Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Taxman cometh

Today was a bright day doubly full of sunshine with a nice breeze cooling the temperature down a notch or two.
As per usual I was pottering around on the outside when I spied a man standing in the street looking over the house.  He did not look familiar nor was he dressed in uniform like the meter reading guys.  Who was this I wondered?
Brownie on full alert took off up the driveway to chase the silent stranger from being so close to his domain.
Our eyes met four, and the man shouted a hearty "Good Morning!" my way.  I answered with an equally hearty "Good Morning!" of my own.  I continued to stare at him.....he wore a badge around his neck, a western cowboy hat, dark sunglasses and carried a digital camera in one hand and a clipboard with sheets of paper and a large plot map of the neighbourhood.
I refused to take my eyes off of him, I had to find out what he was all about.
It was then he cried out, "Land Tax Department Ma'am!"
"Land Tax Department?" I queried back.
"Yes, new property evaluations," he answered.
Oh my goodness what a way to start the day.  I had never had the "pleasure" of meeting up with a Land Tax Officer before.
I sauntered up the driveway to investigate further.
He informed me that the properties in this Class II area were seriously undervalued and that he was in the area to make it right.  Recently transferred to this area, he has inherited an area that needs to be whipped into shape.
It's an old residential neighbourhood established back in the 60's and most folks haven't really improved on their properties except to keep them painted and maintained with maybe a new kitchen or improved landscaping over the years.
According to him the value had appreciated and re-evaluations were of utmost importance.

I rubbed my hand across my forehead in disbelief.
How is it that only one "professional" gets to decide the value of a property?  How is it that objections to the increases by the property owner are basically over ridden if they march themselves down to the office to complain?
I had a long conversation with him and I gleaned an insight as to how things are run within his department....what an eye opener for me.
He was of the opinion that my home now has a higher value as well as all the neighbouring homes.
No sense "fighting up" as we say here, since the government needs money in the coffers and this is one of the easiest ways to continue to strangle more taxes from all of us.
What a job to many folks would have taken the time to chat with him?

Before continuing on his way, he thought it would be nice to remove his hat and sunglasses so that I would recognise him again if I ever saw him again...that was quite risky if you ask me.
How many people really like the taxman and would want to be acquainted with him in a social setting? 

Given that Barbados is already the highest taxed island in the Caribbean the ability to increase revenue by raising taxes should not be an option....but we all know how this story will end don't we?

I love to learn something new every single day, and today I learned a lot...a whole lot.
One thing is certain....only two things in life are certain – death and taxes.
Isn't it ironic that as soon as I decided to give a facelift to the front of my home, that the property taxman shows up....

**All images borrowed from Google images

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A day to relax?

Today was a holiday here......Errol Barrow Day.
I should have spent the day relaxing, but I chose not to do so.
I'm working on a new landscaping project outside my front garden wall, and that is where I spent most of my day.
I'm a bit tired now, but I'll leave you with this...

  Brownie and Big Blue Rat relaxing after a good lunch.
No relaxing for me....right back outside after lunch to get some more work done.
Some of us are luckier than we know.
I was actually teasing him by pretending to take his plate away to give the leftovers to the birds....he pounced on it in a hurry to stop me.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The recent happenings

What day was yesterday??  Can you guess???  (Not hump day like in the GEICO ad) but yesterday was Jaunt Day!! day.........girlfriends day.
I missed my girlfriend while she was away on holiday, and I  am happy that she is back.  The Croc Hunter is back.
We set off for our favourite plant nursery.  My first visit since Patrick left us. Felt strange without him and made me a bit sad, but I'm sure that his spirit was there amongst the beautiful plants.

 I came away with a beautiful green Carex grass to add to my grass collection.

I didn't want to spoil the holiday season by mentioning before that the robber was still at work.
When I say work, I really mean "work" literally.  He considers it to be a job it seems, breaking into houses during the daylight hours of 10am - 3pm, gathering valuables, and then clocking out when he has finished his job.
The police seem to be no wiser, even though this guy's MO is similar to another who was just released from prison.  No fingerprints, since he wears gloves and gains his access to the building by picking locks or via unsecured windows.
His  cache thus far are items that have a ready market and include: laptops, digital cameras, jewelry, Playstations and computer equipment.....whatever he can fit into his haversack.
To this end, I printed some flyers and an updated neighbourhood telephone listing and house map and distributed them on a sunny Saturday morning when folks were at home.
Everyone is now on the lookout and making sure their properties are well secured when they are away from home.
When the robber broke into my next door neighbour's home, he fled in a hurry and dropped his red bandana at the back of my wall, which I found later when I was doing some work in that area.
To be honest, I found lots of broken shrubbery on the path to the quarry, and the way in which they were bent/broken led me to believe that he either had a fall into the quarry or almost did.

After all the sporadic rainfall that we were having, the garden was in need of some TLC. Everything was growing in leaps and bounds.

 Faithfully blooming are my special heliconias....both large and dwarf varieties.

 On the Sunday lunch menu today: Herby Quinoa, baked flying fish and veggies, and a hot and spicy cucumber salad (pickle).  For Brownie a dish of baked chicken livers to go with his chow.

Brownie is still not 100%.  The ear itch became quite a nuisance, and he continued to try getting his entire paw into his ear to get at the itch.  A trip to the vet revealed no mites and he was put on a 10 day ear ointment regime (Animax ointment) to clear it worked.
New Year's night he woke me up with periods of vomiting.  Upon closer inspection I saw a few worms.  I have been giving him his three month oral Sanium Plus tablets but these did not seem to be doing the trick.  A trip to the vet and he was given a dose of Oramec which was followed three days later with Endolav wormer tablets.
Now a new problem has surfaced...he continues to swallow quite frequently, and I'm not sure what this is about.  At first I thought he was just amusing himself, but reading online it seems it can be acid reflux or a nasal sinus drip.  If it does not settle down, he will be given a swab test which will be sent to the lab to determine the cause.

 Sleeping like a baby after lunch
Apart from this he continues to eat like a horse and carry out his monkey patrol duties, as well as run and play around as per usual.

I've been catching up on some movie watching too...I can now add to my watched list "Cleaner" with Samuel L. Jackson, "Seeking Justice" with Nicolas Cage, "Lee Daniel's The Butler" with Forest Whitaker/Oprah Winfrey, "The First Wives Club" with Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Maggie Smith, "Pride and Prejudice," as well as "Awake" with Terrence Howard, which really gave me a wake up call. That movie gave me a reality check. As my mum used to say about people "Every skin teet ain't a laugh." (*)
(*) Skin-teet = Skinning your teeth or grinning. Every smile or grin is not to be trusted. You never know what someone is thinking—just because they're smiling doesn't mean they're pleased or mean you well.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

A little help

I'd wanted to finish off the front landing for some time now by completing the tiling in that area.
I'd been putting off the project because of other more "important" projects that somehow always jumped ahead.
Not only that but our local tile company had closed unceremoniously, and it was rumoured to be starting back up its operations so I had waited, because I'd wanted the same tiles from that company to match the others that were already in place.
Then to add injury to insult, my inquiries made me aware that my only source for terra cotta clay tiles on the island were now an imported tile from Trinidad and Tobago.  
This meant I would have to purchase the imported tiles which were of a redder hue and not as big and heavy as our local tile, due to the different clay makeup of that island. 
Oh well......
As with any other project when I need help, I just have to "say the word" and my help arrives in the form of my male friends who are always there for me.
Many weekends ago, back in November, my dear ex-hubby and I started laying the tiles.

Getting started

BrownBerts was doing his usual Overseer job
and I was begging him not to walk in the mortar

That first Sunday morning the rain kept on falling and impeding our progress.  We gave up around 11am.
In between working I baked a rum and raisin bread pudding as a thank you for ex-hubby for his help.

The following Sunday, we were at it again, but after two hours, my poor ex-hubby's back was paining him, and we called it a day.

I knew that I wanted some kind of medallion pattern in the centre and I spent some time designing and creating a sun design for that area.

No special angles or protractors, compasses or T-squares needed....everything was drawn free style to add to the rusticity of it all.

It all started with the hexagon centre piece
(there's no denying who the ruler belongs to....)
I continued drawing a pattern and putting it together until I was satisfied with the effect.  It actually looks like a cross between a sun and a star.
The finished template with the numbered pieces
Next it was time to transfer the pattern on to the tile to cut out.
 Concentration and a steady hand is needed to make all the intricate cuts
Making sure that the pieces fit

The grouting was the hardest...since cleaning mortar from terra cotta tiles can be VERY tricky.
After cleaning up the grout, and removing the mortar residue with full strength vinegar and a little muriatic acid in the harder areas, it was time to seal the tiles.  The only thing getting in the way of this process was the rain which continued to fall whenever it felt like in between lots of sunshine.
Sealing the tiles was put off again and again and again.
When the sun finally came out HOTT HOTT HOTT a few days ago, I decided to take a chance and take care of the tile sealing.
 The easiest way to seal terra cotta clay tiles is to use a 50:50 mix of oil paint thinner and raw linseed oil.
The paint thinner acts as a vehicle to get the oil into the clay tiles.

Clean the area thoroughly to remove all debris.

Use a clean paintbrush to apply the thinner and oil concoction to both the tiles and the grout lines.
The smaller container was used as my measurement and I used one container full of each of the paint thinner and the linseed oil.

Make sure your Overseer does not get in the way of your progress.
I had to keep moving him as I continued to seal the tiles.  He would not go away....maybe the smell of the linseed oil reminded him of peanut butter.

The Big Reveal!
Ta Daa!!  Finally it was finished....about time too.
One project off the list....just another 300 to go.
N.B: In the photo above the oil mix has not been totally absorbed as yet.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bajan Polar Vortex

I know many of you living in the colder climes are laughing at the post title, but my little island has been experiencing some "cold" that we are not accustomed to for the past few weeks.

Image borrowed from Google images

Last night was the first night that I was able to sleep in my own bedroom.
For several nights now, I have been sleeping on the sofa in the living room which is warmer, and Brownie was elated at having me share his sleeping quarters.
It seemed no matter how tightly I closed my bedroom windows (yes the seals are intact), the "cold" permeated the room, making it unbearable for a good night's sleep, except I was wrapped up like some mummified cocoon and wearing socks.....who can sleep like that?  For goodness sakes we're in the tropics.

We were experiencing our own polar vortex with extremely cold gusty winds and rain.  Everyone I knew was complaining how cold the nights were.
The days similarly were not as warm as they normally were. I dared not open my windows when I awoke as siree.....
Around 9am, I would tentatively open my windows, but not very wide, since the breeze was still quite nippy.  I didn't dare venture outside to work in the garden until the sun was quite high in the sky, and even then, the winds were still giving me a goosebump or two.
Battling the "cold"
Images borrowed from Google images

I have been drinking copious cups of ginger tea to keep warm and wearing a long sleeved jacket and socks when needed..........for goodness sakes, aren't we in the Caribbean??? 

Brownie however was loving it, and he enjoyed relaxing or sleeping outdoors with the high winds whipping all around him during the day.
One of my friends who loves the cooler weather even suggested that the cool air should be bottled and saved for the summer months.....good luck with that.

Technically, all the cold front remnants that leave the US mainland travel downwards to our area, so technically we were experiencing the remnants of the US polar vortex.

Thankfully the island is back to its regular least today it was.
This morning, when I got up, I threw my windows wide open to welcome the warmer air.
Today was a nice HOTT day and I was able to get lots of gardening done, including some grass cutting......about time.
I am definitely not a cold-weather person.

Polar Vortex article here.
Niagara Falls frozen as a result of the Polar Vortex here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Chase Vault

A big mystery from the days of old.
Barbados has a lot of folklore stories that are well-known, but one that has always left an impression on my mind is the story of The Chase Vault.
As a child, my dad told me the story, and my Mum thought that he shouldn't have, but you know what, that's how I came to love stories of the unexplained and unsolvable.
The Chase Vault is located in the cemetery of Christ Church Parish Church on the south side of the island.

Christ Church Parish Church

The mysterious Chase Vault

The story of The Chase Vault first appeared in 1833 in James Edward Alexander's Transatlantic  Sketches.
 An older view
 In 1724, the majestic vault was created and carved out of compacted coral stone with concrete walls over two feet thick and an enormous blue slab of marble to seal the entrance. The vault stood partly above and partly below the ground which allowed for some degree of protection from the elements. 
It was originally constructed by The Honourable James Elliot. When his wife Elizabeth died on May 14, 1792, her body was placed inside the vault.

A few years later , the vault was purchased by the wealthy Walrond family.  When the vault was opened to receive the body of Mrs. Thomasina Goddard on July 13, 1807, there was no sign of Elizabeth Elliot's coffin.
Mrs. Goddard was buried in a simple wooden coffin and became the lone occupant of the vault.

The vault was later taken over by the Chase family, the head being Colonel Thomas Chase, rumoured to be one of the most hated men on the island.  Since Mrs. Goddard's body was already inside when Colonel Chase acquired the vault, he made the decision not to disturb her but allow her coffin to remain.

The family crest

The family name etched in the stone vault

The next body to be placed in the vault was Colonel Chase's daughter, little two-year old Mary Anne Maria Chase in a lead coffin on February 22, 1808.
Four years later Maria's older sister Dorcas Chase, was also placed in a lead coffin in the vault on July 6, 1812.
Some claimed that Dorcas died under strange circumstances.  Rumour had it that she had been abused by her father, who had a reputation for being cruel and sadistic to his family and slaves, and that she had starved herself to death after she was forced into depression by her father.

About a month later, on August 9, 1812, however, when Colonel Thomas Chase committed suicide, the vault was opened for his burial, the caskets were found to be "in a confused state, having been apparently tossed from their places."
The eight pallbearers were the first to notice that the two lead coffins were not where they had been left a month earlier. 
The leaden coffins already there were disturbed, and Mary Ann's coffin was lying upside down in the opposite corner from where it had been placed.  Some thought that robbery was the reason for the disturbed coffins, but nothing of value had been in the vault in the first place.
Not only that but the huge stone had been cemented in place and to open it, the cemetery workers had to hammer and chisel it open.
The coffins were returned to their side-by-side positions and Colonel Chase's 240lb lead coffin  was interred next to them. The smaller coffin of Mary Ann was placed on top of the larger ones. The heavy marble stone slab was again sealed into place.
The slaves who assisted with the burial were blamed for the disturbance since they would have had an easy revenge motive as a result of the alleged cruelty of Colonel Chase toward his servants.

Four years later, in September 25, 1816, when the vault was opened again to inter the body of 11 year-old Samuel Brewster Ames, the coffins were again found to be violently disturbed. 
The vault  had been completely sealed and, once again, there were no signs of tampering or forced entry.
The 240lb lead coffin of Thomas Chase was also in the wrong location. All the coffins were put in order once more, and the vault sealed.

When just a month later, on November 17,1816, the body of Samuel Brewster (the father of the infant) was to buried in the vault, there was high interest. Word had gotten around about the mysterious occurrences, and the large crowd present were intent on seeing for themselves whether the strange happenings would continue, and they were not disappointed.
This time the cemented door was examined before opening the vault, but nothing strange was found.
The Rector of Christ Church, the Reverend Mr. Thomas Orderson, a magistrate, and two other men were there to observe and investigate. 

The vault was found in chaos again. The coffins had thrown themselves about, and the only one made of wood had been badly damaged by the tussle, and was later wrapped in wire to keep it together. The men looked for any evidence of forced entry or a hidden passage. They checked for cracks everywhere. However, there was nothing to explain the happenings. The coffins were again restored to order and the door of the vault sealed with mortar.

The next time the vault was opened was in July 17, 1819 after the death of Thomasina Clarke.
On this occasion, however, the Governor of Barbados, Sir Stapleton Cotton, Lord Combermere along with his aides, the Commander of The Garrison, and several clergymen were present.
When the marble door slab was removed, chaos was evident once again. The coffins were found thrown around the vault, with some coffins facing up and some down.
 However, the wooden coffin found damaged the last time had not been moved one single inch.

A thorough examination of the entire area was made, and everything was found to be solid.
The coffins were re-stacked with Mrs.Goddard's frail wooden coffin being placed against a wall.  Again order was restored, and the body was put in place.
Fine white sand was carefully scattered to cover the floor to catch the footprints or any movements of pranksters, diagrams were made of the coffin arrangement, the heavy door slab was mortared into place, and the Governor made several impressions in the wet mortar with his own seal.

The Governor's wife was also present and wrote of the events:
"In my husband's presence, every part of the floor was sounded to ascertain that no subterranean passage or entrance was concealed.  It was found to be perfectly firm and solid; no crack was even apparent.  The walls, when  examined, proved to be perfectly secure. No fracture was visible, and the sides, together with the roof and flooring, presented a structure so solid as if formed of entire slabs of stone. The displaced coffins were rearranged, the new tenant of that dreary abode was deposited, and when the the mourners retired with the funeral procession, the floor was sanded with fine white sand in the presence of Lord Combermere and the assembled crowd. The door was slid into its wonted position and, with the utmost care, the new mortar was laid on so as to secure it.  When the masons had completed their task, the Governor made several impressions in the mixture with his own seal, and many of those attending added various private marks in the wet mortar."

Some reports say people could actually hear the coffins moving themselves while locked inside the cement sealed vault.

The Governor had had enough at this point and ordered his own investigation....but nothing was found, and the vault was left to await its next burial.

But the Governor couldn't wait that long.
 Less than a year later on April 18, 1820, the Governor ordered the vault opened, this time only in front of himself and several friends. The seal was perfectly intact upon arrival, but the coffins were still scattered as if by some unexplained force.
Some of them had even flipped upside down, and one was lying halfway up the stairs leading to the door, blocking the entrance. It was said that the sturdy side of Dorcas Chase's coffin had broken away revealing a skeletal arm reaching out.
Mary Ann's coffin had come to rest against the left wall with a small chunk chipped off.
The sand so carefully placed before gave away no footprints or signs of water or earthquake damage.

 The Honorable Nathan Lucas was in attendance and wrote:
"I examined the walls, the arch, and every part of the vault, and found every part old and similar; and a mason in my presence struck every part of the bottom with his hammer, and all was solid.  I confess myself at a loss to account for the movements of these leaden coffins.  Thieves certainly had no hand in it; and as for any practical wit or hoax, too many were requisite to be trusted with the secret for it to remain unknown; and as for negroes having anything to do with it, their superstitious fear of the dead and everything belonging to them precludes any idea of the kind.  All I know is that it happened and that I was an eye-witness of the fact."

That was as much as the governor could take.  He then ordered the coffins removed and buried separately elsewhere.

Lord Combermere who returned to England was killed by a horse-drawn carriage in 1891 has an unbelievable story attached to him as well. You may read it here.

The Chase Vault was left abandoned, open and empty up to this day.
The mystery which has excited worldwide interest, continues unsolved.

Many folks, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes writer) has proposed that the disturbances were caused by the spirits of Dorcas and Thomas who had both committed suicide, and were therefore cursed and restless.  It must be noted that the coffins only started moving around after Dorcas Chase was interred.

I don't know about you, but I'm not scared at all.....just curious.
I did note however, that every single photo I took of the church (see first photo), even though the perimeter walls are straight and erect, the church appears to be leaning....hmmmm. 

More links below for further investigation....if you dare.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A star is born

Today is a special day.
January 12th.......a very special special day.

Image borrowed from the internet
Many many many moons what seems like a distant planet far away, a star was born.
A pretty star that shone brighter than bright in my eyes.
A star that was discovered by sonogram nine months earlier. 
Had I known back then that the little star would grow up to be the joy of my life and bring with it happiness and good times along with drama and turmoil, I would not have believed it.
This star, the joy of my life, my daughter Natalie, is a daughter like no other.....I kid you not.
Her arrival into this world naturally was unique and the story needs to be told.
Attending a scheduled "near delivery" appointment with my OB/GYN on a bright Friday morning, he immediately informed me that my star would arrive over the weekend.
"Please don't let her come tomorrow morning, I beg of you, I have a golf game that I must play, so please...." he pleaded.
Of course, my Capricorn star (The Goat) heard this plea of a request and decided to take matters into her own hands.
That night after dinner, I went into labour.  By then I was freaking out because I could hear my doctor's words in my head over and over...." please not tomorrow morning."
Well what do you know?  Around 6am when my poor doctor was beginning to give up hope of attending his early morning Saturday golf game, "star-girl" decided it was time to nip the joke in the bud, and made her appearance at 6.15am.
"Oh thank God, I can get to my golf game in time.....thanks little one!!" my poor doctor quipped elatedly while wiping his brow and disrobing at the same time.
A moment to be treasured and remembered always.
Image borrowed from the internet
A star is born
Into my life came this child with a witty sense of humour that never ceases to amaze me.
Typical Capricorn that she is, she believes that her way of handling things is the perfect way, and sticks to her opinion with an independence that warrants her own country.
That was 34 years ago....

White chocolate cheesecake

Happy Birthday Natalie!!!!

Monday, 6 January 2014

It's over

Today is January 6th, the beginning of Epiphany, the realisation that the Christmas season is officially over.
 Decorations waiting to be put away.
I spent the early morning hours taking down the tree and decorations, which are now safely stored away until the season starts all over again.
With the recession affecting all over the world, it's no wonder that things were a bit low-keyed this season, however upon reflection, there were still some highlights that I enjoyed.

My girlfriend had a get-together to welcome her son home to Barbados.  The night was cold, rainy and windy, and if I had not promised her faithfully that I would be there, I was tempted to stay indoors in the warmth instead of braving the weather outdoors.
Thankfully she only lives up the street. We all had a good time.  She's lived in Australia for most of her life and has an army of British expat friends here on the island, so the night was quite lively with the mesh of various cultures.

On December 15th, another girlfriend invited me to attend a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presented by St.Stephen's Church Choir.
From the programme: "This is a unique Christian celebration.  It comprises nine lessons which are traditionally read by representatives of the choir, clergy and congregation, prefaced by a bidding prayer and concluding with an organ voluntary (In Dulci Jubilo by J.S.Bach."
"In 1918, the then-new Dean of King's Chapel, 34 year old Eric Milner-White, wanted to try something innovative and beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England. So, he wove together scripture and song, called on readers of various ages from school and town, and made up this truly magical progression that carries us from prophecy to fulfillment, from Old Testament foretelling to a birthday celebration."
As he pointed out, the strength of the service emanates from the lessons and not the music.
The high point of this service is still found by those who "go in heart and mind" and who consent to follow where the Christmas Story leads.
The evening's recital was filled with traditional carols which the choir sang lustily accompanied by the organist, and we enjoyed sitting in the pews enjoying the music  as the cold air blew inside the church through the open windows.

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass was also another cold and rainy night but I ventured out as usual.
The bell ringer rang the bell at least 100 times (it's really for 10 minutes he told me) to announce the start of the mass.  The blessing of the creche was intimate, and the choir's voices along with the congregation filled the church to the roof.
Standing beside a baritone who sang quite lustily throughout the service I felt as if I were part of the choir myself.

The last Sunday afternoon in December found me attending a production of The Singing Trees.....a musical drama of the life and death of Christ as depicted in the Bible.
The Singing Trees is a seasonal event and is presented by The People's Cathedral located on Bishop's Court Hill.
This 90 minute drama which is now in its 30th year has been in existence for quite some time....and I remember it from way back, when it was only one Singing Tree on stage.
 Image borrowed from the internet

I opened the programme and I was favourite Christmas songs were still included....For unto us a Child is Born and the Hallelujah Chorus.
The actors and their portrayals of the characters were outstanding as usual.  My Christmas season is not complete without The Singing Trees.
Here is a link to a YouTube video from 2010....

One event glaringly missing from my seasonal agenda again this year was Christmas Jazz. The venue has been changed to the grounds of Ilaro Court (Prime Minister's residence), where one must sit on the grass in the dewdrops with  a throng of people who are only there to be seen and are not true jazz lovers.  How can I enjoy the show with "non-jazz" people talking loudly and being very distracting?  Totally impossible.
One young lady I spoke to recently said that she had attended the show.  When I asked if she was a lover of jazz, her response was "Oh we were just there hanging out."
I preferred the more intimate setting of the previous venue where the true jazz lovers would converge for the evening and have a wonderful time.
Things change I know, but they should change for the better, not just to get more people to attend, and who are not there for the true experience...that's just my opinion.

New Year's luncheon with my friends was great and I enjoyed myself as usual...see my post titled New Year's Day 2014.

And so it's over....but as always the season will be with us again before we know it.

Friday, 3 January 2014

South Point Lighthouse

The last time I visited my friends on the south coast of the island near to the South Point Lighthouse, I made a mental note that I would write a post about this landmark.  I have posted about it here before.
New Year's Day was the day to keep my promise.
My friends live on Lighthouse Road, and as soon as you turn into their street, this is the view that greets you.

South Point Lighthouse
 (aka Gordon's Lighthouse)

South Point Lighthouse - up close and personal
Majestic beacon of light

Barbados has four historic lighthouses and South Point Lighthouse is one of them.
Located at Atlantic Shores, just east of Miami Beach, in the southern parish of Christ Church, it is the only lighthouse that is still operational.
 It holds the distinction of being the first lighthouse on the island.
Designed by the famous Scottish engineer, Alexander Gordon, the lighthouse was first exhibited at London's Great Hyde Park Exhibition in 1851. It was then dismantled and shipped to Barbados in parts, and then reassembled on the southernmost point of the island.  It went into operation on April 12, 1852.

 Originally one of three "pre-cast" light houses made entirely of cast iron, it is the last one of its kind in existence, and is therefore a national treasure.  However, I am disheartened at its decayed and neglected look.

 South Point Lighthouse was  later joined by other lighthouses located at Ragged Point in St.Philip, Needhams Point in Carlisle Bay and Harrison Point in St. Lucy.
These sentinels of the sea were used many years ago by sailors to help guide their ships safely at night, and even though today not used for this purpose, are still a fundamental aspect of Barbados' landscape.

Still listed as active, the lighthouse is considered more of a national landmark and tourist attraction, with its grounds (but not tower) open to the public.

Active lighthouses in Barbados are operated by the Barbados Port, Inc., but recommendations for regular protective repainting of the exterior have not been kept up to date, and are in danger of deterioration.

The South Point Lighthouse has been depicted on the reverse of the 5 cent coin since 1973.
This landmark, with its red and white horizontal bands, can be easily spotted from many points along the south coast of the island. 

Lighthouse Facts
Tower Height: 89ft/27m in height with lantern and gallery
Height of Focal Plane: 145ft/44m above sea level
Characteristic: Three white flashes every 30 secs with a range of 18 miles

ARLHS BAR-004; Admiralty J5806;NGA 15100

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110. 

For the technocrats, I found some additional info online just for you in an article entitled, "Things that Matter:Save our Magnificent Lighthouses written by Henry S. Fraser in our local Advocate newspaper back in 2011.
"It’s equipped with a Mark 2 rotating power beacon, with an LC 6 automatic Lampchanger, photoelectric switch, control panel with test switch, constant volt battery charge and 6-volt lead/acid batteries. (Data shared by Martin DaSilva of Innotech Services Limited, who carried out restoration of the lighthouse in 2004, restoring it to its pristine glory.)"

Google has a satellite view.
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