Making ourselves at home in River Doree

We’ve been here a week today – 5 of those days we’ve been alone! And we are still marvelling at the splendour of it all – both inside and out. Views of the Caribbean Sea from the verandah, fresh fruit in abundance in the garden, luscious green plantation, tall palm trees, tequila plants, a perfect swimming pool literally steps away from our bed, a spacious indoors fabulously furnished, dream kitchen … and we can just pretend it’s all ours for 5 weeks!!

Tequila plant

Our resident chickens …. which we need to guard with our life as chicken is so expensive to buy here!!

A guest house in the grounds

And this is our outdoor shower – we hardly use the indoor one as it feels lovely to be open to the elements. I even showered in a downpour of rain yesterday. And we only need to use cold water (which is warm) …. it’s like wild camping!!!

So, we’ve barely left the house since the Doc left on Wednesday – and not hugely feeling the need to do so. For one, there’s plenty of chores to keep us busy … it’s a working holiday you know!! There’s the cats to look after – the gorgeous Tabby and Bebe, the large number of verandah plants to water, some swimming pool maintenance and keeping the very extensive verandah all around the house clear of webs, bug life, frog and bird poo … the latter being very time consuming. Steve has yet to do his first stint of lawn mowing.

Steve sweeping the verandah this morning, while Paul the gardener takes a water break

Tabby … who is not a tabby but a ginger …. who loves to eat ham but is extremely overweight!

Bebe who is the more timid one … and is avoiding me today since I gave her a flea jab this morning!

I know I shouldn’t complain but the bugs are the big downside. We can take the gekos, the moths, the grasshoppers, the beetles …. but it’s the ants and the mosquitos that can just drive you to distraction. The doc says there are no mosquitos but something is biting us good and proper … and all day long! Getting through gallons of repellant and after-bite – please send supplies!!! However, come the evening when we’re all tucked up inside, the itching goes away and it’s fine during the night – so, could be worse (Egypt springs to mind)!!

Tom – not sure you’d cope here – the moths seem to love it, maybe it’s the orange!

The gardener Paul comes here on Mondays and Thursdays – this involves us setting the alarm as we have to open the gates for him by 7.00am … well, I say ‘we’ … Steve does!! He’s a chilled sort of guy, fit for his age (70) but not in any rush!! He brought us some coconut water on Monday – very thirst quenching. Waiting for the mangoes to ripen.

And after the chores are done there’s plenty of time to relax. Steve has not been out running again .. (1) because it’s either too hot or too wet (between the soaring heat there are some huge downpours going on) and (2) because I feel I’d be a bit nervous here alone and just worried about being apart … safety in numbers. We have to be honest, we were quite anxious the first couple of nights here alone, it gets dark at 6.00pm and it just feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere. Beer and wine has helped to relax us come evening … and we’re getting more used to it now.

My main sport of the day is being chased around in the water by the pool cleaner ….no, not some hunky Lucian … a rather clever little robot who seems to make a beeline for me every time I enter the water … and I always shower!

The pool cleaner

I also try to do a daily aqua aerobics session (can’t get Steve to join in) … which always reminds me of our lovely friend Ebraam from the Badawai Hotel in Sharm El Sheik …. such fun days.

Plus plenty of time for reading, writing, watching Wycombe games – the days whizz by in a oh so non-frantic way. Every afternoon we glance up to see the daily BA flight arriving … and then it’s back to chilling.

The arrival of the daily BA flight

The only time we’ve ventured out this week is up the overgrown lane to a local store called Masseys – to top up on some essentials. It’s just over a mile each way so requires a 7.00am outing before the real heat sets in. At the top of the lane we walk along a stretch of what we would call country road but the cars seem to move at motorway speed … and there’s no pavement so we have to keep our eyes peeled. We’ve already witnessed one accident! But this small store seems to have most of what we need and some interesting products too. It really is expensive here though – more expensive than England. Another reason we’re quite content to make the most of our lovely accommodation is that taxis and rental cars cost a fortune. Today we met the lovely housekeeper – Betyann – who comes to clean once a week and she was telling us how St.Lucia is really struggling with this economic crisis and short supplies of goods. She tucked into some of our food before she left … and dropped lots of hints about other things she likes – chicken breast, cake, orange juice etc.

The lane to the outside world …

So many pretty coloured houses … en route to the shop

Once it’s dark, Steve locks up the house … and then we only venture outside to admire the amazing constellations. Haven’t yet tried swimming in the dark although the pool area is lit up – think we might get braver. The Doc suggested that we might like to skinny dip but there’s CCTV cameras everywhere so we’re feeling a bit shy!

Steve likes to cook so I write or simply relax with a G+T as all colonial ladies do! We love the jukebox and there’s so much space for dancing … but we miss our fellow dancers (you know who you are)!!! We’ve had a few chess battles, suffice to say I’ve come second every time. And then there’s the TV – it’s the fanciest thing with millions of channels and five remotes …. but although the Doc showed us, we haven’t got a flipping clue – desperately need a young person.

Jiving to the jukebox

On Wednesday we’ve booked a trip out with a driver called ‘Presley’ to take us on a tour of the island and visit some hot spots – looking forward to that. And next Sunday we’re meeting Betyann at the local church for a sing song plus she’s recommended the local beach where she goes to cook her lunch most days. So, we’re dipping our toes in the water so to speak.

But at the moment, there’s no place like home … even though it’s just borrowed.

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