Saturday, 26 December 2015

Peace on Earth

Image borrowed from Google Images
Wishing all of you a wonderful and joyous and peaceful Christmas season.
My one and only prayer this year is for peace worldwide and goodwill towards our fellowman.

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A strange Christmas

This year, it's a Christmas with a difference for me.....a very strange Christmas.
This year, the air of Christmas is all around me, but the magical spirit of Christmas is not with me.
With so many people displaced from their homes all over the world, I find it hard to have myself "A Merry Little Christmas" when so many others don't have that privilege this year.
I haven't made my famous Bajan Christmas Black Cake nor have I put up my Christmas tree.

Instead I have used my small white twig tree which I made for my Swap/Tea Party decor earlier this single strand of white LED lights adorns its branches.
My friends and I have all decided there won't be any gift giving this year.  Of course there was one gift on my list, a wonderful bag of goodies for the special folks at the RSPCA who look after Brownie throughout the year.
Walking through the stores in the malls nothing jumped out at me at all......
....except this Christmas Tree mountain of chocolates...a dream come true.

Trekking into the city yesterday, I found a parking spot outside the Cathedral Church wall in an area between two clearly marked NO Parking signs painted on the street.
The area where myself and others had parked was not indicated as a No Parking area.
To my dismay when I returned there was a traffic warden issuing parking tickets and he had already stuck one under the wipers of Beast.
I approached him and asked him how come he had issued me a ticket and he said the entire stretch of that street was a No Parking zone.  How would drivers know this if not indicated as such I have no idea.
Another driver was standing quite calmly eating a banana after being handed a ticket by the warden....he was not enthused at all....his face was set up like rain and he shouted at me..."Wait wuh he tell you?"
"He said that this entire stretch is a No Parking area," I replied.
"So how duh expect people tuh know dat if it ain't mark out?" he thundered back.
"I have no idea," I said.
We exchanged pleasantries and wished each other the best for the season and headed off on our way.
It's amazing that the head day I park for a five minute run around the corner instead of a longer duration, that is the day I am issued a first ticket after driving all of these years. I said....a very strange Christmas indeed.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Bidi Bom

 I missed out on Christmas Jazz this year...a real pity but these things happen.
There are still quite a few other upcoming concerts on the calendar and I hope to be able to attend a few of them.
Last evening I found myself at "Christmas Fa La La" a free concert at the Frank Collymore Hall, which featured The Central Bank of Barbados Chorale under the direction of Walter Forbes Jr.
The other guest artistes for the evening were Amanda Fields (Soprano), Nathan Richards (Flautist and Singer), Bajan Brass Quartet and the Youth Pan Ensemble.
Under the patronage of the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell and his wife, the concert was a Christmas gift to Barbados from the Central Bank of Barbados.
Arriving early in order to get a good park and a great seat, I was more than annoyed when after carefully choosing my seat, two very talkative ladies sat directly behind me and talked through the entire programme.
The hall was not as full as it usually is for these events and I wished the "mouthers" would move on to the other vacant seats.  I'd had a hard working day and was really too tired to admonish their rude behaviour....I was just too tired to engage any know how that goes.

The chorale opened with "Bidi Bom" which I enjoyed very much, so much so that I had an ear worm all day.
Here is a wonderful rendition by a student choir I found online.

Other songs performed for the evening included favourites like Here We Come A-Caroling,  Candlelight Carol, Sing Noel, Mozart's Fa La La, Coventry Carol, Ding Dong Merrily on High, God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, as well as other selections by the featured artistes.
There was also an audience singalong with Go Tell It On The Mountain and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.
The music was fresh and rang true to the words of The Chorale Director in his programme message "Many of the melodies will be familiar but the arrangements give a sense of freshness to the listener and performer alike."
All in all a nice evening despite the "talkees."

Friday, 18 December 2015

Down to the ground....down to the ground!!

Remember those words from the "Down to Zero" song by Joan Armatrading?  Okay don't answer that because then you will be dated just like me, but hey it's an old song from back in the day, and this morning when I heard the loud crash and saw the calamity before me...all I could sing was "Down to the ground....down to the ground!!"

 My poor back wall had sported a huge crack for the longest while as a result of the torrents of rainfall that had smashed against it over the years.  It was barely standing and I was hoping it would stay put until the new year when I would find the right workmen to come by and rebuild it and install drainage holes to allow the water to escape safely.
I guess Mr.Wall was tired holding on, and was probably thinking, "Yuh see me...I had enough of dis", so this morning after a few hard gusts of wind I heard the crash of bricks hitting the ground.
Imagine the look on Brazen's face when he ran across the wall, and stopped in his tracks with a puzzled look on his face....I laughed so hard.

Brownie had a quizzical look on his face too during his lunchtime romp in the garden.  I will have to keep an eye on him to make sure that he doesn't attempt to jump over the "wall" to go after Brazen when he comes by.
The gaping hole will be patched up for the time being to stop any "wannabe trespassers" from entering the property.
So there we have it, the very first project on the agenda for of many I'm sure!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Dog bite muh!

Well it finally happened....Brownie bit me.
He didn't mean to do it....I know this deep down in my was just his natural canine reaction to the events.
I have no idea why people do some of the things that they do....they just do.
With all the garbage receptacles in my home, one of my guests thought that they would sit on the patio and throw his chicken bones into the back garden after eating.
Why oh why....the horror of it all!!!
The back garden is Brownie's domain and when he discovered the discarded bones he was in heaven.
I saw him standing and gobbling something, and by the time I ran over to him, he had already gobbled a huge bone down.  I tried to take the second big bone away from him before he gulped it down as well....he growled and snarled at me.
I thought if I could distract him and pull it from his mouth at the same time it would be okay, but it was not.
He was having none of it...he had found a forbidden treasure in the garden and darn if he was going to give it up so my hand came down to pull the bone away, his jaws locked tightly down on my right hand and bit me.
With his nice clean teeth the puncture wounds were sharp and bled immediately.
I saw in his eyes how badly he felt so I left him alone to finish gobble the bone down while I walked around the garden and retrieved all the other discarded bones.
Why are people so nasty with their surroundings?  How on earth do you sit and fling garbage every which way so willy nilly?
I doctored my wounds with hydrogen peroxide and Bengues Balsam....yes the heat burns the toxins tetanus shot needed.
That was one week ago today and the wounds have healed perfectly.
Especially so after they were licked profusely by Mr. Brownby.

In case you're wondering "Dog bite muh!" is one of our colourful Bajan expressions which has a meaning akin to "What the heck?"

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas Checkup

Every year around this time, I schedule Mr. Brownbie for a Christmas checkup.
I figure he should be prepared for the season too but in a healthy way.
Recently he started the "licking at the air" syndrome again and I thought that the annoying flap in his mouth was back, so it was definitely time to go see our friendly vet.
It seems now that the vet's office is bigger there are more patients coming in than before.
I know that the vet comes in and makes his rounds finishing around 8.30am so I usually find myself pulling into the car park around this did not work for us.
When we pushed the door to enter we were met with filled chairs and several other dogs awaiting attention.
Brownbie just sat on my lap looking around at all the other dogs with a smug look on his face because he was higher up than they were lying on the floor.
"What's wrong with Brownie today?" the friendly receptionist asked.
"Just his regular Christmas know teeth cleaned, check on the flap in his mouth, ears checked, nails trimmed, anal glands expressed...the usual works."
She laughed and told me to take him down to the interior kennel surgery waiting room area.
"You can pick him up after lunch," she said.
"Call me as soon as he's ready," I said and she replied "Okay."
Took care of a few errands and then came home and finished cutting the grass on the front lawn.
Didn't feel much like eating without him, so I didn't.
When two o'clock appeared on my clock, I could wait no more. I picked the phone up and when the friendly receptionist answered, I asked her if he was ready to come home and she said yes, that she was so busy she didn't have the chance to call me.
"I'll be there in a bit," I told her and hung up the phone.
Jumped into Beast and drove quickly down the street and arrived in less than five minutes.
As soon as I entered, Dr.Huey brought Brownbie up walking groggily on a leash and handed him over to me.
"I believe he belongs to you," he teased.
"Dr. Joyanne cleaned and polished his teeth and she also removed a bad one from the front," he said.
"Oh dear does that mean he will now have a crooked smile?" I asked.
"Probably will help him not to eat so much," he quipped.
I lifted my sweet boy into my arms and told him not to listen to the good old doc...he just loves to tease.
Had a brief chat with the doc sign of the flap, apparently it has decided not to grow back and I'm happy about that.
The "licking at the air" was attributed to the bad tooth.
Apart from that everything else was A-Okay....happy about that too.
I purchased his worm treatment tablet as well, and was advised not to administer it until next week after all the medication was definitely out of his body.
Thanked everyone and as we were leaving I was presented with their calendar for 2016.
As for the patient he is back at home safe and sound.  He spent the afternoon sleeping off the rest of the anesthesia, drinking lots of water, peeing it all back out, eating his food as usual, and barking at my neighbour when he came home.
Daughter Dear called to see how he was doing and when I told her he had lost a tooth, she promised him a false tooth for Christmas!
Brownie seemed okay with that....I just laughed, I don't get between those two.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Pull Over!!!

The clouds were painted on a backdrop of vivid blue sky.
Today was a beautiful day and I found myself out and about running a few errands.  I am famous for offering my help to my friends and neighbours and today was no exception.
I've been so busy recently cleaning and getting rid of "no longer needed" stuff  as I did my Christmas season cleaning that I haven't had time to blog or anything else either, but I  had promised to drop off a few items to a lady at her workplace and also to source some foreign funds for my elderly was the day.
In between I dropped by to visit a friend on the south coast who is working on a big project. While there he bounced some remodeling ideas around and I was able to give him a few more ideas to help out with his designs.
On my way driving home I noticed the engine oil light on the dashboard lit up. I stopped to purchase a bottle of motor oil and then I pulled into the gas station to purchase some petrol.
The pleasant young lady pumping my gas was so helpful, she even bounded inside the store to get me some foreign currency for my change.
Alas in her excitement to help me out she forgot to input my requested dollar amount in the gas pump and it speedily ran past the amount.  
Guess what.....I panicked...really panicked......not like me at all, and I cried out and blew my horn to attract her attention but she could not hear me.
The man at the next pump seeing me in distress jumped out of his van and stopped the pump and removed it from Beast's tank.....I thanked him.
Where did my senior moment come from?  Why did I not jump out and stop the pump?  Gosh really?
I looked at the gas total and it was almost five times my requested amount....Holy Moly!!!
When the poor girl returned and looked at the gas pump meter she was in shock...I moreso.
Told her not to worry I would honour the total.
She was apologetic but oh so thankful.
I thanked her for her kind help and drove off.
Merging into the oncoming traffic, I hadn't driven very far before a policeman on a bike with lights flashing pulled up beside me and said "Pull Over!!"
I did so, wondering what on earth was the matter.  I had already been pulled over in a police dragnet last week when they were checking for insurance....what now?
"Your gas cap is missing and your tank is open," he said.
"Thank you, I just left the gas station so I will head back there now," I replied.
I dutifully turned Beast around and headed back to the station, where the poor lass was standing with the gas cap in her hand awaiting my return.
We both laughed.
Today could have turned into a complete fiasco, but it all worked out in the end....I am so thankful that it did.
As my dad used to say..."It could have been worse."

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Ahoy there!! Another ship visit

My jaunt day on Saturday (November 28th) was lovely, I had the opportunity to visit the Chinese hospital ship PLA (People's Liberation Army) Ark Peace/ on its historical trip to the island.
A rare opportunity to go aboard a world famous vessel to get a first hand glimpse of the Chinese Health Care System....count me in.

 Ark Peace
A Ship of Life.....An Envoy of Peace
It was the very first time that a naval vessel/medical ship from the People's Republic of China was paying us a visit.

Ark Peace
Length 178 meters
Beam 24 meters
Height 43.25 meters
Full displacement 14,300 tons
Medical cabins cover an area of 4,000 square meters
The lifeboats are enclosed.
The "Harmonious Mission - 2015" started on September 23 when the vessel left Malaysia's Port Klang headed on a goodwill mission to boost military diplomacy/medical exchange and cultural communication by visiting Australia, French Polynesia, USA, Mexico, Barbados, Grenada and Peru. This is the vessel's fifth harmonious mission since being commissioned.
Due to security considerations, an online registration form was filled out which allowed me to select my preferred time slot.....I opted for 9am.

The tours were arranged in twenty minute slots with only 25 persons per tour.
The 584foot long vessel was designed and built in China and is a full service emergency hospital with top notch equipment.  It boasts 300 sickbeds, 8 operating rooms, 5 doctor offices, two medical staff offices, 8 nurse stations, over 200 types of medical devices, including CT, DR and colour ultrasound, a medical staff complement of 118 and a ship-borne Z-8 heliambulance.

Security checkpoint
 After clearing security, it was up the gangway manned by two Naval guards,where we were ushered into the Triage Section of the vessel to watch a very informative 10 minute video on the operations of the vessel.
There are eight decks on board, and we were allowed to visit Decks 1 and 2 after leaving the Triage Area.
The "Ark Peace" is a fully equipped floating hospital which could easily provide every imaginable medical service.
The vessel provides emergency medical treatment to the wounded at sea during wartime, medical services to PLA troops stationed in remote areas and also humanitarian services to local residents and Chinese nationals.
That's not all....the vessel also provides scientific research, testing, training, international peace keeping, humanitarian aid, disaster relief rescue and evacuation and protection of Chinese overseas.

The painted green floors (representing health) were spotless and shone like glass.

A wide array of medical equipment.

A picture dedicated to Florence Nightingale - heroine nurse in the Crimean War.
 "Love, Patience, Carefulness, Responsibility"

Signage throughout the vessel was both in Chinese and English.

Pictures on the walls showed various medical procedures.

 Nurse Station

Doctors on board practice both Western style medicine and traditional Chinese techniques.
The clinic for traditional Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, massage and cupping therapy.

Hospital Information Center
The Communications Room has CCTV for viewing corridors and patient rooms.

 Slogan on the wall "Loyalty, Responsibility, Honour, Harmony"
Live webcam

After the indoor tour, we headed outside.

On the ship's stern is a landing pad for a Z-8 emergency helicopter.

In the background the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner.

I was impressed by the tour guides who spoke a fairly good sample of the English language so that we were able to understand and also help translate a few words.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and indicated my impression in the Guest Book provided. 

This visit is the climax of a year of very active bilateral relations between China and Barbados in the areas of cooperation in both military and health services, and personal contact between the two countries.

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