Monday, 27 June 2016

New Babies (Plants)

Well what'dya know...Plant Swap #4 rolled up on me like a thief in the night.
I had the date in my mental file (my old noggin) and I knew it was later in the month and I also knew that the day and time had changed, but yet when the day dawned, I still wasn't as prepared as I should have been.
Needless to say I took all the potted plants I had prepared and a few cuttings from my favourite jasmines and herbs along to the swap.
Would you believe I also had baby pink ginger lilies to share???
Our Facebook group Barbados Garden Lovers is like a family and I always enjoy the company of these kindred plant much information to learn and to share with each other.
It was a wonderful evening.
 My new plant babies.
Or should I say "rediscovered" plants...since I used to have these in my collection before.

 White Bleeding Heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) and a few cactus cuttings.
 Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)
I hope Brazen and crew allow me to get a few when it bears fruit this time around. This was one of the fruit trees I cut down
 previously as the monkeys were getting the fruit before me.
Papaw (Papaya) seedlings.
I chose two since I have no way of knowing if one may be a male...the male plants do not bear fruit.
I had so much fun that I only remembered to take two photos, and since the faces are included I will not be posting them here.
Now that the rains have finally settled in and the drought is no more I am excited to be planting new babies in my garden.
I've lost a lot of grass from the lawn and some other mature plants have suffered terribly but I believe that with some tender loving care they can be saved.
Lots of work to be done to whip the garden back in shape but I'm ready.....GAME ON!!!
Thanks to another great plant swap I am armed and ready.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Recycling of a different kind

Yesterday when I visited my girlfriend at work I had a little time on my hands.
Across the street from her workplace is an attraction that I had never had the opportunity to visit but had always wanted to do so.

The man behind its conception  Dr. Lawrence "Lance" Bannister is now deceased (October 1, 2015) but his creative handiwork lives on.
 Dr. Lawrence Blair "Lance" Bannister's Iron Gardens.
Located at Perry Gap, Roebuck Street, St. Michael.
Dr. Bannister was a medical practitioner by profession but he was also a poet and a dairy farmer as well a metal works artist.

When I think about it "Lance" as he was affectionately known, really was the first Bajan to embrace recycling before it became popular, and back in those days he was thought to be a bit eccentric.
I am in awe at his talent of transforming scrap metal mostly from old abandoned vehicles into beautiful works of art.
I didn't have time to go inside so I had a peek from outside instead. 
Peering through the beautiful metal adorned many items can you see?

As a child growing up, my dad and Dr. Bannister were friends and we enjoyed visits to his home.
I wonder how much more fun we would have had if the garden was the garden of today?

The magnificent horse sculpture.
His creativity and dedication to his hobby led to the birth of many amazing metal sculptures.

These photos of this large horse reminded me of The Trojan Horse of Greek mythology fame.
They also reminded me of a scary story my dad told us once about him driving home alone one night, when he saw a large horse blocking the entire road with it's tail hanging over one side and his head hanging over the opposite side of the road nibbling at the tree tops.  Said he heard a voice asking him where he thought he was going?  My dad had been out having a few drinks with friends so my Mum told us it was rubbish and sent us off to bed.

The creativity of a self-taught metalwork artist.

Inside the garden are quite a few sculptures, some of which are mobile sculptures made from all kinds of  scrap metal.

Dr. Bannister's artwork is also on display in other is a link to a critique on one of his pieces "Equus" and another link on the same piece.
His ingenuity knew no bounds.  Displayed at our local Foursquare Rum Distillery is a childrens ferris wheel in the play area also lovingly created by him.

I have made myself a promise that I will return to explore this wonderful garden with all its treasures sometime soon.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A basket of love and appreciation

Today dawned bright and beautiful and I knew immediately that it was going to be a good day.
For breakfast I baked a banana bread with 3 bananas that were hanging around in the fruit basket with nowhere to go.
Then I had an idea....I wanted to thank my girlfriend Dawn for loaning me her shoes on Sunday....can you guess what I was up to?

The birth of a basket of love and appreciation.

Filling it with breakfast break time goodies.
Two lovely pink ginger lilies from the garden in a pretty vase to cheer up her desk.
 A big surprise!!
I was so happy that I could bring a huge smile to her face. 
Her smile became even HUGER when she saw Carl who had accompanied me to her office....need I say that lots of hugs and laughter ensued.  Our circle of friends are true kindred spirits and we love each other as family.
Thanks Dawn for  being my friend!!!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Father's Day Luncheon 2016

My old church St. Stephen's is known for hosting a lovely Father's Day Luncheon every year and this year was no exception.
Held at the St. Leonard's Boys' School Hall, we all had a lovely afternoon of great food, entertainment and family fun.
This year the event was a blend of celebrations....first it was the 180th Anniversary of St. Stephen's and also the celebration of our country's 50th year of Independence (1966 - 2016)
The decorations and the music by DJ Earth Sounds all reflected this.

My girlfriend Dawn can be quite naughty sometimes and when my old reverend (Rev. Canon George Harewood) came over to our table to say hello, he knew my face but couldn't quite place it.
"She is one of your old communicants that has run away to another church!!"  my friend Dawn cried out.
I looked at her incredulously...why does she like to put me on the spot like that?
"My daughter and I are attending Christ the King together, she likes it there," I simply said, while giving my girlfriend a healthy slap on her forearm.
"Don't worry Rev you will still be seeing me," I told him.
"Okay then," he said "I hope so" and he hugged me and moved on to the next table.
I gave Dawn a LOOK and then we both laughed.

I must say that the luncheon was a well-planned event (as always) because there are many volunteers and my girlfriend Sonia who insists on inviting myself and Dawn is instrumental in making sure that it is a special day for the dads.
I am forever in awe at how well everything flows and I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into planning such a large event since I enjoy event planning as well.
The luncheon menu started off with a tasty cream of pumpkin and ginger soup that was so good.
My plate...Veggie Rice, Macaroni Cheese Pie, Pineapple Sweet Potato, Potato Salad, Pickled Breadfruit, Coleslaw, Garden Salad, Fresh Seasonal steamed vegs, Baked BBQ Chicken, Fried Fillet of Fish and a couple slices of Baked Ham (for you know who.)
This was accompanied by a lovely glass of white wine.
Dessert came home with me and was enjoyed later with my bedtime drink.

 Joshua Holder serenading the diners with some cool classy music.

 ACE Dance Centre dancers
 A lovely couple danced a Rumba number
 The Graffiti Band with Kareem Agard played a wide selection of music.
Ladies I know you understand the photo above really well.  A new pair of shoes I have never worn but stored away for an occasion such as this.. I got dressed and put them on and sashayed out of the house when my girlfriend picked me up.  You know how the story goes right?  Arrived at the event and started to walk to the school hall and lo and behold I heard a PLOP!! and the next thing I know the bottom heel of the left shoe has fallen off and I am walking on the top half only.  Thank goodness my girlfriend keeps a pair of spare shoes in her car like me and our feet are basically the same size.
Back in the good old days shoes never came apart like this, we could wear shoes forever and ever till we no longer wanted them anymore. These days we have to beg our shoes to give us at least a years worth of wearing. 

Apart from the shoe fiasco, I had a wonderful afternoon...a really wonderful afternoon... I am already looking forward to next year's celebration.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Basil Herbal Tea

Boy oh boy do my true friends know me well.
My girlfriend Eureka sent over some basil flowers last week.  She had shared her basil herbal tea recipe with me before and I had enjoyed it immensely.
 Cinnamon, lemon, lime and Italian basil flower heads

 Boiled up a big pot of water and when it was bubbling hot, I turned the stove off and dumped the flower heads inside to steep.
Left it for the entire day.

 Later (about 8 hours later) I strained off that delicious goodness, added one tablespoon of sugar for good measure and stored it on the fridge.
Good for internal cleansing and as a tonic for the body. 
Served ice cold it was oh sooo GOOD.

Carl is here!!

I know I've been keeping you in suspense about the identity of my house guest.
Well today is the big's my crazy friend Carl!!
He flew in on Tuesday and he will be on the island for a couple of months.
Brownie and I are happy to have him stay here with us.
I finished the new guest room just in time for his arrival.

Remember this bed?
He brought me my favourite snacks...a good friend always knows what makes me happy....he knew this was the best hostess gift ever because he's a snacker like me.

Brownie was not forgotten....oh no way!  Uncle Carl opened up his bag and out popped two new friends.   Yellow Squeaky Fish and Pink Nose Monkey as well as a Vegan Bone chew.
Brownie is enjoying his new bone chew immensely.
It took an entire day for Mr.Brown to warm up to Uncle Carl since he's is so over protective of me, but once he started getting a lot more tit bits and gifts he is becoming the best canine host.
Yesterday I made more mango smoothies for breakfast...they were consumed in the blink of an eye.  My mango pulp is getting low, I've got to put out a S.O.S.
It's so nice to have Carl here...we have been having long chats and lots of loud laughter and some serious discourse as well.
Brownie is super happy for the extra cuddles and the extra snacks and the extra grooming...he really is as happy as a bug in a rug.
As for me I'm super happy too because like me, Carl loves DIY projects and he will be helping me with my major summer chores....yeah!!!
Since Carl has been here, I have not seen Brazen and crew that makes me super duper happy.
Carl I am so glad that you are here...mi casa es su casa for as long as you like.
Thank you for being my friend.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Guh so!!

Yesterday I had to leave home to run a few errands, one of them being the credit card bill which was due on the 14th which caught me by surprise.  It's usually due on the 15th or 16th but not this month.
I'd been so busy recently preparing for my guest arrival that a few things that needed to be taken care of had slipped by.
I wasn't even going to check the statement but some inner voice told me to do so, and when I did, that 14th jumped up from the page and slapped me in my face....good thing I double-checked.
Late payments are $75.00 and I couldn't afford to incur such a high charge, especially when it could be avoided. Believe me sixteen years in the banking industry has taught me well....that's how the banks make money...charges, fees and "monetary misunderstandings" on the customer's part. Heck I wasn't giving them $75.00 unnecessarily.
Thankfully there are two nearby branches where I can transact my banking business in comfort.
 The only problem is is that the parking area is small and lots of folks like myself frequent this branch to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
To this end an additional lot across the street is used for additional parking.
When "we" arrived (yes my house guest accompanied me), both lots were filled and there was another car ahead of me awaiting a space.
The other car found a space quickly while we waited a few more minutes.
Soon after a gentleman comes towards his van, gets in and starts the engine. He has to reverse out of the space even though it is suggested that you park facing out.
Normally if a driver is reversing out from the left one would wait slightly on the left side and await their departure.
Mr. Man reverses out all the way back and then instead of driving off on the right side to leave clearance for me to slip in to the spot, he drives forward on the left side again and shouts through his open window, "GUH SO!!"
I'm in shock...he is giving me the parking spot but instead of making the clearance and leaving so that I can reverse into the spot he is now directing me how I should park in the now vacant spot.
"I leave a good space for you so you can GUH SO!!" he shouted again.
"Thanks!" I shouted back.
My friend and I look at each other and laugh our heads off.
GUH SO can be translated as Go so (Go that way)....a very colourful language we have here on the island...some of it only another Bajan would understand.
So what did I do to avoid confrontation...I went so.
Thanks for the parking spot Mr. Man!!!  It was so kind of you.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Four bags full

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend Cleddy showed up at my kitchen door with four bags full of delicious mangoes from her orchard.

I know where she resides has lots of monkeys and I wondered how she was so lucky to be reaping mangoes from her trees with so many monkeys around.
"How come the monkeys allowing you to get mangoes down by you?" I asked her.
"Vee my dear guess what?  We have put up some old cds and dvds in the trees..the sun shines on the discs as they spin in the wind.....the monkeys don't like the lights flashing in their eyes!!" she cried.
"Really???" I asked.
"Yes girlfriend since we tied those discs in the trees we have been reaping at least 4 bags of mangoes every day for some time now."
I couldn't believe it, could it be that simple or were the monkeys near her house simple minded. I certainly couldn't imagine my Brazen and crew fleeing from a few sparkly lights in the trees.  Knowing my crew they'd probably think it was a new disco opened up and start partying in the garden till dawn. Despite this thought I made up my mind to try out her experiment sometime soon.
In the meanwhile I had a ton of mangoes to deal with.

 Freezer filled with mango pulp
I shared as many as I could with my close friends, and the rest I pulped and stored in the freezer. I also shared a few bags of the pulped mangoes with daughter dear.
For breakfast I have been having mango smoothies.

Using about a half cup of mango pulp, I added a half cup of apple juice with a bit of water and then added a tablespoon of an oat shake smoothie powder....oh my goodness....DEE-LISH-CIOUS!!!!
Of course one may add whatever other fruits like bananas or watermelon or even a few veggies to the mix.

A tasty mango breakfast smoothie
Sitting at my desk as I blog, I am enjoying my healthy delicious mango smoothies....such a simple pleasure makes me happy and starts my day off right.
Anyone care to join me?? 

P.S. Depending on the variety of mango you may need to strain the smoothie since fibrous mango pulp does not blend well (as can be seen from the photo above....I used the strainer after that.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The ride of a lifetime

Image borrowed from
I know that title made you wonder if I was having fun at a theme park somewhere on a roller coaster ride didn't it?  Some of my "other" rude friends are probably thinking something different.
I will explain.
Yesterday I decided to leave Beast at home and take the minivan into the city.....I do that sometimes.
Usually it's the minivans that everyone complains about...the wreckless driving, the loud music etc, but today my story is not about a minivan ride (although the drivers in my area are very careful drivers)....I repeat my story of horror is not about the minivan drivers, but about the government bus ride back home with a crazy driver.

The big blue bus with the yellow stripe is the government run and operated bus....the preferred mode of transport for the older folks who like to be driven safely and sedately as if going for a Sunday afternoon drive.
Pensioners are allowed to ride free by showing their ID cards and they sit in a seat of their liking where they can ring the bell when it's their turn to disembark.
The bus that runs by my street is a Cave Hill bus.  It leaves the terminal at a quarter to the hour.  Usual travel time is about twenty minutes to half an hour give or take depending on the traffic.
I decided today that I would take that bus home instead of the minivan.
Well who tell me do dat?
First off the driver approached the bus stop so fast that folks who were waiting thought he wasn't going to stop.
He seemed to be in a real hurry...not sure why.
I clambered aboard with my packages and found a seat quickly....others not so quickly...his foot on the gas pedal indicating his eagerness to be off so we should all hurry up and find a seat.
Patience is a virtue they say but not today.
We pulled off and merged into the city traffic and then I felt like I was lost in a twilight zone.
The driver was driving fast like he was at Bushy Park, our local race circuit.  He drove like a maniac.  Was I really in a government bus?  Did I just pay Bds$2.00 to be tossed and tumbled like if I were in a washing machine? The older folk were holding on for dear life, some ladies clutching at their hats and their packages and trying to keep their butts in position on their seats.
Normally passengers in the bus would be waving to friends as they pass on the way but not today...oh no...not today....their hands were playing a more important part...a life survival part....clutching the hand grips so hard on the seats in front of them till their knuckles showed white.
Things were going by in a blur and I doubt they could even make out anyone's faces at the speed we were traveling even if they tried.
When we came to White Park Road near the Court Complex (I have a pending blog post on this), a guy ran up to the bus as it slowed down (because of traffic) and hopped through the door.
"Man I want a ride to Bank Hall, I just get outta prison and I doan have nuh money" he said to the driver.
Everyone in the bus was stunned.
"I ain't passing Bank Hall" the driver said.
"A ride nuh man!!" said the guy.
"NOT passing Bank Hall!" replied the driver.
With that the guy stepped off the bus and the driver "tek off" down de road.
Some of us in the bus smiled (like me) laughed (like me) and discussed the weird behaviour of the young man with their seat mates.
"Dese young people is someting else nuh???" they quipped.
With a jerk back of our heads in unison, the bus was put into gear and we were off again.
I had four packages, but at one point I could only account for three...the other had been flung on to the ground.
Going around the bends and corners was like an obstacle course for the slowing down.
Like a bat outta hell he drove us his passengers to our destinations.
I disembarked at my stop with a sigh of relief, straightened my clothes, grabbed my packages, said "Thank You" and he was off again in a second.  I was left standing there in a cloud of exhaust fumes.  I was back from the Twilight Zone.
Boy was I glad to be back home safe and sound.
I was so taken aback at his driving that I forgot to take the bus number or his badge number.
Stunned beyond belief.
Like I said it was the ride of a lifetime....not one I am likely to forget.

Friday, 10 June 2016

For the record

I am celebrating for a week.  My birthday rolled around on Tuesday and even though I'm smack dab in the middle of my summer chores, the importance of this special day obviously took precedence.
On Sunday at church I was wished a Happy Birthday by the entire congregation thanks to daughter dear who advised the electronic ministry officer to include me in the greetings, so I couldn't hide.  It appeared in the Bulletin and on the TV screen display in the church during the Notices.
I made my trek to the altar during the Blessing and Recommitment hymn for a special blessing.
After the service so many members came up to me and hugged me and wished me a Happy Birthday.
Desserts were available for sale (The Fish Fry was the evening before) so daughter dear bought me a lovely big slice of cake laden with chocolate and caramel frosting...yummy.
After lunch we watched a movie and chatted for a while.  I enjoy our chats ...I am happy that she is old enough that we can really converse on various issues that affect us.
On Monday my girlfriend gifted me with a "new" monitor for my pc.  It was one she no longer needed and the screen was much bigger than mine so she did the right thing. Along with the monitor she also gifted me with a lovely bottle of  Obikwa Natural Sweet Red Wine from South Africa.
Tuesday my birthday dawned with a hint of rain but it never fell.  My daughter and I set off for lunch which was good, followed by the most delicious cupcakes.  I had a Bailey's cupcake while she had a Red Velvet cupcake.  Sorry I have no photos.  Take my word for it the food and the cupcakes were delish.
We ate lunch at home this year. 

Brownie sitting patiently waiting on a morsel from daughter dear.
Birthday cards arrived along with numerous phone calls and Facebook and Whatsapp messages and calls.  Wow I felt like a celebrity.
 The guys treated me well with birthday funds and hugs and sweets.
Wednesday and Thursday I had to do some kind of work around the house.....not too much but just enough, after all I didn't want to get lazy.  I am working on my daughter's old room turning it into a spa-like guest room retreat....yes I have a guest coming by soon.
Today is Friday and I'm off and running again.
This month is filled with lots of birthdays...eleven in all so I am also sending birthday greetings to my friends.
I thank God for blessing me with another year of life...I am so very very thankful.

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