the rank of Flying Officer. After his war tour of duty, he opted to study law in the UK. Having earned his degree in 1949, he returned to the island to practice.
His political career began in 1951 when he joined the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), where he was elected to Parliament that same year.
He became dissatisfied with many of the BLP's policies and programs, and in 1955 he led others to form the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
On December 4, 1961, he became Premier of Barbados after his DLP party won a decisive victory in the general elections. During his tenure, he instituted a program of public works, made secondary education free in all government schools, made sure that agricultural workers received better wages and working conditions, and instituted the construction of many new  industries.

He was the guiding force during Barbados' transition from British colony to independent status.
Barbados became independent on November 30, 1966 .
He became the nation's first Prime Minister.
He was a dedicated believer in regional integration, and spearheaded the foundation for the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA).  In 1968, he was responsible for Barbados's admission into the Organization of American States (OAS). In 1973, CARIFTA became the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) when Barbados, Guyana,  Trinidad and Jamaica signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas to improve political and economic relations between the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean.
In 1976, he lost in the general elections when the BLP regained power under J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams.
As a leader of the Opposition, Barrow was a forceful and vocal opponent, especially voicing his dissatisfaction of the 1983 US invasion of Grenada.
In May 1986, he was re-elected Prime Minister in a landslide victory in which his DLP party won 24 of 27 seats in the House of Assembly - the largest ever margin of victory in the history of Barbados.
He died at his home on June 1, 1987 before he completed all his hopes and dreams for his beloved island.
His face is depicted on our Barbados $50 dollar bill.
A down to earth man of the people, he was in no way pretentious, and even though a Prime Minister did not surround himself with extreme luxuries. He did his own driving and shopping, and it was not surprising to run into him in the supermarket while buying groceries. Friendly, approachable, and filled with humility, he hardly ever utilized his state appointed chauffeur or bodyguards.
Affectionately known as "The Skipper" or "Dipper", he loved sailing and cooking.  He wrote a cookbook (with Kendal A Lee), "Privilege - Cooking in the Caribbean" which adorns my bookcase with several other cookbooks.

There is also a community park bearing his name which opened on November 28th 1987 to honour his memory.

He was posthumously declared a National Hero, and his birthday today is celebrated as a national holiday.

Today, I am thankful that I live on an island that is war-free, I am not terrorized for my religious beliefs, and I am privy to free health and education, if I so desire.
I will enjoy the day as a grateful national with pride.
I may even take in some of the round the island festivities like this one which takes place every year in his honour.

Mr. Barrow was a founding member of The Barbados Cruising Club which was founded in 1957, with its aim to make sailing available to all Barbadians.
He  never owned his own boat, but his love for sailing was well known.
The Barbados Cruising Club in conjunction with Mount Gay Rum commemorates "The Father of Our Nation" and founder of the club by hosting the annual Round Barbados Race on January 21st, Errol Barrow's birthday holiday.

As a matter of interest: Mount Gay Rum is the finest, oldest brand of rum in existence, and  has been produced in Barbados since 1703. Linked from its inception to the sailing world, it is the brand loved by all who love the sea. As a result, the company proudly sponsors over 120 regattas around the globe.

 Happy Errol Barrow Day Barbados!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to my US friends and family!!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A bow wow memoir

Today marks the first anniversary of the death of the last of my bow wow crew.
I have always loved dogs, and have always had a dog in my life.  They are the most loving, caring, loyal, protective creatures on this earth....truly man's (woman's) best friend.
Between my brother and I must have rescued, inherited, or acquired more dogs than our parents could ever had imagined.
We always had large breed dogs, from German Shepherds to mixed breeds that captured our hearts totally.  I had never had a smaller dog, until one day I paid a visit to my ex-husband's house, and there was this poor little dog in need of proper care.  I brought her home and adopted her as my own.
That's when it all began.....when I became the mama to a family of seven bow crew.
Snowy was a Chihuahua mix, and was the apple of my eye, she could do no wrong. She ran the household. She loved fish, and would dance on her hind legs just to get a small morsel.

Curled up next to me in bed

She was the only dog in the house at the time, and she was spoiled rotten. She would use her big brown eyes to melt your heart, and get whatever she wanted. Loved to go for rides in the car too with her ears blowing in the wind as she hung out the window, barking at any dogs that we passed on the way.  She was a very brave dog. She once took on a large Rottweiler in order to protect us. It was a very scary David and Goliath scene, but she stood her ground, and the other dog ran off.
Then one Saturday morning (I remember clearly), one of my crazy girlfriends (you know who you are Angela!) came by and gave me the cutest ball of brown fuzz, and exclaimed, "You need a man in your life!" and off she went.

Shaggy....the man in my life

This man in my life became known as Shaggy, and Snowy took care of him as if he were her own pup.
Shaggy grew up to be the sweetest most loving lionesque looking bow wow.  Lots of golden brown hair draping from his body, soft brown eyes, long ears and large paws.
While Snowy was a fiery soul, Shaggy had a gentle spirit.

Shaggy and Snowy

That started the ball rolling....Snowy and Shaggy gave birth to Buffy and Einstein, the greatest brother and sister tag team if ever there was one.
Buffy (aka Fluffy) was really a mix of her mum and dad, but Einstein was a sweet terrorist.  He did not mince matters at all.
Buffy  loved all manner of food, and did not care who heard her barking in anticipation for her food. She was fluffy all over with long white curly hair which became tangled easily.  Sometimes I called her Scruff Buff when she was really looking unkempt.  Overly loving and loving attention, whether it be just calling her name, patting her head, or giving her a tummy rub, she loved to be loved. Her long hair covered her eyes, and it was always hard to tell if she was watching you or not.
Einstein on the other hand had wiry white hair, with jet black eyes like lumps of coal, and was extremely territorial. He loved attention too, but he pretended not to, by having a meanness attitude on the outside.  A very guarded dog, who seemed to think that one always wanted to cause him some stress. As a  result, he loved to growl and nip.
After Snowy died, it was just Shaggy, Buffy and Einstein left.

Einstein and Shaggy

Then along came Misty. Back then, I still worked in the corporate world, and everyone who knew me, knew that I was an extreme dog lover.  Another girlfriend (you know who you are Annette!) decided that I needed a replacement for Snowy.  Under the pretext of giving Misty to my daughter, Annette gave me Misty, and that is how we ended up with another bow wow.

Misty and Shaggy
Yes, Misty is licking a lollipop in my daughter's hand

Now Misty was from a different breed altogether, and was a little black and brown shiny-haired cutie pie. Smaller than all the others, she somehow managed to have all the males falling at her feet. She and Buffy became great friends, and got up to lots of mischief. (Still have a sofa ripping contest unaccounted for...not one of those two girls would admit whose brilliant idea it was to rip up the sofa).
As I said, Misty was a "cutey cutesey" with herself.  Very prim and proper with a walk that any model would have loved to own. When her name was called, she would cock her head to acknowledge, but in a very lady-like manner.  She was the smallest of the lot, but somehow never got trampled by the bigger dogs. They worshiped the ground that she walked on. Yes, she was all that.
I guess Shaggy decided it was time to have some offspring, so he and Buffy got together, and we ended up with Bustamante (aka Buss). This dog was a character unto himself. Firstly he had a straight right hind leg, but he never let that hinder him. If one did not know, one could not tell.  He moved around the fastest of the bow wow clan, and kept everyone in check. An inquisitive boy who could be found nosing around the garden and everywhere else. I can say I never saw a lizard, roach, or mouse anywhere near the property with him around.  One morning 2.30am to be precise, I awoke to his excited barks, and when I looked out, he had a mouse cornered in one of the palm trees. That mouse was trembling in between those fronds, and when he attempted to climb down, oops he was no more. 
Buss undertook the job of looking after me exclusively, and would make sure he was underfoot all the time. I'm very lucky to still have my skull intact, since I could easily have cracked it open with my near miss falls, through him walking in and around between my feet, it was like some kinda game for him.  Buss was a fearless dog, and NOTHING phased him. The others hated the weed trimmer, and would stay far away, but not him, he would try to "kill" it since he thought it was attacking me.

The next thing I knew, Shaggy and Buffy got together and Boogles was born.

He was a miracle puppy, the only surviving pup from his litter.  A chocolate brown boy with the most wise eyes and the coolest demeanour, a trait that belied his age.  Boogles moved slowly, and also licked slowly, with some kind of quiet determination.  However, he ate his food very very very quickly. 
So now we have six dogs in the household, with lots of love and care to go around. One big happy family.
One nice vet to take care of us all.  Yes, when they were well, I was well, but when they were ill, so was I.

On August 2nd, 2008, I lost Misty. She was not well, and she died in my arms.  Through the tears I dug her small grave, and placed her lovingly in a clean box and buried her under her favourite tree in the back garden.
Amazing how animals have the same feelings that we do, and we all grieved together.
Two years later, Buss got sick, and despite our best efforts, I lost him on August 22nd, 2010.
Fork and spade came out once again, and I buried him right beside his favourite girl Misty under the same tree.
Another period of grief, which as soon as we were trying to move on, another death in the family.
Buffy passed away on November 22nd, 2010. Through the great big sobs, I managed to dig another grave for my Fluffy Buffy sweet girl.
We moved on with our lives as best as we could.
Boogles became quite ill the following year, and despite my vet and my greatest efforts, I had to make the painful decision to put him to sleep on December 20th, 2011. Yet another grave.

Here is Boogle's obituary:
"Today is one week since I had to put my precious Boogles to sleep.
He was a courageous and determined little fellow who taught me life lessons in not giving up no matter what and how to hang in there during tough times.

Boogles was a miracle dog from birth. He was the only surviving puppy from his litter. The prettiest chocolate brown hair, and loving eyes with eyebrows in a light brown that highlighted those eyes. Born with two straight back feet, my friends told me I should put him to sleep since he won't be able to walk or scratch himself or anything. I saw it differently. I figured since he had defied all odds and survived, I was going to help him fight his battle. Bundled him up and took him to my dear vet Dr. Huey, who said to me, "You always want me to work miracles my dear," and he wrapped Boogles' back feet in position under his body, and told me to unwrap him in a week. He looked like a worm all bandaged up for that week, and that is how he got his name, for he reminded me of a Booglie Wooglie worm, so I called him Boogles. For that entire week, he stayed in his box eating and doing all the other stuff that puppies do.
One week later early Saturday(3.00am), I will never forget, I got up,
tenderly unwrapped his body with so much anticipation. When he gingerly stood up on all four feet, I cried with happiness. My prayers had been answered. Boogles became the strongest dog I have ever had. He ran like a thoroughbred racehorse, and could catch any critter "trying" to get away from him, once he felt like going after them.  
My daughter always labelled him "idiot savant" because he did everything in slow motion except for eating and running.  Food disappeared down his mouth like magic, but when he licked you, it was a slow and deliberate kiss.

He fought his tumour with verve and wild abandon, and with the exception of his hair falling out, no one looking in could tell that he was fighting cancer. The medication was not working anymore and when I saw the tears in his eyes after yet another visit to the vet, I knew he did not want to go on.
With a heavy heart, and tear filled eyes, I lifted him around the garden the following day to check out his favourite haunts and to say goodbye to his father Shaggy and his uncle Einstein. He ate a hearty breakfast as usual before he went o the vet for the last time.
Always the gentleman, he acknowledged everyone when we arrived, and then he was gone, slipping peacefully into doggie heaven.
I brought him home and buried him under the tree in the back garden with his other family members.
I miss him terribly.
May he rest in peace eternally.

I love you Boogles.

Shaggy and Einstein were the only two remaining with me.
Shaggy had by now lost his sight, and in researching how to live with, and make his life more comfortable, that's when I discovered Wilf the Pon's blog.  Wilf did not know, but he was a great comfort and inspiration for both Shaggy and myself.

Shaggy the patriarch

Shaggy started to go down quickly, and even though it was hard for me, I had to make the decision to allow him to go with some dignity, since his quality of life had deteriorated terribly.
And so it was that on January 16th, 2012, I put him to sleep.
Here is his obituary:
"Today I put my oldest and greatest bow wow Shaggy to sleep.
After Boogles was buried, Shaggy refused to eat, he missed Boogles (his youngest son) terribly.
Being the ever loving and patient and gentle fellow that he was, he sought solace in Einstein, but Einstein is a loner, so Shaggy continued to pine away by himself.
I continued to feed him by syringe and spoon, lots of nutrients and fresh soup, but this in no way could make up for what he was accustomed eating. He became quite thin, and unable to stand properly. I would tenderly lift him into the garden several times a day to do his business.

I knew he was getting tired.  He became weaker.

And so with  a heavy heart, I called my vet to see him for the last time.
Once again I made the trek around the garden, stopping at his favourite spots, and then he said a farewell to Einstein, and my old blind companion was headed off to The Rainbow Bridge.
What a wonderful life he had. From the day he was ceremoniously delivered to my house, by a crazy girlfriend Angela Daniel , who announced "You need a man in your life!!", and left this cute adorable puppy with me. A mix breed of Pomerarian , Chihuahua and Jack Russell, who could ask for more...a bundle of joy.
He loved the sunshine, and could be found laying contently many days just basking in the sun like a well seasoned tourist.
He loved good scrappy dry dog food in no bag, good home cooked human food, and laid on his plate in a pleasing manner, if not it wasn't worth consuming. Gotta love him.

He always came when called, wagging his tail with wild abandon, till I sometimes thought it might drop off one day.
He loved to roll around on his back and kick all his feet in the air, and yelp in sheer was so much fun to watch him, he always made me laugh.
He had this habit that was quite endearing...he would shake his body out as if he was shaking off the stress and tribulations of the world, and I more or less adopted this in the way I handled some problems...I would shake them off, and move on.
A true gentleman.  Always made sure he walked ahead of me and made sure my way was clear of anything that may harm me. He would always let the females (Buffy and Misty) drink first when fresh water was brought out at lunchtime.
When he became totally blind, several folks thought that I should put him to sleep at that point, and I would always ask them if I should put them to sleep too, if they were blind, but had all their other faculties..that always made them shut up quickly.
Shaggy knew his surroundings by heart, and could navigate the garden expertly...anyone looking on would never sense or know that he was blind.
I am going to miss him so much.
The reason I ended up with seven bow wows was because of Shaggy. He started the ball rolling with his first offspring, and then they kept the ball rolling.
Sleep peacefully my dear will always be in my heart."

Einstein was now blind too, and I kept a keener eye on him since he was all I had left.
But a couple of days later, he decided he had had enough, and in an instant he was gone.
My dearest Einstein.  Here is his obituary:

Today is one week that I lost my beloved Einstein.
To many of you, who knew him, you already know that he was my "Terrorist." He was the dreadest dread of my bow wows. He was a serious guy.
Many, like myself gave him a TONNE of respect because he demanded it. In his glory days, he kept all "intruders" in check. He manned the front gate like a drill Sargeant on crack. No one dared even touch the gate or stand within a few feet of the front wall, dared not pick or touch any plants growing out front, not even look in the direction of the house too hard.
Even when friends were allowed to the back of the property, he would bite at the fence and growl and show his teeth menacingly, to make sure he was feared...actually one friend nicknamed him The Ayatollah.

We have never had a robbery...EVER.. not on Einstein's he is gone.....
He had a walk like a proud peacock with his butt in the air, and his face set with a determined "don't even think of messing with me" look.
I myself never messed with him, because that dog was a no-nonsense dog, who didn't take crap from anyone, not even me.
Lunch was served at 3pm, and if I knew I had to go out, and won't be returning in time, I would always let him know I was going to be back a little late.
If not, and I took his lunch out to him late, he would nip me to keep me grounded and let me know that he did not want his lunch late. It was as if he was saying, "what de france, you bringing my lunch late?? You mad or what?" 

After he went blind, he became much mellower, but still had a strong hint of that maddy maddy character to him.
Still wanted to "take care of me and protect me" at all costs.
He had a tragic end, which I don't know if I can even forgive myself, since he was under my watch at the time.
My Grand Pubah, my Bad John, my baddest bad is gone....The last of the Mohicans....
May he rest in peace with all his family who have gone before him.
I am now dogless...what a weird feeling for me."

I lost my last bow wow on January 19th, 2012, exactly one year ago today.

They all lived past twelve (human) years, and so were in their twilight years, and age brings with it all kinds of ailments, some we conquer, some we don't.

Seven clean boxes lined with newspaper, seven funerals with prayers, seven lots of beautiful flowers from the garden, seven graves dug, seven sessions of tears and heartbreak, they were all gone.

The end of an era, but one I loved and enjoyed to the hilt.  

I loved them all. They were all different in their own way, with distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies, but I loved them all the same.

Sadly, I do not have any photos of either Buffy or Bustamante, but their faces and memories live on in my heart forever. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Japanese Music Masters in Concert

After a hard day's work of gardening, it's always good to have some relaxation. What better way to relax than by listening to an interlude of music?
Yesterday evening I attended another sunset concert, but one with a difference.
The Embassy of Japan in conjunction with the Japan Foundation was presenting "Japanese Music Masters in Concert" as the evening's performance at the Frank Collymore Hall.
It was an event that I had penciled in on my agenda earlier this month, and was looking forward to, with much excitement.
Most of the concerts are free, but for some of them, tickets must be obtained beforehand. This was one of those concerts where tickets (still free) were needed.

The music masters being featured were Kaoru Watanabe and Isaku Kageyama.

From the programme:
Kaoru Watanabe's music can be best described as an ever shifting blend of the folk and classical traditions of Japan with contemporary improvisational and experimental music.
Kaoru was  a member and artistic director of Japanese Taiko ensemble, Kodo.
With Kodo, Kaoru toured in Japan, North America and Europe.
As an educator, Kaoru teaches workshops and master classes internationally, courses at Princeton and Wesleyan University and regular classes at his own studio, the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Centre in Brooklyn.

Isaku Kageyama is an internationally renowned Taiko performer and composer known for adapting classical Japanese music to a wide range of styles. Isaku is also recognized as a leading Taiko instructor, and currently holds positions at Wellesley University and University of Connecticut.  He has conducted workshops across the globe for organizations such as Berklee College of music (Boston), North American Taiko Conference (Stanford University), Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Centre (New York), Brazil Taiko Association (Sao Paulo), French Institute of Japan (Tokyo), and Yokohama International School (Yokohama).

The evening started out with brief remarks and a warm welcome by H.E. Yoshimasa Tezuka, Ambassador of Japan.
There were ten musical pieces on the programme , mostly rearranged traditional and self-composed pieces.  Both artistes were born in the United States but have retained their Japanese heritage.
Isaku is a Taiko drummer, and he drummed in all different positions, sometimes commanding two distinct drums at one time.
Both he and Kaoru play the drums.  Here they are on Youtube demonstrating their well-honed skills.

Kaoru on the other hand is a flautist as well, and his renditions on his bamboo flute were lovely.
One of the pieces he composed in an eleven beat rhythm called "Together Alone",  I found on  Youtube, where he is accompanied by a band, unlike last evening's performance.


Guest Artistes were the Haynesville Youth Club which specialises in African, Modern and Caribbean Folk dance and drumming.
They performed a medley of traditional African, Caribbean folk, calypso and Tuk Band rhythms.
The last piece  was a Japan and Bajan fusion, where both acts performed a musical tribute.
For me, the evening was a very enlightening musical experience, and one I'm glad I had the opportunity to enjoy.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A trip into the city

I found myself in the city of Bridgetown having to run some necessary errands a few days ago.
My destination took me to the upper half of the city, which in my opinion is the most picturesque part of the city.
Bridgetown is our capital city, and lies on the western (leeward) side of the island in a protected bay called Carlisle Bay, a natural harbour.
Bridgetown is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean region and therefore has a rich history.
The upper half of the city is built up around the inner basin of the Constitution River known as the Careenage, which is spanned by two bridges, the Chamberlain Bridge and the Duncan O"Neale Bridge.
The Careenage was so called because in the olden days, while docked, the shipmen would tilt their ships in a "careened" position to clean and scrape them.
Just a quick history lesson on our capital Bridgetown.
When the island was first settled by the British, all they found on arrival in the area was a small wooden bridge across the water, which was known as Indian Bridge. They constructed a new bridge over the Careenage and sometime afterwards, the town became known as Bridgetown.

This bridge was finally replaced in 1872 as a swing bridge (operated by two persons), made possible by monetary contributions (grants and loans) from Joseph Chamberlain who was Secretary of State for Colonies at the time, it was named in his honour.  The swing bridge as it was popularly called when I was growing up, allowed entry into the inner basin of the Careenage.
The Independence Arch currently adorns the site that the Indian Bridge once sat on.

Barbados gained its Independence on November 30, 1966 and this arch was constructed in 1987 to celebrate 21 years of independence.

The Independence Arch on the Chamberlain Bridge
The Central Bank Building on the right and the Parliament Buildings in the centre

The Pledge of Allegiance adorns the footings of the Independence Arch

In 2006 the Chamberlain Bridge was replaced with a modern state of the art counterweighted  lift bridge that pivots upward allowing ships to pass through to the inner basin. 
Control station for the operation of the Chamberlain Bridge

 This bridge is closed to traffic as it is a  pedestrian walkway over Constitution River. There are vendor stalls along the bridge  selling jewellery and handicrafts.

Moored in the Careenage are several chartered fishing boats, catamarans and yachts for pleasure sailing.

In order to moor here, one must apply to the Barbados Port Authority to rent one of the limited berths.

The second bridge is called The Duncan O'Neale Bridge which spans the Constitution River as well. It is named after Charles Duncan O'Neale, one of the founding fathers of democracy in Barbados.
Located between these two bridges is Independence Square, a recreational square and garden featuring seating areas, an amphitheatre, two fountains and a 9ft statue of the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, the first Prime Minister and Father of Independence.

Statue of The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, the first Prime Minister and Father of Independence

The inscription on the statue

Independence Square

The Fairchild Street Bus Terminal with a big blue and yellow government operated bus

The Constitution River flowing behind the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal
The Constitution river is not a fast flowing river, it mainly acts as a channel for heavy rain run-off from the higher regions of the island.

Looking upstream of the Constitution River from the Duncan O'Neale Bridge

Duncan O'Neale Bridge

Inner basin of the Careenage
Taken from the Chamberlain Bridge looking over to the Duncan O'Neale Bridge

National Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square) was renamed in 1999 (April 28th) to honour our national heroes. It is home to a lovely fountain and a cenotaph. 

 The Dolphin Fountain  is depicted with three entwined dolphins spewing water into the base.
It was erected in 1865 to commemorate the introduction of piped water into the city of Bridgetown in 1861.  At that time the Water Works company agreed to supply water free of charge for the fountain's operation.

The Dolphin Fountain

The inscription reads in part "This fountain was erected by public subscription to commemorate the bringing of piped water to the city of Bridgetown on 29 March 1861."

The cenotaph is a war memorial erected in 1925 to honour all the Barbadians who fought and died in World War I and World war II.
It is a granite obelisk  with a coral stone base with the world war years 1914-1918 and 1935-1945.
On Remembrance Day (Poppy Day), a service is held here and wreaths are laid in memory of the war heroes.

An interesting fact that should be noted here is that during the colonial years many of the milestones across the island of Barbados that are marked with distances from Bridgetown are calculated from this square. 

There is also a bronze statue of Lord Horatio Nelson, a British Admiral, who visited Barbados on June 4th, 1805.
It is situated at the top of our main street, Broad Street, which runs parallel to the Careenage.
The statue sculpted by Sir Richard Westmacott, was erected on March 22nd, 1813 to commemorate the anniversary of the British Royal navy's victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

 The statue of Lord Nelson

 It is said to be an excellent likeness of the British Admiral, whose popularity left an impression on Barbadians at the time, leading them to purchase the statue and land when he died, and naming the area Trafalgar Square to pay tribute to his memory.

London, England also has a Trafalgar Square with a Lord Nelson statue as well, but ours is actually older by about 30 years.  Locals proudly believed they were the first to put up such a monument, however they were in fact the third, after Montreal and Birmingham.

The statue has been at the centre of controversy for many years, since many want to have it removed from the area.  The only change that has taken place, is that the statue was turned to change direction, so that now it looks away from our main street, Broad Street.

The plaque on the statue partly reads: “This statue in honour of the hero the inhabitants of this island erected A.D. MDCCCXII”

Our Parliament Buildings are home to the 3rd oldest continuous parliament in the British Commonwealth.

Parliament Buildings

These buildings are home to both the  House of Assembly and Senate of the island. Over 350 years old, these buildings were constructed from local limestone and completed in 1874 by a Gothic Architect.

Walking back to where I had parked, I passed St. Michael's Cathedral, the Anglican church where I was baptised and confirmed according to my faith.
It became a cathedral in 1825 after being rebuilt following the devastation of a hurricane. It is built from coral rock.
Its arched roof was at one time the widest in the world. Within its cemetery  are some magnificent headstones. Buried here is Sir Grantley Herbert Adams (only Prime Minster of the West Indies Federation), as well as his son J. M. G. M. "Tom" Adams (2nd Prime Minister of Barbados).

St. Michael's Cathedral Clock Tower

I was surprised at how run down it appeared, but noted some scaffolding on the outside, so its seems that repairs are in progress.

St. Michael's Cathedral churchyard

In the city's early history, it was the most important city of all the British territories in the New World due to its easterly location in the West Indies.  The first landfall after the trans-Atlantic crossing.

Bridgetown also had US influences as well, since it is the only city outside continental North America that George Washington ever visited.

It's hard to imagine that this vibrant city centre was originally a swamp that was dredged and filled in to accommodate the growth of the city.
Bridgetown and the historic Garrison area is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site (2011).  According to their website, it is "an outstanding example of British colonial architecture."

Yes, I still managed to complete my errands after traipsing all over the city to take these wonderful photos.
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