Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Oh Trinidad

I have been in Trinidad for the last 10 days. I try not to read the newspapers and so my equilibrium remains, leaving my senses uncluttered by fret, free to take in the beauty of the country.

My goodness, the place is beautiful. Like the rest of the Caribbean, December-January brings  an atmosphere that is magical and sparkling. The air is crystalline, a backdrop for the greens to pop- from luminous chartreuse glinting in the sunshine, to emerald to mossy  viridians.  On the way to Blanchisseuse, the greens are overlaid with the yellow-oranges of wild heliconias, the reds of gingers and the profusion of colour offered by crotons, that most under-appreciated of shrubbery. And returning to Port of Spain in the twilight over the hills, the place cool, the vistas serene, composed, every eye full a postcard.IMG_0116



Yesterday I went for a drive with Ian down Chaguaramus. Always a  visual delight, the peninsula was pristine and quiet (at least once past the feters).  Lush bamboos and giant heliconia foliage. How’s this picture for perfection?



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Morning Monkey Migrations

Barbados is full of green monkeys. So unexpected, but there it is. And now that we are cross-species protective, and monkeys are not on contraception, many, multiplying monkeys.

Every morning, between 6.30 and 6.45, a troop of about 15 passes through taking the same route – up the perimeter wall, across the trees and outside the gate. They seem to be coming from home base and going off to work and school. The young ones play, fight, and frolic just like children. The parents bring up the rear. And they are all alert to the threat of humans.

Here are some pictures from this morning’s migration.


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Wind, trees and leaves

Tropical storm Tomas has passed Barbados.  Lots of wind, some rain. In Barbados all night long, CBC  (hail to tax payer radio staying on the air, Pearson and Admiral Nelson) took reports of people’s experiences and it seems that enough roofs were torn away.

We were going fine until this morning when with a great gun cracking crescendo, half a  mahogany tree  split and fell just in that space between the verandah and the fence. Praises.

So close..

And there is leaf,  twig and branch debris.  But that’s it for the neighbourhood.

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Hurricane Tomas

Barbados is now under a hurricane watch. And according to the Met Office the eye is something like 100 miles south east of the island. So far, we have had some intermittant showers and occasional gusts. But we are preparing, collecting water, finding the matches, candles  and the like.

Let’s see. And hope that we all weather this storm intact.

Thinking of those in less secure houses and the call for people to go to shelters if they think that this would be the safest course of action.

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Shells Part 2

So in case, you thought I was exaggerating, a few pictures of proof, from the cell camera. The beach is littered with shells. I am told that this is usual for Anguillan beaches though the storm of three weeks ago threw up an extraordinary amount on to shore.

I am not a shell collector though there is no denying shell appeal, the mystery of the under-the-sea life.  Yet I found myself picking up shells. So Denise, find a jar.

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Getting the Garden Going

Finally, with some SOS support from landscaper, general Mr. Fix-It, fab, brother-in-law, Gregory, we started the garden this week.

It was intense work, not least because of the African snails everywhere. Take that globalisation.

There is a lot of technicality to starting a garden from scratch. Never having had to do that, I was a bit stymied about where to start. In Trinidad, the Cascade  garden was more or less structured when we got the house, beds in, though everything else in disarray. And in any event, with  at least two feet of topsoil and rain all the time, just sticking a stalk or piece of stem in was more than enough to set one on the right growing direction.

Here in Barbados, the top soil touches the bedrock of coral about 6 inches down. How do these mahogany trees grow to such girth and magnificence in the shallow loams. A metaphor for Barbados, struggling and moving forward incrementally on so little.

We will see. We now have a profusion of real ‘garden variety’ plants. No exotics. And lots of open space just for grass. I’ll keep you posted as we battle with the snails,  now ripping through the acalyphurs.  Like the evil people, while you sleeping, these snails are at work. And as I found out, there is no single sexing going on in the African snail world. Each snail has the reproductive organs of male and female. When they mate, both snails hatch thousands, thousands of eggs. To make one sick.

Here we are in the garden, planting a bed under Gregory’s guidance.

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Something Seen

Here is an excellent video- The Story of Stuff. Great for young people but sobering for all.


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