Sunday, 30 June 2013

I am pissed

I have to get this off my chest, and here is as good a place as any to carry out my quick rant.
The new neighbours who neither I, nor the other neighbours are very fond of, seem to have workmen working for them, who are just like them. ....."birds of a feather flock together" immediately springs to mind.
On the afternoon that I was leaving home to attend  "Mums" funeral, there was a big blue van parked right across my driveway blocking the entire entrance.
I strolled across the street and asked the workman who was the driver to please come and remove it.
"Sorry 'bout dat....sorry 'bout dat," he said loudly, but it didn't sound very genuine.
He came immediately and moved his van as I had asked.
I left it at that. I thought it was all over.
Even though he is employed by my neighbour across the street, he refuses to park either on his boss's property or on that side of the road. He always parks right outside my wall.
One day last week, I saw him spending quite some time working on his van which seemed to be having a problem.


After an entire morning, he finally closed the hood and drove off.
When I went out to cut the grass the next day, this is what I saw.....





The road was drenched in an oily mess, and apparently he had found it necessary to throw some of the residue on to my grass, thus killing it in the process.
I have decided not to say anything to him, since I may say the wrong thing.
I am holding my tongue, but I am totally pissed.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Today....

.....I stayed at home.......all day.
Yup, that's what I said...I stayed at home all day today.
I can't believe it either.  I am certain that today was Saturday and as far as I know, every Saturday, my girlfriends and I get together for a jaunt.....but not today.
It was a rainy wet overcast day, and kinda damp and not very cheery.
My girlfriend came over and I helped her with a project that I had promised her I would.
 
 We were inside working
  (Photo borrowed from internet images)

 

 Brownie was inside dozing.......

But guess who was outside braving the weather?  Give up?


Jehovah's Witnesses canvassing the neighbourhood downhill from mine in the inclement weather.  
They never cease to amaze me.....they certainly mean business....totally dedicated to their cause.....you gotta give them that.



Friday, 28 June 2013

Helping each other

 I spent the early morning outside working in the garden. Just as I came indoors to get a cold beverage, my phone rang.
A very good friend of mine on the other end.
"What are you up to?"
"Just came inside from working in the garden. Are you watching me?  I just this minute came inside."
"I would like a small favour please."
"Tell me."
"I need to go into the city to collect some glasses that are ready at the optician. It means having to deal with the stress of midday traffic in the city and parking and walking back to the store. Can you go with me and I'll drop you off at the store to collect for me?  I'll circle the block and come back around for you."
"No problem. Give me 12 minutes to get ready."
"Twelve minutes only?  Are you sure?"
"Yes I'm sure, I  don't take long to get ready like some women.....a quick shower and some clothes on my back and I'll be ready in 12 minutes."
"Okay, see you then."

I had a quick shower, dressed in a pair of jeans and a shirt, and sat outside to wait.
Geminis are sticklers for time, and so I did not have to wait very long before he pulled up.
Just as he predicted, the midday traffic was terrible, and the journey took  a bit longer than usual.
Outside the city store, I hopped out the car, and went into the optician's office, and collected the prescription glasses.
Ran into one of my girlfriends from college, whom I hadn't seen in  awhile, and had a nice little chat with her.  Decided to pay my store card, since the optician's office was in that particular store.
Took the escalator back downstairs, and only had to wait outside the store for a few minutes before my friend pulled up, and away we went.


"Since we're out, do you have any errands to run?" he asked.
"Only the supermarket," I told him.
"I'll take you," he said.
I guess he wanted to help me out too as a way of saying thanks.  It wasn't necessary though, but he insisted.
So it was, I completed my supermarket shopping before the weekend month-end rush....yeah!
By then we were both hungry.   He  took me to meet his lunch van lady.
Now every one on the island has their favourite lunch van vendor.  I like my lunch van lady too.
These vans are usually a little pickup van with the back configured to store chafing pans of mouth-watering meals.
He kept on raving about how good "his lunch lady's food" was, so I agreed to try out the food of the infamous Harriette, with the brown van that is stationed outside the bank in Warrens.
Nice little setup she had too, with a numeric system, and a wide array of dishes.
I must admit I was impressed.  I had the pasta alfredo, macaroni pie, rice and peas, steamed veggies, tossed salad, baked chicken, and a small helping of beef stew for you know who.
Lunch was my thank you treat. Of course you know what happens next.  My friend will want to repay me, and the ball of kindness/helpfulness will keep on rolling around and around.
YESSSSSS!!! The food was delicious.....I may have to change my lunch lady after all.

In case you're wondering, you can't just decide you want to operate a lunch van. You must be certified by the Ministry of Health to sell food to the public. Inspections take place at the food preparation site, and health inspectors can be seen checking every now and then.
I found this youtube video...it's not Harriette's van.


Thank goodness  I did not have to wait until I was older to discover this.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A tiring day

A day of weeding, trimming, and of course the never ending chore of grass cutting in both the front and back garden .......thanks to the almost daily showers we've been having recently.



Any way I looked at it........

.....the grass had needed a serious  trimming TODAY!
Sometimes my gardening buddy was right at my side........


.....and sometimes he was not.
The Overseer worked from the patio while he picked up a long snooze.....the sun was too hot for him I suppose.
See that keen look of interest?  There's a fly that just landed on the patio.
Note the plant pot ring mark, and also note where the plant pot is now. He still enjoys repositioning the plants on the patio.
That's his contribution to the gardening chores today.....I am thankful for whatever little help I can get.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An evening snack

Brazen and his crew have been keeping a somewhat low profile recently.
They do put in an appearance very early in the morning, but then I seem to miss them when they make their second trek along the wall in the evening.
As dusk was falling one evening recently, I heard Brownie barking quite loudly.
Looking out, I saw the crew making their way back across my neighbour's wall.  Brazen had in his hand a large ripe mango that appeared to be almost as big as him.


Sitting contentedly enjoying a ripe mango on my neighbour's wall



He was really "going to town" (*) on that mango

What amazes me, is that I never see them sharing with each other.
If only one of them has found something to eat, he/she seems to enjoy savouring it in front of the others.  This is exactly what he was doing, while the other members of his crew sat and watched with dry mouths.


He caught sight of me, and in his excitement, he dropped his evening snack.


and..............

.......before I could say, "Jack Robinson!", he was off the wall in a single bound.
 
He grabbed his fruit up quickly and disappeared swiftly into the brush, where I presume he finished it off and then went to bed with a very full stomach.
(*) relishing/gouging


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

HOTT days are here again

We're back to HOTT days and warm nights.
What's the best way to beat the heat?


Stay indoors in the cool...........


and drink tons of water...........

The remnants of a tropical wave are now affecting the island, hence a rainy afternoon and an even rainier night on the horizon.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The blind boy story

 Painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help" ...there were only a few coins in the hat. 
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.
The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?" The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way. "I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day; but I cannot see it.” 
Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign reminded people how fortunate they were to have their sight. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective? 
Moral of the Story: Be THANKFUL for what you have. Be CREATIVE. Be INNOVATIVE. Think differently & POSITIVELY. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile! Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence! Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear. 
It's a beautiful thing to see a person smiling,But even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason for the smile! Faith is not about everything turning out OK. Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.....Author Unknown.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Keeping up with the happenings

With the rain showers coming and going almost every day, it's been hard to get all the outside chores completed in a timely manner.
Ended up having the McArthur palms cut right down, since they were obstructing the view to the harbour and the cruise ships.


   Stumps are all that's left of the majestic McArthur palms.
 I was sorry to see them go but they were really too tall. Guess I won't be seeing the Scaly-Naped pigeons in my garden any longer.

Our garbage day now seems to be more Friday than Thursday....no sense calling to check, because I'm not sure if they're sure either....the last time I checked in with them, I hung up still not knowing. To be on the safe side, I've been putting my garbage out on Wednesdays.

Last Sunday night, just as I was about to settle down for an evening of tv viewing.....Whoopseemama!  An island-wide power cut.  It had been such a LONNNG time since we had an interruption in power that I had to search for some battery operated lanterns that were hiding at the back of a cupboard.
For two hours I sat outside on the patio enjoying the evening ambiance while the island was plunged into darkness. From my vantage point, it was a total blackout, with the exception of the hospital, the Hilton hotel and the harbour and various homes that have their own standby generators.

During the week, I found myself attending to more necessary appointments. I had already paid a visit to my dentist last week to have a much needed filling taken care of.
I'm going to have to get a loan from the bank the next time I make an appointment....boy prices have risen!
Early in the week I paid my doctor a visit to get my blood test results, but to no avail. Seems like the lab took such a long time to get around to the samples that they were dumped.
This kind of crapola only happens at the hospital lab, not at the other privatized labs on the island.
Another trip back on Friday morning to have fresh blood samples taken after a night of fasting.  My doctor took care of the procedure herself.   I sat with my face turned away to the wall while she chatted away. As soon as it was all over, I drank a small pack of fruit juice, since I'm slightly anemic and faint quite easily when I lose blood.  Let's see what happens with my blood tests this time around.

I have been reading more......(one of my new year's resolutions).






Lots of large print edition books.


Wednesday afternoon was hard for me, since I attended the funeral of yet another one of my dear "Mums."  Giving thanks for the time she spent with us, and realizing yet again that she was really gone, made me cry all over again, even though it was a beautiful and uplifting service.

With daughter dear away now quite regularly, I didn't really have the urge to cook any large meals. However, I did make a lovely fish sauce with chunky tomatoes, spinach and butter beans....delish!

Enjoyed it with spaghetti pasta.



I also baked a pineapple cake.
Very scrumptious......I had to freeze a few slices, if not you know what...........

One night Daughter dear did come home excitedly, asking me if I wanted some monopoly money?
What? I asked. Did you say Monopoly money?
Yes, she replied, have a look at our new money.

The Barbados Central Bank has issued new notes in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.
For the first time in 40 years, new redesigned notes were launched on May 2, 2013.
They have been designed to help the visually impaired with tactile marks. They also include new security features to make them more difficult for counterfeiters to copy. To read more see here and here.
When I went shopping in the supermarket, it took three security/detection money machines to authenticate  the new note.....hahaha. 

My girlfriend returned from her travels, and brought  Brownie's treats, and other goodies back with her ....boy oh boy you know who was a happy camper. They're not sold here on the island, so I had to order them online.
He's not too thrilled about the "Senior" label, but is enjoying them nonetheless.

Still working on the bat problem....it's a slow process but I will get there in the end.

Next, my old faithful tv in the living room went bum.  Not sure if it can be revived yet again.
"Stand back! Clear! Nada! Pump it up to 300! Stand back! Clear!  Up to 400! Stand back! Clear! No response! Oh dear, call it.......time of death Monday June 17, 2013."
Maybe it's time for one of the new fandangled models after all.
So how was your week? 

Update: The technician came by, and hit the Power button on the tv, and the tv came on as if I had been lying about it being broken, and it's been working perfectly ever since......what are the odds?



Saturday, 22 June 2013

Excuse me Ma'am

Believe it or not, I am now a Ma'am.
On my way into the city earlier this week, while I was walking to catch the minivan (remember I leave Beast at home sometimes, especially if it's a short errand), I was approached by a young school boy.
"Excuse me Ma'am, can you tell me how to get to Ellerslie School (*) from here?"
I was taken aback, first by his well-mannered query, and then by the fact that he had called me "Ma'am."
Oh my gosh, am I now showing my age more these days?  Am I really now a Ma'am? When did "Miss" disappear?  Does this mean that I will be hearing "Gran" or "Mum" soon?
Composing myself, I replied, "Just follow this road, make a left down the hill and you will see a track between two houses, walk down the track and it will take you to the road just above the school entrance."
"Thank you Ma'am!"  Oh my goodness, there it was again, that "Ma'am."   I smiled.
I was happy to help, and I was extremely glad that he thought I was approachable and would give him proper directions.
"You're welcome my dear. Have a good day at school."
He hustled away.
Something else I wondered about. He was actually running to get to school.  He looked like a first or second former, since he was still wearing short pants.
Most kids these days are in no particular hurry to get to school.
He made my day. There is hope yet for the youngsters.
I am now a Ma'am.......I guess I'll have to deal with it.

Ellerslie Secondary School motto
Words I live by every day. 

(*) Ellerslie Secondary School (Established 1966) is a government secondary school on the island.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Mr. Moringa

In the city yesterday, I came across another herbal vendor on the street.
A nice guy who was not willing to give me his name, but told me to call him "Mr. Moringa."
He was full of information on his product....Moringa Oleifera....The Miracle Tree.
Moringa has taken over the island by storm. Everyone is talking about Moringa. The Rastas were the first it seems to highlight its benefits to their brethren and others.
It's an unique plant in that every part of the plant, from its roots and bark to its seeds, leaves and flowers are beneficial in promoting human health.
It has many health properties including anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, and anti-aging activities.

Moringa oleifera

The multipurpose superfood with endless health benefits
including nutritional, medicinal, and purifying properties
(The green fruit is a passion fruit)
As a superfood, the plant as a whole contains high amounts of protein, all the essential amino acids, a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and a ton of phytonutrients and other disease fighting antioxidants.


Mr. Moringa had all the various parts of the plant available for sale.
The fresh green leaves, the dried leaves, the seeds and the pods, all waiting for your order to be bagged to take home to enjoy.

What I liked too, was that he had flyers with information on the use and benefits of the Moringa plant.

The seeds from the pods contain a non-drying edible oil that is rich in antioxidants with a similar nutritional value as olive oil. The odorless oil has an indefinite shelf life and does not turn rancid like other oils.


Image taken from the internet




See here and here as well.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Day is done.....


 


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the sea, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.


Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.


Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky,
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

 (Taken from Taps)
 
Yesterday, we paid tribute to the life of a great lady.
My mentor, my friend, my Mums....gone too soon.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

New look

Well, it had to be done.
I had decided that I wanted a nice new header for my blog. A lovely photo of an evening sunset which I'd taken earlier this year.

My sunset photo header???????????
I tried to incorporate it into my blog, but it just didn't fit properly nor did it look right.
That's when I decided it was time for  a complete different look.......and so it began.
New template......different fonts......different colours.......more widgets.....and on and on it went.

My favourite colour is black so the darker background was a no-brainer.
I like simple patterns, hence the backdrop paisley-like pattern made an appearance.
Folks seemed to think I was a lurker because my photo did not appear on my blog....what??? Maybe they thought it was really Brownie that was penning the posts. The time was right for a "Me" photo.
I found this photo editor site online which allowed me to upload one of my photos and then choose one of the Featured Effects.  I chose Inkify and I was pleased with the result.
Still a few more things to tweak here and there, but CSS coding is not familiar territory for The Virginous One.......so I'm taking my time. Remember "taking your time ain't laziness."
I also found some great "hand-holding" help on Google's product forums.
Met a terrific guy who is a Top Contributor from Sydney, who helped me tremendously with all the little bits of code that I was missing. Thanks Peter!!!
Maybe the sunset photo header will show it's face one day, who knows?
It's  still a work in progress, but I like it.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A new kid on the block

Brownie has a new friend.
Mr. BrownBerts  is not like some others, who when new friends arrive in their lives, they tend to ignore the old friends. No he spreads his love around.....liberally.

New kid on the block - Elephant
I call him "Phant" for short







Not to be forgotten - old friends
Mouse only has one foot remaining and is hardly recognisable as a mouse any longer.
 Monkee has no eyes and  a sliver of a nose, but still hanging on for dear life.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Mahna Mahna


 Remember I told you I had a great time last Friday night at my birthday dinner, laughing and talking all kinds of stuff? Well, this little piece of childhood memory came up for discussion, and since then it's been with me keeping me company while I work......not exactly an earworm this time around, but it won't leave me.

The Muppets was always one of my favourite shows with that crazy Swedish chef, the two hecklers Statler and Waldorf, Animal the drummer and of course Ms.Piggy and Kermit.
May I present to you, Mahna Mahna with the Snowths.
 
 http://youtu.be/QTXyXuqfBLA


Saturday, 15 June 2013

"Music guine play!!"

The birthday gifts keep coming.  Most of my friends know how to make me truly happy. NO lavish extravagant high priced items for me....no siree!!
I can be won over by the simpler things in life.
They all knew I would be celebrating for an entire week.
Last Saturday. An unexpected gift. A gift that made my heart soar.
A ticket to Sugar Isle Jazz 2013.


The Sugar Isle Jazz Festival is a high calibre Jazz Festival produced by local guy, Deryck Walcott.


The event was held at the Plantation Garden Theatre in the south of the island on Saturday, June 8th, 2013.
The opening act was the local jazz group NJ30+, which I've blogged about before here.
The name NJ3O represents the "new jazz trio" on drums, keyboard and bass guitar, but as the band grew, it was necessary to update the name, hence the "+" at the end, signifying the additional members.
 At Sugar Isle Jazz, they opened the show with Kweku Jelani on trumpet, Rashad Hinds on drums, Joseph Callendar on saxophone, Jerome Waithe on guitar, AndrĂ© Clarke on keyboard, and bandleader Marias Hawk Bass Charmagne on electric bass guitar.
The band has not yet started to produce their own songs, but their covers of popular songs have a stamp of personal flavour due to their diverse taste in music.


These guys were fantastic!!! For youngsters, I am enthralled by the dedication and professionalism, and most of all their talent. They brought the house down!!!!  All prodigies of the Barbados Community College, I predict they will go very very far.
They played a set that was so well arranged, that my head is still reeling. They had the crowd head bopping, feet tapping, swaying, singing, clapping, dancing and screaming for more. Talk about DYNAMITE!!!!
One groove led into the next effortlessly, and included well-known tunes and melodies, as well as some local calypso and spouge music. See here.
With tunes like The Chicken, Master Blaster, Now that We've Found Love, Emmerton, No Woman  No Cry, No Good, Jack,  Kay Lay lay Pom Pom, (originally done by The Opels, see video below) , and C'yan  be Over, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
For the finale they brought the house down with their own funk rock rendition of, "Come Together"  by the Beatles.

NJ30+

I still can't believe that this band only came together one year ago. The band owes a lot to Arturo Tappin who has been a great mentor, taking them under his wing, and it shows.
The appreciative crowd gave them a long LOUDDD standing ovation which they justly deserved.
Very well done NJ30+!!!! Very well done!!!
As we say here, "It was tight!!!"


The featured performance of the night was the ten-member all-star Caribbean band made up of some of the region's biggest names in music, and led by veteran Barbadian musician Nicholas Brancker.
Nicholas, as I refer to him, is a Grammy-nominated musician who has worked with the likes of Roberta Flack, Cyndi Lauper, Simply Red, and Shabba Ranks.
His debut album," In Contempt" is one of my favorite jazz cds, and has a permanent home in my 50 CD player.
The all-star band was made up as follows:
Nicholas Brancker - Barbados - bass guitar - Band Leader/Arranger
Leston Paul - Trinidad - keyboards - Ace Arranger
Alexis Baro - Cuba - Trumpeter
Alberto Suarez - Cuba - Percussion
Dennis Rollins - Jamaica- Trombone
Robert ‘Robbie’ Greenidge- Trinidad - Steel Pannist extraordinaire has worked with the likes of John Lennon, Grover Washington Jr, Barry Manilow and Earth, Wind & Fire. His music was featured on several movie soundtracks like Hard to Kill, 48 Hours, and also television shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Dynasty, and Saturday Night Live.
James Lovell - Barbados - Drums
Maurice Gordon  - Jamaica - Guitar
Desi Jones - Jamaica - Drums
Andre Daniel - Barbados - Keys


The all-star band was FANTABULOUS!  Under verteran Nicholas's lead, they played all genres of music, and arranged them meticulously to a Caribbean-ness that was incredible. Every single tune played highlighted the musical flavour of the Caribbean but with a contemporary jazz style.
Believe it or not, I'm still reeling.   Calypso/Soca grooves turned into classical opera and then rock and rap too!!!  But still keeping the jazz element.....priceless!
During the four days of rehearsal, the guys gave birth to a tune that up until then, had no title, so Nicholas named it "GPS" right up there on the stage before playing it. It needs to be recorded guys, it was a great piece.

Edwin Yearwood also made a surprise guest appearance and sang his own "Voice in my Head."

Nicholas played a bass guitar solo that had me and others jumping right out of our seats....electrifying I tell you.  That guitar was speaking in tongues when he played  and stroked it during his rendition.  I am still reeling with "I can't believe this!"
Before the show, Nicholas was quoted as saying,  “It has been quite a while performing a full concert set where I have real control over song selection and the interpretation,  so I am really excited and guarantee that the audience will not be disappointed.
There is something in it for everyone – the young, the matured and, more importantly, the lovers of good music.”
You did not disappoint Nicholas.....not at all.

 Nicholas Brancker and the all-star Caribbean band
Photo compliments Nation News
Kind permission C.Martindale

It is a known fact that Bajans like an encore performance, and all international bands that play our stages are forewarned. The show closed with an encore that was SENSATIONAL!!
 
Nicholas's famous last words, "Music guine play!" certainly rang true, for music certainly was played....a whole lot of sweet music.

To sum it all up...the entire show was PHENOMENAL!!!!

I can hardly wait for Sugar Isle Jazz 2014.

Kay Lay Lay Pom Pom originally done by The Opels...enjoy.


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