Thursday, 31 July 2014

Seen today......

Today sneaked up on me......the very last day of the month.....the due date for many bills and services to be paid.
Where did the month of July go? Gosh, it sure went by quickly..... I still can't believe it.
Headed into the city to take care of  imminent payments and also to collect a few items.
We are almost at the end of our Crop Over season, with the climax on Kadooment Day Monday. The stores and the streets were gaily decorated with colourful buntings and flags and the tourists and locals alike were enjoying the lovely calypsos being played in the stores.
Running to catch the elevator in one store, I heard the sweet lively sounds of a Tuk band.....

The Tuk band is uniquely Barbadian and has its origins in the slave culture of 17th century Barbados, thus it remains one of the  indigenous forms of folk music on the island.

Originally banned by the English as subversive, plantation owners believed that the drums were being used to send messages between the slaves.
The tuk music surfaced officially after emancipation.

Originating from the fife and drum marching band of the 18th century British regiment, it seems the word "Tuk"  may have been derived from the Scottish word "touk" meaning to beat or sound an instrument.
Today the tuk band is made up of a base drum, a kettle drum (snare), a triangle or some other percussion instrument and a penny whistle which has replaced the fiddle as the lead instrument for the last 120 years.
The bands play an important part during any festive season, especially at Crop Over.
There are several tuk band schools to preserve the island's cultural heritage among the younger generation.
The Tuk Band is usually accompanied by costumed characters that are African in origin like Mother Sally, Shaggy Bear, the Donkey Man, and the Stiltman.
 Mother Sally with her exaggerated derriere represents female fertility and usually accompanies a tuk band.
The music is lively with a pulsating rhythm and Mother Sally chooses this little girl to dance with.
 Surrounded by such infectious music I found myself tapping my feet and doing a few dance moves myself.



I think the little girl is happy with a big grin on her face.
I should have recorded the performance but I didn't....sorry.
Here is a Youtube video link.....enjoy.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

I'm still here

Wow, I've been missing for over a week.
I had drafted a small post to let you know of my whereabouts, and it went a little something like this....

"Tomorrow.........will start the ball rolling for my summertime maintenance chores......days of hard work starting in the early morn and finishing up around dinner time.
I will probably be too tired to blog as usual, but rest assured that I will have tutorials of every project that I undertake during the period."

Those words are over two weeks how time flies.
I am smack dab in the middle of a big project which I hope to have finished by next weekend.
 I did manage to find a little time to wander the garden to check out what's happening before starting my work routine for the day yesterday.
Here's what I found:
 "Heck Mum, something's wrong with your lettuce!"
The lettuce (both the green and the red variety ) had bolted.
Thank goodness I had just planted some romaine lettuce seedlings, so I will still be able to enjoy fresh salads.

My okra plants were flowering, and then I looked closer..... first okras.

The Portlandia was showing off it beautiful big white flowers.

The heady scent of this unknown jasmine was almost too much to nose was intoxicated.

The Duke of Tuscany did not want to be left out of the party.

The blue butterfly Clerdendron ugandese was not far behind....the delicate flowers should be opened by next week.

The Lakeview Jasmine was laden with tons of flowers....a total delight for the bees.....I didn't want to get too close in case I was stung.
After that wonderful walk, it was time to get my work day rest for the weary they say....I'm enjoying every minute of my project.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Smarter than the average bear

Here is my Yogi Bear.

 I'm smarter than the average bear!!!
I've got my eye on you way can you get into the pantry without me knowing.....I think I deserve a treat.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Changing of the Sentry

When I visited the Main Guard, I made a mental note to attend the "Changing of the Sentry" ceremony which is held there every Thursday.
Even though I am caught up with my summertime maintenance projects, I took some time out last Thursday to attend the ceremony.  I had run out of some much needed material to finish one of my projects as well, and needed to go to the hardware store, so off I went to kill two birds with one stone.

 The Changing of the Sentry Ceremony is a short ceremonial mini-parade dating back to the late 1700s and is made up of retired members of the Barbados Legion.
The ceremony pays homage to the rich military heritage of our island.
The reenactment of the ceremony mimics the military exercise which was a main event carried out by British troops stationed at the Garrison during the colonial era.

The Changing of the Sentry started on December 14th 2011, when it was launched to celebrate Tourism week in Barbados.
Our Changing of the Sentry in Barbados is similar to the Changing Of The Guard at Buckingham Palace, but just on a smaller scale.

I arrived early to get a good vantage point.  It was quiet at first, but then others started to stroll in laden with big cameras, ipads and phones to capture the unique event.  An air of excitement ensued when two bus loads of day camp kids alighted and mingled with the tourists and others like myself in the crowd.
I wasn't sure what to expect, and I wondered if what I had read about the ceremony was the real deal....let's just say I was not disappointed.

The two sentry boxes that stand in the patio of the Main Guard were placed outside the building and the street was blocked off.

This car barely cruised through before the blockade was enforced.

First the flags were hoisted, and  the entry boxes were placed in position.

It was an easy setup with the wheeled pallet being used to move the sentry boxes.

Here they come, the first two sentries to take up the guard post ushered out by their command officer.

Marching into position.

The clipboard in his left hand had the rules that the sentries must adhere to.

 In a loud booming voice he read the duties.  Later I took this quick photo of the clipboard when it was replaced in the sentry box.

The commanding officer marched away.

Now it was the band's turn.....the parade was about to start. The camp kids were all excited and the poor camp counselors had a hard time getting them to stand back out of the way of the band.

Here comes the parade band being led by the drum corps.

They wear the colourful "Zouave" uniform which was originally sanctioned for the West India Regiments by Queen Victoria in 1858.
The queen had admired the uniform on the "Zouave Algerian tribe" which at the time was a part of the French Army. 
The West India Regiment was the first British Regiment of black soldiers. When Britain declared war on the French in 1793, slaves were recruited due to a shortage of troops. 
Two regiments (The 1st & 2nd West India Regiments)  made up of 1,000 men each were formed  and were called "The West India Regiments."

As an incentive to enlist, each slave was given their freedom and paid as soldiers in the British army. The regiments served both in the British Army and worldwide for 132 years.
After the regiments were disbanded in 1927, the uniform was retained by the Band of the Barbados Volunteer the Barbados Defence Force Band.
The only other Commonwealth military unit to wear this uniform is the Jamaica Military Band; which is directly descended from the last of the former West India Regiments.
More info on the Zouave uniform here.
With military precision they marched down to the other end of the street.

As the band marched to the end of the street, everyone jostled to get a better view.
The band then performed several lively routines, including a drum and stick routine which was quite impressive.

Throughout the ceremony we were being informed of the details by an official on a microphone in the patio of the building.
It was when I found out what happened to the lion's leg in the Coat of Arms on the Main Guard building.

 If you look closely at the lion at the top of the crown you will note that one of the hind legs is missing....this was as a result of a well-hit cricket ball from a game being played on the Garrison Savannah....more than likely a six run score.

It was then time for the first two sentries to be relieved of their duties.
Another two took their place, and after having their orders "barked" at them, they were in position for photos.

The band retired.
Souvenirs and momentos of the event were available for sale.....they did a brisk trade.

The enthusiastic kids (the boys) all wanted to know about the weaponry. A few minutes before they were bugging their counselors that it was time for lunch, and the counselors were hustling them back in to the buses, but not this group, they were caught up, and no longer hungry.

Being the sister of a former military member, they were many who remembered me and came over to chat.
I enjoyed the ceremony, and I learned a lot more of my island's history, and for that I am thankful.

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Main Guard

Another beautiful building situated in the historic Garrison area is The Main Guard.

Situated on the western side of the Garrison area, The Main Guard with its beautiful clock tower overlooks the Garrison Savannah which was once the military's Parade Ground and is now the race track.

The Main Guard

This beautiful Georgian architectural building with its Roman arched portico and pediment was built in 1804 and is located in the center of the Garrison Historic Area.
It consists of the main house, clock tower, gallery and a small guardhouse at the rear which was used to house prisoners during court proceedings at the Main Guard.
It was the main guard command of the British military on the island until 1905.
In 1906, the building was purchased and became the exclusive and controversial "Savannah Club."  The gallery with its cast iron trimmings was added during this period.

It was then purchased by the Barbados Government in 1989 and renovated in the year 2000.

The octagon domed clock tower

The clock itself is dated 1803 and was made by Dwerrihouse and Carter of London a noted clock maker.
During the government renovation in 2000, the original clock mechanism was replaced by a modern electronic  system and the clock now chimes every fifteen minutes.
George III Coat of Arms adorns the front of the building.
The unique Coat of Arms dated 1803 is made of Coade stone (a ceramic made to resemble stone) and was designed specially for the building.
Coade stone is named after Eleanor Coade who invented and perfected the formula of this vitrified ceramic in is more durable than stone and was popular in Georgian times.

The Coat of Arms features both the motto of English monarchs "Dieu et mon droit" (God and my right) as well as the motto of the Order of the Garter "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (Shame upon him who thinks evil of it.)
It must be noted that the hind leg of the lion standing on the crown is missing after a mishap with a cricket was decided to leave it as is.


 The Main Guard property is currently the home to several organisations including the Garrison Committee, Barbados Legion and Barbados Poppy League.

 Sentry Box
Sentry boxes stand on either side of the entrance.

The Main Guard is the location of the "Changing of the Sentry Ceremony"...the Barbadian version of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
This authentic recreation takes place every Thursday. The fifteen minute ceremony begins at 11.45am and ends when the clock strikes 12 noon.
The men taking part in the ceremony are all retired military personnel and also includes members of the Barbados Legion.

 Image borrowed from the website

Let's say goodbye to the Main Guard for now.
For ages I have been meaning to attend the Changing of the Sentry ceremony, and so in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger...."I'll be back."

There is so much to see in this historical area. let's walk around just a little bit more.
There are two poignant memorials located in the area as well.  In the southwest corner there is a monument erected to the memory of those lives lost in the "awful" hurricane.

"Near this spot rest the remains of fourteen soldiers and one married woman of the 36th Regiment who were killed by the destruction of the barracks and hospital during the awful visitation of the hurricane August 18, 1831."

 Also in the northeast corner and just across the street from the Barbados Museum stands another monument dedicated to the memory of the men of the Royal York Rangers who fell in action against the French in Martinique, Les Saintes and Guadeloupe in the 1809/10 campaign.

We have not even begun to scratch the surface of The Barbados Garrison Historic Area, for there is so much more to see.
I will definitely be going back to envelop myself in history once more, and I hope you'll accompany me again on that trip.....see you then.

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