Saturday, May 31, 2008

Telegraph article today


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/centralamericaandcaribbean/dominica/


A interesting article in today's Telegraph by Gavin Bell entitled:-

Dominica: The Caribbean's Lost World

Friday, May 30, 2008

Job Interview


I have a telephone interview next Tuesday for a job in Dominica.
I'm nervous - it's bad enough having a face to face but long distance on the phone with time delays and lots of 'pardons' will be a challenge. So, that's 4 sleepless nights from now until then....

Solar/Life Insurance/Monty


Well, I received 3 solar lamps - 2 for the garden and 1 hurricane lamp, from China this week even though I didn't pay for them. They felt sorry for my bank fiasco on the transfers. They are great - in the garden and lighting up every night. This photo looks like daytime when in fact I took it at night so you can see how bright they are - sometimes my camera is just too efficient for me. Anyway, I now have to decide whether to buy more. By the way, you may think our grass needs cutting but I actually had to find a spot where Ollie couldn't find them and carefully destroy the solar panel tops - they are very attractive.........

Life Insurance - got it here in Belgium this week as trying to obtain it long distance was not the quick process we thought (even if we had signed it all). It should be finalised on Monday when we have to sign yet another form for the NBD and that's the last, inshallah, piece of the loan jigsaw.

I got the latest pictures from Montenegro and the landscaping is looking great and the site cleaned up. However, the municipality having nearly finished the road outside have just dug it all up again, to relay new water pipes. Our next guests arrive on the 7th June, the clock's ticking....

Swimming Pool Filtration

Found the filtration system we want - Ionclean by Parkinson using an Amp Dolphin Ioniser negating the need for large amounts of chlorine. This will be combined with a solar heating system and solar powered pump. This system can be designed in England by a company called Fieldway. Avoiding chlorine is our top priority - it is a toxic gas and was used by the Germans in the 1st World War. It makes your eyes sting, if you breathe in too much your lungs suffer. It corrodes metals and rots clothing. The greatest concentration of the gas in a pool is on the surface of the water which is where you breathe if you are swimming. Imagine a professional training 5 hours a day - you won't be surprised to learn that the Americans have used Ag/Cu ionisation in their training pools for years. Children with any tendency to ashthma should keep clear of chorinated pools. Some American research has shown that cancer of the bowel can be attributed to chlorine. In the West most people drink it in their water intake. This is at too low a level to do you any harm but it tastes horrid, hence bottled water and the use of carbon water filters.

In a hot climate the chlorine in a pool soon diminishes due to 'out-gassing' so you need to measure it constantly and top it up. Sometimes the chlorine is made by using a salt generator. The name is misleading. They use salt (sodium chloride) to generate Chlorine.

The best alternative, without spending a fortune is silver/copper ionisation. Positively charged ions of silver disable the deleterious bacteria (negatively charged) while the copper causes the algae to flocculate into bunches which get removed by a sand filter through which they would normally pass unscathed.

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Champagne's on ice

At the 11th hour, bank cheques waiting for dispatch, the life insurance document had one signature missing. The one that said 'owner', I presumed that meant the company. It didn't. The bank won't release the funds until it is signed and a scanned copy won't do. Fedex are sending it back this time. Another delay and more than annoying for our builder, us and everyone involved.
Then at 8pm, our first guests in Montenegro rang and said they were moving out as they couldn't use their pushchair up to the apartment as the temporary road is gravel and not concrete. They want a complete refund. Also, there was drilling next door and the building ban doesn't come into force in Montenegro until 1st June so builders work around the clock in the last few weeks before the summer curfew. What do do, they were the ones that asked to bring their dates forward a week.
It wasn't a great Friday night all round.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jock's photo!


Dox arrived in DOM. Money's in the bank Frank. All systems are go. Our builder, Oliver, is very happy and so are we. Andy says we can open the $100 bottle of champagne tonight and even drink it. Wow! Then it's Cava from then on I guess. Desmond the gardener can start landscaping too. I sent him some exotic Latin names from my 'How to Garden in the Caribbean' book. He thinks I'm bonkers and sent me a plan of what he is going to do with all English names on. At least I showed an interest. Yesterday I bought 2 water barrels - they come with little taps on and everything (!). Then came my fatal error. I explained to Ollie how they worked. In an island where it rains most days I'm not sure our water barrels will be topped up for long.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Splish splash


The landscaping at the apartment in Montenegro is all finished and the pool is being filled as we speak. Can put this one to bed for now too, phew.

Friends and family rates of course:-

www.holidayrentals.co.uk - Property Reference 77447


Now we are working on how to build ours in Dominica incorporating solar power and an eco but reliable sand filtration system. At least we've found an expert to help us and can nod wisely at his suggestions....we are also learning about wind turbine power too. Who'd have thought it eh....will be wearing crocs next...

Closure and advertising


Well we did complete something this week. The Spiderman globe puzzle. Scarlett found the missing No.1 piece, well she did hide it, so here you go.

I have been working on advertising Sisserou Villa and Sisserou Lodge and one of my options will be to use www.natureisland.com. It's steep, they take, 20% of the accommodation cost but their site is extensive and fairly well advertised. Now I just have to provide them with pictures and a description. No problem then....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Track & Trace

So, DHL, "we keep your promises' shipment (with our v.important loan acceptance dox in it) has been routed BRU/LON/BGI/MIQ/POS/GEO so far - confused, you will be ..... It's probably thinking 'Are We There yet?' too. And that's why 9/10 people prefer FEDEX to the Caribbean. Now, if we'd just put a stamp on it and popped it into the mailbox.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for our manipulated to regulation Home Office size photos from the photo studio. Hope they make an appearance pretty soon too. It's not like I've got a Plan B if we don't get our passports in time........

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Passports

Ollie and I had our passport photos taken yesterday. The Home Office now issue a document, 6 pages long of what is/isn't acceptable. To sum up, an expressionless zombie with zero personality should fit the bill. (No wonder we Brits have that bubbly reputation). In the old days (pre children), I would have blow dried my hair, slapped on full makeup and carefully chosen jewellery to match my outfit, in preparation for a document that everyone seems to delight in zooming in on the last page. Yesterday, no makeup (considered camouflage), flat hair & tied back (you can't have it on your face at all) and no accessories - they might detract from your face. Last but not least, no smiling but lips showing. When someone says 'no smiling' it makes you swallow your lips - I expect you are doing it now. So, I'm all done, an expressionless Stepford Wife. So, I then give Ollie all these instructions. The result, this little form sitting on a stool, shoulders hunched up around his ears performing his best vampire impersonation. I wouldn't mind but Ollie never smiles in photos at the best of times. 45 minutes later we were out of there with instructions to return today to collect them as they have to be manipulated to official Home Office size. Ollie's lucky, at least he can have a second shot in 5 years time, my next one will be in my 50's, eek!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Eat up

Most conversations at mealtimes with the children are frequented with 'can we get x/y or z there?'. This is because I'm onto a great thing now (they were so bored and unbelieving of my 'some people don't have anything to eat' lectures) that it's now 'make the most of this, we probably can't buy it in Dominica'. Well, Sunday breakfast goes like this:

Are there croissants?
No.
Are there chocolate croissants?
No.
Are there CocoPops?
No.
Are there CocoRocks?
No.
Are there crisps? (they were lying around, honestly)
No.
Is there cheese (Ollie likes continental breakfast).
No.
Feeling hoisted by my own petard I boldly declare:
'Look, there's nothing beginning with 'c' ok'

I will have to relent soon I know but in the meantime, it's fab. Every plate is spotless.

Sisserou Villa & Sisserou Lodge

http://www.dominicaaccommodation.com

Shipment Tracking

The weekend was punctuated with reports on the whereabouts of our document (dox) to Dominica (DOM) for our bank loan. Firstly, it didn't go on the flight to the UK as it was meant to but went by truck instead, so missed the first connection. It then went by plane to BGI (Barbados) and since then we've heard no more. I hate shipment tracking, it makes my heart sink and takes me back to when I had to do it for VVIP's in the Middle East. All the small print says: no money/valuables/bodily fluids etc. Well these were all the items I had to send of course. 99% of the time, I just sent someone with the shipment (happy to have a free 24 hours in London) as I knew a person couldn't get lost in transit. Once I couldn't find anyone, I had bodily fluids to send, not for a VIP (well she was in her world) but Cruella De Vil, wife of one of our senior Manager's. She was in the UK, he was in Bahrain. She was ovulating and she didn't 'do' waiting (or contact sports clearly). You can just imagine can't you, I waited at hospital patiently, avoided any eye contact with the husband, collected the specimen jar, didn't touch the edges, packed it properly, took it to the airport, gave it to the pilot of our own DHL 757, waved goodbye to it. Nothing could go wrong. Did it arrive in London? No, of course it didn't, the plane went tech in Bergamo, the shipment was transferred to commercial and that was the last anyone heard of it. Did she ever forgive me? No, she didn't. She did however, go on to have a baby girl albeit a few months later than planned. Funnily enough she didn't name her Fiona.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Return to sender

My forms are all signed and notarised and ready to wing their way back to Dominica by DHL. An afternoon spent doing this with the kids was followed by a visit to the toy shop. The girls are fine, any Euro 5 toy and they're satisfied. Not Ollie, it has to be all singing all dancing, 30 Euros plus. After 1.5 hours of milling around in there, making suggestions, I went to puzzles, he loves puzzles. I reluctantly agreed on one of those globe ones. Age 6 it said. Einstein more like. How on earth do you start them? Ok, I finally read the instructions, start with the piece numbered '1'. We found '2' to '60' but '1' has mysteriously disappeared. Hysteria onset - his and mine. Maybe it will work flat I say in a sing songy voice. Of course it won't every piece is curved. And so it went on.....

My newest worry is Residency and clearing our shipment. Apparently we need Residency to clear our effects duty free and for Residency there are of course various criteria which we won't fulfill before our container arrives. Also, Residency issues have changed ministries now too so our original paperwork is no long valid, probably. Also, we need to have a return ticket to enter Dominica. As I mentioned ours is one way. We now have to buy a one-way ferry (cheaper than Leave Island Any Time ticket) ticket to Martinique, closest place. I've always had it in my mind that it would be nice to visit but I didn't think I'd be buying the ticket quite so soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Providence

The Grieve family sail into St. Vincent where they are besieged by local boatmen touting for trade, in sharp contrast to the easy-going charm of Dominica.

As we entered Wallilabou Bay on the island of St. Vincent, a haphazard flotilla of boats made their way out to greet us. Some men rowed, some shot over in high-powered pirogues and others pulled themselves towards us on nothing more than old surfboards.

Sailboat, St. Vincent, Caribbean
A sailboat eases its way around Tobago Cays in St.Vincent. A relaxed welcome is not always guaranteed on the island

My heart sank as I watched this little armada of hope approaching. Known as boat boys in this part of the world, these men regard anyone on a yacht as a multi-millionaire. In comparison to them we probably are.

The water in this bay is deep right to the shore, and figuring out how to anchor safely was a challenge. At the helm, trying to concentrate on calculations regarding fathoms and feet and lengths of chain and warp, I kept being distracted by insistent calls.

"Hey Skip!" one man cried as he pulled up on the port side, clinging to the guardrails while his boat clunked worryingly against Forever's hull. Another man was abreast of us: "Follow me and I'll take your shore line," he shouted, rowing energetically to keep up. "Want some bananas?" I heard from the starboard side, and turned to see Oscar and Luke already accepting a brownish hand of fruit.

I looked over to another yacht that was also being besieged, and decided to turn around and head back out to sea. As we left the men called after us, some of them imploring, others philosophical, one shaking an enraged fist.

Out of the bay we sat in silence, relieved to have escaped, yet feeling guilty at having turned away from people who are desperate.

St Vincent in particular has suffered a number of attacks on yachtsmen in recent years, and it is not difficult to see why, as boats lie unprotected and vulnerable in isolated anchorages, surrounded by people who have absolutely nothing. It's unpleasant to find ourselves in a situation where people view our boat as a kind of floating cash machine.

A few weeks earlier we'd had a completely different experience as we entered Prince Rupert Bay in Dominica. A mile or so off the island I radioed a man named Martin Carriere, aka Providence, who, according to the pilot book, provided a really good service to visiting yachts.

As we neared the bay another fast boat came out to meet us and offered help with getting food and supplies. I thanked him for coming over but said that I had already arranged to meet Providence.

"Hey, no problem," he shouted with a grin. "Welcome to Dominica!" After we had dropped anchor, a sleek, homemade boat shot over to us and carefully drew alongside. It was Providence.

He handed us a map of Dominica, and as we all talked it was clear that this bright, energetic man would add greatly to our experience of the island. He guided us up the magical Indian River and introduced us to Paul, who took us into the interior. We stopped to marvel at precipitous hillsides planted with verdant crops, picked fresh coconuts, stood on bubbling volcanoes and sucked cocoa beans.

A farmer we met by the roadside took us to see nutmeg and cinnamon trees, and then - as we said goodbye - pressed a cutting from a vanilla vine into my hand. As we passed Paul's home village, he stopped the car beside his aunt's house, and emerged with the biggest grapefruit we had ever seen - a gift to our children.

We stopped to eat chicken with "provisions", a local term for vegetables dating back to the times of slavery, and as we ate we looked out at a view of the Atlantic framed by reefs, offshore islets and palms. Passers-by stopped to ruffle Oscar's hair or chuck Luke under the chin, and around us weekend village life continued in truly relaxed West Indian style.

Dominica has something special, which stems from pride, which comes, I believe, from the knowledge that it is self-sufficient. Tourism is a good thing, certainly, but in the knowledge that it can afford to be fussy, Dominica is taking steps to ensure that development happens sensitively and well.

This positivity is evident as soon as you arrive, and are welcomed rather than besieged. People like Providence have realised they have great wealth, and this richness stems from their island and a way of life that is simple, joyful and independent

Form filling


Well the DHL package arrived. The courier actually wore yellow trainers with a red stripe - wonder if they are regulation kit or I'm so out of date it's some trendy new brand. Anyway, I have around 25 forms to fill in for our loan and life insurance. I started at 1pm and by 8pm I still hadn't finished. No, I can read honestly. Having the kids at home from midday didn't help admittedly - Wednesday is 'frites' day - it's usually just frites but I felt so guilty knowing I'd be ignoring them for the rest of the day that I allowed Fanta and Mars Bars to enter into the equation too. It doubled the bill but gave me an extra hour or so to work in relative peace. Chloe kept asking me if I needed help. Some sort of homework role reversal she must have thought as I kept huffing and puffing. Andy doesn't do forms. So they are now all beautifully completed and waiting for his signature with little crosses by the line he should sign on. I was a great PA. Just need to get an official sounding witness to rubber stamp them all now too. In the meantime, I've been flooded with requests to stay in our apartment in Montenegro. Don't get me wrong, it's great but I can't keep up with the admin today. At least with my head spinning with admin there's no room for worry.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Employment

We both had positive news on employment prospects. Positive but not definite. Fingers crossed.

Is it really me?

I am on auto pilot at the moment and am looking forward to getting off, if that makes sense. Everything seems to be related to the move and at times I feel like it's not happening to me but I am doing it all for someone else. When will it really sink in that I'm leaving Europe, my house of the last 3.5 years and the school run? I printed off our Virgin Atlantic E-Ticket today and my heart jumped when I read the routing: LGW/SLU 27/07/08 but underneath was blank. It's a one way ticket. I'd like to think that when I'm on board, relaxed (!), watching a movie (of course the kids will be quietly watching theirs or fast asleep), enjoying a glass of something cold, maybe then it will sink in. I do hope so.

ps Our DHL package is due to arrive today - it will have taken 6 days. Should have used FedEx.

Swimming pool




Now it's sunny and paddling pools are springing up everywhere. Under pressure now from kids to join the ranks of pool owners. When I say pools, it's these inflatable ones but with cleaning pumps in and heating. All mod cons, not like we had, with slimy green bottoms and full of holes patched up with plasters. The kids went to 3 different sets of friends this weekend and everyone had one. We haven't. Do we buy one for our last 8 weeks here or do we take one with us so the kids can use it whilst ours is being built? We have the hole dug for ours and it now has 8 foot weeds in it but at least it's started. Since mentioning the pool we have of course heard loads of horror stories of leaking ones, filthy ones and ones situated where after a heavy rainfall, the contents of the neighbours garden ends up in your pool. As pool building isn't that common in Dominica (well, why would you when there's over 365 rivers and you're surrounded by sea) it is difficult to ensure all these problems won't be our problems too. I need to do some serious research on this for sure.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saying goodbye to friend(s)


We've just had a great long weekend here in Belgium, 30 degrees and BBQ's with friends. However, I am still looking forward to leaving. The children say they will miss their school friends. For me, I just had acquaintances here and one best friend. So it's her, Lemony, that I'll miss. She's American but normal. I say that in the nicest possible way. I've taught her to speak English of course but she naturally possesses the brittle dry humour of a Brit. It's easy, the kids get on, the husbands talk sport and we put the world to rights over a bottle or two. I know I'll make new friends but Lemony I will truly miss.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Website


Trying to do our website for Sisserou Lodge and Sisserou Villa (we're keeping out options open and offering both for rent - obviously not at the same time as we'd all have to fit in the tent then - if we had one that is. Anyway, so far it has taken 9 hours. You'd look at it and think it had taken 9 minutes. I have 5 pages to fill with so far, one floorplan, a few finished product photos and some pictures of the view. You'd think I'd taken my pictures at midnight. I really do need some help with some convincing (honestly it is the) Caribbean shots. Sent it to my Dad for moral support. Reply "Presumably you will put photos of the house from outside, and then views around looking outwards to the sea etc. - ie not views through the windows looking out - makes it look too small and sombre." Ok. I need to spend a few more hours on it, or weeks or months. Problem is I've only got days. Need to start advertising this asap so I can put some figures in the 'Income' column of the 'Budget'. There's a possible comparable Villa in Calibishie with a pool which gives me an idea on rents, however our pool won't be ready for this season unless we can do some really creative accounting. However, my creativity is as good my photography. However I can make a boat out of corks (endless supply) and leaves - Montessori trained you know.........and here's one I made earlier...........

Flatscreen - why didn't we get the bigger one?



So I've succumbed, given in, relented, you name it, the 40 inch flat screen has now moved from Makro's shelf to our spare bedroom. No, of course we don't know how to actually set it up to watch it. So here's the story, it started off at Euros 1400, went down to 1100, final price 900. That was 3 weeks ago. Well we go again today, because that's what we do on Saturdays, and for the actual store model, last one left (always a heart rencher), there's a further 20% off. As I am explained to in that slightly 'can't you get the point?' manner (rather like my landlord did the other day actually) this price will then be reduced further as we get 21% back for VAT as we are going to export it within 3 months. So, clearly it's a no brainer and we must buy it. They only take cash, remember it's Belgium, so not much left for the essential toner for the printer and the eco lightbulbs. Hey, who needs lights when you've got the glare of the 40 inches. Anyway, on the way back in the car, I'm holding it on my lap (like a firstborn) as it doesn't come in a proper box, shame really as we can't wave it around in front of the neighbours, and Chloe says 'why didn't we get the bigger one?'. Her father's daughter clearly.

ps The all new Milka 'Choca Swing' is what I got today. You know how it is, there's a little stand in the store with a little old lady painstakingly breaking up a product into as many tiny pieces as possible, with white gloves on and luring you in like Hansel & Gretal for a taste. After the 3 kids have grabbed as much as possible, destroyed the Jenga like display, and underneath Granny's imploring (they must get commission) glaze, I am compelled to buy the full size product. Could be worse - it's a chocolate biscuit sandwich............no, I'm not going to miss chocolate at all....

Friday, May 9, 2008

"It's good to plan but also to throw away the plan"

It's been a funny old week - a few highs and a few lows. A last minute spanner was thrown in the loan process. We now need life insurance. This information is not detailed anywhere in the NBD mortgage criteria but someone has decided we need it so the paperwork is on its way for this and the loan, by DHL - "we keep your promises", glad they will. I have to complete it all, notarize it and return it. Slight hitch may come as Belgium likes documents notarized with Flemish/French translations. So that's a bridge or mountain to cross next week. The second thing I have been working on is our monthly cost of living budget. I have finally cracked it - thank you Celia for keeping me sane by your last line (and this post's heading).

Yesterday the landlord visited, we can only give calendar notice (p.23, line 16, subsection b - and lots of finger jabbing at the contract) and it must be 3 months so at the moment that takes us into September when we are actually booked to go the first week of July. Also, the damp on the bedroom wall that came through from the shower next door is because we don't open the bathroom window enough and that it must be 'an English thing'. I then got a lecture on all the things I'd be charged for including the trees having grown too much in 3.5 years. I reminded him our garage automatic door had broken yesterday for about the 6th time and he said a new part would take a while. This is from someone whose company letterhead proudly proclaims 'suppliers of quality automatic doors and gates', say no more.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sisserou Lodge (nee The Shack)



Bookings taken from 1st September 2008!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Business idea?


My brother says I should keep Ollie in one of these.
Great idea!

I got Euros 30 back in my bank account today of the Euros 95 I sent to China for my samples. So I'm Euros 65 worse off and no samples for my big business idea. I wouldn't make it on The Apprentice that's for sure.

Wonder if there's a Sumo Suit market out there instead, sold as 'particularly useful when negotiating cliffs and potholes...........'

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rental Income/Money

Pando rang me from Montenegro today and said the landscaping and the water will be connected by the 20th May and the swimming pool will be filled by then too. Great. It would be good to have a full season this year of course. Originally the 'season' in Montenegro was 100 days but now it seems people want to visit all year round and our previous visits in September and February have both been great - nice weather and lots going on. This means there is no 'ghost town' feel when you visit out of peak months and the restaurants are still excellent and there is still a real buzz about the place.

I talk about money in this blog because that's what people ask - often indirectly but nevertheless I can see their brains ticking over and wondering what exactly we are going to live on and then outloud, how much it's going to cost us to move. What I can tell you is how much it is likely to cost you to relocate. You plan as best you can but there's always an element of juggling and this is what you need to be prepared for. Today was an example of that at 9am but by 5pm everything had changed. This is how:-

* Resigned to booking our flights to St Lucia at an increased GBP2,700
* My brother & sister-in-law step in and very generously and offer their airmiles, reducing out cost to GBP1100
* I want the children to complete their school year here so I postpone the packers to July 3rd. This pushes us into high season price and an increase of Euros 900 to their quote.

So that's how it goes and you can only do so much in preparing yourself for the final cost of a move as there are so many unexpected variables, so it's always tricky when people ask how much is it going to cost to move..... Later on this week we have our landlord coming around and will find out what this part of the process is going to cost us. It's very complicated here - our rental agreement is 25 pages long, in Dutch. So that will be interesting.

So there you go, money, and as they used to tell me in the Middle East:-

"Mafi felous mafi saddique"

Flights & ER (hopefully not together)


Trying to book our flights asap as they are increasing the whole time. XL is now not our cheapest option unless we fly on the 15th July - this give us no time in the UK to say goodbye to everyone and panic buy Mint Crisp. So we are back to Virgin Atlantic at a cost of GBP2,700 for us all and flying on 25th July. Booking return tickets is cheaper than singles, however, surely everyone who wants a one way ticket just books a return and doesn't use it. Or do Virgin have a magical way of finding you and zapping you back. I digress as usual. This VS flight is good as it connects directly onto a Carib Aviation flight at 2.40pm which in turn flies directly into Canefield which is very close to our house. The cost of this part is US410. It is an, how shall I say, interesting experience landing/departing at Canefield or as my sister-in-law hysterically said on board last year 'I earn enough not take this plane'. She does. Anyway, at some stage we will try the high speed ferry option. Hopefully their doors close properly.....

In the meantime, Ollie is at home today after going into Casualty last night or as some call it the ER (hope Dr Kovac stays) which sounds more trendy. This is Ollie's 6th ER visit. What can I say, at least we will be living near the Princess Margaret hospital in Dominica. As for hospital teddies ......our collection is as large as his file....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How big?

So, we wake up today and lying in bed Andy goes through the list of what we need to buy and we're back to the flat screen TV, basketball stand, outdoor table tennis and a motorbike. The motorbike's a new one. There's more holes than road in Dominica (let alone sharp corners and cliffs) and he's wittering on about a motorbike - well it's a scooter I tell him as I imagine him bobbing along the road disappearing into craters. He thinks because I'm horizontal I'll be more agreeable. Must be a man thing. So, I remind him that we need a fridge for the Shack too, he retorts 'a small one, yes?', to which I firmly reply 'no, a big one, of course'. Well maybe I need a big bike then, he says. And so the conversation goes on. In the meantime, I check the flights out to St Lucia (maybe swimming to Dominica at this rate) again on XL (the cheapest airline I've found so far) and they're now nearer GBP3,000 (I'd budgeted GBP2,000) so something's got to give. Can see the size issue rearing it's metallic head again...........

Saturday, May 3, 2008

NBD loan approved!


Just rang Tina. Our loan has been approved. We can make plans to physically leave now.
Yipee!

Just because...





It's Saturday, it's sunny, I'm excited and I realised I missed Scarlett out of the last photos.

Waiting to Ring





We had no computer access for the last week so no news on our loan. The first thing I did yesterday was crank up the pc (it's very old) and scanned for Tina's name. Yes, there was one on the loan but just saying we should transfer the Alien Landholding Licence fee to be held in escrow, if required. This morning, I see Tina sent another at midnight saying to ring her today as she has good news. Now I'm just counting the 6 hours until Dominica wakes up, fingers crossed. How early can I wake her without her jumping out of bed thinking it must be a 'someone's died' phone call, I wonder.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos from Montenegro last week - the outdoor life and fish for lunch every day. I love it!

Once inside it's great says Pando (sic) the salesman!





You know the reality building programmes on TV, well we were in one last week. I guess the flight should have prepared us..........our 'direct' flight actually landed in Montenegro and flew onto Croatia. However, as we were not booked on this flight originally we had to carry on to Croatia and drive the 2.5 hours back to Montenegro. We arrived in the offices of A.V. Properties
(a.k.a Anyone Visible Properties?) to be advised that we could stay with an old lady in a field with the enthusiastic 'that will be great for the kids won't it' accompaniment. Jovo, our driver, saw my face and then saved the day saying we could stay at his apartment - Anyone Visible retorted they would only pay him what they were paying the field lady. He agreed, phew. The next day we saw the site and our apartment. A picture tells a thousand words so here they are.