Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hastings Rocks

Yesterday being Saturday, I was out and about on my jaunt....and boy oh boy was it a lovely jaunt.
I think I especially enjoyed my day out since I had not had the opportunity to go jaunting while I worked on the upstairs kitchen was good to be out and about again.
The heat was on, and soon I was feeling rather sweaty (sorry Mum....she always said that pigs sweat, men perspire and ladies glow) I guess I was glowing.
Lots of errands that needed to be taken care of in the "hot broiling sun" (another one of her sayings).....I do miss her.
With it being the end of the month, there are always a ton of sales and flea markets on the last weekend of the month.
You need not put your thinking caps on to know where I was headed.
I have my favourite flea markets, but today I visited the Hastings Flea Market on the south coast across from Hastings Rocks on the beach.

Hastings itself is a little town on the south coast of the island in the parish of Christ Church.
It was one of the first tourist resorts on the island during the 18th century.

Hastings Rocks

On the seaward side is a lovely beach called Hastings Rocks which is a great "chilling out" spot featuring a promenade with benches and a bandstand.
Affectionately known as "The Rocks", the original beach was a shoreline of rocks, and was badly eroded, but since its redevelopment, it is now made up of several sandy bays and tidal pools as well as artificial reefs. 
One of the tidal pools is a natural formation of coral around a shallow opening which provides an ideal swimming spot.
The inshore reef and tidal pools provide fishing grounds and is perfect for collecting exquisite shells and coral that wash ashore.

The history of the area is quite interesting....the land in the area was originally owned by the War Department.
Mr. Edward Carpenter, an ex-patriot and Manager of the Colonial Bank (now Barclays International Bank) secured a lease from the War Department for the area, and within a few months converted the section of rab land into the beautiful Hastings Rocks that we have today.
For about one hundred years, Hastings Rocks remained under the control of a "Rocks Committee" even after Government purchased it in December 1905.  It was then taken over by the Parks and Beaches Commission, and renovated and re-opened on February 19th 1971, and is now a public area.

The beach is hugged by the Richard Haynes/South Coast Boardwalk which meanders along the seafront from Rockley to Hastings Rocks.
This one mile long Brazilian hardwood boardwalk is perfect for an early morning jog, or a lovely evening sunset stroll with a loved one.

The elevation of Hastings Rocks was lowered to allow road traffic to enjoy this wonderful "open window to the sea" view. 
The project included renovating the beach since the rocks were almost completely eroded by wind and waves. The new beach was created from sand dredged during the construction work at the Bridgetown Port and now boasts several headlands and an offshore breakwater.
Even with the renovated beach, the sea shore is still rocky with medium waves and an undertow that should be respected, therefore caution is advised if one decides to take a swim.

Meandering seaside boardwalk

Spectacular views of the ocean....."The Rocks" is a favourite spot for church fairs, weddings, parties and outdoor performances.

Beautiful expanse of beach.

The area includes a bandstand where many open-air performances are held especially by the Royal Barbados Police Band.
I remember as a child my parents taking me to listen to the Police Band here at The Rocks.

Beautifully landscaped promenade with a bandstand and benches.

Perfect photo opportunities.

Incredible ocean views popular with visitors and locals.

Located at the western end of Hastings Rocks is Blakey's Bar & Restaurant , a favourite after-work and entertainment spot for locals....may I add that the food here is delicious....ask me how I know.

I could stay here all this picturesque Hastings Beach......but...where was I headed originally?

Oh yes, the Hastings Farmer's Market across the street.

Visited the stall of a Guyanese vendor who "seems to know" all about weights and measures.  I have never seen a scale or a calculator operate like fooling me though.

He always has the best produce, but keep your own tally of what you're purchasing.
I came away with all my ingredients to make a lovely big pot of vegetable soup.

I enjoyed my day out....I took care of my errands, I visited a few friends, I had a lovely seaside walk and to top it off, came home with some good food.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ten cents drop!!

A day last week, I think it may have been Friday, I ventured into the city to take care of a few bill payments. Wending my way home through Swan Street, a street filled with one door stores run by Syrians and Indians and choc-a-block with all manner of folks selling everything under the sun alongside the sidewalks, I came across an old vendor selling avocados, what we refer to as "pears" on the island.
I had already passed a few others selling avocados, but when I stopped to query the price, I thought it was a bit extravagant for the size being offered for sale.
To be honest, I always try to spend my money with the older vendors who are trying to make a living outside of their monthly pensions.
There sat this old gentleman with a cart filled with fruit and vegetables and an array of "pears."
"How much for the pears?" I asked him.
"Three dollars," he replied.
"I would like one," I answered and immediately chose a lovely pear that was ripe and ready to eat.
He held out his hand for my payment which included a few coins. Checking the coins with his other hand, he suddenly cried out, "Ten cents drop!"
His cart was situated over a street drain, and I presumed the coin had fallen into the drain.  Thinking he would reach over and retrieve the coin later in the evening when he was packing up, I was just about to move off, when he again cried out, "Ten cents drop!"
I knew I had given him the money safely and it was no fault of mine that the coin had fallen from his grasp.
Not wanting to be mean, I said to him, "Why did you let the money fall?  I will give you another ten cents, and I reached into my purse and handed him another ten cent coin.
He smiled a toothy grin, and in that moment I began to wonder about the entire scenario.

The "pear" was lovely....smooth and buttery and it made some lovely sandwiches.
Today, as I made my way out of the city, I remembered the old gentleman and his "pears."
 I made a bee line for Swan Street, and there he was sitting once more with his cart positioned over the drain.....again.

Today, the pears were still three dollars, and I made sure I paid him with larger denominations.
The lovely smooth buttery textured pear
Today my pear cost me exactly three dollars, not three dollars and ten cents, and it was delightful.

Stop invading My Space

Monday afternoon lunchtime, Brownie disappeared for quite a while after running into the garden to "do his business."
I found it strange that he did not return indoors as accustomed after a ten minute interval.
I looked outside and there he was with his mouth full of feathers....looking closer, I realised that it was one of the big maguffy pigeons that keep on teasing him by sitting on the edge of the roof preening and pooping on the walkway.
His mouth full to capacity, Brownie was striding with pride, as if to say "Look Mum I finally caught one...they are always invading my space."
"Brownie!!  Drop it!!"
He gave me a look of disbelief and then dutifully dropped it on the ground.
It was still alive, but very stunned.....I think he was pretending to be dead.

My friend Charles was here helping me with an electrical installation.....we opened the back garden gate and gently placed the pigeon on the ground, whereupon he got up in a hurry and moved off down the hill, presumably to rejoin his other gangster pigeon posse friends.

Let's hope that he takes the message back to the others that they should not mess with the little brown dog that lives at this house....and let's also hope that he has learned a time he may not be so lucky.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

What happened here?

I won't even bother you with guessing your poor brains out with what's going on here.
It's quite easy really..... a good friend of mine was away for nine days visiting his mum in the UK.
"What would you like me to bring you? he asked.
"Oh the usual, some Lindt white chocolate and some Fox's biscuits"  I replied.
"Are you sure that's all?" he responded.
"I'm so sure, I couldn't be more sure," I told him.
Off he went for his nine day holiday, and returned on Monday afternoon.
My package was delivered just before 8pm, and by 8.30pm I had devoured the first bar of white chocolate......

Irresistibly Smooth
Swiss white chocolate with a smooth melting filling.
Need I say more?

Friday, 22 August 2014

A new look

I have to keep on reminding myself that I live in an old house.....lovingly built back in 1970 by my two hard-working parents.....they did the best that they could with the resources that were available to them at the time.
After my Mum passed and the house maintenance fell under my portfolio, I began taking small bites off of long-forsaken projects that were never thought of or completed.
I worked hard on the downstairs, and I am fairly pleased with its outcome.
Upstairs however is another matter.....some areas still look as if they're stuck in a time warp.
I had been wanting to update the kitchen for a while now, and recently I bit the bullet and started the process.
Remember the ugly piece of purpleheart wood that was delivered many many weeks ago that had to be returned and then another piece came to replace it?  It was the beginning of the project.
Let's get started.
The eyesore for me was this cupboard above the bar....and those two lonesome spindles..... and the two shelfie thingys weren't doing it for me either.....every time I looked at it, I just wanted to rip it down.
It was definitely time for that "ugliness" to go.

I loathed the entire look...the dark wood was not my favourite, and the arched raised insets continued to just get my goat every time I saw them....they somehow reminded me of a coffin insert....perhaps something from the recesses of a childhood memory at a funeral......I don't know.

Wow I took a selfie!!!

Now we can see where the wood comes into play.  The countertop was resurfaced with some large 24"x48" black ceramic tiles, and the countertop edge needed to be finished properly.

There goes the long length of wood through the planing machine on its way to becoming a thing of beauty.
Time to remove all the doors and shelves.

Note the new open look kitchen without the "bar cupboard whatchamacallit" hanging around.

 Removed all the hinges, knobs and catches too.

I then set about removing the raised "coffin" inserts from the doors.

It's nice to have friends who have power tools that you can borrow at a minute's notice.
The jigsaw came in quite handy and the job was finished in no time.

I know you're wondering what on earth I would do with these was suggested that they be tossed as firewood.

A large sheet of 1/4" plywood was used to make new flat inserts for the doors. Templates were drawn and cut out using the same jigsaw.
My friend then used his high-powered router to cut a rebate for the new inserts to sit in.
Glued the new inserts in with Liquid Nails, and the "new" doors were beginning to take shape.

Next it was time to paint the hinges.

All the hardware was cleaned and sanded and then a silver paint (Sherwin Williams) was applied.

Yes, every single piece of hardware was painted....even those tiny tiny screws for the hinges.

Throughout the process, I had several work tables....because I am crazy....and only crazy old me would decide to refurbish her kitchen cabinets all by herself.

 After a few days of cleaning (Purple Blaster), sanding, caulking, and making minor and major repairs, it was time to start painting.

First step a good primer.

The "new" wood trim around the countertop was painted black to match the black tile.

The fridge was feeling left out, so I painted that as well with a special RustPro paint.

It was then time to sand off the old varnish from the doors.
I worked outside on this task, and my Overseer made sure that they were all done properly.

The upstairs back patio became my painting workshop.

Drawers all finished.

No project runs smoothly from start to finish, and I encountered some problems along the way.
Problem Number One moved into position.
The new wood trim was not adhering well to the edge by the sink drain board.... this was due to the bad fabrication of the countertop edge.
Thank goodness for my friend who came along and saved the day by affixing a long bar clamp with extra nails in the trim to hold it all together.  The clamp was in place for a few days to make sure that the wood behaved properly.

It was exciting when I finally managed to replace the newly painted doors back on to the cupboards.
See how excited I was, I have already packed the ware back into the upper cupboards even though all  the doors were not finished.

Time to choose the back splash tile.  I chose the one on the left  which was a bigger tile and had a rough textured stone finish. 
  Bigger tiles meant I spent less time tiling....yeah!

The tile spacers that I had were way too big for the space I wanted to create under the first row of back splash tiles on top of the countertop, yes folks, what you are seeing is plain old pieces of cardboard that were used as a spacer for that purpose.

Problem number two then reared its ugly head.

The bar had a wooden surface area and therefore needed a special tile adhesive to use with a wooden surface.
A friend of mine recommended a tile cement especially formulated for this purpose, "but it dries really quick, you have to work fast when using it" he said.
I thought we worked fast when installing the tiles (yes, ex-hubby was helping me with the tile cutting of the huge tiles), but oh heavens after we had installed the tiles, they were still quite loose after a few days, and the middle tile in particular was quite rocky like a  see-saw.  I decided to take them all up, and scrape off the dried on adhesive and start over again.

After scraping it all off, and dry-fitting the tiles once more, the middle tile continued to rock. We thought we had an uneven surface, and the bar top was secured, but the tile continued to rock.
It was then discovered that the tile was warped and could not work.
I know I purchased B-grade tiles, but all the others were great.
 Called up my friends at the tile store, and they told me to bring it back (yes already cut).  I received a tile to finish up my project.  A big thank you to Terrific Tiles and Mr. Hoyte for putting customer satisfaction as their number one priority.
 DAP Weldwood Multi-Purpose Ceramic Tile Adhesive
Now armed with a new tile, this time I purchased a different tile adhesive, a pre-mixed mastic for wooden surfaces.

After the last piece of tile was installed, it still felt rocky, maybe paranoia on my part, I decided to weigh it down with some large bottles of water for good measure.....worked like a charm.
 Finally, I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Ta-dah!!!   dah!!!!  dahh!!

It's not completely finished yet, but at least it's back in operation.
I've still got some shelves to install above the stove area, and the floor tiles need to be replaced....all in good time.

This story would not be complete without filling in a few gaps.
I know you're wondering what became of the cupboard above the bar... it went to a new home.
Yes, ex-hubby will be able to make use of it....reduce, reuse, recycle in action.

My girlfriend also made use of the raised wooden insets from the cupboard doors. She decided that she would have her carpenter make her some bedside tables and use them for that purpose.....reduce, reuse, and recycle at its best.

The good thing is, is that I can see where the best part of the month of July and part of August went to, and even though my summer was an extra hard working one, I wouldn't change a moment...I enjoyed it all.

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