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Published: November 26th 2008
We arrived from St Lucia by ferry at 10 p.m. and our hire car was nowhere to be seen. An hour and a half (and an expensive taxi ride) later we were at the house with no water and no electricity. It was Sunday night and the next 2 days were public holidays - 30th anniversary of independence - so no hope of going anywhere or getting anything done.
Despite this, we walked the few miles into Portsmouth, got some shopping and survived on bread and jam. In the first week we got water and electricity, the second week a fridge, cooking gas, a hire car and a mobile phone and the third week broadband. Meanwhile we met the locals, explored our new world and started work renovating “Mango Lodge”.
Cecil “Son” Douglas is our next-door neighbour (not that we can see his house) and our help and friend in everything. He tends the garden and advises us on plants and trees, he entertains us with his stories, keeps a security conscious eye on the house and he puts us straight as to Island life. At 64 he works like a 20 year-old. So with his help we have
Toucarie bay from the road
Mango Lodge is on the right of the picture. The white dot above the house is a car - this shows the distance to walk from the road to the house
chopped and topped trees, made new steps on our path through the garden, planted fruit trees, pineapples and coffee.
In the house, over 3 weeks, we have managed to clean the place and remove the previous owner’s crap, repair 2 breaks in our water supply, fix the shower so we actually get a cold dribble now (Kate can't wait for a warm shower), fix the kitchen tap and the toilet water inlet, paint most of the ceiling, paint lots of walls and lift the hideous plywood floor. Kurt (Son’s son) is a joiner and is manufacturing 14 new pairs of shutters for the widows plus 2 pairs of bi-fold doors and a door. We’ll be varnishing these soon.
Right now we are deep in renovation mode with all our furniture out on the deck to allow Francis to screed and tile the floor inside. By the end of week 4 we should be back inside in glorious luxury.
Fun has also been had. We’ve been watching hummingbirds in the garden and eating coconuts from our own trees. We have huge quantities of limes which go into regular cocktails. We have been baking our own bread and yesterday
Kate made 1½lb of guacamole from one avocado - they’re big here. We have snorkelled in our bay amongst corals and tropical fish, and even saw a turtle last week.
So, a lot can be done in 3 weeks in Dominica!
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