Any more visitors?….

Saturday 27th August – Friday 2nd September 2022

A quiet week for us pensioner house-sitters – have not been out and about apart from shopping … oh and church on Sunday.

River Doree Grace Church is an Anglican Church in our village and easily walkable. Mass was at 9.30am and we had agreed to meet Betyann outside, so we got there for about 9.15am – it seems that ‘punctual’ is not a word here … most people, including Betyann, wandered in from 9.35am onwards! They were such a welcoming congregation, so much so that the priest at one point asked Steve and I to stand up and introduce ourselves and after some questions we received huge applause. I guess we did stand out a bit! The Anglican service seemed identical to the Catholic mass and so I wandered up to take communion … the priest afterwards confirmed that I was most welcome to receive communion but google seems to disagree! The hymns were all familiar although sung at the highest soprano pitch ever .. we still enjoyed warbling along. A couple of differences to back home (1) when they say ‘Jesus,’ rather than nod their head as we used to do in UK, they do this slight bend of the knee thing (it looks so funny en masse) and (2) t’s very high tech – the readings are done from their mobile phones!

This Sunday the mass starts at 7.00am (it alternates), so we’ve opted to join Betyann for a 10.00am service at the Mission Church. This promises lots of lively singing, dancing and whirling around – right up our street.

Nice and early for church on Sunday

As I say, besides this there’s just been a couple of shopping trips. We’ve walked to our local supermarket a few times now – it’s a mile each way so between the heat and the precariousness of roadside walking we only go if essential i.e. milk, bread and wine! We did need more of a major stock up this week though so booked Presley to take us to the larger supermarket in Vieux Fort. Just the taxi fare alone came to £50, besides the substantial cost of the food shopping. Being budget travellers, we really have picked on the wrong part of the world here. I’m not exaggerating in saying that everything is at least double if not three times the prices back home. Which is the reason why, while we’re staying in this remote part of the island, we’re opting to stay home-based, live simply, forego the more active life temporarily (apart from Youtube workouts and aqua aerobics), learn to chill with a book and assume that learnt Lockdown state of spending 24/7 alone. Luckily we love each other’s company but we are social animals too and I think we’ll both admit to wishing we had some others to share this with. Especially in the evenings when we’ve had a glass of wine – there’s a massive kitchen/diner floor and a fabulous juke box and just the two of us to boogie. We’ve jived on the verandah after dinner, we’ve sipped wine at dusk watching the fireflies in the trees, we enjoy gorgeous meals which Steve creates out of local produce, we chat over dinner and play board games … and then it’s still only 7.30pm, so we feel forced into doing battle with the array of TV remote controls!

We do have some visitors. Betyann comes once a week to clean and we manage to pack in a whole load of chatting during that time. Paul the gardener comes twice a week and is lovely but quiet – he has a coffee and then trundles off with his wheelbarrow and machete. We also have Ethan the Egret who particularly loves to play ‘catch me’ games with Steve when he’s on the mower. Then’s there’s Glenda geko and all her many pals (who love to leave little parcels), teeny tiny ants too numerous to mention and the odd frog. Lots of visiting birds too, none of which we recognise, except the hummingbirds. There’s plenty of night wildlife – the fireflies are such a spectacle and there’s a continuous blanket of sound from dusk till dawn – it’s like being in a jungle. Ironically, just as I’m typing (and it’s mid-afternoon), a wild dog, resembling a hyena, has just run through the garden – he looked a bit scary but luckily he ran off when he saw Big Steve!

Paul the gardener wielding his machete

Ethan, our playful Egret

Glenda the geko, looking for her mates

  Ooh, there’s one lurking in the rafters

And of course, we have the two beautiful cats – Tabby and Bebe – to entertain us. Tabby is very old (and fat!), walks very slowly and is prone to coughing … desperately hoping she lasts for the next few weeks. 

Steve’s had some England v South Africa cricket to keep him entertained and still manages to tune into the Wycombe football game every Saturday. Feeling so sad at the news of Bill Turnbull’s death this week at the young age of 66 – a wonderful BBC presenter and legendary Wycombe Wanderers’ supporter. 

We’ve had a couple of family zooms this week too – so reminiscent of Covid times – maybe we’ll get to quizzing by the end of our stay here. As Alice said, we’ve got plenty of time on our hands to set some quiz questions! 

As the days go by we begin to list the things we won’t miss but almost feel guilty suggesting it whilst living in such beauty and lavishness. So thought I’d do it in a praise sandwich, as we do in education and training!!

Things that are marvellous:

  1. Our outdoor shower – absolute love washing in cold water with blue sky or stars overhead.
  2. Fresh mangos for breakfast and fresh limes for my G&T in the evening.
  3. The sit on lawn mower and the two acres of lawn to keep looking splendid.
  4. A perfect temperature swimming pool from early morning. 

Things that we won’t miss:

  1. Struggling to dress because constantly sticky (no AC)!!
  2. Bitey things!
  3. Lack of company (at times)!!
  4. Expensive wine! … and expensive everything!!

Finishing off on a positive, of course:

  1. Who wouldn’t want to hang out their washing with the view of the Caribbean Sea at the bottom of the garden?
  2. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by natural colour and beauty in abundance?
  3. Who wouldn’t want sunshine to fill their day?

  Fresh mangos from the garden for breakfast

  My G&T lime supply

The bottom of our garden

And a whole host of colour to admire each day, without leaving the garden:

So yes, we are glad we took this house-sitting assignment. Our retirement project was to experience living in different places and cultures and this is certainly one to embrace. Less than three weeks to go here before we move to the north of the island and then on to Martinique and Barbados. We’re pretty mellow right now – it’s 7.45pm, we’ve had dinner, we’ve had wine … I’ve finished the blog and Netflix here we come. 

It’s Saturday tomorrow – do you think anyone will come knocking!?

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