Saturday, 28 March 2015

A warm welcome

About two weeks ago I posted on our local FaceBook Freecycle page that I was looking for some asparagus fern plants to complete the verge outside my front wall.
A lovely lady answered my request and I went by and collected what she had to offer.
Then a couple of days ago, my post was seen by another plant group on FaceBook, and I was invited to join them.  I decided to go ahead and do so, and boy am I glad that I did.
Today they hosted a plant swap in Queen's Park in the city, and I went along with some of my rogue heliconia plants to share.
What a genuine and warm welcome into the "Bajan Home Gardening" family.  It was as if I had known them for ages. We all got to talking and exchanging not only the plants we had brought but also great tips and ideas.
 
 Passion fruit, lime and tangerine seedlings, agaves, aloes and succulents.

 
 All kinds of Succulents

 
 Coleus, Marigolds and a variegated pothos which came home with me, since mine just kicked the bucket.

 
 
 Various cuttings, Oxalis, Kalanchoe, Coleus

 
 My big pot of rogue heliconias
(flower in the foreground)

 

 
 It was a lovely gathering and everyone found something nice to swap.
I came away with passion fruit, lime and tangerine seedlings, pothos, succulents, vanda orchid, Star of India, red spinach, and of course an empty heliconia pot.
Thanks for the warm welcome ladies, you can swing by my home anytime when I have more plants to share.
While chatting with one of the ladies, she informed us that a nearby school was having a fund raiser, and that if we had the time that we should go by.
Since it was not far away, I decided to pop by and support the cause.

 "Radnor"
Kids were having a blast in the jumpy tent.

Several tents and display stalls were placed around the grounds.
Lots of crafts and locally made products.
I just realised I should have taken more photos, but I was too busy taking it all in.

More plants, but I had already had my fill for the day.
I bought a few fishcakes for me and "you know who" and some lovely tasting coconut cakes. 
It was then time to leave and run my regular Saturday morning errands.
I arrived back home pretty late to find my BrownBerts waiting at the kitchen door to go outside to relieve himself.
Prepared his lunch, and had something to eat myself, and then had myself a much deserved afternoon relaxation on the couch watching "Ancient Aliens" a program I happen to like.
A nice Saturday.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Doctor on Call

Today, my pc guru friend Dr. Charles, who is also known in our circle of friends as "Sir Charles" spent a couple of hours with us.
Brownie adores him, and Dr. Charles is the only male that may visit my home and Brownie does not become agitated....he is a very jealous dog you know...no males but him allowed on the property!!
Seemed as if all the pc equipment in the house was in need of tender loving care.
 
 Dining room table became Operation Command Central

So it was that the Doctor came by and spent some time loading new programs for movie watching, cleaning up hard drives, and uninstalling programs no longer needed.
We now have access to hundreds, if not thousands of online movies and live channels at the click of a mouse....who could ask for more.....
Just what the doctor ordered.
What a day!!!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A rant


I posted this on FaceBook yesterday since I was still reeling from the service I had received.
Professionalism seems to be a thing of the past.

"Okay I have to rant here.
I was in SurePay* Cave Shepherd today to pay a few bills.
The cashier was chatting on her cell phone, yet she called me forward "Next please!"
I approached her window and I thought she would finish her call before attending to me, but nooo.....she shoved her hand out for my bills and proceeded to process them while still talking on her cell phone to her friend. All the while I am trying to be civil and patient. I tell her the amounts I am paying.  She processes the first bill okay.  The last two bills she obviously isn't concentrating and processes the incorrect amount, and then to make matters worse, she hands me the wrong change. I point this out to her, and she says to her phone, "Wait, hold on a minute, I coming back to you" She then looks at me and says, "How much money you give me? Oh yes I have more change for you." and with that she went back to her call and handed me the remainder of my change.
This is the third time that I have been privy to a SurePay cashier on a cell phone while handling my transactions and invariably the bills are processed incorrectly.
Please SurePay can you ask your cashiers to refrain from talking on their cell phones while dealing with customers? It is downright rude and lacks true customer service.
Rant done."

* SurePay is a bill paying company...you can pay an assortment of utility and other bills.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

A million times

I ventured into the city yesterday to take care of a few errands.  I parked Beast quickly in the multi-story car park at the bottom of the city, and headed first to the bank expecting to find a long line, but noooo....smooth sailing....I was in and out in less than 10 minutes....super sweet.
Headed up town I heard the sounds of a nearby parade, and I made my way over to the Parliament Buildings where the parade was being staged.

Headed towards the parade
Remember I wrote about The Changing of the Guard Ceremony last year? It is held at The Garrison outside The Main Guard.
Today it seemed the decision was taken to stage it in the city centre outside the Parliament Buildings.


Both sides of the street was filled with tourists and locals alike, and I opted for the side that was less crowded.
You know I love parades so I was happy to stand in the sunshine and take a few photos.

 The corps is made up of retired members of the Barbados Legion.




Lord Nelson statue in the background taking it all in.


I thought it would be nice to record a little video as well.
video


I also thought it would be nice to record a second video. It was too large for Blogger so I uploaded it to YouTube instead.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1HjiW3qWZM
At 0.47 in the video the Sargeant-at-Arms drops his staff during one of his routines. The crowd was silent at first, and then many impatient folks started saying, "Pick it Up" but there is a protocol to be followed, so have a look see.
I thought to myself, he must have done that routine a million times, and today of all days it drops from his hands.  I felt badly for him since I had never seen that happen during all my years of watching parades.
I hope he's gotten over it by now...we are all only human.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

We live in a world with cruel cruel people

As far as I know, all of my blogland friends love animals, and would not ill-treat any kind of animal.
From my first memory as a child we always had pets and we were taught to love them.
No throwing sticks or stones or shouting at our pets...they were loved unconditionally and were a part of the family.
We were a caring family, a sharing family, a loving family. 
If there was only one candy left in the candy bowl, my brother and I would bite it into four pieces and everyone had a piece.  We just did not know about selfishness....I learned what this was when I started going to school.
We mostly had dogs and cats as pets, but mostly dogs.  We must have had over thirty dogs throughout the years.
We never knew what it was to be unkind, another foreign concept I learned at school.
Respect for life, yes, we were taught that too.

Brownie and his Motley crew
He takes them out on to the patio every morning to help him look out for Brazen and his crew.
Brownie awaiting a titbit from daughter dear as she makes her way to her room with a plate full of tasty morsels.
He knows he will be given some because that's what we do, we share.
Here he is again awaiting a taste of a tuna sandwich...he will wait patiently until a piece is given to him.
 

 His days are filled with love.


 
 Taking a nap on my slippers is his very smart way of knowing when I get up from the sofa, because I will need my slippers.

How on earth could I ever dream of treating Mr. BrownBerts unkind?
I just CAN'T understand why people are so cruel to defenseless animals.....why oh why oh why?


As I sat writing this post and thinking of how much I love my boy and being thankful that I was blessed to have him in my life, I knew that there were many many more animal lovers like me out there.

I love reading lots of feel-good stories about lost animals finding their way back home after many years, animals being rescued from raging waters, animals saving their owners from harm.


Then you come across a horrible story like this one.
I am happy that it had a happy ending.
If you are like me, don't you wish you could tar and feather the cruel person who did this and cage them in a small carrier and leave them out in the elements and never look back?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

When life gives you lemons- Upstairs back bathroom reno part 1

I've been hinting for some time now that I was engrossed in another large project.
Yep, the last few weeks I have been renovating my upstairs back bathroom.
As you already know the house was built back in the early seventies and my parents furnished it with the best that they could afford back then.


Back in the day, this bathroom would have been the bee's knees with its lemon cast iron tub, lemon bidet, lemon sink, lemon toilet and lemon and white engraved tiles on the wall surround....yep really nice.

For some time now I'd wanted to bring the bathroom into the modern world, and at the end of January I decided to bite the bullet and get started.  I knew once I got started that I wouldn't be happy until it was finished, so I dove right in.
One afternoon, I started to remove the old tiles from the wall.

Some of the tiles came off pretty easily while others hung on for dear life and would not come off the wall......I took care of their stubbornness with some extra hard swings of the stone wall ratchet.
The old mastic that saluted me when the tiles came off had a really musty smell.

 Thank goodness I have a GREAT plumber because I don't know how I would have managed without him.
Next it was time for the toilet to be removed.  It was connected to an old cast iron pipe so that was removed as well.....yes, there's a hole in the wall!!


After the new plumbing configuration was taken care of, the hole was sealed again.

We stuffed the toilet waste hole with newspaper to stop any stench from filling the room.


A nice guy (Burt) came by and applied a Trowel Plastic finish to the walls.

The new pedestal sink and new toilet were installed.

It was then time to get the old cast iron tub out....what another fight......
.. ...but with the help of a few of my daughter's able-bodied friends, it was soon resting outside in the driveway awaiting removal to its new home.
After we took the tub out, the drain waste ended up with this new configuration.


The plumbing configuration was also changed in the shower.  A small pony wall was built along with a step over curb, and the floor was graded towards the drain.


Time for me to start the tiling in the shower stall.
A leader board nailed at the height of a full tile was installed.
The bumpy old mastic was chipped off leaving a fairly smooth work surface.
No I did not break off my hammer handle with this project...it's an old hammer I use in the garden that I found very useful throughout this project.


These are 10x13 Sardegna Bianco Italian tiles with a lovely matte marble finish.


I saw a guy on YouTube using drywall screws as spacers and decided to give it a try...they worked perfectly. The tape helped me to keep the tiles secured level as I worked.
Every tile I installed I used the spirit level to make sure that it was level.


I had only laid tiles on floors before with ex-hubby's help, and I thought that it would be difficult tiling up a wall, but I found it extremely easy, and actually prefer it better than tiling a floor.

 Getting there
 The small 4x4 tiles on the shower floor are Grotte Bianco.
Unsanded classic ivory grout was used to bring everything together.
As always with any project there will be hiccups along the way.  I cruised through most of them taking my time, and using my newly found "patience".
With ex-hubby gone, I engaged the help of my dear friend Andrew to cut the difficult tiles with an angle grinder, but most of the tile cuts I made using a really great hand held tile cutter. I was truly amazed at how well it worked.  Cutting the tiles were a breeze.
Draper 200mm Tile Cutter which I used for snapping the tiles.
Vitrex Tile Scorer with tungsten carbide tip built to last - love it love it love it.
My dad's old tile nippers.

With the slanted floor now to the drain, I found myself one night sitting and swearing at one last bottom level tile that was giving me "hell" to install.  It had to be cut slanted  to go with the grade in the floor, and every time I made a correction and tried to install it...it just didn't work.
I came downstairs muttering loudly..."blasted tile,  it's always the last one to give trouble....not tonight muh brother..... I ain't taking no crap from you...no siree...not tonight...you'd better get wid the program by the time I get back upstairs!"
My daughter knows I'm crazy already so all she said was "Mum you talking to tiles now?"
I poured myself a glass of juice and went back upstairs, and would you know it, I refitted that darn tile and it popped into position so neatly that even I was amazed.  See what a little talking to can achieve?

I knew I didn't want the curb or the pony wall tiled with the shower tiles, and I instead opted for a longer tile in order to get the look I wanted.
I bought two 12x48 Symphony Almond porcelain tiles which matched the other tiles beautifully.
I didn't want to take a chance cutting these tiles with the angle grinder, thus I made a call for help.
I'd made an enquiry a couple days before with a granite/marble company to buy a small slab of marble for the new vanity  area.  The staff were so very helpful, I knew they would help me with my problem.  Called them up...no problem they told me, bring the tiles right over....we will be happy to cut them for you.

Here is the big cutting machine making easy work of my cuts.


While there I decided to have another look at the marble and granite off cut slabs that were on sale.


I chose this piece...it is perfect.
The vanity needs to be built first, and I will highlight that in another post.

A couple of days later, I heard a horn tooting outside, looked out and it was the folks who came to collect the old tub.
Goodbye old friend....you served as well.
It will now be a mini pond for some ducks to swim around in.

Now let's get those photos up of the new bathroom.
 It's so hard to take photos of a small space.

The pony wall will be finished with a nice rock tile facade.
The bidet area will now be the home for the vanity with the marble slab top.

A light breezy curtain will be used until the glass shower door is installed.

The bathroom is back online and operational, and I'm so happy that the first part of the renovation is finished.  The finishing touches will be completed soon.
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