Cocktails, sunsets, plumbing, painting and the post office


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Central America Caribbean » Dominica » Toucarie
January 31st 2009
Published: February 2nd 2009
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Prince Rupert BayPrince Rupert BayPrince Rupert Bay

Visiting yachts at anchor as seen from Purple Turtle beach
The work on the house continues. It is time to decide what will not be done so we can finish and enjoy Carnival before we leave. Kurt and Casso come every weekend to make sawdust, lots of sawdust. They have cased in the shutters beautifully, cut pine for all the detailing we want and routed all the picture rail. Son comes 2 or 3 days a week, he has built more steps through the garden, cut more trees, planted a hibiscus hedge along the side of the path and much more. Andrew has continued with the electrics, connected up the washing machine (with the help of Sparrow a local plumber), built a cupboard in our bedroom and is now heavily into finishing the bathroom. Kate has painted and varnished the weeks away and is going stir crazy. So far, 28 gallons of paint.

We were surprised to find we have our own local post office in the next village. We visited it regularly with pre-Christmas anticipation all through December but had no luck. In mid-January we finally received our first piece of mail to prove the system works - a Christmas card. On 20 January the news was good, we
Chainsaw-cut furnitureChainsaw-cut furnitureChainsaw-cut furniture

Francis the chainsaw man slicing up a tree into planks. He felled the tree in our garden a couple of weeks ago. Andy is going to make a table from the planks and the legs Francis cut from another log.
have a parcel - but getting it wasn’t going to be easy…
…Kate was handed a pink slip, this has to be taken to Portsmouth post office - OK
…She went straight there but it was closed - Damn
…She went next day and was told parcels are 2 to 3 pm - You’ve got to be kidding!
…She went the following day and was met by a customs officer who proceeded to open the parcel in front of her. Christmas presents - No - Stop - Kate covered her eyes and refused to look at the contents. Customs assessed the contraband and charged $5 duty (£1.50).
…Kate brought the parcel home, we opened a bottle and had a lovely Christmas moment (thank you Richard and Jill).
…Epilogue: Yesterday, Friday, we found out we have another parcel. Kate dashed to Portsmouth - she arrived with 5 minutes to spare but the customs officer had left. Drat! Now we’ll have to wait until Monday.

So, Christmas 2008 was in 4 phases - Christmas day, the late January R&J parcel opening mini-christmas, tonight our turkey dinner with stuffing and roasties followed by Christmas pudding and traditional rum sauce (why not?), and
Look what Son found in the gardenLook what Son found in the gardenLook what Son found in the garden

This black crab has a soft shell and is going home to the cooking pot
finally on 2nd February, we will hopefully have our Mum/Jill parcel opening mini-christmas.

Next-door lives the Douglas family. Their land is a couple of minutes walk away. They have 3 houses containing Son, his wife Margaret, 3 sons with wives, a daughter and 8 grandchildren. This week Vernice, the daughter, had her 5th child. (Just a month ago her eldest daughter had her first child.) Two days after having her 9 lb baby by caesarean section, mother and baby came home. The next day, 3 days after the operation, Vernice had to go in to Portsmouth hospital to have the boy’s little navel dressing changed. So she walked the quarter mile down the steep road to the village for the bus. An hour later Son called in to ask if we could give her a lift to the hospital as no bus had turned up. Kate took her straight away. They are tough people here, not expecting a great deal and grateful for what they get.

Son continues to tell his captivating, animated stories - true, untrue or exaggerated, it just doesn’t matter - we love it. Also, we have started to appreciate that the Douglas family have
Building the cupboard in our bedroomBuilding the cupboard in our bedroomBuilding the cupboard in our bedroom

Andy makes these things strong
become quite affectionate about their new neighbours. They say they will miss us and there may even be tears when we go.

As planned, Arvid and Georgia returned, this time onboard Ciello, a 65 foot yacht which they work on. We met them and the rest of the crew for lunch at Big Papa’s and then went up Indian River in the afternoon. With 8 of us and some Dutch interlopers the rowing boat was a bit low in the water and we grounded a few times, the yachties were funny just leaping into the river to push us off. We all went back onboard for a drink and dinner. There must be 40 or so yachts anchored off Portsmouth most days now, so it was lovely to go out on the water and be on the deck of a boat again.

One of our 2 tangerines is now ready to be picked. We have had lots cucumber from those that Son planted and one tomato. One of the banana trees has a flower which is just starting to curl open into little hands of bananas. We have recently planted paw paw (papaya) and avocado but having real trouble getting hold of any citrus trees. Son is on the hunt and says he can get us some orange and grapefruit.



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The Ciello crewThe Ciello crew
The Ciello crew

Josh, Izzy, Georgia and Arvid with Andy. It was Arvid's birthday so he has an excuse
Zandoli (tree lizard)Zandoli (tree lizard)
Zandoli (tree lizard)

This little fella is christened Michael (Jackson). He must have walked along a garden wall after Kate had painted it and now he has little white gloves on!
Kate paints the bedroomKate paints the bedroom
Kate paints the bedroom

This was around the 24 gallon point
CocoaCocoa
Cocoa

Son nipped into the ravine and brought back these. So watch this space for the splitting, fermenting, drying, roasting...


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