Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Indian River tour





Fab. This is the shot where Johnny Depp went to see the Sorcerer at night (but it was really filmed in the day). Anyway, this is what her house looked like and this is what it is like now. Disney built the house around the trees. Now, I really must watch these movies so I know vaguely what I'm talking about...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Scarlett


Sometimes, you just need your own time out...

Christmas Eve


So, we park our car in Pointe Baptiste village and walk down a dirt track for 10 minutes or so until we reach the beach. It's breathtaking, white sand but fairly impressive waves ensure we don't walk too close to the shoreline. You can see the end of the beach to the left and right. The kids run off to the left so we follow behind. Now, I'm lazy on these beaches, I sort of drift up and down the middle and can never be quite bothered to go to the very end, however, Scarlett was determinedly striding on so I had to follow. On reaching the end I spotted two very smart teak chairs nestled amongst the palm trees. I looked around and saw no-one except two children playing. I got a bit nervous imagining all sorts of horrors having happened to their parents (well, you always read these family at beach go missing headline tragedies on Christmas Eve don't you?). So, I asked them 'were they looking forward to tomorrow and what did they want from Santa Claus?'....child one then reeled off a whole list of things all beginning with two letters and ending in several numbers, none of which I'd heard of but nodded with a fixed smile on my face whilst ascertaining she's definitely not local, child two then said she wanted a Rubix cube, I warmed to her immediately. At that point a lady in white linen floaty trousers, silk top and lots of gold appeared from no-where, with a crystal glass in her hand and smiled warmly. Phew, she must be somone's mother I thought and realised I could now abandon them without feeling guilty. Upon turning around I heard more clinking of glass and spotted some lights twinkling through the palm trees. Andy then told me to go and look. Why me? Why do I have to be the great adventurer - I like to be the one following. Anyway,I did what I usually do and found a child (yes, one of mine) and pushed them forwards into the undergrowth, so I could look like I was following them. Well, 10 steps in and I see a scene straight out of Fantasy Island - 5* beach bar, lovely solid tables, comfortable seats and all set upon perfect sand. I then realise I am amongst the beautiful people too and whilst I am looking suitably windswept and mother of three-ish, with bulging pockets of just-in-case items, they are all looking like Ralph Lauren beach photoshoot models. I get close to the bar and my heart starts thumping, it's someone's house, I'm going to get evicted swiftly. As I turn to leave, a lady appears before me, with the largest smile accompanied by 'welcome to my bar, have a glass of ice cold Chardonnay'. I was speechless. I'd got in and hadn't even had to utter a secret password to cross the threshold. What was this amazing place, welcoming host and would the Odd Job character suddenly appear and say 'Mrs Sawers, your fantasy has begun'. I found myself a seat, sat down, relaxed and thought about all my friends and family that I'd like to join me at this very minute. Dominica - Defy the Everyday - you bet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays




Happy Christmas to you and yours!
We're off to stay in Calibishie Lodges now and we've rented our Villa out.
The Lodges are run by a Belgian couple....so, it will be home from home...I guess.

Friday, December 12, 2008

'Tis the season to be merry


We had our first 'crop' of bananas yesterday which is great but note, crop, quite a few ripen at the same time, err, obvious really. So, last night after force feeding the children as many as possible accompanied by 'isn't this fantastic, our own bananas off our own tree, aren't they even sweeter' in a Mary Poppins type voice (I need more adult company clearly), I acknowledged that we need to distribute their useage more. Chloe suggests banana cake in a resigned voice (think she still wistfully recalls the days of going round the supermarket and buying what she refers to as 'real' cakes, you know those pink Disney Princess packaged ones with over 100+ bizarre ingredients in in v.tiny writing that you can't read. (With the calorie content displayed in large letters too as if kids care?). Saying that, there is still a packet lurking in the bottom of our fridge our friend brought out, that no-one's touched so maybe they have moved on....

Anyway, I then did a Google on banana recipes and something caught my eye - Banana Daiquris - bingo - banana, fresh lime juice, ice, shot of rum, teaspoon of sugar, throw it in the liquidiser and there you go. The whole process caught the kids' interest too (noisy ice crushing sounds fun) so we used up a few more bananas making more, yeah yeah, minus the rum. The childrens' Christmas school fair is tomorrow, think I should set up a little stand selling cocktails. Would just need to add a touch of tinsel to the straw....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes, we're getting there....


Moving somewhere new is a learning curve in all sorts of ways from learning the language (yes, there's someone at work and I don't have a clue what they're talking about on a daily basis so I just nod and smile a lot like an interviewer on TV) to learning how to drive all over again - well I will drive sooooon. In addition, the art of improvisation (the swimming pool) and trying again is almost a daily occurence. For us, coming from a throwaway society, this has been a whole new ball game. Foremost being, we throw away practically no food at all. This week, our coffee machine decided it didn't like grinding much anymore so now I still use fresh local coffee beans, grind a load in the liquidizer and now still use the coffee machine on a daily basis (Starbucks eat your heart out) and use the fresh powder instead of beans. (There were a lot of 'fresh's' in that weren't there - well everything is here ok!) That would have thrown me 6 months ago but now I'm much more matter of fact about things I can't change. That's not to say I still get frustrated but I put everything into perspective much quicker and realise it's not the end of the world. I'll aways be a worrier and about things I can't change but give me a hammock and I'm horiontal in a jiffy or two.....

ps Bless his octton sox, he tried again this morning and they're fab!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yum yum, lovely love




Busy busy busy lately. Time flies - can't believe it's nearly Christmas - got the decorations out over the weekend - the kids will get really excited when we unpack them - however, their biggest concern is Santa Clause finding them as we'll be travelling around, aka gypsies really, for 10 days

Found new hot pools recently and finally had a bath. Our builder was horrified when we rejected all the baths in the house in favour of showers only and he insisted on leaving plumbing - sticking out naturally.

Also, Andy attempted bagels with the kids - trying to compete with my magnificent baps (ok ok) no doubt.... Anyway, it all went swimmingly until a 7hr power cut ensured that they rose like the Eiffel Tower then proceeded to deflate over the hours finally resembling flattened dehydrated doughnuts. Andy was determined to cook them so we (me), every morning, are crunching into these bagels resembling those toy turds you see in joke shops. They taste ok mind, well not NY cinnamon & raisin bagels but if you don't succeed first time, try............well, I sincerely hope not...

Work started on the pool today - I didn't see any difference myself but nodded enthusiastically upon my return from work.....you gotta stay positive....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cheese & Wine



Routine - it's completely changed now - it's strange how quickly you can adapt and I was thinking today that there is nothing the same about life here now as to life before in Europe. Today is the first time ever I have been at home alone so I'm thinking I should do a little recap of the last few weeks.

1. The second drive from the bottom of the plot. Well, our original builder had dug it one day without actually telling us he was doing it but convinced us we needed a drive up from the bottom to the top of our plot. We then ordered tarish (sand & stone) which was meant to be dumped along the length of the drive but it was just dumped at the bottom. Then we had to find a company with a small digger to distribute it along the drive. They came and said it was impossible and it needed to be reshaped and more tarish. At more cost, (yeah, I know they can see us coming), they reshaped and brought more tarish and laid the tarish along the length of the drive. We then decided to try and drive up it in our car - halfway up we skidded back down along the edge of the mountain - a little bit dicey. The only way this drive will work is full concrete - expensive and there's too much concrete already. The next day we had torrential rain and half the tarish was washed away giving true meaning to 'money down the drain'. During this whole process several people told us 'we thought it would never work', as they do. Plan B is to remove the tarish at the top and replace it at the entrance of the drive (to make parking for 3 cars) and then build natural (whatever that means...) steps up. The death defying corner bit will now be turned into the vegetable plot. Let's hope the carrots grow straight.

2. The pool - work is due to start on the decking and plumbing on 1st December - hopefully 2008. The local plumber will now fit the inonisation system and Toolman Tim (previous pool builder he says) will complete the pool part. Hopefully these 3 musketeers will sort it out.

The week ended on a high note. We were invited to Dominica's Beaujolais Nouveau 2008 arrival at the Papillote Wilderness Retreat. Andy said I should really drink it being the point of the evening but luckily ice cold white was on hand too. The food was fantastic - really great - wish the plates had been bigger. Cheese too - wow, real cheese so there you go, you can get everything in Dominica - you just need a little bit of faith and patience.........should be this blog's title.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Really? Yes, wheelie....


Fond Cole Sanitary Landfill Site Office

ME: I was told I might be able to buy a wheelie bin here?

OFFICE: Wheelie bin?

ME: Yeah...

OFFICE: Err, not sure if we have the wheels.

ME: Ok, can I just buy a bin then, for rubbish?

OFFICE: For trash?

ME: Yes please, a wheelie bin?

OFFICE: It's not a wheelie bin if we don't have wheels. Elivs, we got any wheels left?

ME: Ok, no worries, plse can I just buy a bin then?

OFFICE: You want a bin?

ME: Yeah, a wheelie bin.

OFFICE: A bin, no wheels left. Elivs, we got any wheels?
Elvis: Maybe, round the back...

ME: Ok, great, I'll just have those.

OFFICE: Do you want this one? (Semi used one outside office)

ME: Do you possibly have a new one? (Pedantic, I know, but starting off with a clean one wld be nice)

OFFICE: They're expensive.

ME: How much?

OFFICE: Expensive.

ME: Well, how much are wheelie bins then?

OFFICE: I'll see if I can get you some wheels for it - so, 300 dollars.

ME: Wow, that's a lot, I would really like a new one then, with wheels plse.

OFFICE: You want wheels? A wheelie bin then?
Ok, there's a new one round the back, you can just take that.

ME: Great thanks. (Pay cheque)

OFFICE: By the way Mam, we call them "poo bells"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What no suit & tie?

Perception - funny old thing. People like you to fit in a mould and if you don't they often either ridicule or speculate.

One of our passions is property and the excitement and anticipation on the possible return on an investment. A lot of time was spent discussing the pros and cons of building Sisserou Lodge as an investment as opposed to investing the money elsewhere.

Since its completion, Andy has spent a lot of time on the marketing of it. Adverts were placed - that's relatively easy; the time consuming hard work is the visits to local hotels (for referrals), tour operators, restaurant owners, the tourist board etc etc. This is then followed up with phone calls, emails etc. It's a continual and ongoing process.

Anyway, it has taken time and a lot of effort but Andy has pulled it off and from Saturday we have a 12 week booking in the Guest House which immediately represents a 10% return on our investment.

Go on, think out of the box for a change....

Off the Beaten Trail with Woody Lawrence







An amazing and unforgettable day's touring on the East coast.
Will I ever find all those breathtaking beaches again?
I do hope so.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lie back and enjoy the ride



So, I have a week's holiday. Yipee. Am so excited. Well 3 nights of no sleep as the International (how posh we are) Creole Festival is on and as I've been boasting we do get a bird's eye view. We also get an amplified sound up here too coupled with fireworks at the end of each night - 5am or so.

Anyway, tomorrow I am going on an organised tourist type tour - in a real car - I hope - to the other side of the island - read that as practically going to Cornwall from London. A big trip. In fact, a packing list is definitely required with must have tourist items to ensure I fit in.

Did I mention I'm doing this trip solo as my husband is on a jolly to Antigua to watch some ball game where the winners get a US$1M bucks. Why don't the winners just share? Beats me. Anyway, I will post some pics of the unexplored island after my big adventure. Rum punch is provided too so better snap away early on. In the meantime, here's me by the river just before Ollie decided to drown himself. Yeah, he's still with us. He went white water rafting solo I guess you could say as Andy valiantly scrambled after him, broke his toe and cracked his shin. Ollie meanwhle resurfaced half way down the river asking if he could do it again. He loves it here he really does.

ps Scarf is due to urgent hi-lite requirement and not some new fashion statement...

Slowly slowly catchy pooly, possibly...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creole in the park week




C&W corporate hospitality tent.
Great weather, music and friends visiting.
What more could you ask for?


ps don't mention the pool mind... video

Sunday, October 19, 2008

48 hours



So, less than 48 hours to go before we have to finish the pool.

It can't rain today.

It just has but what a magnificent rainbow in return.

Well, enjoy your day of rest wherever you are...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hurricane Omar


So, my friend Celia took these of our hurricane today:-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tropicallytied

She is 97 years old and takes all these amazing pictures with her Brownie camera. Ok, she doesn't really and she's only 21. Blah blah blah.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All aboard


My little boy has turned into a little Caribbean man....he comes home and gets changed as if he's about to board his little yacht. Andy says he'll go far....to the next island I'd say....

Slow progress....


So, pool man (and girlfriend) from the UK got a bit tense today due to the lack of progress from the buiilders, in his opinion. Builders are saying relax - he is saying I've been here 5 days and done nothing....Wish he'd start actually doing some preparation so there are no hidden surprises at the end....Anyway, can see both sides of the argument. I didn't feel too concerned, you got to have faith in the Caribbean, until the builder's parting shot tonight was - I'll leave the sand on Wednesday afternoon so you can all start transferring it down for laying the base on Thursday. 'All' - does that include me - 9 hours at work followed by shovelling - this isn't what paradise is meant to be......hope someone shows that they know what they're doing sooner rather than later.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stop talking, do it


I can't believe yesterday was my daughter's 7th birthday. I recall to the minute her birth, really, and now it's hard to believe it was 7 years ago. At the moment we are so busy (I say 'we' loosely), Andy and the gardener(s) are so busy planting citrus trees, coconut trees and pineapple plants or is it pineapple trees - must really make an effort to sound like I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I sort of doze off as I'm being told this at the end of a long day and think I won't be picking those for years, thank heavens for the weekly market but the pineapples are already shooting up so it won't be that long. Also we have a second entrance to the bottom of our plot and we are considering planting coconuts along the route of it (some grand entrance hey) but last night a friend told us they'd block our view eventually. I glazed over again thinking that's years away but today as I lay in the hot pools looking up at the sky, watching the rain drops literally shoot down towards me through the leafy green foliage (it felt like those movies where you have to wear special 3D glasses), I thought that it won't be that long before our garden is completed and this is our very own house now, it really really is.

Secondly, our pool man Andy from the UK and his girlfriend are here for two weeks to complete the construction of our pool. The pool was so key to me for our move - I love swimming - and whilst it will be fantastic I can't quite believe and get excited that it will be completed soon too as that seems to have taken forever to 'grow' as well.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, time really does go by fast and I'm not saying you have to do what we did but if there's something you keep putting off thinking it'll take forever then think again, with the right frame of mind, anything is possible.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Here's looking at you


So, you're probably bored of me talking about my great views into the National Stadium and beyond

So, here's the view back up to Sisserou Villa and Sisserou Lodge and the now brown soon to be green area below us.

Thanks Tropically Tied.
www.caribbeanhotproperty.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

From here to infinity




So, the site is being prepared for the pool and the race is on to get it finished (retaining wall and concrete base) before the guy who's building it arrives from England on the 8th October....ummm. We can't control the rain or the builder for that matter so here's hoping.... Squeezing it all into this location will definitely make it an infinity pool a.k.a. kids fall off the edge of a mountain pool.

Ok, I made bread again today as Celia ridiculed my flatness. So, here's a full on padded version. Ner ner ner ner herrrrr...

The bedroom curtains are all being completed today downstairs. It's such a fantastic view from our bedroom that it's a shame to put anything up - even at 6am it still manages to lift me as I stumble out of bed.

Last but not least the gardener is here raking the land and planting grass seed and also planting all the citrus trees. Three years to wait until they bear fruit mind you unless we feed them, Desmond (the gardener said) - feed them, I nodded wisely thinking of the Little Shop of Horrors....never a dull moment in the Caribbean...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sisserou Lodge




A+






Another busy week:-

Chloe got two awards at school on Friday for being top swot. Makes you think because the Caribbean is a nation of encouraging the 3 R's the minute you leave the womb. Chloe has been schooled in Dutch and only started at 6 (a year ago) which proves the point that we all get there in the end and the ultimate benefits of play in the interim.

I came over all Delia/Martha this weekend and made bread. You can't beat the aroma and the taste of hot buttered bread fresh from the oven is a Mastercard moment. However, will I make more, I don't know, takes forever and a large loaf is only 5 EC$ afterall.

Last but not least, our awnings are up and don't we look all Homes & Gardens or possibly a Brighton beachside cafe.....