Saturday, 27 April 2013

When will I ever learn......

..........that I should not go to the supermarket at month end when all the monthly paid workers are out shopping, nor should I go when there are holidays coming up.

My pantry was not looking up to par, so yesterday I decided to head out to the supermarket to stock up.
Not a good idea at this time of the month.
 First, it was a headache to park, and then when I reached inside, it was rammed packed with shoppers.
A multitude of shoppers. All on the same mission. 
Even though supermarkets open early and close late at night, you can bet that whenever month end is around the corner, or when we have bank holidays on the horizon like this weekend (we have three), there are ALWAYS throngs of people shopping up a storm. Shopping for picnics, parties, and  get-togethers with friends and family.

One has to be mindful that items like cream cheese, and specialty baking ingredients usually fly off the shelves first, so make sure not to forget these items, especially since I was hosting a tea party, as well as attending a pot-luck on Sunday.
Needless to say, I only needed a few items so I found myself in the Express Lane.

I know I have written before about the comedic banter that permeates any long queue on this island.
Everyone has something to say.....and I mean everyone.
I stood and waited patiently. What lively discussions ensued for a wonderful 30 minutes of my life.
A character of an old fellow up front, loudly talking up a storm:
"This Express Lane ain't saying nuttin.  I don't understand wuh kinda Express Lane this ain't move for the past 5 minutes."
"Sweet Girl you sure you working today?" "You like you resting up."
"Wait, where de boss man? Wunnuh should be handing out drinks to people staying up in here so long." 
"Lawd, more people coming in de supermarket, I need to get outta here."
He kept on going, couldn't seem to help it really.....he was a talker.

After a few minutes another customer at one of the other check-outs pipes up, "Wait you is work at de radio station?"
To which the old fellow quipped back, " You ask me so because I is talk a lot?"
Followed by laughter from all of us.
Another lady further back in the line starting to fuss. You know how a "fowl-cock" starts up, he gives one "Pra-Kark!", and he puffs himself up, and then let's it all go..."Pra-kark!! Pra-Kark!!! Pra-Kark!!!

Well Ms.Lady started in with, "I caanhn unnerstan wuh de France tekking so flipping long.....wuh SHE up dey doing? ..while flashing a cruel look in the cashier's direction.
"People hey stannin' up every long time since.....these people is feel yuh ain't got nuttin' to do at all, at all.
"Yuh come in hey to get few items, come in de Express Lane, and wuh???"
 Of course now when one firebrand starts up, everybody throwing their two cents worth in the pot.
"My icecream guine melt before I get outta here!"
"I leff some clothes pun de line drying, I hope de rain doan come down before I get back."
The line seems to be moving incredibly slow.  I look up towards the cashier, she seems to be doing her best.
"Wait, dis cashier ain't got nuh packer?" says another man even further down the line.
"My feet here killing me. Yuh nuff to fall down wid some kinda bad feels in here, it tekking so long."
"Where de supervisor in here doh? Dem can see dat this line moving slow slow slow."

The line is moving again, I am almost at the check-out register.

The man in front of me gives the cashier an empty Oh Henry wrapper for her to swipe, he has already finished eating it while waiting. She looks at him in disbelief.  He checks his other items and heads out the door.
My turn. The cashier starts to check my groceries, and then I see the problem.
She has the longest manicured nails I have ever seen.  Naturally, she cannot operate the point of sale with her digits. Yes, she can use the scanner, but some items need to be keyed in manually, and Ms.Lady was using her knuckles, yes, her knuckles to key in the info.
Not only that, she was trying her utmost best to pack with those LONNNG fingernails.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I started to bag my own groceries, after all that's what Express is all bag your own......

All images above borrowed from Google Images.

Friday, 26 April 2013

DIRTY piles of stuff

I have memories of walking to school holding my auntie's hand, and hopping over small dirty  piles of debris on the side of the road.
As a young child who took pride in her uniform and her "fire bright" shoes, it was quite annoying to have to be jumping over these darn piles of grass mixed with dirt, especially when it was wet outside.
Back then, going to school for the first time in my uniform, I was very fussy.
My dark blue pleated uniform jumper was pressed with sharp creases that lied flat, and only opened up if I did not carry myself in a lady-like manner. The underlying white short sleeved shirt was always lily white, bleached in the sun by my mum.
My Dad taught me how to tie my tie...I was so happy when I  got the knack of it quickly....he was a patient man, but I was a quick learner, maybe that's why I finished secondary school at 15 years old, and started my career in  banking because I loved figures, ........but oh dear, I digress.
My black Clarks school shoes were cleaned by my Dad till I could see my face in them, or as my Mum proclaimed one time, "Shining brighter than dog stones in the moonlight."
One day, my Panama hat, which was a part of my uniform, blew off my head (I hated that elastic under my chin), and I chased my hat down the street, watching in horror as it blew into every single one of those nasty dirt piles along the street. When I finally reached it, it was DIRTY, crusted over with muck.  I started to cry.

"Auntie, why are all these dirty piles of stuff in the road all the time? Why doesn't someone clean up the road?"
"My child, this is the way that they clean the road."

As a child then, and as an adult now, I can't for the life of me comprehend the logic of cleaning the road verges the way we do on this island.
As the youngsters say, "I just can't get my head wrapped around it."

One morning there is a work crew that arrives and starts to clean and weed the road verges of all grass, weeds, dirt, and any other debris. These little piles are left at either side of the road when they are finished weeding for the day (11am).
Okay, so you figure that the collection crew will come along the same day or at least the following day and take away all the mess left behind.
Days go by, weeks go by, the piles become trampled and driven over, and scattered all around, and the weeds begin to take root again.
Little children walking to school get their shoes dirtied up.

Almost two weeks ago, the crew came along and weeded the road verges downhill from my home, and yesterday the cleanup crew finally showed up to remove the debris left behind.
We had some good rain showers during this time, so of course what remained of the debris was washed all over the place.

Road side debris collection

Dirty sidewalk and road verges

I just can't get my head wrapped around this routine, I just can't.
It's been umpteen years that this unconventional practice has been going on for crying out loud, we're talking childhood memories here, and I am now how old???
Somebody,.......anybody,...........whoever out there.....time for this unsanitary practice to stop.  Stop the excuses.
I have posted about these weed crews before here.

Thursday, 25 April 2013



I cannot say and I will not say
That she is dead, she is just away.
With a cheery smile and a wave of hand
She has wandered into an unknown land;
And left us dreaming how very fair
Its needs must be, since she lingers there.

And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
From the old-time step and the glad return-
Think of her faring on, as dear
In the love of there, as the love of here
Think of her still the same way, I say;
She is not dead, she is just away.

James Whitcomb Riley, American poet (1849 - 1916)

Happy 84th Birthday Mum!!!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Orchids galore!

Last month The Barbados Orchid Society held its annual showcase at Balls Plantation, in the south of the island.
The Barbados Orchid Society is dedicated to the promotion of orchid culture on the island.
This year's show took place from March 16-17, 2013, and was titled "Orchid Celebration."
I was not able to attend this year's showcase, but my girlfriend who did, sent me these lovely photos for us all to enjoy.

It's a good thing I didn't attend...I think I would have made off with this wheelbarrow full of orchids!
For those who did not have green fingers, lovely plant paintings were also available for sale.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

I started celebrating by watching (yet AGAIN) the BBC produced Planet Earth documentary yesterday. 
No matter how many times I re-watch this series, I always learn something new.
Wherever you are, take a little time to look after your surroundings, reduce your carbon footprint, and give back as much as you can, to keep our home planet a safe place to live.
Remember to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Love our earth, it's the only one we have.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Catching up once more

Say what you want, but I think Brownie and Monkee have found the rain......look at the sky this morning.
 Thanks for your help Brownie and Monkee!

 We had a few showers during the night as well.....YEAH!

 Good thing too, since I planted out some marjoram, chives and parsley herbs yesterday.

My phone bill arrived during the week, with an additional charge included for Directory Assistance.
A few weeks ago, I had occasion to call Directory Assistance to find out the telephone number of the new phone/internet company on the island. Since it was a  new company, their number was not included in the Telephone Book.
We are allowed two free Directory assistance calls every month. I have never used this service until last month, when I placed one call.
I immediately called Customer Service when I opened my come I was charged for one call, if I'm allowed two free calls?
"Are you querying the .87 cents?"
"Yes I am.  Too little a charge to query? Why was it charged if I'm allowed two free directory assistance calls per month?"
The usual rhetoric from the prepared guidelines on how to answer the customer...I was having none of it.
When I hung up, it was agreed that my case would be escalated after three days, and the correction,"if any" would show up on my next bill. In the meanwhile it was suggested that I pay the bill in full, if not I could be disconnected. I would love to see them disconnect my service for an .87 cent charge that was not valid. "If any" indeed!
Do you, like me, think I was charged because I asked for the new phone company's telephone number???
I hung up the phone, wishing and wishing that the new phone company had finished wiring their new cables in my neighbourhood,
Look what I saw when I looked outside a few minutes later.

The new company running cables through my neighbourhood....there is a God!!!

You know what this means, don't you?

In the meanwhile my neighbour has had a large container delivered, and everyone is wondering what he is up to, since he already has a whole heap of equipment residing in his yard, and we are not allowed to operate any businesses in this neighbourhood as part of the covenants. We shall have to wait and see.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Looking for rain

Mum says she's looking for rain Monkee...some good rain....let's help Mum find the rain.
You look that way, and I'll look this way.

You see any rain Monkee?
Nope, not yet BrownBerts.

Don't know why Mum is looking for rain anyway, because then it'll be too muddy for us to play outside.
I think I'll take  a nap now......stay awake Monkee....see if you find the rain.
Mum will be happy if "we" find the rain for her.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Internal spring cleaning

I have been neglecting my body recently, though not intentionally.
After the big spring clean on the house, I totally forgot about my body. My poor worn body, with no spa treatment on the horizon to look forward to (hint, daughter dear) needed some tender loving care.
Most of us, when we think of a clean body are only thinking about the outside, but we also need to keep up with the cleansing of our bodies internally as well.
I have been sneaking several treats (Rice Krispies treats, Coconut wafer cookies, Milk chocolate toffees, a couple of sodas), oh man, I have been bad.  Empty calories galore.....all sugar....not a good thing.
Time to get back on track.
Into the garden I went, and collected a big bunch of cleansing herbs. I also had to pay a visit to my neighbour for a few noni leaves to make my cleansing tonic.
Before bed last night, I boiled a big pot of water, and when it was ready, I turned it off, and dumped the washed herbs into it, and covered it for the night so that their goodness would steep out during the night.
Never boil herbs....always steep them in boiling water.

A medley of cleansing herbs steeping in hot water

I use the discarded herbs in the garden as nourishment for the plants.

This morning, I strained the herbal tonic off and bottled it up and placed it in the fridge for storage....always use glass bottles for herbal tonics.
Drink within five days.

 I will drink a half cup  (one in the morning and one in the evening) for the next few days until it's all gone.
Happy cleansing!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

It's a sad sad world

Today I'm sad.
Respect for life is a thing of the past.
How can some folks find it so easy to infringe hurt and pain on others?
Innocent people out to enjoy an annual event for a good cause.
My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by the Boston Marathon Bombings, and who have lost dear friends and family in this terrible tragedy.
 This is not the way that these runners envisaged they would be crossing the finish line when they left home .
N.B.Photo borrowed from internet images
Why, oh why, oh why?
Explosive devices made from pressure cookers filled with metal and ball bearings.....why?

Out shopping today in the market, this notice caught my eye.

So sad. What are we coming to?


For ages now, I have been trying to find the source of a gas leak.
The smell of gas has been permeating my kitchen for some time...yes, a long time.
The plumber and I had checked and checked and checked and checked, but to no avail, until.......

...................... we finally found it!!!

With a soapy sponge, we had checked all the connections, all the hoses, opened the stove up completely and checked the burners, checked the shut off valves, everything, over and over again, but nothing showed up......... until now.

Day after day, the smell of gas lingered even after the shut off valve was off, and many mornings when I entered the kitchen for the first time it was overpowering.  Many nights I left my kitchen windows open so as not to have a build up of the fumes during the night.
It was beginning to bother me no end. Don't you hate not being able to get to the bottom of an annoying problem?  I do.  I'm a problem solving creature at heart, and this gas leak had me perplexed.

A good friend of mine after hearing my exasperation at not finding the leak after such a long time had exclaimed, "It has to be in the wall!"
My plumber at his wits end decided to start digging a section of the wall where the copper pipe comes into the kitchen.  After digging for a  while and opening up a fairly large hole in the wall, we soaped the area, and as soon as we did that, a big bubble formed indicating the gas about relief. The problem could now be solved at last.

Screeeeeech......not so fast, relief does not come that easy for me.
My home is an old house with lots of old English fittings (which work extremely well),and it's very hard to track them down sometimes.
I called a few hardware luck.  I called a few more.....we don't carry those anymore I was told.
I have never been one to give up. I thought of ordering them online. But (*) then I called another twenty or more hardware stores, and hit on the jackpot. A store in the country that still sells all the fittings for old homes like mine (I think the owner lives in an old house as well), I was in luck.
Most folks have switched to American copper pipe, and American toilets now, I'm told, but in the same breath I'm instructed about the durability of the English made products.

Apparently, when the kitchen was refurbished a couple of years ago, the pipe was not secured to the wall properly, and the constant movement aided the pulling away of the elbow connection in the wall.
Lesson learned.

The elusive copper elbows
 I purchased extra items just in case, and the necessary wall fasteners.

Digging the wall out to access the old copper elbow in the wall.

Torching the remaining copper pipe to clean it properly.

Old plumbers always have all the tools needed at their disposal.
Other "wannabes" never have all the stuff they need, so you end up loaning them your own tools, plumbers tape, putty, whatever, to get the job done.

Sponging with soapy suds to check the new joint and connections for leaks.

No bubbles = no leaks

No bubbles here either.

Job well done!!
Perfectly soldered new elbow joint installed.

So yesterday, we fixed the problem, and as of now, there is not a hint of gas lingering in the air.  I am so thankful.
(*) Yes, I stared a sentence with "But" for effect....shoot me.
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